Sunday, April 18, 2010

Smaug Woke Up ..

I am not a Vulcanologist, although I am not totally Volcanically illiterate - I know Mr. Spock (Star Trek) comes from Vulcan '-) .. and I have seen a volcano - I even climbed on one. It's called, Àrd-thir Suidhe [Gaelic] - Arthur's Seat - and is situated in Edinburgh, Scotland. Of course, it was (for me) a dangerous climb. I was told, "This is an extinct volcano." .. I thought .. who says it will stay extinct?

I read J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit! They once thought Smaug was extinct, until he woke up and started flying around! .. Leaving Arthur's friendly, slumbering extinct volcano behind, I happily climbed back to our here-we-are-now reality level, and formed my own Historical Philosophy.

As a kid I read everything I could find about the ancient world. I was fascinated by Troy, and disgusted by the Roman Empire - who blanketed Europe in a mono-linear cultural dictatorship that lasts until today. I was fascinated by the ancient world, its cultures and artifacts .. but our view of that world is a Disneyland version. If you cannot go there and see it, you do not really know what happened.

From the bits and pieces of clues I gathered, a pattern began to emerge (in my mind). I began to understand that Empires (civiisations) grow in times of abundance, when the Earth is relatively quiet. During times of chaotic upheaval in the earth's climate Empires and civilisations decline, or come to an end.

Most recently, the expansion of Europe into the other continents of the world, and the growth of America as the world's dominant power .. all took place in a quiet period where all out expansion and growth had no counterweight to it. Humans were just free to expand, cultivate, dig, extract, fly, increase populations .. which could be described as times-of-abundance. So, current generations generally know only unrestrained growth, unrestrained indulgence, take what you want, get what you can - the more the better.

The fact that the Katla sub-glacial volcano in Iceland has not erupted in the last 90 years, is an indicator that the 50 year eruption cycle was broken by this period of calm where human populations expanded unrestricted and unchallenged .. by nature.

Look all around you .. every species has its counterweight so that balance is maintained. Only when man interferes and introduces a non-natural species into a country, where there is no counterweight, do problems arise. In Australia rabbits (introduced by the Europeans) have become an 'invasive species', whose unchecked spread cause serious (and sometimes irreversible) ecological damage.

The counterweight to man is Nature itself. I don't think human populations will be left to grow unchecked. In 2010 we have inconvenient disruptions brought about by hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, flooding and severe storms. In the future the inconvenience is going to be man's counterweight.

As a species we are intelligent enough not to over-populate, but man overpopulates anyway. Doing what he wants, when he wants, in the way he wants has become an Alpha Dog signature of the dominant male and his dominant side-kick. It is a sign of power and prestige to breed as often and as many as you can, to dig as deep as you can and bring out more, to grow bigger and expand in food production, in food sales, in exports, in population, in success .. without thought and without end.

As I write there is an unprecedented cloudless hole over the skies of Germany and France. It has been like this since the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, as all air traffic ceased. Totally cloudless skies, I have never seen anything like it .. I often wondered, what would it be like to live on a planet where not one single plane crossed the sky? A planet where planes do not exist, and the skies are silent and peaceful. I imagined one would have to be born on another planet or live in another time to know the stillness of a sky without planes ..

"His fire belched forth, the hall smoked, he shook the mountain-roots. [...] He issued from the Gate, the waters rose in fierce whistling steam, and up he soared blazing into the air and settled on the mountain-top" - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit