From chapter "Narcissism"
When I think of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I think of the catastrophic consequences caused by members of this culture believing they’re able to control the natural world. I think of the United States Forest Service managing forests to death. I think of the United States National Marine Fisheries Services managing oceans to death. I think of the United States Corps of Engineers managing rivers to death. I think of the entire human supremacist managerial ethos of this culture, stealing and murdering its way across the earth, pretending it can steal from and murder complex natural communities without fucking them up. I think of members of this culture creating, then releasing, genetically modified organisms into the world. I think of members of this culture changing the weather. I think of this culture releasing poisons into the world, bathing it in endocrine disruptors, covering it with neurotoxins. I think of this culture creating plastics. I think of mountaintop removal.
What could possibly go wrong?
I think of this culture killing off passenger pigeons, Eskimo curlews, bison, pronghorn antelope, pollinators, whales, cod, seals, prairie dogs, keystone species, mother trees, mother grasses, mountains, prairies, rivers, forests, oceans. What could possibly go wrong? I think of articles I’m seeing now about the creation of mechanical “bees” to replace the pollinators this culture is murdering.
What could possibly go wrong with any of this?
I think of an article I saw just moments ago entitled “What If Mosquitoes Were Annihilated?” The article began by calling mosquitoes “Little. Annoying. Killing Machines.” It went downhill from there, mainly citing CEOs of two corporations dedicated to wiping out mosquitoes—well, actually the CEOs are dedicated to making money as they wipe out mosquitoes. The CEOs described how fabulous it would be to eradicate mosquitoes, if we could only overcome the technical challenges. I mean, we don’t really want to drain every wetland and denude every forest, do we? The real solution, according to them, is for their corporations to genetically modify mosquitoes to render them sterile, then release them into the wild. Then we can eradicate mosquitoes! And gosh, what could possibly go wrong? Well, not much, evidently. Or at least that’s what one of the CEOs reassures us. And how does he know that not much bad will happen? Because of the name, silly! Don’t you know that names humans give nonhumans determine the nonhumans’ roles and functions in the real world? And if humans determine the nonhumans have no roles, well, then, they have no roles! It’s naturalistic philosophy, dude! And etymology! As the CEO says, “To be honest, there isn’t much evidence that mosquitoes do much good. In fact the name, anopheles. Anopheles mosquitoes are the ones that [sic] spread malaria and the Greek origin of their name actually means, of little use.” There you have it. And just so you know that this CEO puts his (receipt of) money where his (lying) mouth is, his corporation has tried to release these genetically modified mosquitoes in Panama without doing any sort of risk assessment on what this could do to the local natural communities.
When I think of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, I think of the utter insanity, the megalomania, the narcissism, the sociopathology, of believing that you know better than the real world what is good for the real world.
I think of this culture.