Note by Healthwritghts Staff

Recently a friend of mine died from cancer. It all happened too fast for anyone to keep up with. We were discussing how to arrange for chemotherapy when clinical tests had already shown that the cancer was inoperable and untreatable. We were discussing how to get him to dialysis when it was already clear that this procedure would only make his last days less comfortable. We were discussing how to get hospice care into the situation when it was already plain that the family did not have either the physical or the emotional resources to care for him at home. Perhaps because of denial we were always discussing issues that no longer had any relevance. In his case all that was relevant was making him comfortable and helping him say goodbye.


A similar thing seems to be happening with regard to global health. The unraveling of the earth's living systems is happening too fast. Many of our discussions are no longer relevant. Take the question, "How shall we preserve and strengthen democracy in the US?" for example. There is nothing left to preserve. We are already a police state. Or the question, "How shall we reform capitalism so that it becomes sustainable?" That tipping point was crossed quite some time ago. The capitalist elite is destroying the earth and it can't be stopped. The system is irreparable. It's that simple. So long as profit is the sole bottom line collapse is inevitable. You can take your pick. Will it be ecological collapse, the Third World War, a humanly engineered pandemic, an economic melt down, or some combination of these possibilities? It seems quite impossible to avoid them all.


In speaking of the current "security and surveillance state" in the US, Chris Hedges, in the article below, says, "now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it." I am thinking it will be impossible, at least until it begins to self destruct under the weight of its own contradictions.


So what is to be done? That brings us back to the issue of our being a police state. It is clear that law abiding protest will not turn things around. Civil disobedience, on the other hand, will be labeled as terrorism and that will be used to justify draconian punishments without due process. With Big Brother's eyes everywhere, who will be able to be able to mobilize a defense? Perhaps another tipping point has come and gone. We have to ask ourselves whether the time for effective protest and civil disobedience is past. It would appear that Stalin has re-incarnated himself in America. The gulags have already been constructed.


The world, at least as we have know it, is terminally ill. We have run out of treatments for it.


So again, we must ask: What is to be done? First, we can bide our time and watch. As the old structures collapse, new possibilities will open up. Crises will be points of opportunity. Second, we can teach. People need to be told why the collapse is happening so when they see it they will understand the reasons for it. Writing articles, talking to neighbors and doing teach-ins still seem like options. Emphasis needs to be given to bad systems, not bad people. And the system that most needs to be targeted is corporate capitalism. In this context, protests and demonstrations may have some relevance, but primarily for creating opportunities for teaching. Third, we can hope that the collapse will be big enough to awaken the still sleeping masses to the reality of their situation, but not so big as to leave no remnant. If we do these things, then next time perhaps we can put together a real democracy and a sustainable system that is in harmony with the larger ecology. At that point a lot will depend on how well we have done our teaching. I can see nothing more than this to hope for in the present moment.


The Article By Chris Hedges

Apr 2, 2012