I'll send an SOS to the world,
I'll send an SOS to the world,
I hope that someone gets my...
I hope that someone gets my...
I hope that someone gets my...
Mierda en una bolsa (shit in bag)
Mierda en una bolsa (shit in bag) ♪
I remember taking my dog for a walk in Buenos Aires decades ago (being a child I wasn't aware of the cruelty having a pet means, especially in a city,) how the animal instinctively went right to the miserable pieces of land left on sidewalks, some neighbors had a small space with grass but mostly just the typical square in the base of trees; the dog sniffed the area, did the thing and, after finishing, it itself scratched the ground with its rare paws covering the gift. The first thing I noticed when I came to Spain was in Barcelona city such square had a cover with a few ventilation holes and it's not rare to see it totally covered with cement. It wouldn't surprise me if in the future they decide to enclose trees in some glass cabin or vacuum them in a plastic bag, eliminating in that way the dirt this pest of nature generates.
The council of the town I currently live in invests in gardening to maintain that pretty artificial look in the bushes and rickety trees on sidewalks (they seem props in a play) and, against any logic they put a sign banning dogs from peeing or shitting there (hey, they would ruin gardener's work of art!) Then you may wonder where people make their dogs urinate here in Spain, well, without concealing even a bit (it seems to be the rule here) the owner guides the dog near some motorcycle or car wheel or some house threshold. With the “big price”, unless it's left in the middle of the sidewalk as happens half the time, the process is more sophisticated, the owner have to pick it up and threw it to the container in a plastic bag. What do you think is most likely to happen then?, that the guys from the trash recycling plant separate the organic waste or the turd ends buried into the bag as a “message in a bottle” for future archaeologists*?
Surely, in some field day, you had to do your physiological needs squatted in the bushes, then you probably noticed how immediately after flies came and licked your waste until it was totally dry and smell free. Either our rests of food, a corpse or any organic substance, there is always something in the complex and, at the same time, simple and direct natural system that instantly takes care of recycling it. That wonderful nature is; what is waste for this, for that is a need, everything lives together in balance. But, lost as we are in our “evolved” pedantic abstractions, we find disgusting the mere idea of ants or flies invading “our” space trying to clean our mess. Just yesterday, visiting the overcrowded prefab houses neighborhood my (Spanish) parents-in-law call “camping,” I saw my mother-in-law deliberately spraying ant poison over the dishes with rest of food we left after having lunch.
As I usually do I try to liven my speech up with some funny comment. To be honest, it gets more and more difficult each time for me to do that, I feel I'm feeding what I call the “Homer Simpson effect,” when just laughing of our own idiocy, and hence our own idiocy, become chronic.
“Everything is easier today,” say my parents-in-law, and they have their home plenty of electronic devices they barely know how to use. Where does this confusion come from? On TV, Americans show us their standard of living, their “isle design” kitchens, bigger than our whole house, large stoves and ovens, always impeccable since to afford all of that they have to lunch every day a hot dog on the street in their full time jobs free half hour. Material or abstract, everything is for sale in the US, while the Spanish term “comodidad” is associated with laziness its English translation, “comfort,” is internationally accepted as a sign of status, “Neither walking nor cycling, by car, as a gentleman!,” says my father-in-law. The true is most people have a car to go to work and work to maintain the car, that in turn maintains some oil magnate's mansion in Miami, who has it just as a status symbol (the “Homer Simpson effect” is not just about proletarians!); the mansion stays there inhabited just for some south-American immigrant passing through take photos and send them to their parents in Mexico saying “Look how well these gringos live!”
Being a child I noticed in some of my neighborhood friends a behavior I found disgusting, I called them “The Wow, dude! guys,” those who freak out in front of the chroming in a chopper, any exorbitant number in some tacky TV documentary, the last electronic trinket... Americans constantly reinforce and take advantage of this weakness, they redefined “hobby” as a pathological wanting more of whatever, and refer to this behavior as acceptable. Following this idea, who suffers that condition, the “fan,” shouldn't be confused with the sick version of fanatic, i.e. an Islamic terrorist, and this in turn should not be confused with the American troubled boy who one cloudy day decides to carry a gun to school and shoot to kill teacher and classmates; this is an “adolescent.” Evolution, progress, new technologies, pepsi and coke.
Jokes apart, let's analyze the consequences of our artificial environment seen from the human, social point of view. I usually compare South America with Europe because my migration experience reinforced what I've been noticing about human evolution, how the lack of contact with nature have been weakening what I think should be the basement of our intellect: our instinct. Although today, telecommunications have standardized customs and culture all around the globe (in a more or less achieved imitation of the American-Way-Of-Life®, depending on the case) I suppose it's genetic memory what still makes some difference, people in Europe have spent a lot more generations living in an overcrowded artificial environment. I've written about this a lot of times and it's not in vain to paraphrase about it again, instinct is what connect us with nature and needs nature feedback, specially in our young days. I don't mean necessarily to grow up in the jungle, but to dispose of time and space to let our activities develop in a natural way. An example I used in my first novel: when children could play alone in the streets (my times) they learned to organize by themselves, in a natural way; with my neighborhood friends we improvised games, rides, we constructed our own toys, besides we learned to be responsible, alone on the streets there was no adult telling us what to do, we knew we had to assume responsibility over our acts and afford the consequences. How do children grow up today?, enclosed in a flat watching TV, enclosed in a classroom swallowing some teacher's lessons, enclosed in a schoolyard shouting and aleatory running each one in a different direction. You see this flaw in education in the way they behave in adult life, for example, for them to have fun means to reproduce the schoolyard experience, to crowd and mutually stun each other. Along the 17 years I've been living in Spain (2018 at the time of writing this,) the most remarkable aspect I've observed in these people is they go through life as if they were totally alone and their acts wouldn't affect objects and people around (so convenient in current world reality!); and don't expect they'll assume any responsibility over either the consequences of their acts be, from any claim they'll forward you to the council or the police, who won't assume responsibility either. :-)
Number is a decisive point. Playing evolves into organized activity when the group doesn't exceed about twelve members. Needless to say city life constantly sabotages this sane way of interacting.
The environment we created is healthy for cars, what carry proletarians to their jobs. Cities with their buildings, supermarkets, short distances optimizing production-consumption processes. No aspect in a city takes in care our well-being. I find little difference between a city and a modern milk parlor.
To some extent we depend on the artificial environment we created, an environment that doesn't manage itself but requires artificial maintenance; the more artificial the environment the more artificial maintenance it requires. In turn the artificial maintenance process requires its own maintenance that in turn requires another sub maintenance process and so on. We keep adding more and more layers of complication that still rest on natural resources.
What does our “progress” mean in practice?, that now each time you need to scratch your ear you have to pass your arm under your ass. And taking in care what history tells us we know the upcoming “solutions” will hardly mean a simplification, in the future you'll have probably to leave your country or travel to another planet to scratch your ear.
But man doesn't give in, he keeps inventing excuses to justify his nonsense. After all it hasn't been need but vanity what moved him. And this same vanity doesn't let him accept his supposed “superior” intelligence won't fix what it has been breaking.
Not just because “ecology” has been distorted by sellers and politicians, human mistake is deep, when it's not a pretty view far in the horizon seen from a comfortable hotel, a film, a documentary or a photo in a postcard, for most people nature is dirt. Sometimes I devise some crazy hypothesis like man didn't evolved here originally but in another planet and this past life memory is the cause of his irrational tendency to modify the environment, tendency that, far from being moderate, doesn't let nature take the more minimal decision at any level. Despite decorated with scientific arguments or disguised as ecology any action taken from now on that don't take in care that nature knows better than us what to do, and we should keep learning from nature instead of trying to teach it will worsen the situation.
Let's put the ideal case in we all finally agree in honestly start to gradually change the course in order to nothing less than survive as a species, how long would it take us to re-adapt ourselves to, at least, kindly live together with the natural environment?
Human psychology is easy to understand. Waiting for the natural catastrophe that abruptly forces us to settle down (argument abused by fiction, especially religious for obvious reasons) is counting on at some point mom, tired of our mischief, beats us up and problem solved. This brings out the other big problem, at some point nature lost control over our population growth, we should consider probably mom is not there to save us anymore. The next man small step that will mean a giant leap for mankind is to overcome adolescence.
(*) It takes from 100 to 1000 years the plastic to biodegrade.