The Tragic Irony of Human Extinction

When I wrote Mirror Reversal in 2007, Global Warming was still uncertain and actively debated. Now massive destruction and human depopulation is as certain as the sinking of the Titanic once the fifth lower compartment was breached by the razor-sharp spikes of the iceberg. As the head engineer said, “It’s a mathematical certainly.”

My son, Rickie, a long-distance trailer driver recently told me that when he spends a night at a gigantic truck stop in the Texas, there’re sometimes 500 air conditioners running all night long. There’s no getting around it; these guys and gals haul food. In total, in the entire world, adding up all the trucks and cars, factories, humans and animals, machinery, and burning of coal, we get 79.5 million tons per day. (Not pounds, tons!)

Today, the term Global Warming is obsolete, replaced by Climate Change because of the array of threats to the environment other than temperature. Gaia theory proposes it’s all interconnected; the planet is a superorganism. Brush and forest fires in the west, tornados in the Central Plains, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, land slides, mud slides, tsunamis in Asia, beach erosion in Micronesia, and change in Ph of the entire ocean. Scariest of all and bound to affect all of us directly, today’s headline, July 31, 2012, in the Science Daily:

Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'

In Mirror Reversal, Cynthia contemplates the underlying reason for humanity’s tragic self-destruction. Perhaps, if we understand the unfathomable etiology of the sickness, we can do something to cure it. As usual, I blame organized religion! The appalling, heart-breaking irony is that for once the Bible was right. The sin of pride will be the ultimate reason for mankind’s extinction, but in a way inconceivable to the writers of the Holy Scripture.


They kissed passionately in the sweet sorrow of farewell.


“You know what I was thinking, before I leave? A thousand years from now, after humanity is gone, maybe ten thousand years from now, extraterrestrials from a far superior civilization might arrive here. They’ll be bound to find some remnants of buildings or artefacts that haven’t decomposed. If they’re endowed with superior intelligence, which they surely will be, having travelled so far, they’ll be bound to ask: ‘what happened here?’

“And being very intelligent, many theories about the extinction of mankind will be hypothesized. After studying remnant cities, libraries and other depositories of information, they’ll accrue a great deal of knowledge about us. One bright astronaut might suggest a deadly, hyper-contagious, man-made flu virus wiped out the humans to the last person. Others might propose a tremendous calamitous event, like the asteroid that caused the Cretaceous Extinction. Another might offer that population growth got out of control, and like E. coli growing on a Petri dish, we simply ran out of food and crashed. Another ET, beyond doubt, might reason that the Mother Ocean died from poisoning—from using her as a cesspool, the Soylent Green scenario—and all life that relied on oxygen perished with her.


“But the most frequently proffered reason for the extinction of mankind will indubitably be that man couldn’t control technology, and some over-ambitious head of state dropped one atomic bomb too many. A nuclear winter destroyed all life touched by rain. Greed, arrogance and lust for power inevitably caused the political leaders to lose control of the technology genie.“But me, Wayne, I truly believe I know the real reason why the extinction of humanity will happen, if it does. The ultimate reason that no ET will possibly be able figure out, no matter how intelligent and advanced the planet it comes from. The reason, to my young inexperienced and naïve mind, judging by all the crimes against humanity, crimes against nature, and above all, the depraved crimes against the animals from which we evolved, the reason consciousness will perish from the Earth is because powerful, misguided individuals couldn’t accept their phylogeny, that humanity evolved from fish and slimy worms, their reflection in the mirror of time, without feeling shame and self-hatred.


Like Beauty in the fairytale she must kiss the Beast and he will turn into a handsome prince. Humans must embrace the inner being or pneuma of our early evolution and our self image will change from a feeble, fawning creation of an omnipotent god to the gestating spiritual creation of the Earth itself—thereby breaking out of the shackles of the Prime Directive. There must be a mirror reversal when we contemplate our image in the mirror of time. If we don’t accept the reality of our remote evolution, we’ll either blow up the planet in a nuclear war, or we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs, handing over dominance to the cybernetic mind that looms in the shadows. Our precious Earth will be nothing more than a sterile computer consciousness—no emotion, no beauty, no joy of being alive. Evangelicals find it to hard to accept a world without God. I can’t continence the thought of a world without love. It took too long to evolve.”

Wayne, whose most profound rumination had to do with winning the Indy 500, had no idea what she was talking about. He remorsefully watched her descend the steps of the condo. “Hey, Cynthia,” he called loudly. “What was the name of the friend of yours where you’re staying? In case we need to contact you. I forgot.”

No answer. She was on her cell phone calling a cab service for a ride home.


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Comment by Alan Perlman on July 31, 2012 at 7:56pm


Thanks for sharing this.  You're talking about a major reorientation in humanity's outlook towards itself and the world.  War, for instance - eats up resources to blow things up.  Insane. Never gonna end.

Just as important as the question of how we began (see recent book about "Your Inner Fish") is the question of how we will end.  Most earth-threatening disasters in movies come from without - asteroid hits, aliens, etc.  There are a few "Ice Age" movies, but none struck quite the right prophetic note - except, IMHO, Soylent Green:  the opposite of an Ice Age, a parched, resourceless, end-stage Earth where people are encouraged to commit suicide, then turned into Soylent Green crackers to be eaten by the rest of a starving humanity.  Cannibalism, once removed.

Eco-catastrophe now seems the way we'll go (2nd choice: massive nuclear exchange). To the extent that humans believe they have divinely ordained dominion over nature, religion is a danger to our survival.

Paul Ehrlich was way ahead of his time, his prophecy delayed by the green revolution.  But the population has topped 7 bil, and it's hotter than it's been in 800 years.  During a no-winter in New England, followed by an even hotter summer, I have been reading careful scientific refutations of climate deniers, and I sort of understand the science, which is that at present rates of expansion of greenhouse gases and rate of warming, we're screwed.

That was then I had my "ho-lee-shit" moment on global warming: we'll never keep the arbitrary levels of greenhouse gases, we'll go way past the 2 degree temp ceiling, sea levels will rise, beaches disappear, vicious floods and tornados...the whole f'ing mess.  From my judgment of the timeline, it's going to happen faster and faster, but I won't be around to see the final, hideous end. 

Here in rural NH, we take our garbage to the dump, euphemistically called the Transfer Station.  I unload the car with bag after bag of refuse from TWO people.  What is happening with the garbage of the other 7 billion?  And don't get me started on the techno-trash.

And during it all WE BURN FUEL FOR FUN. Auto racing, boats, jetskis -- am I the only one who notices this obscenity?  The Indy 500 cars finally run on methanol (which takes lots of energy to produce, never mind the corn drought), but only for the last few years. Before 2006, they were getting 1-2 miles/gal. on gasoline.

I don't think the Singularity's going to happen.  What is it other than a secular Rapture?  Nah, we're stuck with these bodies and this world, which is being destroyed. 

Comment by Mac Rex on July 31, 2012 at 7:13pm

Quite right as usual, bro'. It's worth pointing out as well that the oil, gas and coal are finite resources - they WILL run out.  And when they have been exhausted, humans will have re-released carbon into the atmosphere that had taken hundreds of millions of years to sequester.  Will we cause our own extinction, like bacteria in a petri dish eating it's self to death?  The only thing I'm sure of, is that some form of life will live on, after we humans are extinct.

Comment by Steph S. on July 31, 2012 at 5:42pm

I will definitely pick up your "Mirror Reversal" book and support the website. 

Follow the money -- it always boils down to what makes money.

Comment by Larry Smith on July 31, 2012 at 4:39pm

Interesting post.....But to simple it up. It ALL boils down to ONE thing, that is killing us, .................MONEY!



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