Sinead O'Connor said, "God's children deserve to sleep safe." I bet most parents out there in Newsland would agree. Me too, except I would say, "All children-"
Until I stumbled into the role of parenting for the biological children who chose me for their sperm donor (what were they thinking?) and those who have honoured me by adopting me as big brother, substitute father, stand-in grandfather, and mentor, I don't think I understood the meaning of the words "fear" or "love." Even now, as one of the Gnarly Old Dudes and Dames of Steveston (GODDS) the only thing that really scares the hell out of me is our children's future.
Why? Human population has now doubled to 7.018 billion, just as forecast in the last century, 50 years ago, when I was a young man. The rate of increase is also now twice what it was then. We are now hurtling down the track to a disastrous dead end of global proportions and picking up speed!
We have depleted Mother Earth's resources, changed her climate, extinguished countless species, paved some of the world's more arable land, tolerated the global deaths to starvationrelated diseases of the equivalent of Canada's population every year, and still cling to the false hope that the latest whizz-bang technology will save our sorry butts. In fact, I am currently in the process of publishing a cookbook for electronic devices. Most Canadian-born adults who have not seen the horrors which are the everyday reality for the majority of our brother and sister Homo sapiens are smugly living in la-la land. Some are getting rich flippin' properties to the influx of wealthy emigrants from these hopeless places, as our economic model requires. Some are purchasing family homes on spec in places like Arizona, made unaffordable to local families by government corruption. "If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion," wrote one of the world's most prominent prophets and leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky. Jane Goodall, wise woman and life-long observer of great apes has said, "The greatest threat to our future is apathy."
Perhaps worse than apathy, and with all due apologies for comments I know some of my friends will find offensive, we have religious zealotry, which forbids the use of our brains to deal with the hard reality bearing down on us. Zealots are constrained, instead, to believe literally in the metaphorical tribal oral stories contained in texts thousands of years in the revision by warring factions. These beliefs, along with king (wealth) and country (property) have been the basis of inhuman slaughter from the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the Witch Burnings, to the extinction of whole cultures in North and South America. Ask any Native Canadian who was sent to a residential school if you need evidence.
Most distressingly, the evil which stalks us now wears a corporate uniform. Our political system of "IDIOCRACY" (credit for the term goes to Casey Careless) is controlled by an economic model which depends for its success on increasing growth and profit, and talks about "sustainable development." That is both on oxymoron and a load of bull crap! The current rule of this rodeo is "whoever has the most wealth when we hit that dead end, wins." As Phyrrus, a famous king of Greece (+ 400 B.C.) once commented "One more victory like that and we are undone."
So, do you think I'm godless? Just the opposite. No more than the acronym of the people for whom I write is accidental: GODDS. I believe in all the GODDS! Why? People have to believe in something. My personal preference has been distilled in Dublin, Ireland, since 1780, by John Jameson and Sons, but if you have another preference, fair enough.
Where we part company is when these beliefs supersede sober thinking. So, call me an agnostic, an atheist, a pagan, a heathen, or a white kaffir if it turns your crank. No matter how you may choose to hate me, I would still give my life for your child! Why? Because we all love our kids, don't we? If not, we need to have a different dialogue. We want a happy, safe future for them, don't we? It all comes back to that universal conundrum which is, there are too many.
And so (yes, I know kids, its ungrammatical), as we observe World Population Day on Wednesday, July 11, I care less what your think, than that you think. Socrates (+400 B.C.) is reputed to have said, "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." Please remember, too, what that other famous classical philosopher of our times, Clint Eastwood (The Unforegiven) said, in contradiction to Sinead O'Connor's hope, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it!" Think about it. I have no doubt the editor will welcome your counterargument and so would I, if I survive.
Ramblin' Ryan Lake Gnarly Old Dudes and Dames of Steveston