Existential Funk

This is extracted from a letter sent to a “virtual buddy” (aka “VB”) on July 15, 2009.

(From Wikipedia)

 Existentialism: Philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom, and choice, that influenced many diverse writers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Existential Crisis: Derived from existentialism, it is a stage of development at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether their life has any meaning, purpose or value; whether their parents, teachers, and loved ones truly act in their best interest; whether the values they have been taught have any merit; and whether their religious upbringing may or may not be founded in reality.

 Hi “VB”

Sorry about the lack of contact. I really do enjoy the intellectual jousting and I learn from it, which is a bonus. And, thanks for the compliment on my writing. Hopefully I keep you interested at least a little bit.

For a number of weeks I’ve been ensconced in an existential funk of sorts. (And that about uses up my big word quota for the week.) I haven’t posted on my blog in a long time. And I haven’t added any comments to the various blogs/posts I read. I did read your comments on KBH’s web site regarding the risks of deflation though. (Topic for another day.)

It seems obvious that blogs exist to complain. Not too many – at least in the economic / political / financial spheres – contain positive news. That’s okay of course. But after months and months of reading a repetitive series of complaints on a variety of blogs I’ve begun to wonder what’s the purpose of all this? Do we ever accomplish anything other than a circular venting of frustration? That’s not all bad I suppose. For those of us who actually pay attention maybe we need an outlet for our collective anger. But in the larger sense what is actually accomplished?

Is it enough to just complain or do we/I need to step out and try to change the situation? In my life I’ve volunteered for my country (Army), my community (volunteer firefighter – really enjoyed this), and for my politics (Reagan nationally as well as local candidates). I’ve written numerous letters to my Senators and Congressional reps and to a variety of newspapers. I’ve made small donations to political campaigns, posted signs in my yard and stickers on my car and cajoled relatives endlessly.

Nothing has changed.

One post on Yves Smith’s “Naked Capitalism” blog asked, “… when will the middle class revolt?” Reading comment after comment about how they surely will revolt and getting guns and revolution and yeah, go for it, I finally exploded (pun intended) and asked, “Who will get in front?” I pointed out that no revolution will begin unless someone gets in front. And the person(s) in front need to risk life and limb, home, family, job, savings, everything. I’ve been shot at by professionals. Bloggers and commenter’s who blithely agitate for revolution, typically have no intention of ever getting in the front lines.

Maybe I should get my concealed carry permit, buy some guns and go lead the revolution? Now, that’s tongue in cheek. The letter I wrote asking about “War” on AGW? Not so much actually. Since I lack the scientific knowledge to usefully debate the data (trying to read Alan Carlin’s EPA report) I have to fall back on a crude, street level logic. To wit:

  • climate change will ultimately cause apocalyptic damage to the earth
  • climate change is caused by global warming
  • global warming is caused by excessive CO2 emissions
  • excessive CO2 emissions are caused by human activity

Therefore we must take steps today to reduce human caused CO2 emissions even if it means traumatic damage to our economy. And we must be willing to unilaterally traumatize our economy in an effort to reduce global CO2 emissions even if the actions of other nations obviate our efforts.  People say this with a straight face?

How do I as a scientific illiterate (relatively speaking) evaluate the seriousness of the AGW situation and the proposed solutions? Given the claimed global apocalyptic outcome I ask, “Will you go to war to prevent global climate change?” If the answer is “no” or even worse, if it is ridicule then I interpret this response to indicate that the seriousness of the AGW situation is overstated and the proposed solutions not appropriate. In fact, based on the response my conclusion is that (a) AGW is not serious enough to warrant unilateral trauma to our economy OR (b) the objective is not to prevent apocalyptic climate change but something else. Note that I do not advocate war as the first step but surely, if AGW is as apocalyptic as is claimed then war must, as a self defense mechanism, be on the table as a last resort. And to be effective it should be publicly noted as being on the table.

 And, so it goes with my little – insignificant actually – existential funk. In street terms, I’m bummed.

4 Responses to “Existential Funk”

  1. Ian Clotworthy Says:

    Your ridiculous focus on war indicates that you would advise it as the first step were you in power.

    It would be quite reasonable to go to war to prevent climate change. It would however be incredibly unlikely for a government to come up with a war that would actually achieve that aim. The rednecks would support it anyway no doubt.

  2. redst8r Says:

    Ian: I clearly state, “… as a last restort.” You cannot rely solely on moral persuasion (e.g., the industrial world ‘goes first’ and the others will surely follow – won’t they?). To have any effect whatsoever, moral persuasion always must have the last resort of military intervention.

  3. Tony Brown Says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

  4. Kelli Garner Says:

    Really nice posts. I will be checking back here regularly.

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