would otherwise have been a great crime—and will be blessed with the
opportunity to dwell with a beautiful chaos henceforth. If we do not, as
we almost inevitably will not, we can greet the coming horrors not only
with regret and grief, indignation and sorrow, but also with the sense that
what sweeps over us is an even more stunning revelation of the ultimate
strangeness of things. In that world, which is almost upon us now, we
would do well to endure the floods, embrace the ruins, and let the drag-
ons roam—accepting our due place at last.
14 0. On the study of the history of the earth and the notion of the dark abyss
of time see Paolo Rossi, The Dark Abyss of Time: The History of the Earth &
the History of Nations from Hooke to Vico (Chicago: University of Chicago
141. For readable overviews of Earth's highly dynamic climate systems, see
R ichard B. Alley, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change,
and Our Future (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), and Wallace
S. Broecker and Robert Kunzig, Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes
Reveal About the Current Threat—and How to Counter It (New York: Hill and
Wa ng , 2 0 0 8).
142 . See William H. Calvin, A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution & Abrupt
Climate Change (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).
143. For three examples among many, see “Climate Change,” a resolution
adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2005, htp://
Resolution-Climate-Change-2005; Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue,
Prudence and the Common Good (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops, 2001), htp://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/
dialogue-prudence-and-the-common-good.cfm; and The Evangelical Climate
Initiative, “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action,” available as a pdf
14 4. Bill McKibben, The End of Nature (New York: Random House, 1989).
145. This tragic knowledge would be akin to that which speaks in Sophocles'
tragedy Antigone , whose Chorus celebrates our capacity to move forward
into no future that will actually happen and to rely on resources that leave us
bereft. Here I draw upon a discussion and loose translation of key lines of the
play in Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan , edited by Jacques-Alain