I’m teaching this semester. My in-progress second novel is sitting on a chair in the woods, alone, half open, while I answer questions about the difference between mitosis and meiosis, why the poles are being hit so hard by climate change, and owing to how things are going to shit, is it too late? I think about my characters, how much I miss them as I look into the concerned faces of my students and have next to nothing to offer them. Never has teaching ecology been as difficult and depressing as it now and my time teaching is nigh. I cannot do it anymore–try to put an upbeat spin on the fact (fact) that the human species is wiping out its own planet and itself. I can’t give the pep talks to the 18 year old’s that “you are the hope for the future” when they aptly point out that they have inherited this big fat mess from previous generations and why didn’t previous generations give a damn about them–their own children and grand-children? Read Birdbrain…in short, it is because the human species is driven by two things–its life span–the human life span frames why every current generation behaves the way it does meaning the human species is motivated by the idea of individual death and “getting it all in” before death, future generations only peripheral considerations, and; the human life span combined with a still primitive ancestral human brain (selfishness, violence, possession, and territoriality) means as a species, we are incapable of truly planning for future generations. We talk…oh yea, we talk, but this is all we are capable of. Imagine for a second if human beings, you, lived to be 200 years old, 500 years old, how different “planning for future generations” would be. I do not believe the human species is capable of planning for future generations due to these two factors. Ironically, I think if the human species could admit to these facts, we would see far less global conflict because we would come to grips with our “normal” condition which is greed, violence, possession, etc. and then be able to counter it through cultivating a cultural condition that, if you will, repels the primitive human condition because culture is our only hope. Right now, our culture is base and aligns with our “primitive” brain (just watch cable television for a few minutes or note how “entertainment news” is now mixed in with the “real news”–tragedies of war side by side with some movie star’s new bikini)…giving us very little chance of surviving as a species long enough to biologically evolve. Culture is our only hope yet capitalism feeds into short life spans (gratification) and all the characteristics of a primitive or ancestral brain. I personally do not have high hopes for our future as a species nor the planet. Climate change is now turning the turbines of the future of our planet and at present, it appears nothing can stop this. As a field biologist of a few decades, I do believe it is too late.
I refuse to lie to my students, patronize them with pep talks I myself no longer believe in. Science speaks the truth no matter how ugly…
So where do I seek refuge, my own escape to endure the sadness? Writing and for now, writing novels. As I said, I miss my latest characters and considering they came from the inside of my own head, this in itself is kind of sad however; like the characters of Birdbrain, they take on their own lives and it becomes rather thrilling to observe them, write it all down.
I am going to post blogiferous’ things here in other words. I won’t be able to get to Novel 2, my characters, until I get a break from teaching. Why not post a thing or two to keep some writing in the ring? To my (novel 2) characters, meant in every sense of the word, wait for me too. Wait for me, me. V.