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|Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:36 pm Post subject: It Was the Year 59 A.G.F. Part 2 of 2
|It was the Year 59 A.G.F.
Part 2 of 2
Heroditus gazed off into the flames again, frowning, a tear flowing down her cheek in the orange-lit night. She put her head down on her arms, while sitting on a rusted folding chair. Her shoulders sagged uncharacteristically, as though the telling of this tale had suddenly become too much for her old frame to handle. But then she raised her head, and with a look of determination continued;
"It was about the year 2011 or 2012 AD of the old calendar, if memory serves correctly. That's when it all started to fall apart in a way that even consumers couldn't ignore. Agriculture had been degrading for decades...the over-use of artificial fertilizers and bad farming methods on, "super-farms" had made food tasteless, toxic and non-nutritive. Erosion was having it's way...7% of arable land was being destroyed every year. Deserts were rapidly expanding all over the world, rivers were drying up, the old pesticides weren't really working any more because 'pests' had become too resistant, and vegetables were genetically engineered just to make them last longer without rotting. The price of food just kept climbing and climbing. Of course, it didn't matter to most people that the food wasn't worth eating any more, conditioned as they were to imagine that profit margins are far more valuable a thing than life, or for that matter, a life well lived. And they say that the livers of those people, their blood, tissue and organs were so polluted with hundreds of poisons, that they scarcely needed to be embalmed upon death. And of course, these unnatural toxins created in the Before Time, ones that still circulate in our water and air, are why only a lucky few of us can even have children to this day".
"Jesus!", "What a shame!", "Idiots!" were the comments blurted out then from the listening crowd.
The Elder continued, nodding. "Yes, and these things were just the tip of the iceberg. The forests, even those carefully 'managed' and re-planted, had become so depleted that logging trucks now carried little else but sticks to paper mills. They could have planted hemp, of course, but this was contrary to the profits of many corporate interests. So rather than planting hemp for clothes, food, soil improvement and paper, they chose instead to destroy the very lungs of the planet. There was much talk about, "preserving the environment" through replanting, but of course, this was just posturing...the forests has become little more than tree farms, not true ecosystems of great diversity. Livestock farms were places where horrible atrocities were committed to animals...beaks were cut off so they wouldn't peck each other to death, pens were like disease causing prisons, animals were injected with and fed hormones and other chemicals just to make them grow faster, or fight off infections from being mistreated...and all this once again, was just to make a few extra dollars"
"Why would they do that", asked another woman, "when it's obvious that when you take an axe to chop off your own foot for a meal, that you're going to bleed to death? I mean, what were they thinking, that they weren't actually biological creatures living on a biological world...did they think of themselves as indestructible machines?"
Heroditus laughed. "Yes, I believe they did. To be more specific, money-making machines. This is what happens to a world when the people believe in a philosophy as shallow as that of materialism. You ask this question, Demeter, because you're a practical person...all of us here are practical people who live close to the earth, as nature intended. But when you have people identifying themselves en masse with a label like 'consumer', you've got minds that think of themselves as little more than a jaw moving up and down... with busy arms and legs that make sure that jaw is kept constantly fed....just like a devouring machine. Back then they even had a saying, 'THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH!', and that was what they literally believed. No matter how much you had already, you wanted more and more, and this was as true of those who lived homeless on the streets, as it was of multi-billionaires who practically owned whole countries. Consumerism was a dread sickness of both mind and soul, you see. Basically, this made consumers just like deadly parasites. A deadly parasite will chew and chew upon it's host until the host body drops dead, killing even the parasites within it. This of course is exactly what happened to them...they chewed upon the good earth with jaws constantly moving up and down, FAR beyond practical need, until the earth simply couldn't support them any more! And of course, they didn't have the good sense to stop reproducing like bacteria."
An owl hooted in the distance, and the wind had died down.
"You see, the people of that world thought they owned everything the eye could rest upon. And since they thought life was little more than a pile of possessions, they treated nothing with real respect, even their own bodies. There was no such thing as truth to them. Everything in existence, they thought, was just there for humans to USE as they saw fit, since they also believed that humans are the center of the universe. Why, they even invented a god called "jehovah" that looked like a man. They pictured 'him' predictably, as a white haired, late middle-aged caucasion male in a Roman toga, with a sneering and arrogant countenance, claiming that man was created in the image of this "god". Even their "holy scriptures" said that man has dominion over all of nature as a divine birthright, to use however he wishes, as a gift from God. The truth is, man made many false gods throughout history in his own image, and always to 'justify' his own false motives. So it's not hard to understand how they thought their all-destructive way of life might last forever...after all, how could God's little darlings be allowed to fail?"
"This was about the time even the polar ice caps began to melt with global warming, and super-storms got stronger and stronger, until the damage done just from global warming itself began to bankrupt the nations of the world. But of course, by then most of them were already bankrupt due to huge military budgets, rampant corruption and short-sighted policies. Rome was about to Fall again. Medicine was not about staying healthy, but about how to address the symptoms of disease. They took pills for everything...sex, liver function, digestion, overweight, pancreas function, alertness, anxiety, sleep, blood pressure, psychosomatic diseases of all kinds....everything. Consumers were so busy making money they didn't take care of themselves...obesity and anxiety were epidemic. They didn't even take good care of their own children, so fixated were they upon, 'careers' and, 'financial goals'. They had a hundred pills for everything under the sun, and over nine tenths of these were simply deadly poisons. Herbs were far more carefully controlled and suppressed then, than the tens of thousands of toxic 'medications' for sale through unscrupulous doctors, whose side effects were usually worse than the symptoms they addressed. Why?...well for the sake of profits, of course! Whole regions of the world suffered famines, droughts and plagues. Police and military organizations became very brutal, and crime rates shot through the roof. Mental illness had become so widespread, that psychology began to define the human mind in terms of insanity, as though that was the normal state of the human being."
"That's like forestry defining the woods as a nothing but clearings of stumps!", said Heroditus angrily, pounding her fist on her chair. "Anyway, questioning the status quo was viewed with both suspicion and resentment. Those few who stood for anything were sometimes called 'terrorists'. I've even heard it said that anybody who rightfully and truthfully criticized consumer society were routinely called 'negative'. Imagine that! What could BE more negative then than consumer society itself? And yet, their hypocrisy and madness ran so deep, they just called any criticism of a world destroying paradigm, 'negative'! They were very arrogant people, which is why they had this attitude. Most actually IDENTIFIED with corrupt society you see, and so, they perceived any criticism of that society as criticism of themselves. 'How dare you say such things!...how negative, how presumptuous!' was considered the acceptable response, even though that reeked of egotism and insincerity. The world was OBVIOUSLY in big trouble, and such criticism was OBVIOUSLY well deserved. But that didn't stop them from being arrogant anyway."
Everyone sat, wide eyed and thoughtful without interrupting this time. The sky had cleared somewhat, and a full moon shown through some trees onto the clearing below. Only glowing embers of the fire remained.
"Then agriculture collapsed and the oil ran out. The trees were all but cut down, and the air had a filthy taint. Humanity had become what some later called, "techno-primitives", where, despite their ability to build geostationary satellites and advanced computers, they were too dumb to even know themselves. Although they could build a spaceship to fly to other planets, they were too confused and corrupted to even CARE that they were poisoning their own children. They had become like bad animals with large brains and no wisdom. And like any other primitive animal in a cage, they soiled their own food and water, to the point of collective suicide.
I remember the day the Great Fall started to really happen...the lights went out again, and then they STAYED out. All the electrical appliances in the house had suddenly become useless. We couldn't open any cans of food for a day and a half, until mom finally found a hand operated can opener under the sink. Water from the refrigerator ran all over the floor, and the toilet was clogged with nothing to flush it with. Plus, when the running water in the faucets stopped, we couldn't take showers any more. Cooking meals had to be done on the back lawn with the barbeque stove, but only when the neighbors weren't looking, since we couldn't trust them any more to not try and steal our food. Then the propane ran out. Nobody trusted anybody, and even as a terrified little child, I wondered then if they ever REALLY did.
The fire department suddenly had too many fires to put out, because of arson and sheer stupidity on the part of people, and so they had to prioritize their resources carefully. But after a week the fire engines quit coming, and things just started to BURN everywhere! The police were having a hard time keeping people from looting and burning everything, and hungry groups of people turned into rioting mobs. Then the police quit coming! Everyone shouted about how the government had let them down. Others cried on their knees and begged to God, asking, 'How could you let this happen to us'? Some people tried to help put out the fires, and a few neighborhoods policed themselves for a while, but the barricades they put up in the streets were quickly torn down by rioters searching for food. The grocery stores had already been completely ransacked...many were burnt down to the foundation in frustration. The same was true of the banks and public offices. The sounds of windows being shattered by stone-throwers could be heard at all times in the day or night, as could frightened screams, yelling and loud fights. I huddled in my bed in the candle-lit darkness absolutely terrified, and although my mother and father tried to calm me, I could tell they were as scared as I was.
"Where were you at the time, Heroditus?" asked a man in the crowd.
"I was in a place they used to call 'Los Angeles', which meant 'city of angels', she replied with disgust, "and in what was once considered, 'a very good neighborhood'. My recollection gets a little fuzzy at this point, because I was very traumatized. But at one point the next evening there was a loud knock on the door. Then the knock turned into a frantic banging, and my parents dared not answer it. They just sat on the sofa hugging each other saying things like, 'It's all going to be Ok...order will be restored soon...the governed has GOT to send the 'national guard' in to set things straight'. But I knew even then that there was no government left.. before the television went silent, they were having problems they couldn't handle even with the military, and that had been two weeks ago. People were in widespread DENIAL up till the very last moments of modern civilization. I still marvel at this even now."
"Soon a bottle of something was thrown through the window...I screamed, and we all ran to the back bedroom. Then it sounded like somebody was coming through the window...I heard several of them talking while stepping on the broken glass. They were going through our kitchen and stealing our food! My father wouldn't have that, so he ran out into the kitchen to confront them...then I heard a gunshot and my mother ran out to see what happened to my father...I heard her scream "NO!" and then I heard more gunshots. Again there were feet on broken glass as the rioters ran outside. I dared not move an inch! I sat in the pitch-black like a little animal in it's burrow, inside the bedroom closet where my parents had told me to hide. I trembled and would have cried, except I was too worried somebody might hear me. For what seemed like hours I sat there, not knowing what to do, but longing to see my parents. So I finally crawled into the kitchen on hands and knees, and with a flashlight got up the nerve to shine light the floor and look around. There lie both of my parents dead in a pool of blood...shot to death over a half dozen cans of food! I howled with anger and fear, and then smelled smoke. The house was on fire...I had to get out! I ran back to the bedroom, opened the window and was just about to crawl outside, when a man came up and helped me through it. I never feared him, even in those circumstances, and he hurried me to a car with a woman waiting there. These two became what I later called, 'my adoptive parents' and we somehow made it this far north, to help found what would later be called, one of the, 'neo-tribes'."
"But forming this tribe didn't happen for a couple of years...people were still everywhere at that time raping, looting and burning. Many of the remaining forests burned too. Nothing was safe for the longest time, not even remote cabins, because many headed to the countryside in an effort to survive. People died like flies, EVERYWHERE. About 30% of them died, I believe, just from a lack of prescription medications, within three weeks of the power going out. Another 60% died just from killing each other in the next 12 months, and when I say 60%, I mean about 4 1/2 to 5 billion people the world over! The rest of humanity which perished, died from a lack of food within the next two years, because, being the 'techno-primitives' that they were, they didn't know anything about growing their own food, hunting or survival of any kind...they didn't even have logical or practical minds. So they just DIED in droves."
"And that's the story summarized...many of you know what came next...the rebuilding of humankind, and the re-thinking of everything the Before Time thought was important in life. Many of us took oaths to the effect of, 'never again would we worship material things over truth, God and nature' and so, we never have. We determined ourselves to fully realize that life has much greater value than any 'profit margin' could ever have. And, we have learned that the owning of shiny things does not make a better person. That's just a waste of life and precious resources, for the sake of primitive ego. If anything, the spiritual one who isn't interested in accumulating material objects just for their own sake is 'better', for they hold their life priorities in accord with sanity. And above all else, we learned that the truth itself is all that ever did or ever will really matter."
The entire crowd, which had grown to about 30 people by now, almost the entire community, were listening carefully nodding their heads. No one said a word, but all looked on in admiration for their Elder-Historian, because no one was held in higher esteem in most tribes.
Finally, before the night was done, Heroditus said one last thing, which everyone thought about quite a bit, as they went to sleep in their tarp yurts.
She said, "I wonder how any of those people in the Before Time would react to what has been said this night, if they could have somehow listened in? Would they have changed their ways and embraced natural, simple living? Would they take up spiritual practice and hold truth above all other things, or would they merely scoff and walk angrily away? I wonder..."
Matthew Webb email@example.com
The World Mind Society
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