Discuss: The Barbaric Heart
It’s telling to me that Curtis uses the word “fuck” and in the following paragraph takes advantage of the pronoun “she”. This was the first nod to the feminine (other than as booty) in the article. The article lacked the Native and Eastern sensibilities, and, in its reliance on Western thought, misses many of the nuances of Whitman’s “barbaric yelp”. Perhaps Curtis needs to consider the dung beetle more curiously in his consideration of Being, and the aesthetic.
It would be a major accomplishment if mankind were to combine a controlled technology with the preservation of Earth. Not only a major accomplishment but a miracle. There are too many humans and everywhere we go to seek peace and tranquility, a hundred others have gone there, too. There was a time when even scientists spoke of the “wonder and glory” of the universe, but we have reverted completely to a mechanistic view, relying on technology to solve every problem which, ironically, it has created in the first place. Can there still be stretches of open land natural wonder alongside hot water and refrigeration?
“Thoughtfulness offers the Barbaric a better way to think about what it means to thrive…in our current circumstances, thoughtfulness’s first task is the acknowledgment that we have been lying to ourselves.”
This is a bunch of bullshit. It’s well-written bullshit, but bullshit it remains. You cannot make a barbarian think. Acknowledging self-deception requires introspection and rationalism a barbarian does not posses. The barbarian will slaughter the thoughtful long before the point of critical self-honesty is reached.
We are driving straight off a cliff. We will realize what we squandered only in those last agonized, regretful moments after the last tree is cut down, the last animal shot, the last river polluted, the last iceberg melted.
Like a terminal lung cancer patient after a lifetime spent inhaling coffin nails, the barbarian can only mourn what he has done when it’s too late to do anything about it.
mjosef this one is for you, years later.
I admit I laughed at your critical rendering of the text. I can’t help but think you failed to grasp the point though, being so distracted, reveling in your distaste for the conceptual framework the author employed. You need not buy into ‘The Barbaric Heart’, but surely you must recognize the question from which it sprang, namely, where do environmentalism’s failure and capitalism’s rampant and ever increasing global destruction stem from, and what is to be done in the former’s place, seeing as how it cannot hope to stop the latter?
I do see a turnaround among some people into regarding the natural world as our birthplace and our home.
The problem is, I think, that many poor nations want to become rich ones, and the only way they can do that is to destroy their natural heritage by lumbering, drilling, etc.
It would help if we vlaued something more that money—but money has become this world’s god and be-all and end-all, We blindly pursue the only thing that will bring us out of poverty—while such bloated establishment as big oil and big Pharmacol strive to keep the fatcats ever fatter and their purses ever fuller. We are streaking toward a disaster in which any decision to apply the brakes will come too late, as it has with global warming. Already in my climate zone(5) we have had the hottest March on record (90+ degrees F. and the longest fall without a single frost—-mid-October here in the North country and the temps are in the 60’s.)It has wreaked havoc with insect populations like fleas and ticks exploding out of bounds.
Politicians cannot be trusted because they will do whatever their backers say.
I would suggest going to a lottery system whereby everyone who isn’t in prison would be required to serve in political office for a two=year term.—-We might get some good done there…. and at least balance the scales between the pols who do not have to obey their own laws, with average people who have had enough of being oppressed…
I once advocated a hunter-gatherer society (with high-tech) which did not desecrate its environment because they reverenced all the life about them, even as they took it.
Our population has grown much too overweening for that, I’m afraid….and what man will not control, Natural eventually must.