May 6, 2011

Defensive indifference

Where is Earth's defense?
It's one of the finest phrases in baseball: defensive indifference. It's when a runner "steals" a base because no one on the opposing team gives a damn. They just let him run to the next base. Nobody even looks at him. Isn't that a great way to put it? Defensive indifference. It says so much.

Sadly, this term doesn't just apply to baseball. The end of civilization, and possibly the human race, is on the horizon because of defensive indifference. We're in the middle of a Great Extinction event right now. Species are disappearing at an insanely fast pace all over the world. In a hundred thousand years, when most species have gone extinct (including us, perhaps) it will be easy to look back at this era and see it accurately as the Great Dying. But on a daily level we don't even notice.

The problem is right in front of us and all the scientists are pointing at it and screaming "fire!" -- but we don't care. Why focus our attention on averting a death blow from climate change when we can waste our time cutting funding for poor people and making sure gay people can't get married? This is the nature of our defensive indifference: we deny the problem exists, do nothing to avert it and don't even think about it. So far, this is how we've "handled" the most serious problem we have ever faced: we shut the lights and made believe it wasn't there.

In effect, the human race is collectively engaging in defensive indifference. Our deaths are coming but we don't care. Our inaction in the face of such a colossal threat writes our epitaph and it is one that will be carved onto an Earth-sized gravestone:
"Here lies the human race. It went extinct through defensive indifference."

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

You hit the nail on the head, my friend - "defensive indifference" - exactly.