[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Screaming Fire in a burning theater.

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 30, 2002


"In social affairs, I'm an optimist. I really do believe that our military-industrial civilization will soon collapse." — Edward Abbey

Recently I had an epiphany involving anger, apathy, and the rocking of sinking boats. This epiphany, if that's what it was, was prompted by a letter from a reader, which rightfully left me questioning my need to cry wolf in a world of too many sheep.

I get a lot of response from my column, some glowing, some harsh, all of it welcome. One e-mail however was both judgmental and oddly validating. Steeped in the Pollyanna lingo of New Ageism, this review of my supposed emotional state set me off, big time. In a healthy way of course.

The letter, I suspect, was intended as constructive criticism. If that was the case, then so be it. Introspection is always a good thing. If it was meant to be an offer of counseling, I respectfully pass on the altruistic consideration. I'll let my other readers be the judge. Below is the e-mail in its entirety.

How about doing one article that is positive, powerful, upbeat and maybe even spiritual?
Your obsession on the negative is so easy to fall into and what good will it do?
Maybe you need a self improvement course to see your own problems, or maybe an article just about you and your problems.
Get a positive internal life!
I read your stuff and I feel sick.
I read you as a ungrateful, pessimistic, negative person who projects your own sickness outward.
You have a large unhealed internal life dude and don't blame GW or anybody else, for that matter.
Heal yourself!

At first I thought "Uh, oh, time for anger mediation sessions," then it hit me, why shouldn't I be angry. Soon I realized I was angry because more people aren't angry about the dysfunctional relationship western civilization has imposed on the planet, and the species that inhabit it. If stating the obvious is considered "negative" then I'm guilty as charged. Personally I find nothing spiritual in witnessing the sixth great extinction. Oops, there I go again, being all negative.

This negative email accusing me of being negative, also suggests that I do an article on myself and the problems contributing to "a large unhealed internal life." Excuse me, isn't that what I have been doing for the past decade? But since I aim to please, let's review my problems.

First of all I have a problem with our corrupt federal government, currently involved in a war over access to oil resources. These same oil resources are choking the planet, while triggering catastrophic climatic conditions. The republicrats are also waging war with herbicides in Columbia, disease and hunger in Iraq, and conservative ideology at home. Not to mention a war on the poor, the environment, and civil liberties.

Another thing I have a problem with is gross over population of the human species. The dinosaurs are blameless in their own extinction, humans are not. Humans are also are guilty of ecocide. Not content with our collective suicide, we have decided that evolution will end with fast food, strip malls, and the anthropocentric delusion that the earth was created so that seething mass of mankind would have a litter box to exploit. How's that for negativism?

Let's see other problems, genetic engineering, animal exploitation, homophobia, racism, speciesism, capitalism, religion as a weapon, religion as a reason not to think for yourself, blind trust, myopic faith, dams, freeways, Mc Donald's, Bill Horn, the Bush Dynasty, Gail Norton, John Ashcroft, Ted Nugent, Charlton Heston, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh, broadcast journalism, and Pepsi. All of which, I might add, heavily contribute to ignorance and injustice on a global scale.

For those of you who have yet to pick up on the fact that I do what I do because it needs to be done, sooner or later you will realize some of us are not content with being one of the sheep people. Yes, I am angry, and getting more so everyday. Not because I find joy in chronicling the demise of planet earth, but because I find fulfillment in speaking a truth long denied by those who would rather fiddle while everything burns.

Let's face it folks, the meek will not inherit the earth because humanity is conquering itself. Without a complete shift in cultural consciousness, human arrogance will be the hammer that will eventually bring our house of cards down. And no amount of Pollyanna lip service will alter the fact that we are in dire straights.

Heal yourself? How about heal the planet?

[an error occurred while processing this directive]