In Order To Handle Climate Change Impacts A New Approach To The Concept Of ‘Human Flourishing” Is Way-Overdue

December 25, 2021

Raining this late-afternoon Saturday here in California’s Central Valley, a wet holiday experienced by a lot of Americans today — rain and snow for a big chuck of the country, but in some parts are heat records: ‘Wichita Falls, Texas, hit 91 Friday — warmer than its July 4 high of 88, and Grandfield, Oklahoma, reached 89, which also beats its July 4 high of 88.

An oddity in the heat. Climate change is real and happening, but the world seems a little ho-hum:

Don’t Look Up‘ has reportedly received mixed reviews — good, decent, as with The New York Times last week:

The director Adam McKay is not in the mood for nihilistic flights of fancy. Our planet is too dear and its future too terrifying, as the accelerated pace of species extinction and global deforestation underscore. But humanity isn’t interested in saving Earth, never mind itself, as the recent Glasgow climate summit reminded us.
We’re too numb, dumb, powerless and indifferent, too busy fighting trivial battles. So McKay has made “Don’t Look Up,” a very angry, deeply anguished comedy freak out about how we are blowing it, hurtling toward oblivion.
He’s sweetened the bummer setup with plenty of yuks — good, bad, indifferent — but if you weep, it may not be from laughing.

Huh? ‘Don’t Look Up‘ has an audience score of 77-percent on RottenTomotes, and CNN says it ‘delivers a scathing satire that occasionally veers off course.’ Fun time had by most.
Plot core, supposedly however, is the stupid, black-humored indifference.

No laughing matter, our planet quickly heating:

Our movie disaster/rom-com would be entitled ‘Don’t Look Outside.’
David Bromwich, literature instructor at Yale University, and author of “American Breakdown: The Trump Years and How They Befell Us,” wrote yesterday at The Nation that in order for mankind to get a handle on climate change, there’s got to be a big shift in “human flourishing,” or the half-a-millennium-old ‘continual-growth’ concept of western civilization:

Many of us know this; we feel it as a nagging reproach. We push away the anxiety, from bewilderment but also from a rational uncertainty regarding tactics.
One entire political party denies or minimizes the threat. The other party addresses it somewhere near the top of an indifferent list, alongside worthy items like improved health care and free college.

How did we come to this place? For the past five centuries, Appropriative Man has sought to dominate nature. The tools discovered by science, which we find already in our hands, are valuable for aggrandizement, destruction, comfort, and self-care.
We don’t intend to bury the tools, and even if the sacrifice were plausible, we don’t know how to perform it.
We lack the strength to make ourselves weak.

No phrase is more sacred to secular activists than “human flourishing,” but the campaign against climate disruption will set boundaries on our flourishing. Such acts of collective self-denial have emerged in the past only as means to a political end — as when Cromwell proposed that members of Parliament resign their military command for the public good.
Now the elimination of convenience and luxury will be part of the end itself.
We can “thrive” and be “resilient” — two more favorite words — only in the changed conditions we must now impose on ourselves.

So seemingly a hard-row-to-hoe in getting a grip on climate change — Bromwich is a bit pessimistic:

The commitment required to avert climate catastrophe is going to be staggering, expensive, and, at the same time, tedious and ordinary. Putting in a heat-pump system is not like buying a new Peloton.
And yet the change must come, to the exclusion of other expenditures, if we are going to maintain a shred of decent living half a century from now.
If there were ever a cause that demanded single-minded attention, this is it.

One commonly hears it said, with a shade of regret by people over 50: “I won’t live to see the end of this.” Is it possible to shrug your shoulders morally?
The nature of our lethargy is to look on the catastrophe as one more transient discomfort, amenable to political solutions like the other problems on the usual list.
The truth is that this will cost a lot and it won’t be fun. It adds up to an obstruction our commercial culture can do nothing with.

This reformation will be full of drudgery and very little uplift. No wonder Barack Obama — who knew enough and knew better — avoided the subject for most of his presidency.
No wonder Donald Trump took care to know no better but instead retained “the possession of being well deceived.”
The task calls for clear scientific explanation accompanied by political persuasion­ — in short, exactly the kind of leadership we haven’t yet seen.

Reality appears sometimes like a movie I’m watching and not really comprehending. The set design, though, is so right-on shitty like “Pulp Fiction,” but on an even grander scale. And the action appears unreal from its weirdness in that genre/category of ‘this can’t be happening’ brain buzz.

Maybe if you CGI the shit out of the whole thingie:

Or not.
Once again here we are…

(Illustration out front found here).

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