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Walking home from work one day

Oh, darn. We live in interesting times. Like all of us plugged in to the internet I receive international news and views and I struggle to digest the world’s currents and tides. While history is marked up for a hefty new chapter, I live my peaceful Spanish existence in my little flat on the Costa Brava and mull over my small preoccupations. I’ve got a few things to consider. Like when I’m walking home from work I can’t help but notice how humans feel about their habitat. Respect isn’t the word.

Captured plastic flies no further.

As I walk, I sometimes listen to narrated books. Currently I’m listening to Scott Aiello read a pretty tough book called Getting to Green by Frederic C. Rich. It’s been Getting Me Down. (I’m doing it so you don’t have to.)

http://fredericrich.com/getting-to-green/

Fredric C. Rich thinks the Green movement has failed on a number of fronts, particularly on preventing Climate Change, and they ought to do better. He’s got some ideas.

Twisted vines and grass come to terms with cast off packaging

The book holds many delights, the historical perspective, for one. Republican Teddy Roosevelt’s heart-felt belief that at least some of the Nation’s assets lay in lands and waters that needed protection for future generations (ie conservation AND capitalism). This philosophy is alive and well in successful Land Conservation Trusts where grassroots folk around the world have saved beloved pieces of land, even if those lands remain in private hands – not part of Government.

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1061428

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1061428

Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson was famous for his Natural Beauty Message; ‘For centuries, Americans have drawn strength and inspiration from the beauty of our country.’

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1060638

Surprisingly, Republicans used to be proud of their deep and loving relationship with the land that is America. And it was Richard Nixon who established the much maligned EPA.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qd4LJcSz8Vk?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Back in the sixties, when Rachel Carson sounded the alarm, rivers were burning. Air was unbreathable. Birds were falling out of the sky. You could see the problem. Industry was rampantly careless about their waste. Nixon’s admin had to act because that’s what everyone wanted. Twenty million people marched on the first Earth Day in 1970 and extensive clean-up programs sprang into being.

Redbull can lies on its side in the grass

Today’s problems are fuzzy. You can’t see the climate change. Environmentalists turn into communist the-end-is-nigh-fearmongers. It snows when Obama worries about global warming.  George Marshall calls climate change the Wicked Problem. Unless you happen to be in the way of one of those worst storms ever seen. Even then you’re only going to want to get straight back to normal, not cope with terrifying scientific mumbo-jumbo.

Leftovers

Please note Getting to Green’s subtitle; Saving Nature; a Bipartisan Solution. Okay. I’m all for getting to Green. I’d even like to save Nature. But, can we talk about this Bipartisan thing? Mr Rich describes the Great Estrangement (abyss) between the Republican Party and the Democrats.  He’s not alone in noticing this, of course. The Guardian talks about The Age of Anger. The magnificent Van Jones tries to listen to the opposition. George Monbiot pulls the curtain aside to reveal the gold paying the piper. Someone’s comments lead me to watch George Lakoff talking about framing. Speaking to a clearly Democrat audience, Lakoff looks at political dualism in terms of the American Family; the strict father vs the nurturing parent. The Democrats want all the nuturing for themselves. The strict father believes in tough love. If the kids can’t succeed on their own, tough. And the GOP want the message out there, training leaders and getting Think Tanks organised. A lot.

A flying rag and a cup

When I was at university in New Zealand we joined protests about apartheid in South Africa. Hundreds of miles away, the plight of Africans captured our compassion. But the opposition, in government, community and student flats, wanted the chance to watch a good game of rugby. The rights of the individual sports fan against the rights of the many oppressed. Either/or. Versus. Wrong against Right. Left against Right. Communists against Capitalists.

Drain with objects

Mr Rich thinks the Greens need to pull in their heads regarding negative comments about capitalism. The NSW Greens of Australia are struggling with this emotive debate right now. Mr Rich fears Naomi Klein is not helping matters. Mr Rich worries some Deep Green thinkers would even like nature to overwhelm humans. (Hmmmm … ) If only it were this simple.

Supermarket with ironic name leads the way to bridge over littered water

When I did economics at school I was a bad student. I worked hard to disrupt the class and annoy the teacher. But she persevered and I think I remember learning something about cycles. (This may have been Biology?) However, to persevere, does not an industry grow from a seed? If looked after, it may prosper and live a long and happy life. It sustains itself and the humans that work within. For a time. If it is sustainable. If not, it withers and dies. Like a rock and roll band. (Shit, maybe it was music?)

Roadside litter assortment

Clearly there’s a few nuances I missed because I don’t understand how capitalism can keep propping up coal power stations. Visibly polluting, getting older and not part of a clean energy future, how can capitalists possibly back coal? Is not capitalism about buying low, encouraging start-up and making the most of growth? Van Jones’s book, The Green Collar Economy, points out just how many valuable jobs could arise from forward thinking business minds. Corporate, capitalist interests are supposedly represented by the right, the GOP. But, it seems the Republicans’ big ol’ Tea Party is a little out of control. The heavy-weight CEOs now in charge have tremendous power. They can do anything they like. They can even change the rules to get more power! To what end? Interesting times indeed.

To my mind, this Estrangement is not only about two parties. It’s also about the missing middle. That’s three sides. At least. A bipartisan schism would be an obvious diagnosis if everyone voted and there were only two parties. 9% of enrolled Australians didn’t turn up to the latest election and it’s compulsory to vote in Australia. In the UK 72.2% of voters turned out to chose whether to stay or leave the European Union, missing over a quarter of the eligible voting population. In the States, only 55% of the population turned up. What was the other 45% thinking? There’s obviously more than two sides to every story. Maybe there are fifty shades of red? Blue? Purple? Green? Sounds like a bruise, doesn’t it.

Limp plastic bag beside the road

At the risk of sounding naive, what if we act like King Arthur and bring in a Round Table? Instead of the oppositional parliamentary system Australia and NZ inherited from Britain, what about everyone coming to the table with no head? What if parliament was reconfigured (the UN is a semi-circle – that’s a start) and representatives worked together to solve problems? What if there was no dualism but only folk bringing information to help find effective solutions for the greatest number of people?

Fanta can in grass

The Gandhi Experiment is a new initiative for Peace. Does a debate need cutting, slashing argument? Winner takes all? Or could teams work, not in opposition, but together, towards a solution?

Flat out after obstructing arteries

There is one sure way of uniting people. Bring in a common enemy. When the new administration in the USA threatened to sell off 3.3 million acres of public land, environmentalists were joined by hunters and fishers who fiercely lobbied to protect their common lands.

Blue plastic attachment on roadside

Can you imagine caring for your local lands so much you’d fight for them? Clean them up? Enjoy their beauty? Regard them as a Natural Asset? Guess I might just have to get involved. Suppose I could take along a rubbish bag and some gloves on my next walk home. Big job. Someone’s got to do it. Take a look at Walkers Against Waste. I think it’s up to us. It’d be easier with friends, of course. I’d better find some like-minded people!

Soft plastic jelly-fish amongst the grass

Finally, in case you haven’t seen Valarie Kaur yet, can you imagine the light at the end of the tunnel?

https://www.sikhnet.com/news/video-valarie-kaur-delivers-rousing-speech-church

(All three of these links are to a speech delivered by Valarie Kaur. I hope it works for you.)

 

 

Balloons! Why are they still a THING?

Balloons.

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/NEW-High-Quality-Oversized-3-D-Hello-Kitty-Foil-Balloons-Wedding-Decoration-Balloon-Party-Balloon-Cartoon/1711988033.html

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/NEW-High-Quality-Oversized-3-D-Hello-Kitty-Foil-Balloons-Wedding-Decoration-Balloon-Party-Balloon-Cartoon/1711988033.html

So pretty.

http://balloonsblow.org/

http://balloonsblow.org/

Such trouble when they are released into the atmosphere. They eventually fall down, perhaps whole or in pieces. They can end up on land or in oceans. They might get eaten by a bird or by a fish fooled into thinking it looks like a jelly fish. They might trap a bird and strangle it.

http://www.mcsuk.org/what_we_do/Clean+seas+and+beaches/Campaigns+and+policy/Don't+let+go+-+balloons+and+sky+lanterns

http://www.mcsuk.org/what_we_do/Clean+seas+and+beaches/Campaigns+and+policy/Don’t+let+go+-+balloons+and+sky+lanterns

But balloons are biodegradable! They are made of latex! Rubber! From trees! Foil balloons are notThe ribbons and clips are not.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

Many people are realising that balloons are not so fun after all.

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment/

Keep Australia Beautiful considers balloons litter. Some councils in Queensland are trying to ban mass helium balloon releases. Sunshine Coast Council banned the release of balloons into the atmosphere about five years ago.

And there is some debate about helium. Perhaps it is a scarce precious element. Perhaps it is running out. Perhaps it is not. Some say there should be reserves (which there are around the world but the US Government sold theirs off too soon and too cheaply!) Some say it may be a renewable resource and it doesn’t matter anyway because there’s just tons of it around anyway. Some point out that as the planet/universe is finite, so any minerals by definitions must be finite too.

https://bcachemistry.wordpress.com/tag/helium/

https://bcachemistry.wordpress.com/tag/helium/

Helium is used by humans for many interesting things, not just party balloons. Welding, medicine (cooling MRI machines) and testing for leaks in containers are quite important activities that may or may not be able to use another gas in helium’s place should the unthinkable happen. Is it too valuable to use in trivial party balloons? Or do balloons only use a tiny percentage of low quality helium? As opposed to the 30% used in scuba tanks!

http://www.elitedivingagency.com/articles/scuba-tank-gas-mixture-divers-use/

http://www.elitedivingagency.com/articles/scuba-tank-gas-mixture-divers-use/

Maybe we can err on the side of the environment. What no balloons? Oh, Good Grief! Why are all greenies such party-poopers? The British Marine Conservation Society has some ideas which they’ve gathered together under the title ‘Don’t let go.’ Why not consider lighting candles or planting trees or bubbles or kites or …

http://www.wishuponabutterfly.com/weddings/butterfly-packages/

http://www.wishuponabutterfly.com/weddings/butterfly-packages/

Butterflies! Nope. Don’t use butterflies, you’re endangering local populations with diseases, parasites and possibly altering local ecology. And apparently wedding planners don’t like them because they tend to turn up dead on arrival!

Why not chuck some rose petals around – left over roses from the florist might even be a bargain!

http://www.greenbrideguide.com/blog/diy-rose-petal-confetti-your-wedding

http://www.greenbrideguide.com/blog/diy-rose-petal-confetti-your-wedding

For a fundraiser idea or charity work racing a virtual balloon is only as environmentally damaging as the cloud is!

http://www.purepages.com/work-examples/marketing/lmc/

http://www.purepages.com/work-examples/marketing/lmc/

Or plant sunflowers!

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Where is Tomorrowland?

George ClooneyHugh Laurie! Together!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/second-trailer-disneys-tomorrowland-shows-768273

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/second-trailer-disneys-tomorrowland-shows-768273

Those guys! More than just doctors, they’re movie stars! And supposedly, thoughtful, intelligent, smart, rich movie stars. Any film they’re involved with must have something to offer, right? So, Tomorrowland. They’re both in it! George and Hugh! Originally called 1952, it’s a big science fiction, adventure film. Optimistic. There’s a lot on offer. All the FUTURE!!

http://www.wearemoviegeeks.com/2015/04/new-imax-tomorrowland-poster-watch-george-clooney-latest-trailer/

http://www.wearemoviegeeks.com/2015/04/new-imax-tomorrowland-poster-watch-george-clooney-latest-trailer/

Brad Bird directed and co-wrote – one of his inspirational items was an original blueprint of Tomorrowland (part of Disneyland). Visible under that blueprint is the map of another land, an idealistic future place, never built by Disney. That’s what Brad Bird wanted to make for his film. A place crafted by artists and creatives without politics or greed. Here are the lead artists: George, Brad, Britt, Raffey and Hugh.

stars

http://madmazreviews.com/blog/2015/08/14/tomorrowland-2015-ambitious-and-fun/

Two old men and two young girls. Let’s not think about that too long.

Saw George, Britt and Hugh on Graham Norton‘s show talking about the film. Sounded great. So we watched it. I hope everyone does watch it. As well as high production levels, amazing art and craft, there are some interesting ideas. But if you do want to watch it don’t bother reading this blog any further because I’ve come up with some spoilers for you!

http://www.flicks.co.nz/movie/the-age-of-stupid/

http://www.flicks.co.nz/movie/the-age-of-stupid/

On the face of it, this film feels like an answer to The Age of Stupid. (Sadly that title doesn’t do much to sell an otherwise provocative and interesting film. If you get a chance, it includes one of the best ‘aha’ moments ever on screen.) This was one of Pete Postlethwaite‘s last films and documents the end of the world as we know it. He plays an archivist trying to understand what went wrong. Why did humans not save themselves when they had the chance?

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/va_MVxpboqg?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>iframe>

Tomorrowland puts forward a theory. Humans are brainwashing themselves into believing they have no chance in this grim global warming and beastly aggression. The end of life as we know it is inevitable because that’s what we’ve been told. The future has been forecast by some high-tech wizardry, that’s it, done and dusted. We succumb.

http://www.slashfilm.com/tomorrowland-movie-photos/

http://www.slashfilm.com/tomorrowland-movie-photos/

It takes a positive young person, Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) a thinker and questioner to ask ‘Why?’ When she raises doubts that the world’s apparently impending destruction is at all necessary, the chance of the world (people and place) ending drops immediately from 100% to 99.94%. Maybe the end is not so inevitable after all. Frank Walker (George Clooney), a retired genius, reluctantly agrees to assist her return to Tomorrowland and save the world. Much hilarity ensues.

Turns out, you have to be invited to Tomorrowland, a place in another dimension, that presumably is on Earth somewhere sometime. It’s a bit like a cult or the chosen few going to heaven. Let’s not think about that too long either.

There is much to enjoy in Tomorrowland, as I hope you find out, but something happened on the way to the shooting script. I’m not sure if the script that enticed Hugh Laurie was the one that got made. Did he have some say in how he wanted his character to be seen in a Disney film?

Because it’s his character, David Nix, who doesn’t have a clear objective. He’s maintaining this system of showing the worst possible outcomes to the people in the vain hope that humans will act to save themselves. And when they don’t, he becomes disillusioned and refuses to assist humans. So on the one hand, he does want to help humanity and the other, when the chips are down, he won’t.

At the start, why wouldn’t Nix, as director of a visionary theme park, eventually Governor, encourage a smart young fellow, Frank Walker, to continue with his clearly ambitious jet pack invention? What is Nix’s drive?

http://madmazreviews.com/blog/2015/08/14/tomorrowland-2015-ambitious-and-fun/

http://madmazreviews.com/blog/2015/08/14/tomorrowland-2015-ambitious-and-fun/

Is Nix’s negativity a result of penny-pinching, greed or something more sinister? Does he Nix any future (see what I did there?) for Tomorrowland just because he’s a misanthrope? He certainly has an interesting jodpher-esque costume, with scales on the sleeve, in the second part of the film which does lead one to think of evil villains.

http://hollywoodmoviecostumesandprops.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/original-tomorrowland-movie-costumes-on.html

http://hollywoodmoviecostumesandprops.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/original-tomorrowland-movie-costumes-on.html

Certainly, part of the vision of Tomorrowland involves guards and full-on weapons – not the innocent Disney peaceful idea one might hope for. But Nix himself is rather nice – he’s not an obvious villain. He doesn’t laugh absurdly and he doesn’t have a strange pet.

http://sobadsogood.com/2015/05/24/these-adorable-pets-are-teaching-star-wars-villains-how-love-again/

http://sobadsogood.com/2015/05/24/these-adorable-pets-are-teaching-star-wars-villains-how-love-again/

As for Frank, he’s invited in to Tomorrowland by a lovely girl robot, gets to develop the cool machine that brainwashes people and is then kicked out violently by violent nasty robots (presumably developed by the creative artist types). This backstory itches to be developed – maybe it was in a draft somewhere – and the story as shot slumps to the end …

Because, why do we want to go to live in Tomorrowland, another land in a different time and place, if we’ve saved the world as we know it? We can presumably, live on and improve the land we’ve got already. Drearyland. Earthland. Realland. Warland. Disasterland. Okay. Let’s not think about that.

http://www.slashfilm.com/tomorrowland-concept-art-guardians/

http://www.slashfilm.com/tomorrowland-concept-art-guardians/

There are amazing fight sequences between robots, lovely CG and fun sequences but with three writers credited – Bird, Lindelof and Jensen – the problems could have been fixed at the computer before the cameras were switched on.

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And why don’t humans fight except in self defence? It’s only robots that do maiming, blowing up and destroying stuff. Asimov’s rules? Let’s not think about that. Hasta mañana!

 

 

Man in charge? Turn-bull? Turn-coat?

Right now there’s an international conference going on in Paris attempting to get some agreement on what should be done to prevent dangerous climate change. Prior to the commencement of the conference Pope Francis made a speech to the UN urging world leaders to act decisively. During the speech he blamed environmental degradation on “a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity”

Australia’s new-ish Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, gave a speech in Paris that promised some Innovation:

We firmly believe that it is innovation and technology which will enable us both to drive stronger economic growth and a cleaner environment.

Then, Turnbull refused to sign an agreement which would reduce subsidies to the fossil fuel industries.

So I guess he’s not all that interested in the clean environment. Looks like he’s more interested in the power and material prosperity the Pope mentioned. Was he listening to his Pope at all?

Just who is this Mal Turnbull? Is he a smooth man of expediency or is he driving a hidden agenda? What is his relationship to nature?

Turnbull says times have changed and there never has been a more exciting time to be an Australian. We’re going to be agile and nimble and we’re going to accept more risk. However most commentators and scientists, even Chris Berg, are hopeful but underwhelmed. This isn’t a lot of money spread over four years and there really isn’t anything very new in the package. It might help some people make some (more) money. And it might not. That’s risky, isn’t it?

Turnbull historically made his money out of Ozemail – risk or good luck? Is his reliance on cheap copper NBN visionary and/or risky? Is this government gambling? And there seems to be no mention of renewable energy in this fountain of Innovation funding. Surely the risk to Australia, to the world, is in continuing to support fossil fuels? How does Turnbull intend to manage that?

I was cutting my hair in the bathroom when I idly looked down at the newspaper spread in front of me. It was The Weekend Australian November 28-9 2015 open at page 20. A hank of hair landed on an edited extract from The Unauthorised Biography of Malcolm Turnbull entitled, ‘Behind Liberal leader’s apparent social conservatism, an embrace of Catholicism‘. The article reports that in 2003, Turnbull gave a speech to the National Population Summit under the catchy title, It’s the Birth Rate, Stupid.

In that speech Turnbull said,

‘The gravest threat to Western society over this century is therefore neither global warming nor international terrorism. Rather, it is the unprecedented, sustained decline in the birthrate in almost all developed countries … ‘

I checked. It really is in the ‘Stupid’ speech.

In 2003 Turnbull was very worried about the survival of Western civilization:

‘Great Western cultures including ‘Italy, Spain, Greece, Japan and Russia (to name but five) could become functionally extinct within this century.’

Turnbull continues:

‘It would be a remarkable irony indeed if at the peak of our prosperity and technological achievement the human race (or at least the most developed parts of it) lost the will to reproduce itself.’

Couple of questions, Malcolm: if the human race was at the peak of our technological achievement in 2003, what’s the point of the Australian government funding Innovation twelve years later?

Secondly, the human race has lost the will to reproduce? Watch the Earth’s population in actionWikipedia puts current population at 7.3 billion. The UN reckons it will be 11.2 billion by 2100. If you don’t like those numbers you could go with The Guardian’s guess that the world’s population would be around 11 billion by then. Here’s a breakdown of current population by country.

Clearly, it’s not ALL the human race Turnbull was worried about. He carefully avoided definitions of undeveloped breeding people leaving that to others. Instead, he concentrates on the reasons that women in developed countries (Western civilization) are choosing not to have babies. They’re educated, they have careers and they are not supported to have more children by the government. So he recommends ‘we’ alter all that with some pro-family policies.

In direct contrast, others try to educate all women everywhere, like Malala who no longer needs a last name, and, why, even the World Bank supports improved learning for girls.

Obviously, this Australian article (collecting my cut-off hair) was a piece to get people interested in reading the biography. Of course, Turnbull must have changed since then, although he hadn’t altered anything for his maiden speech (presumably 2005):

Can it be true that at the peak of our technology and prosperity the western world is losing the confidence to reproduce itself? Are we witnessing the beginning of the dying of the West? Certainly we are at a tipping point in our civilisation’s story. Unless fertility rates dramatically improve then, in a cycle of loss and dislocation matched only by the Black Death in the 14th century, societies with birth rates substantially below replacement level will either dwindle into an insignificant fraction of their current numbers or be swamped by larger and larger waves of immigration.

Paddy Manning, the author of the Turnbull biography mentioned above, is now producing a series of opinion pieces in The Drum about Turnbull’s politics, to help us get to know our new Prime Minister. The first attempts to understand where Turnbull is coming from – best summed-up as warm, green and dry. (A summer lawn?)

I am not heartened by his ‘Stupid’ speech. There are strange echoes today from Tony Abbott and Donald Trump and too much division in the world to feel confident that Turnbull is a true liberal. Mal is a man who protects spies and who spies on his citizens while using encryption himself. And guess who said this in 2010:

We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It’s the only planet we’ve got….

Malcolm Turnbull’s objective is a mystery. Hopefully one of those startups his innovation stimulus manages to innovate will innovate a way to stop using fossil fuels. Otherwise, I can’t see how Turnbull has changed anything from the sad embarrassing days of Tony Abbott. Turnbull may be more urbane, civilised and better spoken but he’s still a clever, educated, rich mystery perceived as left by those in the right – and right by those in the left. So he’s smack bang in the middle? Malcolm in the middle. Does that make him a target?

 

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Cory Doctorow. Was here. Who knew?

The Wheeler Centre had an Interrobang. They invited some speakers to answer tricky questions. Cory Doctorow? Oh yeah. Book those tickets! Next day, the session is sold out!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Doctorow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Doctorow

But hey, when we got there – place half full – or half empty – depending on your point of view. Whaaaaa … ? We had friends who would have bought tickets. Wheelers Centre fail. Cory Doctorow is an important thinker of our age. More Melbournians needed to hear him. For those who missed out on this, and the other two sessions, let me attempt to sum up.

Doctorow’s a founding editor of Boing Boing and contributor to The Guardian, Wired and Publishers Weekly. He’s one of the founders of Electronic Frontier Foundation. And there’s his take on the Gordian knot that is copyright and DRM. His attitudes to Creative Commons is why my Ektek saga is currently available free of charge. Although, when chatting to him after the session (face-to-face banter!!) his comment, ‘Oh, yeah, you have to have something people want to steal,’ cut deep.

I’ve only read two of his novels – both provocative in their own ways.

craphound.com

craphound.com

Someone comes to town, Someone leaves town gives the reader the bizarre experience of characters coming in and out of focus due to constant name shift. You really do have to read it for yourself. Little Brother is one of those books written in six weeks that just drives the reader (ostensibly a young adult) through a world they need to know about. There’s now a sequel and plenty of other writing to explore.

craphound.com

craphound.com

Doctorow is from Ontario and his dad was a computer scientist. Cory grew up with one of the first connected terminals in his living room. He’s always had the internet in his life. He sees no difference between being in the world and being in the internet. The title of his conversation with Alan Brough was about destroying the internet before it destroys us. Of course, no one is advocating the destruction of the internet but Cory is suggesting we do have a good long hard look at it. Doctorow has long spoken about the dangers inherent in devices with cameras and microphones on your desk that may or may not be within your control. Do you want to be in charge of your computer or be controlled by state or corporate powers that can see your contacts, your searches and you? ‘Yes, Master’ or ‘I can’t let you do that, Dave.’

Doctorow is one of those fluent thinkers and activists who speak very quickly and think very widely so summing up the fifty odd minutes we spent in his presence is impossible. I’ll try.

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjv9snP57nJAhXBIqYKHUU7AicQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Faetherforce.com%2Ftheory-practice-alchemy%2F&psig=AFQjCNF8_BC3Mep9fRB8FpPNqn0wemQ6dA&ust=1449029960654035

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjv9snP57nJAhXBIqYKHUU7AicQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Faetherforce.com%2Ftheory-practice-alchemy%2F&psig=AFQjCNF8_BC3Mep9fRB8FpPNqn0wemQ6dA&ust=1449029960654035

One of his basic tenets involves disclosure. He likens the way people deal with information on the internet with that of alchemists in the Age of Darkness. That by non-disclosure, we lead into an elite of those who know and those who don’t know. (By chance I happened to hear a fascinating interview with John Le Carre, a spook of high intelligence, in which he comments that the UK went into Iraq as a result of those thinking they knew, knowing wrong. He also remarked that after the Cold War, it became obvious that the USA was always the greater power and that the entire stand-off was a construct by people looking for something to do with the arms they’d built.)

My son's signed kindle.

My son’s signed kindle.

Back with Cory, another of his tenets is around locked dependency. If you can’t open it, is it yours? If you can’t open it you can’t change it, can you. One of the clearest examples is John Deere tractors. The tractors can now carry technology that, as they move around paddocks, collect detailed data such as soil fecundity. This information is valuable to a techsavvy farmer. (You do know that behind every successful farmer is a partner working in town?) But, who else might like this info? What about uploading your priceless data to the cloud to share with corporations who might want to sell you things?  The John Deere agreement is with an organisation called Climate Corporation. From the New Yorker article about this corporation:

The mission statement, “To help all the world’s people and businesses manage and adapt to climate change,” is an explicit echo of Google’s sweeping promise to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Climate Corporation is an insurance agency. They insure farm land against extremes of climate brought on by climate change. And they’ve just been bought by MonsantoWhat about a seed company like Monsanto knowing all the specifics of your farmland? What could possibly go wrong?

Corey also spoke about diabetes data. Diabetes patients increasingly rely on technology to help communicate with doctors and to link with providers of their drugs. They can upload their personal information to the magic cloud; every detail from meals, to measurements of weight, blood sugars, amounts of insulin, wheres and whens … everything. Who owns this information? What do the patients do to protect it from people who might benefit from knowing more? Information. Keep it close or share it?

So there’s content, there’s software and there’s hardware and all those things might have locks at various levels. If a hacker is determined, they will break those locks or, even better, find a flaw that provides access. Once discovered, the flaw has to stay vulnerable, for it to be exploitable. So for spies, ‘no one but us’ – NOBUS – should know about the flaw so that only we can use it to gain access to the secret (commercial or otherwise). Clearly this makes the assumption that we are the only clever spies. (I say we because Australia’s deep connections with the USA are, of course, totally trustworthy. Mr Doctorow didn’t go into that.)

In summary, will we have access to a new Age of Enlightenment? Will everyone share everything or are there reasons to (and can you) keep your activities private?

And does the internet offer international democracy? Allow merit to shine through the obscurity? Maybe. For example, how does a cool band in Rwanda go viral?

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/8iKTMKLejCA?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

The Lobster is not about seafood

"The Lobster" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Lobster.jpg#/media/File:The_Lobster.jpg

“The Lobster” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Lobster.jpg#/media/File:The_Lobster.jpg

The Lobster is not a film about animals. It has been described as ‘an unconventional love story’ and ‘an achingly dystopian rom-com’ but I think it is far more than that. It asks how we must conform, how we must knuckle under, to survive. Then, The Lobster examines our attitudes to those who do not ascribe to correct behaviour, the other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aW_SW621o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7aW_SW621o

The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and co-written by Efthimis Filippou, is about relationships, though not necessarily about marriage. It is about politics; rules, conventions and the law. It is about expectations, survival and truth.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/z069ldsumxA?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

A man, David, finds himself single after his wife leaves him for another. He travels to a comfortable hotel of repartnering (a luxurious hotel in Ireland) taking his brother (who is now a dog). There are many regulations and his brother is a constant reminder of failure.

http://www.mtv.com/news/2262963/the-lobster-movie-trailer-colin-farrell/

http://www.mtv.com/news/2262963/the-lobster-movie-trailer-colin-farrell/

The Lobster is rather sweet and whimsical at first but quickly slides into a nightmare for the protagonist. He knows he has limited time to find a suitable partner. When he fails, as he probably will, he will be turned into the animal of his choice, a lobster. Most people want to be turned into a dog, which is why there are so many dogs and why most other animals are endangered. Whilst within this system he becomes part of the police and must track down and recover outsiders to buy extra time to seek that one special match.

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjEguPxxqXJAhXh5aYKHTFpB7EQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconcreteplayground.com%2Fmelbourne%2Fpinboard%2Fconcrete-playgrounds-handy-guide-to-whats-in-melbourne-cinemas-this-month%2F&psig=AFQjCNGNIeffUs9GMbptqudvmQcO1PBCPg&ust=1448333925994751

https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjEguPxxqXJAhXh5aYKHTFpB7EQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fconcreteplayground.com%2Fmelbourne%2Fpinboard%2Fconcrete-playgrounds-handy-guide-to-whats-in-melbourne-cinemas-this-month%2F&psig=AFQjCNGNIeffUs9GMbptqudvmQcO1PBCPg&ust=1448333925994751

After some horrible events David switches allegiance and finds himself amongst the hunted in the Woods. Here life is equally overburdened with rules and his attempt to find loopholes by creating another language is heavily punished. Finally, he must curtail his own freedom to survive. He damages himself in order to conform.

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

This is a black and white world. The characters are as careful as poker players as they attempt to avoid confrontation. Their neutral speech is that of robots as they struggle to protect their dissembling from discovery.

http://www.jimlepariser.fr/the-lobster-1984-version-couple/

http://www.jimlepariser.fr/the-lobster-1984-version-couple/

The final scenes are set in a cafe next to a highway full of busy criss-crossing roadbuilding trucks. Further questions arise from these pictures. What price progress?

The Lobster’s layers of fantasy and magical realism embrace cold naturalism and swing it into another world. It’s not a comfortable world. Nor is it dystopian because it is impossible in the way of Brazil or The Bothersome Man or A Zed and Two Noughts. It is like Pan’s Labyrinth in that there are certainly strict and forceful methods of dealing with outsiders. As I understand dystopia that grim future may be possible, such as in The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984 or The Road. The films I listed above, such as The Bothersome Man, are more like The Lobster as allegory or parable and were made specifically for film, the visual media, and not adapted from novels.

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

http://blogcritics.org/53rd-nyff-review-the-lobster-starring-colin-farrell-and-rachel-weisz/

The Lobster asks many ethical questions of the audience. How are we to live our lives hamstrung by nonsensical conventions? Who makes up the rules? Why should we go along with the majority and worse still, assist in policing rules we don’t understand and don’t need to follow?

In order to partner with someone, to return to the city and a somewhat ‘normal life’ in a steady relationship, there must be a match in identifying characteristics. Is this how we now live our lives on the internet? We are aware of information shared by those we agree with. Is it possible that in the days of newspapers and television that edited truth provided a wider view than that which most of us choose to see from our ‘tribe’? If all we ever know is what we already know, then how can we even begin to imagine what life is like for others?

Taking an even wider vision from the film, our society is divided.Why should some people be better than others? The show of force from stronger and stronger police, armies and surveillance must be examined. Which laws exist to protect us? Who is us? Whose side are you on?

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/gCLFbddF27Q?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

How do you feel about that?

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/nov/03/red-cadeauxs-melbourne-cup-injury-not-life-threatening-but-horse-retires

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/nov/03/red-cadeauxs-melbourne-cup-injury-not-life-threatening-but-horse-retires

Recently there have been many news items of interest to those of us who consider ourselves animals. The Melbourne Cup racing day, of course, injured at least one and killed a couple of horses – one assumes Red Cadeaux’s days are numbered.

http://theconversation.com/trans-pacific-partnerships-toothless-environment-chapter-gets-the-wikileaks-treatment-22135

http://theconversation.com/trans-pacific-partnerships-toothless-environment-chapter-gets-the-wikileaks-treatment-22135

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been unveiled and is regarded as dangerous territory for those wishing to protect the environment.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-refuses-to-back-pacific-island-calls-for-moratorium-on-new-coal-mines-20151104-gkqy5e.html

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-refuses-to-back-pacific-island-calls-for-moratorium-on-new-coal-mines-20151104-gkqy5e.html

In Australia, the Leader of the Opposition refuses to support Islanders’ plea to assist with climate concerns by lessening support for coal.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/11961010/EU-cuts-subsidies-that-support-Spanish-bullfighting.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/11961010/EU-cuts-subsidies-that-support-Spanish-bullfighting.html

And the European Parliament voted to cut subsidies from Spanish bullfights. Well, that is good news. But humans still eat, factory farm and slaughter millions, nay, billions of cows without thinking about it. As you know, I believe at least the bullfight means humans have to face their actions. Let us be conscious of what we do.

In casual conversation with a woman waiting for a meeting the other day, an acquaintance, no more, we covered some of these topics. She sighed and looked out of the window, ‘Oh, I just can’t go there’.

What did she mean? This is a highly educated psychologist explaining that thinking about environmental news of the day is too much for her. She finds considering our relationship to nature too depressing to even contemplate. She feels overwhelmed. She feels hopeless.

This is one of my preoccupations. I even tried writing a short story about it once. I fear that the great beneficiary to human destruction of the environment is what they call ‘Big Pharma’.

http://www.davidicke.com/headlines/tag/big-pharma-criminals/page/3/

http://www.davidicke.com/headlines/tag/big-pharma-criminals/page/3/

There are a great number of cynical pharmaceutical companies who are laughing all the way to their annual company meetings, patting their shareholders on their drugged shoulders. We are talking billions of dollars. Clearly many folk are assisted by taking antidepressants. But for those who are concerned about our life on Earth? The more depressed people become about the environment, disappearing species, cruelty to exported livestock and mining companies dredging The Great Barrier Reef (UNBELIEVABLE!) the greater the drug companies profit.

http://theconversation.com/calls-for-climate-action-as-great-barrier-reef-suffers-major-coral-loss-9922

http://theconversation.com/calls-for-climate-action-as-great-barrier-reef-suffers-major-coral-loss-9922

Instead of getting angry, taking to the streets, writing/phoning their representatives; DOING SOMETHING, ANYTHING, people take the meds, click on Change.org or thepetitionsite.com, or Aavaz.org and feel their protests have to be enough to assuage their enormous hopelessness before they look away.

I wish we could all wake up, start feeling and take action but I fully comprehend those overwhelming feelings of belittlement and weakness we all face. That said, perhaps it is time to examine the big picture and follow the money. Who is making money from your emotional well-being? What would make you feel better?

Perhaps we can trust in the angels.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/HDX7K6oB35w?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

http://climacts.org.au/tag/climate-angels/

http://climacts.org.au/tag/climate-angels/

 

All watched over by machines of loving grace

Did you know SBS ondemand has a terrific collection of interesting items to view? (In contrast, ABC, what are they doing to you?)

Amongst the documentaries is All watched over by machines of loving grace, a BBC production from 2011. The title comes from a poem by Richard Brautigan.

 I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.[1]

Excerpt from All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (1967)

There are three episodes, all written and directed by Alan Curtis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Curtis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Curtis

This is great television. The shows are never boring. Disparate film clips underly or contrast or uplift the narrative. Moments are held, like the footage of Monica Lewinsky gazing at Clinton slowed and replayed, while other flashes, impressions, glimpses of investors or sharemarket floor workers slide into in-depth interviews with economists or analysts of the time. The editing is almost pop-video edgy while the accompanying music evokes all sorts of emotions with the likes of of Nine Inch Nails, Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison and even Wagner.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-global-computer-network-concept-image25296527

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-global-computer-network-concept-image25296527

The basic idea of the series is that machines (computers) twist the way our society apparently runs, giving rise to the notion that there can be, in a system or ecology, a stable way of organising, not just a computer network, but our entire planet. Neat and tidy and balanced.

Picture of the planet in darkness

Royalty free image of Earth

The first episode looks at the rise of the global economy. It begins with an interview from 1959 with Ayn Rand and charts her influence, particularly on Alan Greenspan, one of her most loyal acolytes. The rise of the power of the individual was never more obvious than in the eruption of software entrepreneurs in Silicone Valley. From there the nineties saw the dreadful outcome of the free market captital shift, leading to the Asian Miracle, the burst bubble and the International Monetary Fund’s rush to rescue Western Investment. Finally, the role of Chinese monetary control causing the global (American) financial crisis and the banks bailout from their ever compliant allies, politicians.

http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/10/dysfunctional-global-economy-can-things-get-worse-rediscovering-price-money/

http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/10/dysfunctional-global-economy-can-things-get-worse-rediscovering-price-money/

This analysis, told in jigsaw, edgy but entirely clear interviews, sound grabs, pictures and music, is utterly fascinating, popular, but revelatory. The main strand of my book, Man of Clay is set in 1998 to 1999 and in my research of that time I did not understand the whole picture. I saw that the Lewinsky scandal had been used to distract Clinton but I didn’t see the financial selfishness nor the Asian market collapse as part of the IMF’s corrupt need to rescue themselves.

http://www.ceelmacaan.com/imf-reviews-somali-economy-for-first-time-in-25-years/

http://www.ceelmacaan.com/imf-reviews-somali-economy-for-first-time-in-25-years/

It is magic, sleight of hand, the distractions and nonsense that powerful are able to show the people, (kittens and porn) to keep them amused and calm, while there are great shifts of control going on behind the scenes. Whistleblowers and leakers are painted in terms of treason as us little folk just get poorer and more trammelled by the very few wealthy.

Looking at the way Australia is being run now, I wish Alan Curtis could bring his editing team along to examine what is really being done in our name and with our money. For instance, the secret Transpacific Partnership negotiation is destined to allow international corporations to own, control and make money from their assets for ever, much the same as the miners and the energy companies have control over the electricity demands of this country. Watch Waleed Aly explain the TPP here. How will this play out in the long term? Who knows? We can’t even know what’s in it to start with!

Yet, when I recently asked a shop attendant where he would most like to live in the world he unhesitatingly said, ‘Norway’. Another fellow present snorted and said, ‘Low taxes?’ and the attendant replied, ‘Highest tax in the world. Good for the people, mate, everyone gets looked after.’ The other fellow looked confused. Paying tax is good? That’s not what his newspaper tells him. Not what his TV tells him. Of course not. Media is owned by the rich. People don’t question who feeds them information. If they are used to that channel having some gravitas or apparent status, they will suck it up along with all the recipes for red wine jus, cricket stats and pictures of pretty celebs.

Years ago, after a performance of my play, Not the end of the world, I chatted in the foyer to a woman who asked me why I had to feature the economy in a cute little puppet play? We had an inflatable two headed puppet – the face of Credit and the other Debit – who argued with each other and Economy eventually exploded to reveal a cute little Green Economy inside. Like a slimming ad. This woman thought it unnecessary, she thought it brought the fun of the puppet play down, made it too serious. This was a play about endangered species.

It is serious! What is more serious than extinction? And almost certainly the way our economy is run, our capitalist system, is destroying the planet.

 

The second episode is called The use and abuse of vegetational systems. It is more closely aligned with the themes of this blog – the idea of ecosystems and the (much exagerated) ‘balance of nature’ influencing human thought. It reminded me of that poem by Wallace Stevens called The Rock which I can’t find on the internet. Wallace Stevens often wrote about human’s need for order but always in terms of change and seasons. Growth and death and change were inherent in everything.

And look, here’s an idea that might be helpful:

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/41245873″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/41245873″>La Minga: Episode 101 of The Perennial Plate</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/theperennialplate”>The Perennial Plate</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>The ideas of cooperation and working together are central to many movements in Latin America. Nestor Escobar has brought those ideas to Louisville, KY where he coordinates a large urban farm that hopes to share his philosophy.<br /> www.theperennialplate.com</p>

http://www.upworthy.com/he-wanted-to-bring-his-traditions-from-el-salvador-to-the-us-so-he-started-this-cooperative-farm?c=ufb1

 

So, the POPE!! Goodbye Australian Renewable Engergy!

http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/02/11/reflection-anticipating-the-attacks-on-pope-francis-and-his-environmental-encyclical/

http://paxchristiusa.org/2015/02/11/reflection-anticipating-the-attacks-on-pope-francis-and-his-environmental-encyclical/

That our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is Catholic is no surprise.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/tony-abbott-linked-to-priest-in-web-of-intrigue/story-e6frg6n6-1226573435456

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/tony-abbott-linked-to-priest-in-web-of-intrigue/story-e6frg6n6-1226573435456

What is slightly surprising is his reaction to El Papa’s encyclical on the environment. Instead of moving to protect the environment our government has not only further crushed Australia’s chances of building a renewable energy industry but also intends burning our native forests!

BREAKING: Liberal and Labor parties voted to gut our Renewable Energy Target.

They voted for legislation that not only slashes our RET from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh; but that burns down our native forests and calls it clean energy.

This news emailed from the Greens today and ABC news.

Independent Queensland senator, Glen Lazarus, a few days ago held the deal to be beneath contempt, thank you Senator, but generally there is quiet on the deal online as yet.

We see the Senate in confusion over the idea that there should be any reaction to the Pope’s letter.

So, in conclusion, what seems to be Laudato Si‘s effect on Australian parliament? That would be summed up by the Green’s gratitude and the murder of Australia’s embryonic renewables industry. Doesn’t sound very Catholic, does it?

http://econews.com.au/news-to-sustain-our-world/ret-cuts-see-wind-tower-maker-shed-100-jobs/

http://econews.com.au/news-to-sustain-our-world/ret-cuts-see-wind-tower-maker-shed-100-jobs/

As usual, though, here is a handy reminder there are people working to change attitudes. (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/planetary/121840700)

Beasts; Good, Evil and Agriculture

A reader, Jenny McCracken, commented on my post on bullfighting, referring to Beasts by Jeffery Moussaieff Masson. I thought I’d better read it, quick smart. I recommend it to you, too.

cover of 'Beasts'

http://wamc.org/post/beasts-Jeffrey-moussaieff-masson

Subtitled What Animals can Teach us about the Origins of Good and Evil, Beasts explores what humans have in common with animals, myths about the relationship between humans and animals and starts to suggest what might be a way forward.

The passage about bullfighting that Jenny alludes to describes the way the beasts are prepared for the ‘fight’.

‘To create the show of a fight, the bull is wounded and disabled before entering the ring, and is given large amounts of salt to make sure he drinks to the point of being bloated and will move slowly. On the day of the “fight”, Vaseline is rubbed into his eyes so he cannot see clearly, and newspaper is stuffed into his ears so he cannot hear properly. Horns are shaved to make them less dangerous and to throw the bull off balance. The muscles in his neck are cut so that he cannot raise his head in a normal fashion, wich would allow him to see his adversary. His kidneys and testicles are beaten. He is given laxatives, tranquilizers and drugs to induce paralysis, and other drugs to disorientate him. He is kept in a tiny cell for at least twenty-four hours, dazed and confused, without food or water (except sulphates, which give him severe diarrhea).’ pg 71

As readers of the previous blog may note, the book that inspired that post, Death in the Sun by Edward Lewine, corrects our notion of the bullfight. Clearly the bull has no chance. It’s not a fight in Spanish eyes. In that book, Lewine denigrates horn shaving, as casting aspersions on the skills of the toredor, and I wonder if this sort of bull tampering is done in less salubrious places where the condition of the bull is not so closely examined as it was in the corridas of the famous bullfighter, Francisco Rivera Ordonez, featured in the book. There’s nothing in the Appendices or notes of Beasts to say from where this information was gathered so I’m assuming it’s not commonplace – I may be wrong.

Doesn’t matter, really, does it? The bull suffers. Lots of animals (billions … ?) suffer at the hands of humans. But that’s a taste of Beasts, provoking and sometimes untrackable. Luckily, there is plenty of thoughtful, attributed information to consider.

The preface kicks off with a quote from Stephen Hawking, ‘We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.’

Stephen Hawking floats

http://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/12/03/stephen-hawking-ai-could-spell-end-human-race/

Masson returns again and again to the self-destructive violent behaviour of humans. Why are humans so keen to find ‘the other’ in our own species and kill it? He points out that although there might be evidence of other species (chimpanzees, elephants, wolves… ) attacking one another, those examples are generally proven to be in the context of human-induced stresses (capture, torture, loss of habitat, interference in food resources, pollution etc etc) Even Jane Goodall admits that fighting and battles she witnessed amongst chimps may have started when her staff set up a banana feeding station. (pg 60)

chimp munching on bananas

http://www.lessonsforhope.org/scrapbook1.asp?sec=5&pgid=92

So why did humans start their own violence against each other? Perhaps because they interfered with their own lives when they stopped being nomadic and started agriculture? In the notes (pg 188) Jeffery Moussaieff Masson says,

‘My friend Sherry Colb reminds me that Plato predicted this in The Republic, where Socrates responds to Glaucon’s insistence that the ruling class must eat animals. Then, said Socrates, there would have to be armies, to guard the large amount of land needed for livestock, and the lawyers for disputes surrounding land boundaries, and the doctors to handle the sickness that comes from eating that way!’

sculpture of Plato

http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Plato.html

Good old Plato! And so it seems that what we gained when we stopped being hunter-gatherers was violence, disease and suffering. Not only for humans, but also all the other species. GREAT!!

Jeffery’s Appendices are informative. Human traits unique to us include: animal sacrifices, blood feuds, unbridled greed, mass murder, suicide and threatening the survival of all life on earth. (pg 163) Traits humans have in common with animals (pg 169) include: sexual infidelity, compassion, dignity, gentleness, protectiveness of young, yearning for freedom.

Many times throughout the book Masson states that predators do not choose to hate, hunt or hurt humans (unless as previously stated, stressed/maddened by us). But what do humans do to animals? (pg 174)

We raise them for food.

We experiment on them.

We use their fur and skin.

We take their eggs.

We take their children.

We use their milk.

We hunt them.

We lock them into cages.

Let’s add, we use them for entertainment. The chapter on ‘Hatred’ begins with this quote: ‘I couldn’t possibly write Jaws today. The notion of demonizing a fish strikes me as insane.’ Peter Benchley.

Sharks don’t hate people, they don’t even particularly like people, especially if wrapped in neoprene. Scientists surmise sharks mistake people for seals.

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/do-sharks-really-mistake-humans-for-seals-researchers-test-mistaken-identity-theory-20150405-1meqwf.html

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/do-sharks-really-mistake-humans-for-seals-researchers-test-mistaken-identity-theory-20150405-1meqwf.html

But in their turn, how many sharks are killed by people?

How many other animals? Cows? Pigs? Sheep? Is any of this killing necessary? Jeffery says,

‘My position is that we no longer need to kill animals at all, whether for food or for any other reason. Today we can recognise that whether we kill with reverence or with indifference, the result to the animal is the same. In the past we would justify this killing as necessary for our survival. No longer.’ pg 101

So in conclusion, I think Jeffery Moussaieff Masson in Beasts is telling us that animals are not moral creatures. They do what has to be done, mostly avoiding human contact when they can, not seeing good or bad in killing for food or protecting territory. Humans, it seems, have come up with evil all by ourselves.