Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
To some degree, then, we share the awe that moved Job to give up
his moral claim. Furthermore, as we look forward to the coming decades,
we must also recognize that the extraordinary forces that climate change
will release around the biosphere will inspire awe in us as well. However
devastating such forces will be, however greatly they will harm our soci-
eties and our individual lives, we can still recognize in them the signs of a
supreme power.
Thus our foray in the domain of myth, which can seem to take us far
afield from our core concerns, can in fact sharply transform and perhaps
even reverse an initial assessment of our condition. Our awe in the pres-
ence of this demented God—or of the implacable, anonymous forces
that this figure of God personifies—can enable us to make peace with our
cosmic inconsequence, affirm the absence of any moral concern in the
universe, and thus embrace the very features of our condition that might
otherwise fill us with despair. In a few years, we may, like the characters
in Becket's Endgame , be numbed by the apparent futility of our actions
and the blank hostility of the natural world. he topic of Job teaches us to
respond with awe instead—to see Earth's living systems and creatures as
inhuman, even monstrous, and for that reason all the more splendid . If we
move deeper into despair, as it were, and come out the other side, as Job
does, we will at last be released into a space much vaster than our pety
concerns and be stunned by a great splendor.
This release inevitably alters our sense of nearly all the themes I have
discussed so far in this topic. he reversal from anguish to awe, bale-
ment into astonished humility, can take place only if we give up our fierce
arrogance, cosmic or otherwise. That renunciation, of course, would
inevitably motivate us to give up our habit of subordinating the bio-
sphere to ourselves—to carry out, on a collective and individual level,
a truly ecological revolution. A transformative politics is the immediate
consequence of that spiritual breakthrough, for it would put into practice
the equivalent of Job's repentance.
That awe would also change our response to the consequences of
severe climate change. If that change should come, we would know our
actions helped trigger it—but we would also recognize that we did not
create the forces that it would unleash, forces that would perpetually
humble us with their power. Its onset would remind us that the very
Search WWH ::

Custom Search