Sunday was Earth Day, and in honor of the occasion, I’d like to say that as far as I’m concerned the Earth can go to hell.
The Earth — for those of you who may have fallen behind on your reading — is a piece of rock trapped in a slow death spiral into a cauldron of exploding plasma which, for lack of a better word, we’ll call the sun. Because that’s its name. There is exactly one interesting or worthwhile thing about this hunk of doomed space debris, and that is: it happens to maintain the conditions necessary for supporting life. (The odds against this would be ridiculously impossible, by the way, if there were no God — so impossible that scientists have been forced to invent all kinds of silly multi-universe scenarios solely for the purpose of convincing themselves that there is no God. But that’s their problem, and neither here nor there.)
So the earth supports life. Whoopee. And there is exactly one interesting or worthwhile thing about life — only one — and that is the mind of man.
“Holy cannoli, Klavan on the Culture,” you may be saying to yourself, or even out loud — because, let’s face it, you’re kind of an odd person — I mean, just look at you. Anyway, “Holy cannoli or even moley,” you may be saying, “how can you say the mind of man is the only interesting or worthwhile thing about life? What about the beauty of the running gazelle? The nobility of the flying eagle? The awesome awesomeness of the spacious skies above the amber waves running to the purple mountains above the fruited plains? And how about those glazed donuts with the yellow creme inside? I love those!”
First of all, stop talking so much, this is my blog. And b, there is no beauty, no nobility, no awesome awesomeness — not even the taste of a glazed donut — outside the human mind. The science is not yet settled, but reality itself may be in part a production of the human mind as there are some aspects of the world that don’t seem to resolve themselves until we observe them. But in any case, the gazelle would be fleet for nothing, the eagle would be a winged eating machine, the skies and the waves and the mountains would be dreams without the dreamer if man were not here to know them.
Once you realize this, everything changes. You no longer worry about the earth running out of energy resources, because you realize there are no energy resources — there never were — there are only various forms of matter that our minds, the mind of man, transformed into energy resources for our pleasure and convenience. These will never run out as long as we’re here because the mind is limitless and will invent more.
You no longer worry about pollution, because you know that once free people become annoyed by it, other free people will fix it with cleaner fuel-burning methods and filters. Where are the pea soups of London? Where are the smogs of Los Angeles? Where are the snows of yesteryear? All right, I was just curious about that last one.
You no longer worry about the earth, because the earth is here for us, not the other way around. The earth is just our living space — for now. We should keep it reasonably clean and pleasant. But a carping obsession with spotless housekeeping turns you into a scolding fishwife — or an environmentalist — and makes life less comfortable for man, not more.
I’m a lifelong outdoorsman. I hike. I fish. I run through the woods acting out scenes from Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Or I did before the restraining order. I understand that a reasonable caution for the good of the environment should balance the profit motive of those excellent people who provide us with all the wonderful energy we need. I believe we can begin to achieve that reasonable caution by burying every environmentalist we can find up to his neck and then pouring honey on his head to attract the ants. You like ants, don’t you? So there’s a good way to celebrate Earth Day!
The earth is not warming catastrophically. Fracking does not cause earthquakes. We should find and use every drop of oil we’ve got — there’s enough there for centuries, by which time we’ll be living on Alpha Centauri powering our flying cars with toilet paper or old pages of Barack Obama’s autobiography… but I repeat myself.
So screw Earth Day. I would like to declare today — and every day — the Mind of Man Day. Celebrate that — nurture that — glorify that — and the earth, believe me, will take care of itself.