The act of apology, in this context, is a gesture that represents an acknowledgment of the reality of human impact on our planet and our co-inhabitants.
Inherent in this act is an acknowledgment of the sanctity of all forms of life, large and small, and their equal right to the abundance that the earth is capable of delivering. That is of course assuming that we humans choose collectively to live in harmony with the planet that sustains us.
During the course of this project thus far, the action of apology has been labeled by some as being ineffectual.
I believe that this response is rooted in fear, born of social programming, and ignorance.
The challenge we face is not about saving this species or saving that one in linear time. Of course we must do what we can, yet we simply do not have the resources to save all the species that are endangered as a result of our industry. Many species have undoubtedly already disappeared without us even knowing that they existed. We too will disappear if we do not wake up on a scale significant enough to force an ideological shift on a global scale – towards systems that are in harmony with our planet and its resources, and thus sustainable.
The action of apology is not meant to affect physical change in the world, it is about coming to terms with where we are. It is about waking up and seeing all the pain and destruction in the world and seeing that much of it can be avoided. And the act of documenting the apologies is an attempt to engage people in a novel way as to the reality that we all face, whether we face up to it or not.
We can choose to turn our back on the reality but that does not mean that it is not so. Yet we are sometimes not willing to accept where we are because we feel that it somehow reflects on us personally in a ‘negative’ way. We can choose to label something as being ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ or ‘depressing’, and yet that does not change the fact that it is so.
It is only through acknowledgment and acceptance that we can choose to arrest and adjust our collective course.
Nevertheless the skeptic in us is not prepared to acknowledge the reality of our world, and our communal part in that reality, because it means that our cozy bubbles of lifestyle and convenience quickly dissolve. It means rapid change and short-term adaptations for the sake of the survival of humanity. However, by refusing to see and acknowledge where we are at, we are weighted with the underlying unconscious awareness of the reality. And, in any case, those of us who choose the bubble are only in for a rude awakening. So it is ultimately a false choice.
And the thing about our current reality, here on this sublimely beautiful and fortunate rock flying through space, is that it is very real. And it is not going away. In fact it is only going to get more real and if it hasn’t already gotten real enough in your neck of the woods (like say in New Orleans for example) don’t worry…it may still do so.
Perhaps an effective antidote to this paralysis, fear and resultant retreat into old behaviors is the realization that there is no blame. There is no point in assigning blame, it sidesteps the real issue. We are all in this together and we need to see that we live in a closed system where the pain of our fellow beings is our own (because we are all connected at the most fundamental level as quantum physics is continuously revealing) and where greed and the conquering disposition must be replaced, promptly, with compassion and selfless custodianship if we are to survive.
By the same logic it is BP that is solely responsible for the recent tragedy in the gulf. Of course, it has nothing to do with our dependence on fossil fuels and oil based economic interests and/or our consumption of petroleum products. And of course it is an isolated incident (forget the thousands of ecological disasters perpetrated by energy purveyors in their creative pursuit of profit in supplying us with our energy needs) that must be cleaned up. And of course it has nothing to do with government relations with big oil, nor the fact that someone approved the ridiculous idea of deep-sea drilling.
An oil spill is a symptom of a much larger paradigm that must be abandoned if we have dream to survive.
Yet another breed of skeptic feels that humans are by birth the superior purveyors of progress and reason in a jungle of savage lesser beings of minimal consequence and that it is our task to bring order and sanity to the reign of cayos. Like the lost heroin from a Jane Austen novel who finds herself bravely swatting away the flies in a savage and foreign land, only to find a measure of solace in a colonial garden, a corner of sanity in sea of baron cayos. Only a measure though, since the awareness of the ‘savagery’ and illusion of control lurks just beneath the surface. And the captains of industry, the powers that be, are the miserly kings who look upon the rest of us as peasants and laugh at us, for we too are lesser beings in our V8’s and programmed material aspirations.
Such emotional separation from the planet that sustains us is the reality for most of us and, although one would be hard pressed to say when this alienation was first born, it is certainly evident if one looks at the process of mainstream contemporary`civilization’, which reflects a conquering attitude towards nature embodied in the prospecting gaze of colonialism that set up the social structures by which we still live today.
Perhaps an effective antidote to this paralysis, fear and resultant retreat into old behaviors is the realization that there is no blame. There is no point in assigning blame, it sidesteps the real issue. We are all in this together and we need to see that we live in a closed system where the pain of our fellow beings is our own and where greed and the conquering disposition must be replaced, promptly, with compassion and selfless service if we are to survive?
Some would go so far as to say that we’ve gone too far already – that, in both meteorological and human terms, we’re doomed. Personally, I would like to believe that the adversities that will present themselves in the future would serve as food for ongoing evolution and newfound unity in purpose.
When I give credence to the skepticism that I experience from time to time, self-consciousness creeps into my apologies and I feel selfish in that I allow the judgment of others to affect the integrity and depth of sentiment.
Even though I know in my heart that the gesture is a genuine one and I can choose not to react to those who do not relate to what I am doing. Conversely the creatures I am apologizing to have no choice but react to the adversity that human activity delivers. The manatees that are run down in mid frolic, the turtles that swim into a cloud of oil in the gulf, the polar bears that drown because the polar ice caps are melting at an accelerated rate – the examples run into the millions.
Now I understand that people don’t want their warm fuzzy bubble to be broken but we need to wake up and see the reality.