Pale Green Flight
Sindbad and the Sky Lizard 5.
At the time of our story the blue planet was plagued by Sky Lizards, huge monsters that produced horrible noise and released detrimental smoke to poor earthlings.
Only gigantic transporter ships and huge floating tourist farms crossed the ocean making sea travel possible only in the stomachs of the aforementioned lizards. This time Sindbad allowed himself to be swallowed by one, even though he has long ago decided to stop adding to the smoke, the noise, the flood of man-made objects suffocating the world. He has chosen to join those that walk and have few possessions, as this kind of life allows for the discovery of interesting paths, ones that others may decide to try. And in this manner he had more time to marvel about the mysteries of the Universe.
A ship swimming on the infinite horizon of the sea always gives an opportunity for introspection and this is also true for the inside of lizards flashing in the sky. Being suspended in the air between two places entices you to take stock of your life. Sindbad, the spokesman of living beings sitting in the entrails of a lizard that blows smoke on creatures? How can one approve of such an act? Yet if we don’t want to become hermits, we must balance a lifestyle healthy for the planet with personal flexibility.
I did not choose the cheaper way through China as that detour would have burned even more kerosene – Sindbad tried to excuse himself. This way I can visit a number of places on the way, somewhat reducing that much talked-about footprint. Travelling rarely and for a long time also gives you more profound experiences. Although the desire to discover faraway places is selfish, self-development is much needed in our time. So is the perfection of our methods: a filter that fits into your pocket can save hundreds of plastic bottles, allowing you to treat Earth with respect just as you do at home.
Since already on the subject, he thought this might be an appropriate time to – like some influencer – introduce his by now known backpack and its contents. The sack had been made in Seklerland by a very small enterprise and was placed out on a Budapest street in perfect condition save for the two missing metal pieces. This gave it a mallable shape even more aproppriate to pass through flight control. Tent, bedroll, jacket, blanket, bottle, belt bag, and other smaller objects were collected after festivals or at the yearly large junk collection. All these things were in mint condition, saved from the landfill, bypassing more manufacture and pollution by multinationals.
I think – he continued his train of thought – we, naked apes in this age have to choose between two kinds of normal. Normalcy on the most basic level means to be in harmony with the eternal, clear laws of the real world, nature. Living in a way that allows for a tomorrow, for the survival of this living system that our species is a part of. At the same time we are also communal beings with a group mind, for whom normalcy means adhering to the norms of the group. When these two are in opposition, we don’t really have the opportunity to be normal in every way.
The Sky Lizard, on its journey east, met the fairy of Dawn. Night slipped away, yet for a long time only sun and clouds were visible from inside the flying creature. Until a new land began to unfold below, a pretty land with meandering silver rivers, shining lakes, green forests. The Lizard continued unabated on its quest.
For both biological and man-made systems negative feedback is essential – Sindbad thought. This does not mean critique, but a way of checks and balances. When a value reaches too high a level, the system cuts it back. If your thyroid produces too much hormone, your brain lowers the amount of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) released. Or if the steam engine is running too fast, the governor reduces steam pressure. Positive feedback is much more rare. Sex works like this: the more one partner is turned on, the more the other one becomes excited, which, in turn, excites the first one and so on until orgasm. The result of positive feedback is always some kind of explosion.
At this moment the people of Bender log (together with all other living beings) ride on a steamboat where the controls have broken down. The faster the engine runs, the more steam it gets. The more one country spends on weapons, the more its adversaries try to catch up. A similar pattern is observable in economic rivalry, mass surveillance, debt crisis and many other areas. This will result in an explosion, which, at such large systems is a process. It has already started, we can all feel it and this is but the beginning. As it becomes more obvious, an increasing number of people would like to get out of the collective harakiri. However, if you decide to not take part in the shared mental illness of humanity, you have to accept that according to “normal” people and the institutions of society you become crazy. This is most challenging for succesful people. Take home garbage from the street? What will people think? (In Hungary it’s also literally illegal.)
I think, Sindbad thought, all in all it’s still better to be a heretic according to the religion of modernity. The fabric of society is crumbling so much that even people living in complete consumer madness, bathing in disposable plastic, being slaves of facebook are becoming psychotic in large numbers. The system is destroying homeostasis to such an extent that it isn’t worth staying in it just to be normal according to people. What we might aim at is getting out of our hermit caves and form microsocieties with a shared reality that is closer to the laws of Nature. Then, even if not by the standards of mcdonalds, we will again become normal humans in our small circles.
We, humans do need to be able to coordinate our thoughts with other members of our species. Otherwise we can soon get lost in a reality that is very hard to escape from. I could unfortunately follow the process by which some people close to me became insane – Sindbad let out a sigh in the entrails of the Sky Lizard.
Whether these micro-societies succeed in connecting and creating a new civilization while the old system is falling apart with a big bang is a good question, he mused. But what’s the alternative? The roots of the problem lie with the paradigms and institutions of our present society. Ministers and big business will certainly not solve the situation. One possibility is to lay back and wait for the Messiah or some benevolent aliens. Another is to begin to live in a more normal way according to the real rules of the world. This will not be immediately successful and will take a lot of experimentation. But it’s still better to be conscious of what’s going on and make strategic decisions in our lives than join the so-called normal march to the mortuary. Besides it’s more interesting.
The Sky Lizard began its long descent to a brand new continent. The shoreline became visible with those promising forests beginning to come closer and closer. Great hope enveloped Sindbad as he looked out of the window.