...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



whack/out of whack/whack:

For instance, consider research on the sea otter, which Kricher describes at great length, only rather obviously to conclude that "humans can unwittingly induce major alterations in ecosystem food webs."

In fact, the research illustrates much more than that. Between 1990 and 1997, in the western Aleutian Islands, the otter population plummeted by 90 percent because orcas began feeding on them. Previously orcas subsisted on fish-eating harbor seals and sea lions, but human over-fishing in the region led to a drop in seal and sea lion populations, forcing orcas to broaden their diet. Since the otters preyed on sea urchins, fewer otters meant more urchins, a rapidly expanding population that decimated the undersea kelp forests on which they fed. The loss of kelp in turn further disturbed the fish in the area, which relied on kelp for shelter, exacerbating the seal and sea lion famine, impelling orcas to eat more otters. The effect was so dramatic because otters were a "keystone" species in the region, meaning that the stability of the food web depended disproportionately on their well-being. Which is to say that a steady otter population helped to maintain the balance of nature.
Jonathon Keats/Salon 10.Jul.09
via 3QD
All well and good for the dispassionate and removed-to-a-safe-and-abstract-intellectual-distance, but that balance gets achieved, can only get achieved, through the same ways and means the balance gets unachieved - eating and reproducing and dying and it's pretty clear that what we're experiencing is the flowering of some creature that can only survive let alone thrive if things are and remain out of balance.
We in that usage being the them and the us and everybody in between. The specific survivability quotients etc are all academic and theoretical, but the teeth and claws belong to something that's fighting for its life as much as anybody else out there is, out here, as much as we are individually and collectively fighting for our lives, and it can't make it, can't do that survivability number, in a balanced world. Can't, not won't - is by its essential nature unable to survive in the world as the world is when it is most healthy. Disease proliferates as the system weakens, like that. And we're discussing the moral activities of what amounts to a disease.
Like the economy, it has to grow to maintain itself, and keep growing even as it reaches the limits of collateral destruction possible, even as the backwash of its wrongness and unsuitability floods the basements of its mud-and-cardboard mansions etc.
Like with so many of the mostly suddenly recently concerned public voices on this matter - not Keats', which seems cogent and reasonable - there's a sense that they're saying without really committing to it that whatever drove us over the precipice should continue as still-in-charge and appropriately so, should continue to drive even so, so get out of the way you confused hippies - we may not be able to save the polar bears or the Inuits but by God we'll save ourselves and our grandchildren.
So really what gets obvious is they have to go, they have to be sidetracked, blunted and dispensed with, stopped, or else the whole thing goes down with them.
There isn't anything more nice and gentle that will work with what's really happening.
What the hope is, I think, for them, or it, or whatever pronoun most fits, is that they can take the web of life out to its thinnest stretch, just grind everything down and eliminate all the accusing lives, turn them into commodities of grief - dispense with the higher mammals just as Ma Nature and her legal team have demanded they themselves be dispensed with - and then gather the fuel and tech necessary to jet-rocket themselves off-planet and go on to find some new world where they can do all this all over again.
They'll be doing this naturally with slaves and robots and all the fun and games of what until just a few cultural moments ago seemed like nothing more than loopy speculative fiction cliche but now looks like the grotesquely accurate description of an awful wreckage, which it is.
It is wonderfully helpful to believe in a greater metaphysical context to human living when confronted with this shit, helpful for the caught soul that can recognize its own complicity and the malevolence of what it's been co-operating with, helpful for it in the short term, which as with all short terms has a definite periodicity, a measurable span, a length past which it is no longer the short term in which that comfort is available, but becomes the now-ended fantasy you bought with your credulity and intentional softness.
Lots of eugenic platforms there but none on offer, sorry. No solution, no formula.
Like beauty - which I'm now convinced is the indisoluble and inevitable culmination of moral rightness - it's about recognizing it, opening to it, experiencing it within and without the self, holding to the will that would sacrifice for something higher, which is what we have to bring to the day as it comes in, but not exposing that to the detailed search of the enemy's drones, who will make of any logic and formula and solution that gets set out in those abstract neutral tones a new set of parameters for its own debased survival.
Which is the point. It's not an accident this trainwreck, it's the dinner preparation of a clot of ghouls. Seeing it as an accident is complicity, a seeking after comfort. A short-term response. They're in it for the long haul and so should we be.

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