Monday, 12 July 2010

The Stark Conspiracy and Total Toxic Overload

Years and years ago I read Ben Elton's book Stark - and over the years the memory disintegrated to vague recollection of a guy called Zimmerman and the plot involved a camel. So it was with interest I watched the movie adaptation of the book, which starred Ben Elton himself as the whimpy pommy anti-hero. Written in 1989 and destined to become a million seller (a rariety for a first time author)it's a comedy based on environmental issues and set in Australia. A link to the wikipedia entry Out came the remote control when super bad guy and meglomaniac has his monologue. De Quincy says,

'Recently our politiicans have been playing the green card in the grubby scramble for support. As we STARK conspirators know, such tokenism is entirely cynical, the ecological situation can never be reversed while market forces remain superior to political will'.

I think we all recognise that, but how does it change, or even stronger how 'do we'as a personal responsibility, make the change? In the past great change has only ever really come about through bloody revolution. But our stomachs are too refined for such vulgarity (at least in the West), so a bloodless coup? But our current system is a great machine that swallows idealism whole and spits out personal interest/greed in a cynacism shaped cookie cutter.

It does seem as though, as the inventive species, we need to find a new and relatively harmonious way to tap into change on a broad scale. Any ideas how this can be done?


Sharon said...

LOL, crossing my fingers that someone may have a solution. I often look around and think we are screwed.... Not enough people care, makes me so mad...

Linda Cockburn said...

Song lyrics on the radio never used to seem random when I was a teenager, some paranormal activity going on in the radio station must have occurred for the show host to have picked the song with the perfect message. Mind you I was a child of the 80's and Police's 'Do do do, da da da that's all I want to say to you'. But... I'll get to the point... we watched The Professionals (1966) tonight and Jack Palance, a not incongrous Mexican, and Burt Lancaster, Bill have a rave about la Revolucion, which was worth hitting the pause/play sequence multiple times till I had it down.
(Burt)'When the shooting stops and the dead are buried and the Politicians take over, it all adds up to one thing, a lost cause'.
(Jack in a great mexican accent)
So you want perfection or nothing. You're too romantic compadre. The revolution is like a great love affair, in the beginning she is a Goddess, a holy cause, but every love affair has its terrible enemy.
(Burt) Time.
(Jack) We see her as she is La Revolucion, not a Goddess, but a whore. She was never pure, never saintly, never perfect. So we run away, find another lover, another cause. Quick sordid affairs, lust but no love, passion but no compassion. Without a cause we are nothing. We stay because we believe, we leave because we are disillusioned, we come back because we are lost. We die because we are committed'.

Great rave, with the environment as a cause it works just as well, if you're happy enough, as I am, to leave off the last line. Pity an overwhelming majority of western movies have a women hating message to swallow down with the whisky and heavy handed bravado.

Roger the realist said...

Rather than fantasizing about 'change' that will never come i think its much more vital for people to stop spreading unreal ideals and accept the world and get on with life for the good of it all. It you wanna live a certain life well then fine but please stopping bagging everyone who has better and more important things to get on with. Such as working and raising families etc..

The only way change ever occurs is via evolution and attrition.

The wish for unspecified change is in my view a position of great ignornace as there are many changes occuring consistently in the world on many levels.

Bizzare comments such as " reverse the ecological situation' are so delusional and narrowminded that i wonder how anyone with even a basic knowledge of the realities of biology and enviromental evolution would relaise that evotuion only works ina forward manner not a backwards one.

I think its time people got over this 70's hippy rhetoric and delusional fantasies of puritanical change and just get on with he choices of life.

All the 'changes' you seem to wish for are happening and the main chnages u seem to desire are how humans have lived for thousand sof years, its only in the last 400 years that humans have 'changed' their ways to create the world we know know.

Such backward retarded thinking is wholly self serving by people who wanna promote themselves as changemongers, sell books get themsleve sin the media and make out like they heros to lead us into a new world thats will look strangely similar to life in the 1800's or earlier.

What you promote is untrue, unreal, delusional and its real about time people got real and moved forward without wishing the world was somehow njot as it really is. The neurosis and insecturity this promotes really ahrms peoples capacity for happiness and acceptance of facts.

Get real and move on.

Kella B said...

Have you read this?

I read it in Permaculture magazine 63, basically, he is saying there is nothing to be done. So make love to your partner, spend time with your kids and drink your homebrew/herbal tea on the veranda, and relax.

You have lived your life according to your principles. You cant change others.

P.S. I watched an episode of "wife swap usa", the other day. (cringe to admit it.) Season 3 ep 20, where an environmentally aware family, swapped with an 8 car, 3 person family, that only ate junkfood off disposable plates.
What captured my attention, and stopped me pressing the off button, was the second family's actual anger (directed quite violently at the "hippies") at the suggestion that the world's resources are finite and that they shouldn't be spending tommorrow's share today.
This was an eye opener for me, I knew that some people were avid consumers and wasters, but i had thought they just needed to be informed. Their reactions surprised me. They actually said that refusing to drive a deisel suv was anti-american!

This is what we have to deal with?

Yours in head butting brick walls.

Doug R in VIC said...

Bloodless coop? What about subterfuge? Should we rename "guerilla gardening" as "freedom-fighter gardening"?
What happened to 'be the change ... etc etc' (hey, we just plant our veggies, build our electric cars and get on with it). Linda and Trev have been good examples for us (personally) to learn from.
Poor Roger "get real and move on" - Where to? Mars?
The status quo isn't going to last indefinitely by any sane measure - that's going to be a fair kick in the 'happiness' to those who don't learn what they need to learn and change where they need to change.
Whether it's global, national, regional, local or personal - change is possible and desirable. Those with vested power interests exercise their efforts via the economy - life is not the economy (check out Tim Jackson - Prosperity without Growth;
If you think that not enough people care then don't get mad - get going! Act and lead!

Denise said...

Roger's rant gave me a good laugh for the day. Don't be disheartened, look at what you are achieving and how many people you are helping along the way. 'Be the change that you want to see in the world' was a quote from Ghandi, along with "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." There are a lot of us out here who are not living in the dream world like Roger and are taking responsibility for ourselves and our families. Happiness comes from within and knowing you are living true to yourself and your beliefs. Roger doesn't sound like a someone exuding inner happiness! Keep up the good work Linda.

daharja said...

Of course we can make changes, of course there's hope, and of course we're making a difference.

When you're right on the extreme edge of change, everyone else behind you in a massive movement hardly seems like they're moving at all. And change - big change - does happen so slowly sometimes that it can be really frustrating for those who want to see things happen a lot quicker.

And, of course, there are people on the absolute end of things, dragging their heels and fighting every change, every step of the way.

I look at my parents, who are about as mainstream Australia as you can get.

They've gone to re-usable bags, low-energy lightglobes, free range eggs, splitting and recycling their rubbish, eating less meat and dairy...small but real changes. There is no way any of those changes would have been possible a decade ago. My parents just wouldn't have had the mindset to do it.

Where will they be in a decade from now? I'm guessing: putting solar on their roof, using less water and owning a water tank, possibly owning a hybrid, having "meatless mondays" and researching more vegetarian recipes, using "green" products by choice...who knows?

The hippies at the cutting edge lead the way. We're extreme because we provide the example of what can be done. We lead, and it's scary, and challenging. And we provide the dreams, and show the realities of the future.

That 8 car family another poster talked about are dinosaurs. They're leftovers, they know it, and they don't like it. So of course they fight. But they're as much a part of past history as the rest of the fossil record.

Linda Cockburn said...

Love all the comments, don't even mind Roger's, he argues against himself eloquently enough without me needing to point out the flaws.

8 car family dinosaurs. I can't imagine being that concertedly 'unreal.' and it is amazing the degree of anger and resentment that suggestions of living within a less extreme and more realistic energy quota brings about.

Wonder though, Daharja, whether the 10 years it's going to take people like your parents to come further behind the swing, is ten years too late. Good image in the para...'When you're right on the extreme edge of change, everyone else behind you in a massive movement hardly seems like they're moving at all.'
Sometimes it seems microscopic.

Chris Brock (under the mulberry tree) said...

People are much more aware than they were 10 years ago - this is true. My parents do have solar panels. Rogers right about people not changeing just because you ask them to.Even asking ourselves to do something can be hard enough. We all know that extra chocolate isn't so good for us but we do it. However a lot of these changes aren't big - like use a different light globe , whereas some are like not driving your car to work.
Personal change is usually triggered and it can be the start of a long journey of learning. When people begin this journey this blog and many others will be there to show what can be done and how. Still i can't help thinking that blockading paliment house "trucker style" might help every now and again.

Roger the realist said...

Thansk for the robust commentry all..

The ecological situation cannot be reversed. All the species extinction, all the C02 released, all the tree and plant species moved across continents, all the palsitics and other chemical footprints and everything elese humans have engaged will just become part ofn the footprint of the anthropocene era, where humans are driving evolution.

Simple things like growing some vegies or living with less chemical sue ar epersonal choices and common all over the world, in fact how many cultures have klive for centuries and at least 10 millenia.

I dont think people get agitated by the concept of change or the reality of it but by the cultural divisniong and delusional rhetortic that provokes moral or ethical judgments over basic human need or function..

Nature ais the driver and earth is bigger any one species. there sis defined line between what is actual and what is wished for, sometimes things were all fine until sonmeone tried to change them..let humans evolve nat their own pace..

Embrace life of yr own choices and feel no guilt for that..I am backing the planet!

daharja said...

Linda - sometimes it is easy to get depressed. I look at my kids - my son has autism - and I wonder whether it was something I ate, or drank, or whether I was poisoned inadvertently somehow without knowing. Our world is so full of poisons and toxins and stuff we throw into ourselves without a second's thought...

But there is hope, and we can do it. I think we're facing the hardest changes humanity has ever faced, but I think, as a species, we'll pull through. So we have to remain positive, and we have to have hope for the future, and we have to believe - because only belief can make change happen.

So don't let the dinosaurs get you down. It's hard, and you've set incredibly high standards for yourself - anyone who has followed your blog for a while and read your book can see that!

And if you think for a moment that what you're doing hasn't inspired others to make huge changes in their lives, you're dead wrong. Because you're reading a comment from one of them right now.

Take time to breathe. It will all work out.

Linda Cockburn said...

Nothing much to argue with there, Rog. I think we’re all embracing the lives we choose, and endeavouring not to feel guilt each in our own way, although it may be a trifle naive to suggest there are no ethical or moral considerations where any human activity is concerned, however necessary or basic. And I take your point regarding the ‘ecological situation’. Of course it can’t be reversed, but I think the quote to which you refer was chosen to illustrate the difficulty of achieving anything on a community level without the support of our elected leaders, or when, as is often the case, market forces are inimical to the health or well being of the larger community. So I wouldn’t take it so literally. You sound a lot like a neighbour of ours, a perspicacious fellow who nevertheless sometimes need reminding that if breathing were an optional exercise, there would be those who were against it, and that, whilst the devil’s advocate is essential, he needs to choose both his fora and his arguments well, lest the sinner be canonised after all and whose appalling spelling and general air of incoherence is, like yours I’m sure, a product of haste rather than ignorance.


Roger the realist said...

Trev..i dont recall syaing ethical or moral considerations or delusions dont play apart in peoples be clear I am saying the basic functions of life and living on a daily basis are more what people have to deal with than any over or underriding moral or ethical concerns, unless of course one is inclined....the core functions of society as we use them and the core realities of any change are objective, functional motivations with cause and effect aside of any moral, ethical or idelaistic issues..

Its probably massively niave to wish for change that will be slow or never occur or to label peoples lives or consumer habits as 'wrong' or whatever just cos thye live in the 21st century and are more concerned with basic daily issues than world scale neurosis..

Roger the realist said...

I can also assure, in reference to the " some people would oppose the air we breath" comment that I am opposed only to lies and hipocrasy and the various offshoots their off.

As for yr neighbour I dont know hium but he sounds like a good hearted sensible fellow..

have fun...