This article by Roy Scranton (author of Learning to die in the Anthropocene: reflections on the end of a
civilization. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2015) draws an analogy between the relief of suffering for dying individuals and palliative care for our species as the terminal phases of our current civilisation approaches. Here is a taster:
Like a gravely ill patient trying to remain alive, our whole world is struggling to find a silver bullet.
- Our economic models are not working,
- Our political structures are corrupted,
- Our ability to respond and adapt to our rapidly decaying environment is wanting.
- We worry about the many threats to our civilization but seem to be stubbornly confident that they will find the path to salvation.
- Pundits of all stripes peddle their solutions, their prescriptions.
- Economists invoke the invisible hand,
- The devout pin their hopes on the divine and
- Scientists assure us that – given enough funding –
They may all be deluding themselves, and us. Our proposed cures may provoke only more suffering …
In 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated that it would take US$30 billion in aid annually to eradicate hunger in the world. As of September of the following year, we had already injected over US$17 trillion into the private banking system in an effort to cure the financial crisis – enough
to save the world from hunger for 600 years! 6 We can no longer say we cannot afford it.