In 1956, in Lord of the Flies
, William Golding predicted that humanity is in the process of destroying the world. The choir boys were a composite of the human condition, and as a group they were fundamentally evil. They were tribal carnivores with short-term goals. They cared nothing about the health of the island itself. At the end of the book, the island was wasted and moribund, except for the intervention of a mysterious sea captain who arrives in the nick of time.
The composite humanity wasn’t all bad, tough. One character played a minor role except that he was the first to be killed. Simon represented reason, even to the extent of being mystical. He was the one who said, “Maybe we
are the beastie.” It was Simon who wanted the littl’uns to break out of the voodoo clench of the animal desires of the Freudian id
The book stayed on my mind for many years. By 1970, I was enchanted by the hope of Hippyism. In spite of the Viet Nam War, I was thrilled with life and the chance of breaking out of life-stifling conventionality. For me it was sex, grass and classical music. I had sanguine hope for humanity. If we could only develop species consciousness, control population growth and broaden our understanding the human condition, we could create a paradise on Earth.
It was then that I wrote my popular poem that was published in the Village Voice
and read on the radio by a prominent dj named Rosco.
I am Simon who walks between your conscience and your animal self.
You met me the first time you took a step on the earth, spoke a word and looked up at the stars in the night.
I was with you when you learned of fire, found shelter in a cave, and expressed an idea with a symbol.
I gave you Art, beauty and love and freed you from ignorance and fear, only to be slain many times by those who will not know themselves.
But I shall never die! For the forces that gave me life are very strong.
I am the fetus that resides in the womb of your mind.
Last week I read an essay
that changed everything. The eminent scientist, James Lovelock, was a friend and neighbor of William Golding. It was Golding who coined the term and helped develop the Gaia Hypothesis. In his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia
, James Lovelock asserts that in GW, “warming” is too soft a word. Global Calefaction (my neologism) is much more accurate. The poisons that mankind has unleashed on the oceans, forests, deserts and atmosphere have spun out of control. There is no bringing Gaia back. The harm we’re done: the melting of the polar caps and glaciers all over the world; the turning of the oceans to acid, the Soylent Green scenario, which gives precious phytoplankton no chance; the release of methane from the vast tracks of permafrost in Siberia and Greenland.
In 1909, the celebrants of New Year’s Eve had no idea of the cataclysm and tribulation waiting just a few years away. That was when the population of our wonderful planet was 1.5 billion. Now the Earth’s population is 6.7 billion. That’s a quadrupling. At that rate, by the end of this century our planet would be the home of close to 30 billion. NO WAY. Gaia is at her carrying capacity right now.
To tell the truth I blame religion for the destruction of Planet Earth. Religion has diverted and perverted the love and respect that was rightfully owed to Gaia, the mother of us all, to imaginary deities that do absolutely nothing except provide ecclesiastic alphas with a life free from toil and manual labor, and rank and file members the hope that life has some meaning. If the leaders of the world throughout history loved Nature the way I do, Global Calefaction never would have happened.
My favorite line from Mirror Reversal
is oh so poignant, sad and true:
What a cruel ironic cosmic joke! Books written by goat herders and fishermen, determining the destiny of mankind and the entire planet.