There is a certain romantic beauty in ruins. Archaeological ruins, I mean, like Mayan temples and Egyptian cities half buried in the desert. They are windows into worlds passed away and evidence of life’s steady progression. They inspire art such as Shelley’s poem, Ozymandias, and a genre of thriller movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark). Donna and I caught a glimpse of such beauty when we hiked through the ruins of a 140 year old textile mill on the banks of the Saluda River near our home.
Such excursions soothe the soul while they challenge our fitness. We work out hard so we can make such hikes and maybe find some enlightenment from a change of perspective we can take back to the day-to-day. They nourish, even when undertaken in the dark energies of current events. That’s what I meant by “spiritual sustenance” in my last journal entry.
The beauty of ruins as wonderments of what came before, can be projected into the future. In fiction, we can imagine what the ruins of our world will mean to our descendants, especially if their world is collapsed to a “pre-tech” level. Such stories have become a genre in Science Fiction usually referred to as post-apocalypse. It is the genre of my novel-in-progress, Power of the Ancients. There’s a dark side to such imaginings, however, because there is the strong possibility that no human will survive to wonder about our ruins. Or if there are, they may curse us for having destroyed the cradle of humanity to a point that leaves them with only the barest supports for survival.
I’ve written often in this journal about the awful burden put upon the natural by the technosphere, and the ruling class’ apparent deliberateness in destroying it. This week, a study was published by a group of European scientists of the results of a decades long study of the level of insect life in various nature preserves in Germany. They found that:
…populations of flying insects like bees and butterflies plunged more than 75 percent in German nature preserves over the past 27 years…
That’s huge and beyond alarming because, as the study’s project leader said:
As entire ecosystems are dependent on insects for food and as pollinators, it places the decline of insect eating birds and mammals in a new context.
The decline in insect biomass, being evident throughout the growing season, and irrespective of habitat type or landscape configuration, suggests large-scale factors must be involved.
The factors they suggest are mostly the widespread use of insecticides, though I would suggest that more insidious causes are also involved, such as manipulating species via genetic modification, and geoengineering.
Is all we can do in the face of destruction wrought by greed and psychopathy is to stand and watch? Perhaps you will be motivated to activism or to seek out those remaining beauties before they are all gone.
Whether you follow these or some other path, let me point you to another little book that I recently reviewed. It is Beyond Alt-Right and Alt-Left: A Community of Americans by John Hogue, prophecy scholar and political commentator. In this work, Mr. Hogue points out the polarizations he sees in current events as well as in the scads of emails he receives from his readers. He argues for a middle ground of tolerance to hopefully forestall an eruption of widespread violence in the US in a couple of years (revolution or civil war), unless (US) Americans can agree to live with their differences. I think there is a general will among people to do just that, but our rulers will work against it for the sake of maintaining power.
Personally, I will continue to seek out and appreciate the beauty of ruins, even as I realize that our civilization is fast becoming one.