Anthropologist, Jared Diamond, addresses normalcy in his book, "Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." He discusses normalcy in the context of "creeping normalcy" or "landscape amnesia." That refers to human nature's shortsightedness, our ability to forget the past, to blur memories that remind us of how dangerously far we have gone over a remarkably brief period of years. If you lose your awareness of what "normal" meant ten or twenty years ago, you have lost your metric by which to gauge change. A sense of normalcy can mask enormous abnormality.
The Tyee's, Andrew Nikiforuk, addresses the danger in his latest column, "Normal is the Problem."
Sharon Wilson is a fifth-generation Texan who drives around rural communities and takes pictures of oil and gas facilities with an infrared camera. The pictures make visible all the methane pollution that industry and governments pretend is not happening in rural communities.
Wilson recently tweeted these two sentences: “We can and must do better than going back to normal. Normal is the problem.”
And she is right as rain about that. Normal has become a pathological state.
...Let’s face facts: our hi-tech, globalized-trade-anything-for-peanuts world run mostly by tyrants isn’t natural.
Since 1970, an outpouring of normality has just about destroyed the Earth: It has created an abnormal economic machine, blind to energy spending, that doubled the global population and boosted per capita consumption by 45 per cent.
At the same time the so-called value of global economic activity grew by 300 per cent. Meanwhile global trade has exploded like a coronavirus by 900 per cent. To support all this consumption and trade, the extraction of “living materials” from nature has jumped by 200 per cent.
...That’s like eating your kidneys for dinner, and I can’t think of anybody who would consider that normal except Hannibal Lecter.
We have eliminated 40 per cent of the world’s original forests. We have extirpated (and there’s a word for these normal times) most of the world’s large mammals. An estimated one million species of animals and plants stand on the brink of extinction. ...Homo sapiens, another mammal, are on that list, and we pretend that’s normal.
...Normal means you don’t have any respect for limits or sacred places. Normal means you think you can simply swap fossil fuels with so-called “clean energy” and protect the norm. But it mostly means you have surrendered your capacity to be human and to love this place.
So I don’t want to go back to normal.
I don’t want to go back to a world where it’s okay to industrialize and then globalize the care of old people as though they are just another resource to be mined before they die.
...I don’t want to go back to the digital contagion uprooting our minds and souls where authoritarian males justify the mining of our computers for data to improve their ability to engineer our behaviours.
That’s just predation.
I don’t want to go back to a world where lawyers and judges don’t understand the difference between a legal system and a justice system. I don’t want to go back to a world where governments think it is okay to sacrifice agricultural communities with disruptive fracking technologies that cause earthquakes, pollute groundwater and consistently lose money.
That’s just white-collar crime with a high-pressure water pump.
...I don’t want to go back to a world where we accept the status quo of escalating wealth inequalities and polarized political thinking.
Polarization ends in one of three bloody ways: civil war, revolution or slavery.
...I don’t want to go back to a world where billionaires think so little of this Earth that their primary obsession is to escape to Mars.
I don’t want to go back to a world where political leaders don’t have the courage to talk about cheap energy, reckless consumption, over-population and climate change in the same sentence.
And I don’t want to go back to a world where the media can’t admit that our civilization, as William Ophuls puts it, “has gotten too big, too complex and too hard to manage.”
I don’t want to go back to an economy where corporations socialize all costs and privatize all gains. That’s robbery and theft. And it must end.
...So Sharon Wilson got it right. Normal is the problem, and the normlessness of a pandemic has exposed the fat tail of normal as pathology.
And I am not going back to it.
Sharon Wilson says we can leave normal for better this way: “Do all things with love, and be damn fierce about it.”
Amen to that.Ask yourself this: Is your political party of choice in these ranks? If it is, what are you doing supporting it?