Monday, April 23, 2007

Post-Earth Day Musings

New Yorkers were blessed yesterday -- "Earth Day" -- with unseasonably warm weather and not a cloud in the sky. I took advantage of the hot sun and cool breeze by running a few miles in the park and soaking up some of that rich ultra-violet radiation. But I really had to struggle to escape persistent thoughts about how miserable we have made the world over the past couple of centuries -- how we took the gifts of the earth for granted. Actually so-called "civilized man" has, for the past 200 years or so, treated the earth with nothing less than contempt. The earth has been for civilized man a kind of enemy or, at best, an obstacle to be overcome and mastered through man's superior ingenuity. And, of course, man's hatred of the earth has ultimately resulted in his own suffering -- suffering for some more than others thanks to the elegant machine of his civilization. This cycle of pain is not so wondrous when one considers that humans are, after all, of the earth and that hidden in man's contempt is necessarily his own self-loathing and shame. Thus human suffering and, very possibly, extinction is the inevitable result of man's poisoning of the environment. How short-sighted is modern civilization that it cannot find the motivation to cherish and protect the earth in the most basic instinct of self-preservation?

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