🏜️The Mysterious Ways of Love - Viral Predictions of Mass Death in Phoenix, Arizona

🏜️The Mysterious Ways of Love - Viral Predictions of Mass Death in Phoenix, Arizona
Newton, by William Blake. Blake believed that Newton’s scientific approach to the world was too reductive. Here he implies Newton is so fixated on his calculations that he is blind to the world around him.

This week one of my tweets, predicting the mass death of 12% of Phoenix in the 2030s, went viral, accumulating 1.6 million views. Several scientists have pushed back on it with one chief scientist at Berkley even bluntly dismissing it as “dumb”. Here’s why their twisted love of certainty is actually a form of denial. 

In the film Beautiful Mind the main super nerdy guy, John Nash, goes up to a woman in a bar and tells her the truth - he wants to have sexual intercourse with her. In a predictably Hollywood way, she slaps him across the face. Sometimes the truth is not actually the whole truth - there is another sense of truth which is more appropriate, more real. When you go to a funeral it is “true” that the grieving partner will “get over it” in time. But you don't go up to this person in the depths of grief and say, “Ah there’s no point being down -  cheer up. Plenty more fish in the sea”. Only a dick does that. 

The problem with scientists (with the unique exception of NASA’s Peter Kalmus) is that they think like John Nash. They approach women like they approach maths. They communicate about “climate change” as they communicate about moss. I had a scientist friend years ago  - super nerdy - who studied moss. He was an international moss expert and explained the ins and outs of moss in a highly competent, professional way. But no one gets emotional about moss. The “climate” is entirely different - it is jam-packed and overflowing with emotional and existential angst. In a reductionist way, of course, climate is a physical thing just as moss is a physical thing. But “things” don’t exist in our consciousness - only “things-in-an-emotional-context”. Understanding this is vital for our culture if we are going to survive.

Let’s look at another analogy: think about a fire starting in your house. You run to the neighbour and scream “My kids are going to fucking die”. If a scientist was to say “Well that’s not quite right - you need to do a proper risk analysis - papers suggest that the death of children in fires...“  that would be really fucked up. And so is you running to your neighbour and saying, “My house is on fire with a 55% chance of burning down and a 30% unsubstantiated probability of severe burns to my children (who are almost certainly mine) - would you be so kind as to come and help”. It would be totally fucked and inhuman. 

But this is how the public sphere expresses itself on “climate” - that technical repressive word for the prospect of the agonising hell of slow death for ourselves and our children. 

Last year, Phoenix suffered a month of consecutive days over 110F (43C) and a record 645 heat deaths – a 700% rise over the past decade.

The nerdy scientists are the mirror image of the raging deniers. They feed each other. They both need each other like one of those really perverse dependency relationships. If scientists emote and speak in blunt terms like “my children are going to die”, the deniers give them hell for saying things that are not certain. “Have you proof that your children will die you fucking bunch of fear mongers? No!”. And so the scientists retreat, which suits them just fine because then they can continue to be in their comfort zone of only talking about certainties: “Sorry you are right, there is only an uncertain possibility my children will soon enter into unique levels of discomfort”. 

Both scientists and deniers are not computers - they are humans trying to avoid emotional pain. Both groups can’t cope with me because I am the guy running into the room going: “I don’t give a flying fuck about your fucking certainty analysis - it's my fucking children you total dicks.” That's why I got 1.6 million views. Because I am violating the rules both sides impose on the public sphere. That is why my favourite historical figure, Larry Kramer, was such an effective change-maker. Because he didn’t give a fuck - check him out

This is a roundabout way of saying that when I say, “12% of Phoenix are going to die” I am not really saying 12% of Phoenix are going to die. I am not talking about moss - I am making an emotional, rhetorical and entirely appropriate statement. A deeply true statement in the holistic sense. 

I know 12% of Phoenix might ACTUALLY not die. But that is not the point. The point is this world is so fucked up because we just sit there and continue watching Netflix when we are in this beyond fucking fucked situation. 

Get it yet? What I am ACTUALLY saying is “Wake the fuck up you fucking dicks.”

The opposite of love is not hate - it's indifference. Hate, don't get me wrong, is a terrible thing but indifference is so much worse. Indifference is death. The first 100-plus hateful comments below my tweet are all calling me a dick. Why? Because they are crying out for this terrible shit show called “Climate” not to be real. Because if it is real, it will be so unbearably upsetting, not just for themselves and those they love, but for their whole sense of the world as something they need to control. Lack of control is hell. It's like death. It is death - something we cannot avoid. 

The expression of denial and its vicious defensive nature is a form of distorted love. You want things to be okay for what you love. You want it so much but you cannot make it happen, and you hate that. You hate people that give you this message and you want to smash stuff up.

But this is better than silence - cold, hard, dead. This is what the liberal classes do when they go “Well Roger I think you are doing good work but I really think you need to just check your facts a bit more often”. I prefer the deniers any day over the complacent repression of the “educated” classes. Wasn’t this why Jesus hung out with the low life rather than the Pharisees and lawyers?

This leads me to my final comment. When I was young I was told a story at church which had a massive impact on me for reasons I still cannot entirely articulate. A missionary was surrounded by a gang and they hated him. They were going to kill him. The missionary said to them, “You can kill me but Jesus will still love you”. Then the gang leader started to cry. 

We all need to accept that even though things are all so fucked up, we are still loved - in real life by someone, or just by some divine being. And only then can we break down and cry, let go, and finally reconnect. 

Let's just accept it - and come together in love. It has to be our only hope. 

I've got two focuses:

  • Revolution - Building social formations to create revolution and guide moments of social disruption.
  • A Balanced Society - Building a new civilisation based on a new balance of deliberative democracy, compassion, and limited consumption.

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