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Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.

Seldom do people who live at history’s turning points caught up in events understand that a new course has been taken.

This is just another example of by being part of the process means which means I suspect for most of us we do not understand the process as a whole. The situation is paradoxical. Modern people through mass and global communication are more aware of events that occur at a distance than were people in the ancient world. Instant communication creates a fickleness. Everything that happens has a surface quality until it is taken over by a fresh event. Ancient people could not as I can walk to the kitchen to check out the calendar, for example, they had to look at the skies and know the stories that made sense of what they were seeing. These stories were so deeply imbued that it is not surprising that there are analogies between the Egyptian god, Horus and the Christ stories of the new testament, of which there were about twenty-six versions.

The perspective of time is usually required to assess the significance of an event. The tumult and storm of the moment is not a good guide for significance. In retrospect it is not the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975 that was the decisive point but rather its election in 1972. The events called 911 are principally significant because they took place in the United States rather than the far more horrendous events that have taken place in Iraq.

History as a reflective narrative to distinguish the surface events and the significance of the underlying processes. How might things had turned out had Pope Clement annulled Henry VIII’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon? Around this one matter there are a concourse of events. Adrian Pabst sees more significance behind the curtain than what was happening on stage. He observes:

By eliminating the monasteries and cutting ties with the papacy, Henry established a monarchical power vertical that commanded unprecedented fiscal control and military might – the basis for his foreign policy adventurism which further isolated England from the rest of Europe. Little wonder that Charles Dickens described Henry’s rule as a “spot of blood and grease on the history of England”. Crucially, the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and his son Edward VI redistributed one quarter of national wealth at the expense of the peasantry. The endowment of monasteries, including landed property, was transferred to the newly created Court of Augmentations – an early modern precursor of quangos, charged with overseeing monastic expropriation. The triple effect was to curb the social and educational functions of monastic orders, channel wealth and income to the Crown and concentrate land ownership in the hands of the nobility, local magnates and the newly landed gentry.

England owes the centralization of power and wealth to her son Henry Tudor whose dubious legacy has been faithfully defended by Thatcher and her heir Blair. Coupled with the forced expropriation of free peasant proprietors by feudal lords during the “enclosure movement” throughout the 16th century, land ceased to be commonly owned and became privatised. This process of “primitive accumulation” created the surplus wealth that was used for financial speculation abroad. The ruling classes diverted resources for their own enrichment and self-aggrandisement. As such, the perennial sanctity of life and land was subordinated to secular sacrality of the national state and the transnational market. Thus capitalism was born. Curiously, Henry’s quest for national sovereignty made England more dependent on foreign markets than ever before.

In reality, history can be unpacked, but not untangled.  The future might yet be made. Perhaps the really significant events of our time are not the optical illusions staged for, and by television, but anthropogenic changes to the environment and weather systems which will determine whether the story of the human species, integral as it is to cosmology and planet Earth, has a future.  We are dealing with dynamic physical systems that have momentum and consequence and minds that change and  with insight in the consequences of actions.

As Paul Krugman observes denial of climate changes is a from of betrayal of the planet. In this case it is not a matter of turning points, mere changes in direction, but tipping points in which momentum takes over and can be influenced by seemingly trivial forces. Interesting, the opponents of the Krugman stance on climate change have come up with an article in The Timaru Herald (21 May 2007) reporting the opinions of Augie Auer who said that water vapour is the major greenhouse gas.



1. Harry - July 1, 2009

Augie Auer was a genius! Water vapour must be outlawed, just like Carbon Dioxide! We must stop Dihydrogenoxide poisioning immediately.
Then we must move forward to rid our oceans of sodium pollution and chlorine contamination!

2. The Adjuster - July 1, 2009

I didn’t realize anybody still believed in global warming. I thought all that was left were the hangers-on of a giant money-making scheme.

Krugman. How quaint. Like a piece of retro-70s furniture or a well-preserved Ford Pinto, the old Bush-basher is still out there at the remnants of the NYT peddling the same old stuff–complete with a GA congressman as antagonist.

Do liberals EVER grow up?

3. wmmbb - July 1, 2009

That’s settled then.

Obviously, nobody needs to refer to this reading list, or to start here.

4. oorvi - July 2, 2009

Hi Mr. Wmmbb,

Just wanted to check if you had a treat for me:)

I see that you are caught-up in world events of higher importance. How are Dexter, Sasha, and Mrs. Wmmbb?

Licks n wags to all of you.


5. wmmbb - July 2, 2009

Sasha and Dexter are OK, but not so with Mrs.

See you at your place.

6. Harry - July 3, 2009

Oh look! Its the clowns from Real (sic) climate tagging yet another post
Were all gonna B U R N ….

BTW wmmbb How much does AlGore pay you for doing this? He’s making millions on this globalwarming scam and you should be getting a cut of the action. Check out your rights under the Wagner Act.

7. wmmbb - July 3, 2009

Yep Harry, I am looking for the conspiracy and the agenda as well.

On a serious level we have to take the warnings of global warming seriously. Greenhouse gas emissions, presently at unprecedented levels in the atmosphere, is one set of variables that can be controlled by changes in human behavior. In that way we are in control of our destiny.

Moreover, what is annoying about the oil and coal companies is that they have been aware of the implications for the earth’s climate for at least thirty years, and they have chosen to keep polluting the atmosphere.

Harry, I think you will be interested in what Senator Fielding’s band of experts has to say. I wonder whether you are prepared to draw the same conclusions as Senator Fielding. There are two questions here that can be posed impartially: responsibility and competence.

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