Saturday, August 29, 2015

Exploring the Planet with Google Maps

I have been looking at Google maps.  I started because the folks at Anarchapulco owe me money and have offered free registration for the event to pay some of it off.  Acapulco is about 2/3 the way to a building I own on The Cacao Farm in Nicaragua.  I began zooming out and exploring Google's map and found places where the borders are all screwy, like west of China where a bunch of "-stans" are located.

The border between Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan, and Tajikistan looks like a corkscrew, and that's probably just a best-guess approximation by people at Google because those countries argue about who owns what.  And constantly on my mind is what that means - for a bordered region to have a name and a border which is screwy and contentious.  Why is that so?  Because authorities want to do stuff there that other authorities don't want them to do.  It's like children laying down duct tape in a public park...  But they kill each other.

Then I moved over China and examined the east coast of Eurasia.  I saw Nagasaki and my heart fell.  I had to enter "Hiroshima" into the search box to find it.  I thought about how all the people here in America felt in August of 1945.  The 70th anniversary just passed, unnoticed by most, I guess.  I dwell on it as it makes tears well up in my head.  I let the grief overtake me.

We have this instinct as children to blindly trust whoever gets us a nipple or picks us up, and it's justified because as adults we have this instinct to care for and love tiny versions of ourelves.  But somewhere between those two instincts, one is supposed to give way to the other.  The human brain is magnificent, but when something causes it to stop caring about other creatures of the same species - to stop so much that killing hundreds, thousands, or millions seems like a reasonable policy decision - that magnificence putrefies into a malevolence.

It would be ok if the rest of us recognized the means through which such a malevolence could magnify the suffering it causes.  If we recognized its source as ourselves, we could cease to be its source.  But income taxes in the 30s were small and everyone knew they didn't apply to very many people.  On the other hand, the public schools had been under the control of human farmers for decades, so it wasn't too hard to use WWII as a pretext to make the tax more widespread and publicize that horrible lie that connects death and taxes.

So I've been sitting here pondering the borders, the laws, the governments, and the severe shortage of well-developed consciences these things have produced.  I cried a couple times.  I'm getting old and I will die in the next several decades, but I see hope for the human race to get out of this mess.  It starts with people like you and me if we can recognize that we ought not to blindly trust someone who seems to succor us, and that if we are to do right by what children we might have, we have to teach them to grow up as well.