evidence is to be “believed” or “denied” as if the scientific papers are so many Lutheran creeds pinned to a door

Have you seen this amazing essay Elegy for a Country’s Seasons by Zadie Smith yet? If not, why not?

And then also it’s important to remember that the necessary conditions of our lives—those things that seem to us unavoidably to be the case—are not only debated by physicists and philosophers but exist, irrationally, in the minds of the rest of us, beneath contempt intellectually, perhaps, but we still experience them as permanent facts. The climate was one of those facts. We did not think it could change. That is, we always knew we could do a great deal of damage to this planet, but even the most hubristic among us had not imagined we would ever be able to fundamentally change its rhythms and character, just as a child who has screamed all day at her father still does not expect to see him lie down on the kitchen floor and weep. Now, do you think that’ll get me off the hook with my (slightly tiresome and judgmental) future granddaughter? I worry.

Oh, what have we done! It’s a biblical question, and we do not seem able to pull ourselves out of its familiar—essentially religious—cycle of shame, denial, and self-flagellation. This is why (I shall tell my granddaughter) the apocalyptic scenarios did not help—the terrible truth is that we had a profound, historical attraction to apocalypse. In the end, the only thing that could create the necessary traction in our minds was the intimate loss of the things we loved.

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  1. Pingback: Another Week of Global Warming News, March 30, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered


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