Excellence is not inherited. One seeks it with discipline
and one appreciates it with humility.
~Baron Eric de Rothschild
Cybergnosis »

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For years I've talked about how if you think of the planet, Earth, as a living being, and all the different species as the differentiated 'cells' that make up the organism, then what do you call a type of cell that reproduces without anything else to keep it in check and creates great scabs of concrete, glass and steel on the skin of the organism that exude poisonous fumes and extend long tendrils of concrete and asphalt endlessly out from scab to scab? In my mind this is a fair description of cancer.

But this analogy is not perfect. It fails in two ways. The first is that if indeed we, the human species, are a cancer on the living planet, we are different from cancers in ourselves in that we are simultaneously capable of being this cancer and of being aware of ourselves as such and therefore potentially capable of doing something about it. In other words, we have a choice, to continue being so or not.

The other difference is that in the case of a cancer in us, if even with all our high tech medicine we are unable to cure ourselves of this cancer, then we, the host, will die. In the case of the planet, on the other hand, if we don't succeed in 'curing' ourselves of this cancerous attitude, then the victim of the disease will eventually be us, the human species. The planet will not miss us. She will happily go on to repopulate herself with newly evolved species and quickly, given a cosmic scale of time, reach a new balance.

So, we had better get it right and do it soon. Not like the 'heads of state' that gather for worldwide environmental conferences who in spite of giving lip service to the problem, rather than really striving for a solution spend their time jockeying for position in order to take advantage of the situation, most likely not even for the 'sake' of the countries they represent but for their own personal career gain. For this reason, it is no surprise when they can come to no agreement, and we continue in our headlong rush, like lemmings over a cliff, to self extinction.

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