Sunday, April 24, 2016

#115 / Fenner Or Faulkner?

As the tides bring their tributes to the beach, so does the Internet deposit strange thoughts on the shores of my consciousness. 

Take that picture above, for instance, which accompanied an article claiming that "one of the world’s leading scientists, Professor Frank Fenner, has made a grim prediction: He says that humans will be completely WIPED OUT in 100 years, as overpopulation and environmental destruction will cause humans to become extinct in a matter of years." 

You can read the article for yourself by clicking this link.

While there is much truth in what the article says, and while I think we should pay heed to the warning it conveys, I have decided to pick Faulkner over Fenner. 

I say, with Faulkner: 

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. 
I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. 
The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

This quote, from Faulkner's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, is pinned inside my closet, as it was pinned inside the closet of my father. I got that quote from him. It is a prized possession.  It is in this spirit, each day, that I write to whoever might read this Two Worlds blog. 

Image Credit:


  1. Of course, the reality will be neither human extinction nor human proliferation and domination, but somewhere in between. Even a worst case scenario of climate change, even if it reaches that point, which I doubt, will not result in human extinction. Decline yes, perhaps severe, but some humans, as with some of all species, will remain.

    The lessons of evolution are that life will continue in a changing climate and environment. Humans will continue, in some form of society, even in a world that briefly exceeds today’s temperature range, just as humans did in past fluctuating climates.

    What we call civilization cannot continue in its present form much longer, due to human growth and consumption in a world of finite resources. But that is not human extinction. The decline of human consumption will open up new environments for plants and animals, including humans, who will live much more in harmony with natural cycles and resource fluctuations, of necessity.

    A thousand years from now human population will have declined considerably, human technocratic infrastructure will be much less, likely based on scavenging on material remains of what we enjoy now. Humans will experience a slow decline, not a catastrophic apocalypse so enamored of Hollywood. Balance will be restored in a dynamic equilibrium with all life. Our present excess will be a tiny blip on the graph of life, left behind with all the juvenile toys of our maturing species.

    Nature always bats last.

  2. #haiku

    Raw cynicism
    unleavened by optimism
    is unbearable


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