Figure/Ground

Sometime late last year, a lifetime ago, I had a terrible dream.

This was late 2019, before Covid-19. I was left with the unpleasant insight, sudden and cold and clear, that from a certain point of view, the great thundering concern with Thunberg, the rightful and important Dakota pipeline protests, agitation and despair in the face of the burning of the Amazon along with the murder of its peoples, concerns with Monsanto’s destruction of the agricultural ecosphere on so many levels, unspeakable animal cruelty, big game hunting, canned and otherwise, protests against waterway poisoning consequent to feedlots, against the fracking industry that destroys aquifers and consumes pure water to replace it with contaminants, liquid and gas, against the deployment of 5G, along with the 9/11 truth movement initiative on the part of engineers and architects, grievous worries about industrial farming practices and the depletion of the soil, beach modification and the destruction of coastline, the bees, dolphins, trees, koalas and kangaroos, and so many vanished other beings destroyed after the fires in Australia accelerated through chemtrail contaminants as they were, a loss now only compounded by increased and heedless logging, that all that and more in a single sentence that could be infinitely expanded, every bit of it, could be regarded very differently depending on one’s perspective.

From one perspective, all of this is horrific. From this perspective, ‘we’ need to stop, ‘we’ need to reverse course, etc.

From another perspective, the ‘we’ in question is an illusion.  From this perspective, the mass protests are the problem. From this perspective, the protesters are the problem.

This ‘other’ perspective is the perspective view from those who benefit from all the above. These are those who, in the last century, the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, named ‘the kings of the world.’

From the perspective of the kings of the world of today, these are the wealthy, as Rilke’s verse tells us:

Their crowns are exchanged for money

and melted down into machines,

and there is no health in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Today, so go the arguments since the zero population growth movements of the 1960’s, think of Paul Ehrlich’s popular 1968 book, The Population Bomb — movements that have not changed, arguments advanced by the wealthy, by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum in Davos, what is needed, what would solve everything, is fewer people.

A lot fewer, millions fewer, billions fewer. The roster of those who subscribe to the view that ‘the best thing ever’ would be less people than ever are drawn from a range of clubs for the wealthy, the ‘kings of the world.’

Faced with scarcity, for those who understand economics, one has two choices. One can either modify one’s course, embrace Schumacher-style small is beautiful economics, adopt local resources for local needs, etc., or one can eliminate other interests in the older and time-honored tradition of aggression, intervention, direct action.  If we want what others have, or if we want others to refrain from impeding our access to what we want, as Plato points out at the start of his Republic, we shall find that we are at war.  But war can be conducted in many ways, thus the above litany of transgressions against the natural world as such is one such war.

But war can also be waged by weather manipulation as such ‘weather wars’ have been practiced for some time. Thus Peter Sloterdijk reminds us that this begins with the Battle of Ypres, Sloterdijk gives us the date, and in Dresden, and later, of course in Korea and Vietnam. 

Such weather wars via atmosphere, and Sloterdijk has texts on that as well, are best fought in the background, via ‘acts of god,’ and the kind of thing insurance declines to cover, ongoing to the present day including chemtrail atmospheric contaminants, aluminum and other metals, nanomaterials, all with a long track record of scientific publications, government documents, press releases coupled with official denials and general incredulity even among academics who suppose that ‘they’ would never do such a thing, quite in the face of government publications attesting to the same plan to spray the world with poison just to block the sun: modify the weather, geo-engineer the earth.

Refs and further discussion:

https://www.academia.edu/39492987/Talking_Weather_from_Ge-Rede_to_Ge-Stell

Despite this, one imagines that ‘terraforming,’ to the extent that we possess such techniques, would, despite the name, only be applied on other planets, supposing ‘we’ ever get there.

And then there are bioweapons.

From Sloterdijk, Terror from the Air

The US has, this is a matter of public record, been working on these since World War II. It has used these as well, to certain effect, also a matter of record, in its wars since the 1950s and so on.  Indeed, there are scholars who argue that two centuries ago, smallpox was deployed as a vector of deliberate depopulation. This is disputed and re-argued academics keep busy across the disciplines, following mainstream schools that flourish — “normal science” emphasis on the normativizing force of the same — from time to time, before fading.  And a similar case may be made for introducing alcohol, devastating, poisonous in direct effect, to peoples who have previously had no exposure to grain alcohol. Or refined (white) sugar, a variant/version of the same. But these are subtle arguments and we are addicted to both so it is hard to see these things as ‘poisons.’ Surely not. And if so, ubiquitous and slow in any case, at least to us, acclimated as we are to both alcohol and white sugar. To cite the German physician who was fond of verse,

Wer Sorgen hat, hat auch Likör! [Whoever has worries, also has liqueur (i.e., ‘the cure’).]

Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966)

The beauty of disease as an agent in war is that the agent is invisible. It works via the immunity of some, that would be the European settlers for whom smallpox is not a problem and the lack of immunity on the part of native peoples who die so catastrophically, so dramatically, that lands are cleared for expansion, in effect, from sea to shining sea. Afterward, the entire academic community will occupy itself with denial, refusing the suggestion that the contamination was deliberate, because there are, after all, other hypotheses.

Act of god, divine right, white man’s burden, all that.

Genetic modification is part of this — we may recall that GMOs as we have them are developed using viruses — and what better vector than the common cold, ie., coronavirus if one means to develop a viral pathogen to be used on an enemy population. Alternately, relatedly, vaccination is part of this, because viral material is part of the vaccine. What better way to introduce that material into a population than by injection? In the olden days one gave blankets away in cold winters. Today, we have vaccines.  Thus, very directly, one can deploy such a means of population control on the population as a whole for the sake of reducing population.  Health workers, hospitals, doctors, nurses, clinics can be deployed for the sake of population control.

The best way to kill, so Plato has told us, is via those whose mission is otherwise dedicated to saving lives.

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For the sake of health, for your own good.

Thus my realization from the end of last year, a lifetime ago: we either need to change what we are doing to the world, the rapacious way we live, fishing, hunting, mining, logging.  This is unlikely as all the powers that be are aligned against this.

Or, and there is massive support for this, at the highest governmental and NGO levels, all ‘we’ need to do is to reduce the number of people living on the earth who are doing these things to the world.

Do that and everything changes.

That was the insight lent me by that dream, reversing figure and ground, whereby those still standing, the wealthy, the ‘kings of the world,’ are liberated to proceed, without protest, to continue doing whatever they like, for as long as they like.

Published by Babette Babich

Babette Babich is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University in New York City. She has wide-ranging interests, with a special focus on the philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, including digital media, as well as art and aesthetics, conceived from the perspective of (classical) continental philosophy. She is interested in themes associated with classics, museum studies, political philosophy, and such.

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