by Philip Greenspan
(Swans - March 14, 2005) A classical pianist friend, to get a feel of an audience response, performs his upcoming concerts before a group of invited guests. This past week during one of these preview concerts I sat up close while he played by heart for approximately an hour compositions of Beethoven, Chopin and Scriabin. As his hands roamed over the keyboard his fingers were rapidly bouncing, hopping, pounding, skipping, and jumping. Thousands, no tens of thousands, of individual notes must have been struck, each with greater or lesser intensity, for longer or shorter duration and in varying combinations.
As I watched spellbound I was struck by the magnificence of the human mind. While he was concentrating on his performance, subconsciously his brain was regulating the beating of his heart, his breathing, his body temperature, the digesting of food, etc. The human mind's capabilities are utterly fantastic.
Music, art, medicine, science -- every aspect of human endeavor reveals similar miraculous mental accomplishments.
Young children will develop communication proficiencies within a few years. If exposed to several languages, without lessons, they will speak them all and will instinctively position a sizeable vocabulary within complex syntactical sentence structures.
The contributions of scientists and inventors have so transformed a precarious and harsh world that it would be unrecognizable to those who lived only a few generations ago.
Why then is our world in such a mess? Why is doomsday for life on earth in the not too distant future a definite possibility? Where have we gone wrong? I honestly don't know. But that doesn't prevent me or anyone else from speculating. So I'll give you my deflated two cents' worth.
Old Mother Nature, the lady who through evolution provided Homo sapiens with all those great mental abilities, gave all the higher species of the animal kingdom many survival traits. As we have now learned, many benefits -- and those survival traits are benefits -- frequently have a down side, harmful side effects. Yes, side effects! Like every one of those miraculous drugs that the pharmaceutical industry touts. The Vioxx scandal is a recent illustration of harmful side effects that outweigh benefits. Similarly, a couple of inherited survival traits have negative side effects for humans.
Mother Nature, aware that food in the wild will be plentiful sometimes and scarce at other times, provides animals with the ability to store needed nutrition for the periods of scarcity. The digestive process converts any excess nutrition intake into fat. During periods of plenty, animals store up lots of fat for the bad times and thus are able to survive. Example: animals that hibernate. Plump before the winter; thin when they reappear in the spring.
Modern science has devised ways to preserve food -- salting, drying, canning, freezing, etc. -- so for humans there is no need to resort to nature's way of avoiding starvation. With preserved food available, man no longer needs to live off body fat.
When an animal is in need of nutrition his dynamic brain provides the key to unlock the storehouse of fat. What is the key to the storehouse of preserved food? Money.
Just as the health of animals relies on fat the health of modern man relies on money, or in this context its synonym, wealth.
The gorging of an animal to protect himself against upcoming famines is replaced in modern man with greed.
Greed has alarming side effects, as King Midas quickly learned. He was delighted when granted a wish that everything he touched would turn to gold. It didn't take long for him to discover the tragic side effects that accompanied his wish and was relieved when he was able to undo its consequences.
The insatiable greed of today's multi-millionaires and billionaires is causing side effects that are inexorably bringing the end nearer and nearer.
Like Midas they were unaware that their greed would have negative results. They assumed that in acquiring their wealth they had provided many products and services that were in great demand and were justly rewarded for all the good they had done.
The negative side effects of their products have not impacted their lives in the same way as it did Midas. Although all of us are harmed by the deterioration of the air, water and food, the poor suffer inordinately as their neighborhoods are dumping grounds for the unwanted refuse.
But we should not be too contemptuous of the filthy rich, for we share some complicity. By consuming their products we in our own way are likewise destroying our environment. Thus instead of turning around or stopping on this destructive road of development we continue on, ignoring the environment's warning signs that are becoming more and more prevalent. If the degradation we are causing continues, the earth will soon become uninhabitable.
To satisfy the unquenchable Midas thirst, more and more of the vast riches of the world must be exploited. But those in possession of those riches will not willingly surrender them. Solution? WAR!
War has enormous costs. Who will bear them? Certainly not the instigators who will profit, irrespective of the outcome. Then where will the costs come from? From the taxes of the lower classes and the lives and limbs of the poorest. How can they be sold on the idea? By another one of those intrinsic life-saving traits. Deception!
To protect prey from being caught by a predator, Mother Nature provides animals with deceptive gimmicks such as camouflage. Examples: The chameleon who changes color to blend into the background; the opossum who plays dead so a predator may lose interest.
Government and its deferential media exploit that deception instinct and lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, loud and clear, over and over and over again.
Selling the public on war is shameful and disgraceful, but the insatiable greed of the elite demands satisfaction above all other considerations.
Midas recognized that greed would ruin him if he persisted. But in spite of ample warning signs today's Midases are not deterred.
Greed will lead the U.S. to ruin. It has highjacked the government. The irresponsible fiscal policies with outlandish expenses for war, reductions of taxes, and excessive borrowing will destroy the unfairly-burdened middle class.
Meanwhile, the Pied Piper of Greed misleads poor youngsters into thinking the military puts them on the road to success but instead leads them to death.
Life on earth evolved from time immemorial without any threats of extinction until very recently. None of the lower animal species or even our earlier Homo sapiens ancestors did harm to the earth. Only when our mental abilities reached the elevated stages of development have problems arisen.
Mother Nature's gifts have been perverted. But the old girl's response is coming. Man-made laws are enacted and enforced by men who are bought and paid for by the elites of the world. But all the wealth and influence on earth can not corrupt the laws of Nature!