Dr. Wysong's Blog -
GULF OIL DISASTER
It is heart wrenching to watch animals struggling and dying miserable deaths in black ooze. This creates a spectacular claim on our attention, but so too does the dread that knots our stomachs as we contemplate an entire ecosystem being destroyed and people’s lives ruined for entirely preventable reasons. People, who have spent lifetimes of hard work to build homes near the beautiful Gulf coast waters, now get sick from the diesel-like smell wafting in on a sea breeze that once cleaned their lungs and lifted their spirits.
Yes, blame can be laid at the steps of our oil dependence, improper rig design, happenstance, lax oversight, environmental regulation forcing exploration offshore, and incompetent government agencies and politicians.
By now you have surely heard of all of the remedies that could have been put in place long ago both to prevent the blowout and to contain it once it occurred. I can’t add to that other than to express dismay at the lack of action. Rather than permit and employ every conceivable means of containing the oil, the federal government, in particular, has showcased its incompetence, stood in the way, rattled swords, cast blame, and continued with its political posturing and glad handing.
With urgency, the hole needs to be plugged and the mess cleaned up. As important as that is, it is merely treating symptoms. Eventually the pain may be resolved, but the underlying cause everyone ignores remains. That’s what I would like to briefly address here.
The real problem is a perennial one we humans all tend to share. We simply refuse to live life as if thinking matters. The essence of intelligence is to ferret out facts—discern reality—and then evaluate long term consequences before we act. Instead we live for the moment and follow the pirates' creed: Take all you can; give nothing back. We solve no problem before its time, worship short term economics as our deity in use, and support industry that privatizes profits and communizes costs.
The Gulf oil disaster is just one glaring example of us sowing in ignorance, reaping in tears. I say us, because we all share the thirst for oil. We want the cheap comforts and plastic trinkets oil produces. And it is we who turn a blind eye to the long term consequences of policies that single-mindedly keep the oil flowing and gas prices low.
Our unwillingness to reason with foresight is a chronic mental disease we cannot seem to shake. Nobody in their right mind does things that will eventually bring them harm. Sane people don’t saw through the branch they are sitting on.
If we are to survive on planet Earth, we cannot just be fixated on short cycles, responding only to unconscious Pavlovian autopilot reflexes that get us by and bring us pleasure for the moment. Intelligence means creating a future using conscious intent and setting our eyes on the horizon.
Consider our folly:
There is only one terminus of all this wrong headedness; a future of ignorance and misery. The ooze of our mental laziness and self-serving desires will choke us as surely as it is choking millions of innocent creatures in the Gulf.
To think uncritically, to act without foresight, to refuse to let reason fuse cognition with morality, to accept without investigation, and to believe without the fierce light of unafraid questioning is one long sin against reality…and reality always wins.
Thinking Word — cognition - \cog·ni·tion\ Click for pronunciation -noun: The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.
Addendum pictures for Gulf Oil disaster