31 January 2022

The Uninhabitable Earth, the unbearable brightness of seeing

                                                  Roy Liechtenstein, 1960's

I have been reading The Uninhabitable Earth, a dystopian assessment of a future life here on earth by David Wallis-Ellis. Honestly, living through all this information feels not only like being drowned into a dark funnel of hopelessness but also like being attacked by ten thousand Asian hornets at once. So why read it? Because I am fascinated by history, all kinds of histories about nations, cultures and people. But this feels like reading a history book about a place (our planet Earth) but in reverse, because most of it hasn't yet happened. Though we are already experiencing the planet's revolt at our behaviour, the worst is yet to come, increasingly within a hundred years time according to this author and many many others.

To be honest, I am actually listening to it in Audible which is a first for me. I am glad too, because it seems less lonely hearing the author's gentle voice describe the horrors just down the road. Reading it, on the other hand, alone in my dread, and creasing the book's poor paper pages with dog ears as I habitually do, might, I fear be too shattering and leave me in fetal position for days on end. Yes, I dramatise, but hey! This is serious shit, as the kids say these days.  

Would I recommend it? I am not sure because I have been sleeping badly now for a week. My heart seems to be revved up several hundred RPM like a two cylinder Yahama trail bike, and I awaken in the morning with that lost feeling I sometimes used to have with a hangover. In fact, it was indirectly recommended to me by the fellow who wrote and directed Don't Look Up when he spoke of it in an interview with Ari Melber a few weeks back. He described it as the catalyst for writing the screenplay. For him it was THE metaphor for climate change.

So, regarding Climate Change, I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to maintain a fairytale version of how everything should, and will work out in the end. When an Aussie says to me (about anything) 

"She'll be right mate"

I know to run for the hills.

But, I am older, and thus will not see the more unpleasant changes coming to us all relatively soon. Though I am a pessimist by nature, not willingly, but out of an early childhood habit, it's confusing enough to face my own eventual demise, but the surreal prognosis of Earth's rapid transformation is mind-bending. It renders everything, well,,, just mute, silent like deep space.

Politically, it's my feeling that most deniers of Climate Change, (even surrogates of the fossil fuel industry) have basically surrendered the fight to save Earth. The smarter ones see it but deny its seriousness because basically they have surmised that it's inevitable, and it surpasses their imagination for any solutions, so they have given up. And for the dumber ones like Trump, this simply bypasses their own insular circuitry. But in the end, most of them are all hoping for the best while a few of the delusional wing (with money) still hope to get to Mars in time. But the really wealthy are all building fortresses in the mountains of Idaho and the Swiss Alps so to mitigate the consequences of it all. Most problems the rest of us have are a mere inconvenience for the truly Rich. But even they, with their deep pockets, cannot envision anything beyond their children's children's children's lives. For them, spreadsheets don't spread that far. 

Imagine Van Gogh's Starry Night ending up as a slide show in an underground luxury bunker in Idaho?

But lastly, I cannot get the ludicrous idea that Putin will probably wage war in Ukraine within weeks possibly, as if that is really so important? Mind you, the Idiot Bush Jr. also waged a senseless war twenty years ago and wreaking havoc for no apparent reason at all. But knowing that this planet has stage four cancer makes one want to stand up atop the dinner table, naked if need be, and scold all these people while brandishing celery stalks in their faces. 

Being bombarded with crisscrossing world events that distract us from the real existential crisis raises everything to a heightened surreality. And this is perfectly rendered in the marvellous black comedy Don't Look Up.

Here is what is still on offer on earth here at sea level. These were done in the past week at the beach.

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 28 January 2022, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads 23 January 2022, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm


  1. askance at myself reading loving your work not stopping my tears falling some sort of resonance - grateful thanks to your touching subjects that I can never express

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