The Sustainability Of Injustice

Acedia3

In this post I reflect on the sustainability of injustice, especially our inability to resolve the many issues that are destroying our species and our Gaian world. All of the links that follow represent our failure to come to terms with the consequences of global warming.

As I have previously suggested (especially in my book Acedia, The Darkness Within, and the darkness of Climate Change), I believe this is due to the huge cultural issue of acedia (especially our laziness and fearfulness) and the smaller issue of evil (especially the augmentation of our cultural self-righteousness). And I hate harping on the issues, part of my own acedia. Yet I am committed to raising awareness in whatever way I can.

A comment from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations of yesterday (20180412) is especially pertinent for me. His concern in this particular meditation is the issue of racial discrimination, but it applies the whole of our civilization, a civilization based on power dynamics. As usual, Richard formulates it in a Christian framework, yet I suggest the message is independent of culture.

[quoting from Holmes, Joy Unspeakable, 2017] One cannot help but wonder why the same battles for justice must be fought by every generation? Certainly, there were enough sacrifices, martyrs, and legislation during the ’60s to ensure justice for all. Yet . . . “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities and the rulers of darkness in high places” [Ephesians 6:12]. The powers or systems do everything they can to resist change. In response to the demand for justice, systems morph and adjust while maintaining the status quo.

So public hangings end and the murders of unarmed black folk rise. Slavery ends, but the mass incarceration of minority populations increases. Jim Crow practices are no longer openly discriminatory; they reappear as educational and economic disparities, voter suppression, and aggressive police actions against people of color.

[Richard’s commentary] Power never surrenders without a fight. If your response to today’s meditation is to retort, “All lives matter!” I invite you to take a closer look at your own fears and biases. Of course, all lives matter! Yet until black and brown lives matter, no lives truly matter. Jesus spoke into specific lives, into particular circumstances of oppression, saying, “You, an outcast Samaritan woman, you matter. You, a leper rejected by society, you matter.”

Until we choose to have power over power and live into true justice, it is likely that our time on this planet is severely limited. We will move to extinction — the end-points indicated by Malthus[1] (starvation, plague, and war) are on the horizon.

Significant Links

Lessons from Cape Town’s water crisis (20180315)

Cape Town is the harbinger of what may happen to many modern cities, the issues being “related to climate change, population growth, waste and mismanagement. Depleted supply is only one result” (see also What You Need to Know About the World’s Water Wars)

We’re drowning in seas of plastic (20180329)

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be sixteen times larger than previously assessed.

The Great Lakes Are Filling Up With Giant Green Blobs (20180403)

Harmful algae blooms occur mainly because of nutrient run-off from land usage (fertilizer), resulting in toxic water as well as high methane production (a major greenhouse gas).

Can the Paris Agreement save us from a climate catastrophe? (201804)

An editorial in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet does not say much, but the title in itself is significant of questioning what we are doing as a culture.

Audit exposes Canadian climate failures (20180405)

As someone living in the British Columbia Lower Mainland, I am very aware of the duplicity of the Canadian government, especially in its support of the tar sands and the Kinder-Morgan expansion.

The oceans’ circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years. That’s bad news. (20180411)

A good article on the nature of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and its possible implications.

Reports emphasize urgent need to reverse biodiversity decline (20180412)

Yet more warning of how serious the issues are!

[1] Malthus, T. (1798). An essay on the principle of population. London, England: J. Johnson, in St. Paul’s Churchyard.

3 thoughts on “The Sustainability Of Injustice”

  1. I feel sad as I read all of this. So much is due to the need for power, the fear of losing power. I think it is a disease’ I call ‘powerease.’ And until that at least subsides or is used in some other way, and people of many nations are not so afraid of each other and for themselves, I doubt much will change. That is what saddens me; this has always been so, but now with an abundance on the earth of people, the fear becomes more abundant too.

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  2. David,
    I have read, reread again and I now wonder why you do not accuse the real power brokers in the current society, The religions of the world, (not just Christianity though they may be the worst offenders) through their magical thinking, know that the various gods which are worshiped are in complete control and will either (1) save the world or (2) destroy the world due to the sinfulness of humanity. As I am sure you are aware, I have studied religions for most of my life before becoming convinced, of the victimization of believers, and of the destructiveness of religions themselves. Religions rule over our political leaders and they dictate what is considered to be politically possible. It is true that some economic power groups, (Big Oil and Big Pharma to name but two) have some pull with politicians because of the money involved, but even they have nothing like the power residing in the thought that life can continue in a far better place for the chosen few and the world needs to be destroyed for this to happen.

    While Putin and Trump may be in the process of starting a third world war, I still feel optimistic that the few million who are left following either that or the failure to stop climate change, which will have the same result, may lead to the the establishment of a society not dominated by either religion or politicians.

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    1. Thanks, John. In general, I agree with you, but I do not accuse religions in that I do not believe they are the problem. What you refer to is, for me, the immaturity of people who hid behind religion, and use it as an excuse for wielding power. Certainly they form a huge powerblock, and contribute in major ways to the problems of our culture. I know many people whom I regard as deeply spiritual/religious and who function with great compassion in the world; I am not interested in throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

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