September 28, 2009

Thought for 09.28.09

Fruits and Consequences

There was an interesting short news story on NPR this morning concerning the drying-up of the Mesopotamian paradise long thought to be the historic background to the Garden of Eden. And it got me thinking whether the tale in Genesis 3-4 doesn't preserve an authentic memory — not of a change in location, but of climate.

Moreover, it strikes me that even if human interaction with the Garden didn't lead to its drying-up — though perhaps there is a hint in Cain's metier as a "tiller of the ground" and the movement from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist linked with the end of Eden — it strikes me that in our contemporary situation it is precisely our recent treatment of our "island home" that is rendering our being kicked off the island all the more likely.

We have plucked many fruits from the soil of this world, and may within the next century reap the harvest due to those who slash and burn. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, fruit for fruit, and "fire next time" in a slow bake, and hunger sore. Thus famine follows intemperate feast.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Unknown said...

Let's just hope we're not forced to make an exodus through the wilderness of the "vast expanse of interstellar space."

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Seems to me the problem is that while we might try terraforming Mars we are in the meantime marsiforming Earth! Out of the Silent Planet indeed....

Unknown said...

Marsiforming? It might end up more like Venusforming.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Indeed so. I was thinking desert, but hot and sticky seems more likely.

Brother David said...

Well, Venusforming would also be very smoggy.

My God, all we really know how to do is to royally screw things up.

Tim said...

Tobias, I'm here via Sherry of "A Feather Adrift" and I owe her great thanks for the recommendation.

I'm often struck with the same trepidation you mention here--the idea that our bungling of the land and the life we were given has brought us near the end of the road. I pray we catch ourselves before we're catapulted into the oblivion we seem to crave.

Don't know much about astronomy, but I believe Mars is more temperate and livable than Venus for our species, which sadly seem apropos. The planet named for love will suffocate us, while we put hope in the war planet as our next frontier.

Thanks for the provocative thought!

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, Dahveed and Tim. Yes, with all due respect to C.S. Lewis, Mars is much more likely to be terraformable. Venus is a goner, and Terra may follow if we reach the tipping point with greenhouse gasses. Maybe by then we'll have terraformed Mars and can just "move next door." We'd better do a good job of it, though, because the next stop is an unlikely habitation -- unless we do something on one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn.

Still, it's sobering to know that just as each of us is mortal, so is humanity as a whole, and we will eventually run out of space, time, and energy. As, indeed, C.S. Lewis pointed out in "Out of the Silent Planet."