Posts Tagged ‘extinction’

The Suburban Hearse

April 24, 2017

PBF Suburban Hearse

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Miss Glaciermelt leans into her powerpoint presentation, placing her index finger on a large grey square on the terrain view of an old human settlement.

“This large dead area was called a parking lot. It’s where the last generations of humans left their transportation machines when they interacted with shopping and activity centers.”

The teacher notices Cindy’s confused stare.

“Did you read the chapter 7 –The Suburban Hearse – of your Last Days of the Humans textbook, Cind?”

“I did,” Cindy replies. “But I still don’t get the connection between their suburban habitat and the word hearse. A hearse was a machine for moving dead bodies from one place to another many kilometers away. What does this have to do with the low-density sprawl that humans ended their time on Earth in?”

Miss Glaciermelt is glad Cindy has decided to take the second part of her Post-Human Extinction course. Nothing works better as a teaching tool than a live back-and-forth between teacher and student.

“Well, the most popular vehicles of the last years were called SUVs, and they were a lot like hearses in shape and size. Many of them were great for transporting dead humans, though they were originally used by single people for going from one characterless suburban location to another. Ironically, it was the use of these machines and all the fuels that they required that created the need for billions of hearses. The hearses of the last years of Humanity.”

Hearse imageMiss Glaciermelt fidgets with her computer and then plays a short movie-clip while talking over the narrator.

“Over there, two young human boys are driving bicycles that are much too small for them. This harms their knees. And there’s an obese jogger – another end-time human activity that destroyed body parts – knees, ankles and hips. And look at that chubby human mowing a lawn. Noise actually causes obesity but he probably doesn’t know that. Most humans didn’t know very much near the end of their species’ existence.”

Cindy: “Were humans doing all these dumb, harmful activities because of the obesity epidemics or because of the boredom? Or did their slave-like jobs make them clueless?”

Glaciermelt: “Well, it’s not really one reason. All of your reasons were contributing factors: boredom, obesity and lack of freedom. You’re really animated today, aren’t you?”

They both smile.

Cindy: “I noticed that in the footnotes, the narrator talks about – and I quote – ‘the braindead termite-people of the Suburban Shitscape.’ What does he mean by termites? They didn’t go extinct. We still have lots of termites.”

Glaciermelt: “No, termites didn’t go extinct. But I think he’s referring to the fact that humans were consuming the planet the way that termites will eventually kill the tree they live off of. And the word ‘shitscape’ refers to the low-quality and ugly surroundings that end-time humans lived in. The author also mentions that all their machines sounded like chainsaws: lawn-mowers, ski-doos, leaf-blowers, the power tools of weekend pagoda projects… suburbia was one massive chainsaw massacre.”

Cindy: “Maybe the noise and ugliness drove them crazy and they had nothing left to live for?”

Glaciermelt: “Let’s not speculate, Cindy. After all, we weren’t there ourselves.

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Qaturday Empathy

July 19, 2012

First they came for the goats:
Subjective Exclusion and the search for an enemy to rob

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Many cats ask me why the humans seem to be eager to go extinct – why they play Russian Roulette with technologies that they don’t really understand or control. This leads the inquisitive feline to ponder: why have humans allowed unnecessary complication to imperil the simple and natural process of surviving?

It might help us felines to comprehend these giant, resource-vacuuming, human nihilists if we interact a bit with their texts. Not too much, of course; we don’t want to be numbed and dumbed down by texts like human readers are. But let’s look at a few human texts at a safe distance to find out where these destructive beasts get their insane marching orders.

Goat Sacrifice Texts

One human text that a cat might find interesting – because it relates to other species – is the goat sacrifice text. It’s important because it’s a recurring trope in the Abrahamic texts of many power-mad human societies.

The Abrahamic texts include stories where God asks a human to kill a goat simply to make a point. For example, God (the superhuman who fabricated the universe like a craftsman) will ask a human to kill his son. And then, just before the father human’s axe hits the neck of his child, God will dramatically change his orders, and tell him to kill “this goat” instead. This eleventh-hour switch is supposed to provide some kind of relief, and this feeling of relief is supposed to convince recalcitrant human readers to obey God’s orders. After all, God isn’t such a bad guy; he rescinded his order to kill a human child, and only had a lowly goat killed instead, right?

In these stories, the goat – a species that doesn’t speak or write – is used as a prop and completely objectified. Human readers are trained not to care about the death of this animal. The same God-texts imply that all creatures were created for humanity to kill at will. Even if it’s just to make a point.

“First they came for the goats, and I wasn’t a goat, so I ate my goat burger and pretended to enjoy it.”

For this sacrifice text to work, it’s important that goats can’t speak or write – or lie. This is crucial because it allows humans to exclude the goats from their human-fabricated stories, all of which are composed of human-only words. By excluding any input from the goat community, humans are able to kill them with total impunity: “There are no goats in our church, so we make jokes about killing goats,” a human might say –  if humans were still capable of telling the truth.

Subjective Social Exclusion

This goat-killing trope sets humanity up for a social philosophy based on Subjective Social Exclusion: A group of humans form a gang, and then all agree to pretend to believe in the same lies. Humans who don’t believe the same lies are socially excluded. And these socially excluded humans are then attacked, killed, raped, and stolen from, with total impunity. Non-humans like us cats are are socially excluded as well and treated with the same brutal callousness.

(Note: The reason it’s called subjective exclusion is because the criteria for the social exclusion are purely subjective. Anything will do, really. The important thing is to recruit a powerful mix of people, and to invent some beautiful lies that are difficult to disprove.)

Now, nature being what it is, what happened to the goats (goat burgers) and to the environment (pillaged and destroyed) will soon happen to the group that started the whole Subjective Exclusion craze in the first place – the human elites. If we survive their demise, the cat world needs to beware of this kind of manufactured species-ism. And in the present day, we need to keep our claws out when in the company of humans who, as we all approach extinction, still live by their sacrifice memes and continue to practice strategic social exclusion.

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