Day 13,757: Battlestar Earth
“A demographer calculates that 93 percent of all human beings who ever existed on earth–more than 100 billion people–have vanished before us. Most of humanity is gone.” -Paul Salopek, To Walk The World
After a near apocalypse, with most of the human race dead, a few brave remaining souls steer a ship through through the darkness of space, trying to keep humanity alive against a clever foe of many faces. However, they are nearly undone many times by internal rivalries, growing inequalities, petty jealousies and utopian ideologies that put the dreams of the few over the rights of the many. The question arises more than once: is our species worth saving?
I speak of Battlestar Galactica, of course, and the day is named in honor of the series that Heather and I are currently enjoying thanks to everyone’s favorite Cylon, Becky Byers.
But I (of course) also speak of earth.
Earth, our own ship steering through the darkness.
Carrying with it a few remaining souls, after an apocalypse called history that has wiped out 93% of the human race.
Against an enemy, Death, who like the Cylons, wears our own face far too often.
Watching Battlestar Galactica, the shortsightedness of the humans in the face of their imminent extinction is one of the joyful dramatic tensions of the show.
Watching it here on Battlestar Earth can make you despair, and make words that should be as true as grass–peace, love, compassion, solidarity–seem naive, radical, almost alien.
It doesn’t have to be that way, yet that’s the way it has always been, though the moral arc of the universe may indeed tend towards justice, as The Better Angels of our Nature seems to suggest.
We need a new ethics in this epoch called the Anthropocene; a Declaration of Interdependence that acknowledges our mutual responsibilities to each other as sailors on this wounded ship; a way of living in The Long Now that shifts our consciousness away from valuing short-term personal material gain; and towards long-term communal vitality. Over this year, I’ll be spending some of my Book of Hours on thinking about those ethics, that declaration, that shift; in the primary hope that by doing so, I may become a better shipmate in my brief sojourn with you. We’ll see how it goes, and I welcome any help you want to give along the way.
“…Realize we can try and save the universe;
Or failing that, try and save each other;
And what do I mean by saving each other?
I mean, living in such a way, with light
And compassion, that we all can bear it,
That we can bear the universe ending.”
-ONE, The Lesser Seductions of History
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 3 out of 3 days (Be Happy Be Happy Be Happy)
Spanish: 2 out of 3 days
What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?)
- I asked James Caldwell, Bobby Jindal, James M. LeBlanc and Jocelyn Samuels to heed the three times the conviction against Albert Woodfox has been overturned and let this man–who has suffered in solitary confinement for 41 years–go free.
- I wrote new pages for Be Happy Be Happy Be Happy
- I asked Congress to reinstate unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million families who just lost their benefits. Given that UI benefits lifted an estimated 2.5 million people out of poverty in 2012 alone, they are worthwhile investment in human rights.
- I shared Seema Sueko’s must-read post “Jump into the Gaps” on the Diversity: Through the Director’s Eye at the Pasadena Playhouse.
- I asked the USFS to stop the wolf eradication program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness area.
- I spent most of the day working on the Census for TCG’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. The more specific you get with questions of identity, the more complex the decisions become, and the more painful our legacy of genocide, slavery and colonialism becomes.
- I sent some love to a friend that I hold dear.
- I ate vegetarian, and 2 of the 3 meals were home-cooked and organic.