Monday, November 13, 2006

Entropy: A Reflection

Or Perhaps an Elegy
Posted by PeterAtLarge

It's an education, Bush. Joshua Tree. The Mojave. A place of such incredible natural power and beauty, a person is simply overwhelmed by the grandeur of the landscape. That wonderful word "awe" comes readily to mind. It's humbling, as a small human being, to walk amongst those massive rocks and boulders, to gaze out at the sunrise or the sunset, to look down from a mountain top to the immense vista of the valley floor, and in this way to register a sense of scale that leaves us with a renewed perspective on our lives.

It's grand, inspiring... and at the same time a powerful reminder of the endless battle for survival, and the vital role of decay and death in that natural process. It's not only the plants--those which have adapted miraculously to an arid, rocky, inhospitable environment, and those which have not: their skeletons are everywhere in evidence, rotting in the desert sun... and providing, incidentally, a home for a myriad of more successfully surviving animals and insects. Not only the plants, but the rocks themselves, in the infinitely slow, but almost visible process of change, their surfaces eroding in the wind. You can feel it there, Bush: the Earth at work.

And then there are the works of man. A gold mine, high in a remote part of the mountains, its walls collapsed, its massive gears and crushing machinery rusted into silence, a testimony under the infinite blue sky to the short life of man's grandest and most ambitious plans... An old flatbed truck, the wooden boards of its cargo bed rotted, its upright steel frame locked in the inevitable process of decay, its engine block a solid chunk of useless metal... An abandoned mill, a heap of rubble out of which soars the spindly wreck of wind tower... Not long, we guess, before it, too, topples.

These are the lucky ones. They have become "picturesque," photogenic. Almost romantic. We tourists stop along the path and snap a nice shot with our digital cameras. Less happy are the other evidences of the hand of man. Vandalism. Ancient petroglyphs, "improved" with modern paint or marred with arrogant graffiti. Worse, Bush--you see it from the mountainside, looking down--the air pollution caused by our addiction to the consumption of fossil fuels. No question. Our stuff down there, ruining the atmosphere, fouling our own nest.

Does it count as entropy when the destruction of our environment is man-induced? I don't know. You can't help but think about this kind of thing though, Bush, when you stumble on a corner in the shelter of the rocks where there is evidence of grinding by the ancients who lived here, where a stick figure is painted close by on the wall of the rock, and where you can imagine those early humans practicing their survival arts with so little impact on the Earth on which they depended for surivival. You can sense their reverence for the natural world; just as, sadly, you see everywhere the evidence of our disrespect, and thoughtlessness, and greed.

Something to think about, on a Monday morning, Bush. I'm back. Somewhat chastened by my close encounter with that primitive world. We saw, with that great thrill you get from encounters with the wild, two coyotes, a rabbit, a couple of quail. But where were the rest of them, I wondered? This is their home that we invade--yes, me too!--with our cars and trucks, our recreation vehicles, our high tech climbing gear, our cell phones... This was their home, and we are the invaders with our destructive habits. No wonder they make themselves scarce when they see us coming.

Still, Bush, despite those thoughts, a great weekend. A great way to celebrate an anniversary. Have a good week.


Fred said...

Great entry. Thanks, Peter

Carly said...

P: Yes, it does count as entropy. Because whatever man does, he cannot escape his part in the plan of nature. and nature will rule him forever. But they have arrogant eyes and cannot see that we should get with the program.
Truthout believes that by stating flatly that "impeachment is off the table," incoming Speaker Pelosi and incoming Chairman Conyers appear to have erred rather substantially. Impeachment, of course, is a matter of Constitutional law, not personal discretion on the part of individual lawmakers. The pre-emptive nature of the decision by Pelosi and Conyers stands in sharp contrast to every principal of law enforcement. Congress - whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans - has a solemn duty to uphold and when necessary enforce the law.

Amen.....But then, there is the ancient Chinese philosophy of the power of the pardon....Ahh,,but then there is the ancient Chinese philosophy of swift and certain punishment.

PeterAtLarge said...

Impeachment... yes. It's a big question mark for me. Did you catch my entry a while ago on this topic? I think the first order of business is investigation and oversight. If impeachable offenses surface as a result (I mean, something more tangible and indictable than "lying to the American people") then by all means, it should be done.

PK said...

Enjoyed your read, welcome home Peter...

Carly said...

This CIA analysis of Castro is sickening to me. The worst characteristic of Republicans, is that they see themselves as lord and master of nations. Empire builders, blind to history and the fate of expansionists, deluded by glories of conquest. Which always were about plunder. Except Africa, where there's no profit and the people are black.

All this comes from the evangelical warped mind, which is: go out and convert the world to your view, (and become their masters).

The world on the other hand now wants America out of their business.