Saturday, 27 March 2010

Altar of the Planet

A somewhat extraterrestrial and somewhat very terrestrial view on the climate change, Earth hour and human species in general.

First of all global warming is a myth. However not in the sense that it's not true. I think we have all reasons to believe that it is true if only we do not engage in some sort of conspiracy theory involving the omnipotent global network of greedy scientists who invented it. It's a myth in the sense that it plays the pivotal role in the modern Eco-cult. It clearly bears a resemblance to religion, in all its waiting for apocalypses, collective and individual guilt and redemption through ritual recycling, monitoring your carbon footprint and donations to save polar bears. I would suggest that to some extent it fills the void of religion in modern secular world. Only instead of God there is a Planet. And there is no reason for laugh, because the facts on which the myth is based upon are true. Our planet is in danger!

Well, not the planet probably. The planet will survive whatever we do. We can't kill the “Mother Earth” because “Mother Earth” is a piece of rock and mud flying in the vast empty universe and “Mother Earth” doesn't give a shit about the creatures inhabiting it. It has seen dinosaurs come and go and it has seen other great extinctions of species and after each of them the life blossomed again. We have no reason whatsoever to believe that it will be somehow different after us. However we certainly are capable to make it very inhospitable place for the survival of polar bears and tigers, and a lot of other life forms including ourselves. And we are on the track of doing it. Maybe I'm too sentimental, but I find it somewhat sad.

To be honest I don't believe that we are capable to save tigers and polar bears outside the zoo's for a very long period of time, if the human population continues to grow. There is no sign that it will stop to grow in near future. I can only hope that as it continues to grow we will be able to escape major military conflicts involving weapons of mass destruction. There is very little ground for such hope, but all sorts of miracles happen from time to time, and I can just hope that this one will do. However lets go back to the global warming and the mythology surrounding it.

Conspiracy of the stupid
Lets imagine that all this stuff is invented by a bunch of scientists who just want all the money that now flows to their institutes and universities and their pockets. That there is some sort of such conspiracy. Wow it would be the biggest and probably most meaningless conspiracy the world has ever seen. Because all the money and power actually is on the other side. I mean those multinational corporations with all their funds and influence on the governments that grab hundreds of billions in profits from fossil fuel. And imagine the scientific community - most of those poor (by the standards of corporate world) guys hate each other, or at least they are constantly competing, arguing, everybody hopes to find a new theory, everybody wants to shoot to fame. Can somebody honestly think that none of them would defect from such conspiracy, especially if there are these people out there in the business who can and almost certainly are willing to pay them 100 or 1000 times more if they could come up with some reliable evidence that will make a global warming a myth? It's ridiculous.

Conspiracy theories are invented by people who are stupid or too lazy to try to see the whole picture. In fact conspiracy theories serve the system, by marginalizing the opposition, by shifting the attitude from real problems and possible actions to the imaginary realm of conspiracies of reptile-humanoids or Jewish-masons or greedy scientists or whatever.

I'm not saying that all scientists are always absolutely honest or that some sort of shift in the paradigm is impossible in the future or that theories can't be overturned. However by now the absolutely overwhelming majority of scientific community says that there is enough evidence to say that the global warming is caused by humans, or at least more likely it is caused by humans. If so, and we don't really have anybody else to ask for the opinion, we must do something about it. If they are wrong in the end of the day, we don't lose that much, if they are right, which is very likely, we can lose everything if we don't listen. Simple like that. Of course there are people who think that the sole fact of snow still falling or occasional recounting of polar bears overturns all the theories. They even sometimes call it logic, but so far, when reading such materials, I have seen only sad examples of limitless human stupidity and ignorance.

Vicious circle
So what can we do? Almost nothing. Well, we can of course switch off the lights on the earth hour, we can watch our carbon footprints on individual level constantly and that sort of things. The sad reality is that it won't do the job. What we need is first of all the political will of those in power all around the world to take very serious measures. However, as we have seen in Copenhagen it's not happening. That's logical. The economy of the whole planet is so heavily dependent on fossil fuel, that even small measures mean some sort of sacrifice. The simple logic of economics says that the one who is sacrificing something is loser. Nobody wants to lose. OK, the good thing is that some of the major economies and politically most powerful countries (even America finally) are now ready to talk, but the whole thing is taking so long. It took 12 years from Kyoto to Copenhagen. Kyoto ended with hope, which quickly evaporated. Than came Copenhagen which ended in disaster. Gloomy? Are we back to where we were before Kyoto? I don't think so because there certainly are many things that many countries do to try to cut carbon emissions, however nobody can afford to go too far without risking to lose its economical and subsequently its political influence. So everybody, even the most politically committed countries must stay in the race, as long as others do the same. It's really a vicious circle and it's leading nowhere. The time is running against us.

There is another aspect also. To effectively cut the temperature rising we need to agree to leave some of the fossil fuel reserves in the ground forever. I think it's nearly impossible for any government on the planet to come to such level of political commitment, to agree to stop pumping it's own oil from the ground. I simply don't believe that it can work in foreseeable future, which is the timescale in which we need to take the action. With the oil resources getting scarcer and prices rising everybody will be interested to pump as much as he can. Why not? The one who is pumping will get all of the economical benefits from the pumping, while costs will be shared by the whole planet. Maybe there is some sort of solution to this. I hope. But what other countries will do if somebody refuses to stop pumping. Nuke them? It's hardly an ecological solution. Besides everybody will need this oil.

Just when the ice cap on the North Pole melted for the first time in history - a very alarming sign that we are burning too much fossil fuel, Canada and Russia send their battleships to the North Pole to claim the oil reserves there for themselves. I know, I know there was probably a whole set of reasons for them to do such thing. But if we distance ourselves from everything else and just look at it from the climate perspective, it's funny. Isn't it? If I would make a movie from extraterrestrial perspective I would include this as a piece of very dark humor.

Actually the only hope and solution for the planet in the long run, is to find a new technology to solve the energy problem as soon as possible. Something that is cheaper or at least not considerably more expensive than fossil fuel. Something that is effective enough and Eco friendly at the same time They are working on this for years, but so far there is nothing on the horizon. That's maybe much more alarming than disaster in Copenhagen itself, which we needed so badly exactly because there is no alternatives so far.

Back to the Future
Finally back to the Earth hour and why did I say in the beginning that global warming is a myth. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that it is something irrational. Global warming is something real and we must approach it rationally, and there is a clear and rational message in Earth hour. First of all to show the governments, corporations and to each other that we do care. Secondly to remind ourselves that we must care. Also maybe it will help to somebody to realize that he or she is really consuming too much, that we can can stay alive for a while without the electricity and all these gadgets that we are so much depending upon. Maybe even have a good time while doing it.

One more time I will say don't get me wrong and don't take me too seriously either, because I'm not a specialist, merely curious about such things and just having a good time right now. However if we look closely at the Earth hour, we must notice that it's also a ritual in a way. In a way it works also on a deeply irrational level. There is a theory in anthropology, that humans actually have very hard times when they have to negotiate their social contract rationally by the means of language. We simply don't like it. Language is a system of symbols, digital medium and as the means of communication it bears in itself immense possibilities of deceit and lies.

Ritual is a physical act. It's an analogue channel of communication and it's hard to fake. During the ritual strong bonds and very high level of mutual trust are established within the community. Researchers argue that only because of this level of trust established during the ritual, something like the human language could possibly evolve. Ritual in a way creates another superior reality in the minds of participants. In this reality our contract is sealed and through it the spoken words become credible source of information. Thus allows some scientists even to speculate that first word ever spoken by early humans actually was “God”, or something like that. Moreover when such contract was established and language evolved it allowed individuals to engage in cooperation and to be altruistic at levels never seen in the nature before. Which in turn brought us to the very top of the ecological pyramid, exactly where we are now.

It seems to me very tempting to suggest that Earth hour is becoming a ritual way for us humans to negotiate new social contract. Something that we badly need faced with consequences of our own technological growth. Only this time instead of something supernatural like “God”, there is “Planet” or “Future” or “Responsibility” or something like that in the center of this superior reality which we are creating. I find it rather fascinating to find the old irrational mechanisms of thinking, that created religions, to be involved to help us to convince ourselves in credibility of the most rational and scientific discourse. Maybe more precisely would be to say that probably language and logic are falling short to mobilize us and convince us that it is necessary to make some sacrifices.

It's not a Religion
I understand that real decisions will be made in the corridors and cabinets of governments and they will be negotiated through language. There is still a long way to go. However don't underestimate the ancient and irrational ways of how society is organized either. I was visiting Northern Ireland as a tourist recently. Don't tell me they didn't try to negotiate peace during these 30 years of conflict. They tried hard, however it was on the streets, in the pubs and during the sectarian parades when history really took it's turns. OK that's a very extreme example, but ask political campaigners and they'll tell you many weird things about the human nature. The same works in the political rallies and other gatherings, and we all know that most of the elections even in our XXI century are won by conquering peoples hearts, rather than minds.

The fact that governments are so involved with the Earth hour is even more amazing. It really becomes a ritual involving all levels of society. I mean those guys in the governments need it as much as we ordinary people do, if not more, because it will be them who will be negotiating. Of course they will be rationally counting pros and cons, but somewhere deep in their minds the other reality also will start to establish itself. Something that will make any fruitful negotiations possible. I'm afraid that otherwise we might be doomed. The amazing thing that I see in it is that it's not a manipulation from outside this time, it's rather something that is almost self organizing from within the society. Sure there was some guys who came up with the idea first, but tens of thousands of ideas are coming up every day and most of them are dying instantly.

At least I hope. I mean most of the politicians are whores, you can't do anything about it. That's nature. However they are also humans. (maybe most of the humans are whores and they are just the mirror of society. I don't know.) If it was possible for the ancient selfish apes to make a contract it must be possible for us. We even have some advantages. It's really not us and them. Just us. Even politicians do understand it.

OK. I will say one more time. I'm not trying to be clever. I have neither qualification nor knowledge to make a big deal out my scribblings. It's just my literary vision of things at the current moment. I'm also not suggesting that we don't need rational discussions. We need them. Badly! At all possible levels in politics and life and especially about the climate change. I'm not trying to say in any way that climate change is religion. It is a science and there is nothing really religious about the ritual apart from the psychological mechanism involved and it is exactly the rational argument undermining the whole thing, that makes it so powerful.

Weird, especially for me, but with the cool head I'm choosing to take the part in Saturdays ritual by sacrificing one hour of my electricity consumption on the altar of Planet.

(I hate to read that last sentence, actually.)

PS. I hope there will be happy end.

PSS. No not the end. Eternal evolution of our species :)

Friday, 12 March 2010

5 seasons

I'm waking up flies
Chain smoking and waiting for
Big Bang of the green


Flowers fuck with the
Help from the bees. Mad, sweet buzz.
Thunder is coming


The dog is barking
At screaming colors of leaves
Accident on the road


13 days of snow
Birds fall down dead from the trees
Olympics on screens


Daffodils in our park
Her lips are slow and warm.
Taste of lipstick and beer

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Image: quidquid
True story of how I spend nights in companies of software spiders and souls forever lost in the World Wide Web.

I'm starting to be excited about social networks. I was never really into it before, but now I enjoy being networked. During the last month I joined blogcatalog, bloglog, blogfrog and blog-who-knows-what-else. My password is short and simple, so it's not a big deal to jump in. I learned the whole new vocabulary and met all sorts of good and bad, beautiful and ugly people.

The most amazing thing though is to watch people from all over the world coming to my site. According to Google Analytics so far this humble site is visited by 179 people from 36 countries. Well it's not entirely correct because I myself visited it from few different computers in two different countries, but anyway. Every midnight I open Analytics and watch the world become greener.

So far I'm popular mostly in USA. Well, everything is relative of course and "popular" is maybe a little exaggeration. I think certainly there must be somebody on the World Wide Web who is much more popular than me in America, but I've got my 72 visits from 31 state. Despite that many of them didn't last longer than a couple of seconds, still that's more than from any other country and I'm sort of proud of it. Still missing 20 states though.

I found blogrfrog particularly useful to conquer USA. That's sort of blogging network for mums with kids and they've got a wonderful widget to put on their sites to see who is visiting them. It looks very similar to bloglog's widget, just nicer and more efficient, it takes you straight to the visitors site. So one evening I spent a couple of hours jumping around those sites and it didn't took me long to see them coming back. I knew they'll do. It looked like pretty closed community, where everybody is concerned mostly about their kids and diets and how to make money online from being concerned about kids and diets and of course they were curious who is peaking at them. (like everybody is, I guess) They didn't stay too long though and I think I never saw them coming back. However with such little effort I covered maybe few hundred thousand square miles on my Analytics map just in couple of hours.

South America is real pain in the ass. I think that's the most romantic continent on the planet. Because they have revolutions and heroes, and passion, and great literature and I imagine that life there must be like one never ending soap opera. So far I have only six visitors from there. 3 from Argentina and 3 from Brazil. Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, where are you?

And then there came this accident. I messed around with blogger templates and somehow lost the Analytics code without noticing it. For two days visitors on my site came and went without being properly recorded and during this time somebody from Qatar came over. Imagine? Qatar! I felt like birdwatcher in Northern Europe who missed the Emperor penguin in his own backyard while searching for his glasses. Everybody tells him that there was a penguin, but he can't put it on the record because he saw only blurred silhouette.

Africa is another huge problem. I've got the feeling that no African apart from one girl from South Africa knows anything about my existence. Why? How? To be honest I've got the same feeling once on the motorway in UK with all these thousands and thousands of cars passing by I suddenly felt so endlessly lonely. Now I even considered to join the site called which I stumbled upon accidentally. That's a community for bloggers from Africa. Still haven't done it. Maybe one day I'll do.

So here I am. A little piece of information somewhere on the vast World Wide Web. beep beep I'm sending out those pings or feeds or whatever they are called. I'm playing tricks and then again I'm sincere. Almost like in the real life, just everything is coded differently. beep beep click click If human language is digital medium, as it's written in a book called Stuff of Thought by American linguist Steven Pinker, then here we have a code within a code within a code. Is there somewhere under those layers of code something like real me? Whatever it is.

I met one friend, a girl at University, we didn't had the time to talk, but then she called me back later to tell that I looked bad. Too slim and my skin is yellow, she said.

“Are you sick?”

“No, no. I just have to write these essays and stories and that sort of thing. I'm spending to much time by the computer.”

Well it's true, but I didn't tell her, that I spend last three nights crawling the web together with Google spiders, just gathering whatever sort of random information there is available about links and networking and everything else. Basically just swallowed the sites byte by byte.

“You should quit smoking.” she said.

“Maybe you're right.”

And then we somehow run out of topics to speak about. I felt like... yellow?

Was it real me? The yellow one? Or maybe I'm real only when that something that I am is coded in readable for myself and for others format?

beep beep
click click

One day I'll die.

beep beep - will last.

Honestly. I think that future belongs to the machines. We humans are so fragile (and other life forms even more so. At the moment some of them largely because of us humans, but that's different topic again). In the long run our future depends on our ability to colonize another planets and galaxies. In the very long run... who knows what will happen to universe in the end. There are all sorts of theories, but none of them is very optimistic. None of them is painting a world that at the end is habitable for somebody who needs to breathe and eat. In most of scenarios it can be tricky to survive even for the machines. But they'll sort it out. They've got the potential. They are our collective memory. And if memories are what defines us, that's maybe our salvation.

Well I know that I have the tendency to get overexcited with anything that I do or hear somewhere, but some others even more so. I met the guy, here on the web. Visited his blog to be precise. The blog consists almost entirely of ads. There is huge amount of them and in the middle of them there is a picture with a man begging and a couple of paragraphs with the text, where he explains that he can't afford to pay for hosting three domains that he has got. So he is asking people to click on his ads and then he will reciprocate.

Then I thought.. Wow, that's proper attitude. I didn't ask him why he needs to host three domains if it's so hard, I just sat there by the monitor admiring his faith and determination. I imagined him running around the globe... beep beep click click ...energetically negotiating deals worth few penny each, arguing about the ethical side of this thing and so on, and maybe his body is really starving at the same time. Who knows? Who is real he? And he is not the only one. And then I thought, if so many people put so much of their energy and thought in something, even if it's so absolutely meaningless, it can't simply go down the drain. It really must somehow materialize. It's still not clear to me how it will.

beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep

That's us.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


the dew of the morning fell on his face
and woke him after months of dreamless sleep
or was it deep in the day
and jolly springlike rain?
little spider man slowly came out of his cryogenic sleep
trembling and shrugging
back to the life and straight into the spring
dazzling patches of color
slowly turned into objects and shapes
coughing and sneezing
he rose up
and went to explore the place

he came here late in the last autumn,
when he like all spider men of his tribe
crawled up to the very top of the tree
sat there for a while having a rest
and started to produce a long, long thread of silk
he remembered this evening
when they all sat there
on the edge of the leaf
silent and serious
lost in their thoughts
one by one they took off from the leaf
when their threads were long enough
to turn into kites
obeying the peculiar law of their their tribe
to look for their wives in a faraway land
they floated towards the horizon
with their sails full of wind shining
in the rays of the setting sun

but memories aside
as his heart regained it's rhythm
and his limbs were ready for the walk
he decided he now needs a dinner
and therefore he caught a fat fly
he quickly injected his venom
into the hairy abdomen of beast
and waited holding tightly
until his dinner died
he still needed at least an hour
for the fly to be ready to eat
so he whistled and waited and happily grinned
and that's when he suddenly met his next wife

he approached her
with ancient ritual steps
she responded
by slightly turning her head
she stepped forward
he stepped back
after all she was
three times as big as the man
he approached her with caution
she approached him with lust
he bravely smiled
and she
returned him the smile

the act of love itself
was rather complicated
yet anyway hot
with sixteen legs entangled
and somersaults on the moss
he tried to keep himself sober
to remember to touch her in certain way
to avoid being killed by her passion
but happened exactly the worst
and during one awkward turn
she buried her fangs in his body
and the beauty of the moment was lost

she honestly mumbled – I'm sorry
he helplessly said – it's OK
and they quickly finished what's started
though avoiding contact with eyes.......

......”I'm really...” she rose up
“Don't worry.” he said
and then she went to dine on his fly

eight long
and slender
yet powerful legs
and high on top of them
and round
and hairy
as peach
and a couple of something like
thick sharp wedges
sticking out
of the cave of her mouth
the most decadent, the most beautiful chelicerae
any spider has ever seen
he thought
for the sake of his own consolation

she had finished the fly
and noticed him watching
she grinned surprised that he's still alive
then turned her back and started to wait
until he'll be finally ready to eat
little spider man looked at the sky
a couple of birds were flying dangerously low
wouldn't it be better to hide?
but then he realized
he doesn't really need to care anymore
objects and shapes
slowly turned into dazzling patches of color
little spider man laid on the ground
slowly digested alive by his wife

(Drawings by I.P. Many thanx to her.)