Battle Cry: The Positive Conscious Adaptation Revolution

We yearn for a wild existence regardless of our culture. Regardless of our age, our gender, or our religion. A wild world surrounds us; we breathe it in; we consume it on our plates; we make it into our homes.

Not many know or remember, but at one point every telephone pole from Michigan to the coast of California was made from the trunk of a white cedar growing in Minnesota. Not long after Minnesota’s own rich hematite- the beloved iron ore of our Vermilion, Cuyuna, and Mesabi Range- would undergo a fantastic and devastating transformation from mere rock into the steel that would make almost every American car on the highway and every tank on Uncle Sam’s battlefield. Our wilderness is the fabric that builds our cities, fights our wars, and provides the space and raw material for our agriculture.

Science and industry and perhaps in some ways even our religions have done a fine job at giving us a kind of subconscious coziness about our resources. We have a selective deafness about them. We understand that they come from somewhere, but we purposely plead ignorance in order to save ourselves the responsibility.

It’s not implausible to me that this could be the fundamental issue we have going forward in building a wild and working world. We must bridge worlds that have not been linked in the West in two hundred years. A conscious adaptation must occur, and now, if we are to maintain our humanity, and avoid finding ourselves waking up as a creature we do not know, we do not love, and do not wish to be.

The transformation is occurring now. Transhuman elements are finding viable combination. Humanity does wish to be the android, but we have been given a false mythology that it is our destiny. This is Manifest Destiny, alive and well today, and embodied in Silicon Valley and the liberal techno-culture of the Millennial age. The principles of Manifest Destiny do not simply apply to our relations to Native America, as we have been taught. It applies to our relationship to the world in its entirety. Make no mistake: when the elites speak of a “transhuman” or even techno-religious idea like “Singularity,” what they are talking about is the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

One of the things that troubles the industrial doers and shakers as they deal with the Native America “issue” and a culture of displacement and extreme disenchantment, is that it cannot be removed in a cultural sense from the land. Where their culture goes so too does reverence for a wild world, which is at odds with the colonial domesticated world. Although the Native people of North America were definitely dealing with “agriculture”, it is hard to see the practices we use in our agricultural pursuits as related, save that it involves in some way seeds and soil. So this reverence for what is wild has a habit of trying to preserve itself in the face of a relentless economic machine, and the machine doesn’t like it.

As people who abide by the principles of earth to the best that we know how, we have to be prepared to fight for our vision of a reversely-assimilated world. This time it will be capitalism and industry that must learn to assimilate to the wild, and not some other way around. We do not need to protest or to politicize to achieve this end. In fact, that may do the vision in. As we see in hyper-politicized movements like “third-wave” or “liberal” feminism, division can breed quickly and without warning in any fast-paced “revolution”. One morning you’re all on the same page and the next you’re accusing each other of hate speech, misrepresentation, and slander. Most of those who believe in the “cause” are honest and logical. But there are outliers who take their tribal motivations too far, and these agents have the very real power to collapse movements with great momentum. A small jaunt into the history of the hippie years of the 1960s gives revealing insight into this danger.

Instead, it would do us better to seek brilliant minds who can bridge these gaps, in the field, and in our philosophies (from the without and within). Most importantly, it would be beneficial to start with an entirely new and thorough analysis of the wild, which is in fact what I seek to help engender over the course of my literary and artistic lifetime.

Currently, in our model of “sustainability”, we do not start with the wild; we begin with industry and try to figure out how to preserve that first. Really, a great deal of the environmental movement at this point can be said to be more of a “corporate preservation” movement, not a wild preservation movement. Each inclement of preservation ekes out from the baseline of corporate mega-profits. Any profit that may fall below these astronomically unbalanced projections and models of wealth is taken as a threat to the ruling order and to our way of lives- because it is. The economists are not incorrect in seeing the world from this lens. But it is not a holistic or complete view, and that is where the issue lies. Our knee jerk reactions are not necessary however. Our worry of a dangerous wild world is unfounded.

It is not the farmer that will be hurt by this movement.

It is not the Native person on the reservation that will be hurt by this movement.

It is the not the rural landowner that will be hurt.

It is not the hard worker who thinks quickly on their feet that will be hurt by this new environmentalism.

It will not be the philosopher who will be upended.

It will be those who have no values. Who have no will. In a harsh terminology, the parasitic elements among us will shrivel. I do not mean this as a kind of battle cry. It’s not at all like that. There are no good guys and bad guys. There is no ideology, in my assessment, that has done a damn thing about our depleting wilderness, so it is pointless to turn to ideology for answers in these matters anyway. I won’t speak for anyone else, but this is my observation. Instead of a heated debate, a community picnic would probably be far more revolutionary regarding this change. A hike, doubly so. A week long excursion to the forest? Now we’re on fire.

We will have to work together, slowly, surely, and damn critically. As was the case a thousand years ago, entire sequences of generations will be put to this task as a kind of trans-temporal teamwork. The ahistorical nature of Nature will reemerge with the revelation of a human who thrives in a natural equilibrium with their environment. We have not lost everything yet, and there is no reason it must be banished.

Is this in any way a political movement?

No, it is a process of perhaps agonizingly slow conscious positive adaptation.

Will it take a class war?

No, it will take lots of camping.

Will it take years of back-breaking labor and pints of blood and sweat and gallons of ingenuity?

Yes. But is that not the struggle America is founded on? Whether you came to this continent 11,000 years ago over a land bridge now unremembered, or on a jumbo plane in 2006, we are a nation of strength and cleverness that cannot and has never been beat, and this is precisely because of our relationship to our wilderness. Whether your origins are in the colonial battle against the ruthless elements or in the harmony and reverence for the natural world practiced by the Indigenous Nations, you have been raised in a culture surrounded by and entrenched in wilderness. Even the Native Nations have had to modify their behavior over the years to find a path towards CPA. In the West we have painted our Indigenous cultures as either savage foes or angelic fawns who are like a fairy kingdom await in the loving peaceful wild. In fact, the precolonial cultures of North America were not much different than the colonial ones in terms of their individual struggles, aspirations, and passions, except that their core cultural principles were expanded beyond the world of humanity to a model of reality that encompasses both nature and supernature. It does not take a lengthy study of Mexico and Canada to see a similarly rugged bloody and beautiful history, filled with danger, exploration, warfare, love, passion, and truth. Humanity. Raw and exposed in layers of basalt and limestone.

Our humanity is anchored to the wild. What makes us us springs from the soils of our wild places like strong cedar trees.


Earth, and its Dark Spots

IMG_0156by Ethan Fleisher


woe to the thief who catches wind of the truth.

woe to the bandit that sees his reflection

flashing in a drug store window.

woe to the river dog who watches a last pine fall

from his reward has come his doom, and not so late.

woe to the tyrant who kills his last serf,

to see his kingdom emptied of its blood.

woe to the woman who kisses a boy

to make jealous another, so only to find

he will never trust her because of it.

woe to the writer who pens all his secrets

exposed and naked he withers in winds.

woe to the god who makes smart all his monkeys

replaced by the creature, usurped by creation.

woe to the poem that words out the world’s magic

brujos add potion to the inkwell and quill.

Soul Scene: The Rise and Fall of the Minneapolis New Age



It’s no secret anymore. These days, it’s easy to sense that many music festivals have a little extra political kick to them. They’re like the old festivals, but with siracha sauce. After all, Gen X has moved out of the scene now, for the most part. Either they’re helping organize the festival, or they’re at home tending to their three kids and trying to program the Hulu. That’s okay. It’s the Millennials turn to take the reins.

And boy. It shows. In my seven years of music festival experience (mostly as a musician) I can hardly state the changes in the vibes from those glory days of 2010-13; when the Minneapolis scene was blowing up, Matisyahu was still the coolest Jew around, Nahko was playing shows with small time guys like us (Aitas, check us out! shameless plug) and no one had spent any reasonable amount of time thinking about Donald Trump. We were convinced that our nation was broken; that was already apparent in the Obama years. But we had no idea what kind of monster was coming down the pike.

Well. Some of us did.

Some of us saw the changes taking place, culturally, even before the advent of Trump. Because even back then, many festivals had already adopted a distinct philosophy. In fact, some of them had gone one step further, and adopted a kind of distinct spirituality. It wasn’t a new philosophy, but it was new to the Minnesota scene, in the form that it was taking. Out west, it was already all the rage, and had been for some time. We were just getting woke in Minneapolis. But we were really woke.

It was an unlikely place for the Soul to make its comeback: drug fueled rage parties with sick bass drops and groovy guitar solos. But why not?”


We did realize that our festivals were quickly becoming worship concerts. But that was why we were coming. We wanted to worship. And at that time in history, we were going to worship how we wanted to. No one wanted to stop and discuss why, at least in a serious way. We were on a bliss cloud, and to admit that as a generation we were filling the void left from our departure from our childhood experiences with organized religion is not exactly the kind of bliss material we were looking for. But there was a reason why musicians like Nahko, Trevor Hall, Tubby Love, bands like Wookie Foot, and so many other overtly spiritual artists were rising to the top of the crème: they were voicing- and clearly- the need for a return to the Soul.

It was an unlikely place for the Soul to make its comeback: drug-fueled rage parties with sick bass drops and groovy guitar solos. But why not? There is something novel, something so peculiar and still archetypal, about Logos making its return from the echelons of subculture music festivals. It had worked with the free love and anti war movement in the sixties and seventies, to some degree. And everyone knew that this new spiritual music festival would be rife with the same problems that older collective expansion of consciousness brought with it. We just didn’t care.

Because this time, were ready for it. We had history on our side. This wasn’t the first rodeo. Our grandparents and parents had prepared us for this task. And unlike them, we weren’t going to make it ugly. It wasn’t about right or wrong, it was about finding the Self. For the time being, we were keeping politics out. Politics represented the system. It represented the mainstream. And we were the freaks; the outsiders; the castoffs. That world was maya, it was an illusion. It had no relation to the culture we were creating.

But there was of course an element of right or wrong. We just didn’t want to define that yet. See, we didn’t know it, but we were playing with fire. This new spirituality we were adopting had already been making its way through the ranks of underbelly society for a hundred years.


We had unwittingly invited the New Age belief system into our lives. And the New Age has always been, and is, lubricious. Intellectually and politically, the New Age has taken a slippery manifestation. As a spirituality, it never existed as an entity of its own. It has always been a response to traditional Western hierarchy. It has always been a challenge, to some degree, of the Christian-Judeo notion that God is separate from man in a way that limits man’s natural ability; he is bound by crushing mortality and is at the mercy of his flesh throughout his life. He does not often possess supernatural ability. Miracles are reserved for prophets. The New Age directly challenges that idea through a myriad of spiritual practices, not all of them being related or even interchangeable. Alchemy, Buddhism, and Taoism serve as inspirations. Even Christianity, but Judaism to a lesser extent.

The brand of New Age thinking that hit Minnesota? I’m not sure. But I know what Minnesota did to it. We put a Minnesota spin on it. Of course, like those that lived in Oregon and Washington, and Northern California, environmentalism took primary position. (When you live in a city that is surrounded by wilderness, that makes sense). At the heart of the movement was a feeling that we were all connected through Gaia. The Earth was our mother. Even if we weren’t concerned with activism, or nature at all, we were culminating a culture without even realizing it. And it’s not rocket science. Minneapolis, like the west coast, had a subculture generation that had created an entire culture based on the two things it was subconsciously starving for:

Nature, and God.

And the interface of Nature and God we have Soul. We had built a Soul movement.


The New Age has always suffered from Marxism. It could be argued that much of its beginnings were based on Hegelian and Marxist ideas, made popular by turn of the century black magicians like Aleister Crowley. It was a not much more than a slap in the face of the middle class Christian establishment, although it was spawned from upper-middle class European romanticism. A mélange of pseudo spiritualism, alchemy, and mythology interpretation. While its early forms were being adopted by fascist extremists like the Nazis and the Bolsheviks, being that it drew from Hegelian ideology, a man named Carl Jung made it what we really know it to be today.

Logos had chosen, yet again, a very unlikely source for its reentry into the world. For a long time, art had carried Soul forward, for the church was stale in America. Nothing was reviving it. Jung changed this. In ways many Christians will never understand, especially Evangelicals, Jung was partly responsible for the resurgence of the church in America in the sixties. The counter culture, like in Minneapolis in the late twenty-oughts, had created an ideological bedrock for spirituality to flourish. And the churches, back then, knew how to be cool.

Unfortunately for Christianity in the twenty-oughts, they did not seem to grasp that Logos was not only reentering the pop culture, but it was fostered by a growing sense of Eros. The conditions across American subculture were absolutely charged for a spiritual take over.

I would have loved to see the Christian church take their shot. But they didn’t. Instead, many organizations and segments of our culture stepped forward that many of us were rallying against. The state. The corporate elite. The mainstream media. They were ready and already poised to pounce.

What we got out of the subculture boom, of which our Soul renaissance in Minnesota was an integral part, was a nightmarish convergence of state, technology, and rebellion (or counterculture) that is so Hegelian in its scope it can hardly be understated. The monster that would bring us headlong into the election of Trump had found its breeding ground.


I don’t think that was the intention from the get-go. In the beginning, it was just an opportunity that was seized. Artists, politicians, and businessmen all took their shots, whether consciously or subconsciously. Some of us wanted to bring the Soul movement into the mainstream. Others wanted to bring the mainstream into the Soul movement.

The rest is fresh in our minds. Make of the new mess what you will. Alt right. Alt left. Alt Soul. Like all times in history that Logos attempts to make its cultural reentry, we stamp it out somehow, and when we do it’s under the jackboots of statist principles that we do it. I’m not going to say that the short lived spiritual movement was anything tremendous culturally; it produced very little shockwaves into popular culture. We thought it was going to rupture. I could feel it.

Still. It would be unfair to say that we did not create the conditions for a true cultural renaissance. Artists are the first to gauge the spiritual barometers of our times. And when they feel the waters are right, they will again take us back to the place where Logos and Eros meet. If we wish to make it stay, however, we will need to admit some very troubling things. Things that look far more like the Judeo Christian mindset. To the capitalist scum mindset. For we will have to admit that human suffering is inevitable. That our bubbles of bliss will always popped by the knives of tyrants if we do not strengthen ourselves. To acknowledge that cultural momentum is fragile, and it must be kept like an egg from a brutal world, guarded by angry mothers and warrior fathers.




Genocide and Time Schisms: Today’s Psychology of Wilderness and Progress

My grandfather tells me stories.

When winters came through the jack pine barrens of northwest Minnesota with such tenacity that the world was washed away. Disappeared in a violent white. -50 wind-chill, 80mph winds. They tied a rope from the door of the house to the barn so that they could find their way through the snow blind to feed the cattle. The creek below the hill, tucked back in a low slough shrouded by white pine, would stay open and running through the winter months. They boiled the frigid waters. Wandered bleary eyed in the morning to fill a basin. A kitchen saturated in the smell of woodsmoke and side pork.

Sometimes he talks about those ancient beasts that were so commonplace to his prior universe. Characters not only roaming the scablands of the post-depression era but of his heart. His eyes impart a depth when he gets to these parts of the tale.


He describes the Prairie Chicken.

A small beast. A mostly ground-dwelling bird, about the size of a small chicken (and similar shape, hence the name). “Well we used to just lean right out the windows of our car at times,” he admits. “They would be feeding in the cornfield, see, and we would just lean right out the window and pop em off. That was the last time I ever saw one around here, actually. I stopped on the way home and popped one and drove up and down the road, because it was illegal to shoot them even at that time. Then I took home. A dark meat. Really good eating. But I think about it now, and that was the last we ever saw of em. Beautiful birds too. You don’t see them now. Not at all.”

But I did see a Prairie Chicken recently. Oddly enough, near the very cornfield my grandfather remembers shooting the last chicken he ever saw. I saw the little bird making its way below the spruce at the rim of the field, its plumage dark and luxurious. It was bent low and scrounging for grub. I did not think about it enough when I saw it: that it may be the place of the last Prairie Chicken I ever see, too.

The Greater Prairie Chicken was a colorful bird once commonplace in Western Minnesota. Although it was first thought to dominate only the American midwest, “blocking out the sun” of the Great Plains and the tall-grass prairie. But forks and fingers of the tallgrass prairie reach throughout North Dakota, western Minnesota, and into the southern tallgrass plains of Manitoba, and one way or another the birds made their way into the furthest reaches of the northern prairie. There is debate as to when and how the birds came to exist there, but all the same, they did.

Today, it is rare to find a Greater Prairie Chicken anywhere, but even rarer in western Minnesota. I have that image of the bird frozen in my mind now, but already it’s melting away. Turning fuzzy. Just like the conifer bog where I laid eyes on it, my memory of the Prairie Chicken will continue to change, to shrink, and to blur, until one day, it will not be a memory at all, but a story, a half-true yarn, kept in a half-true history, shrouded and dust-covered in some corner of my failing mind.



Wild animals and the landscapes they live in have occupied their own wonderful, innate, and sometimes fearful position in the human heart. For thousands of years they were central to understanding of our understanding of the universe. We saw the world as an inherently wild place. The world was Cormac McCarthy’s Mexico: there was no order in it “save that which death has put there.”

Things have changed.

When our new generations view the world, they see it through the lens of an android, not the eyes of an animal. No other shift in perception has changed the world more. Not first wave feminism, neo-liberalism, or even capitalism. It was however the primary shift that engendered these movements: we saw ourselves as awaking from a nasty, brutish chrysalis into some new beautiful meta-human. Spiritually, we witnessed ourselves ascend from the status of half-man, half-animal, into a half-man half-angel. Today we can update that viewpoint one step further to half-man half-machine. We are androidian. 

Although this shift from animal to android brought unprecedented wealth to certain parts of civilization, it had cataclysmic effects on our wilderness. The wild inordinate world is no longer our psychological foreground. It is an afterthought. A mythic place set in the past.

Nothing could put our wild environments in a more precarious position. Wilderness still exists, though much of our government sponsored “environmentalists” claim the opposite. But it exists as a kind of waking dream. It is a place that embodies collectively our past but no part of our future: from the very origin of our species to the second Industrial Revolution. Yet it does not, in our new androidian hive-mind, represent anything resembling the world we see as our present and future. What has occurred is that the present-future vectors of our psychology have been cleaved in two. There is present-future on one temporal axis, and past on another. In our hyper-technological world, present-future can be lumped into one category. We remind ourselves of this ontology often in the expression, “the future is now.”

Somehow, however, the past has been shoved into a state of perpetual extinction. It is waning away; we are weaning ourselves off it like a teenager leaving the comfort of their parent’s guidance. As a result, there is very little hope that wilderness will survive into the future; it is effectively gated out of the dominant human world-view. It is set in a temporal landscape that looks like a cemetery. Everything is declared dead there regardless of its taciturn locus in the present. Its purpose in the present-future complex is simply to remind us that a past existed at all.

Think about this. The future has not happened yet, but it can be shaped by what is occurring in the present. That is why they are being seen as interconnected elements. But the past is gone. It is inert. It is a fossil.

Our wild places and our wild societies are being fossilized before they’re even dead.

Although it may seem like a natural psychological progression given humanity’s “progress”, but we must remember that this is progress designed by the colonial industrial ruling class. In fact, we can really begin to see how insidious this mindset is when we admit to ourselves that the whole of the world’s population of indigenous peoples fits into this categorical past-life as well. Along with the wild world they have built their societies around, indigenous people are being sent to the gulags and gas chambers of civilization’s past, right along with the staples of their worldviews: wilderness.


When wilderness and our last standing wild places are placed in a world that, to dominant industrial culture, stands outside of our current and future realm, it stands no chance of survival. The psychological schism we are creating in the new generations will the last damnation it could possibly suffer. They have already forgotten wilderness. Their idea of environmentalism looks more like gardening and shopping splurges at Trader Joe’s than it does the actual environments they pretend to somehow represent. The past is not the past if it is still living today.

Let me be perfect clear here. What I am describing is the psychological finishing touches on a thousand-year old genocide that will finally be finished when our new generations come to fruition in the world. The industrial ruling class has weaponized everything to this end. To finish off and decimate that last annoying splinters of the earth’s natural world so that the new “present-future” view of the earth can take over in totality. We are weaponized. Our industries are weaponized.

“The past is never where you left it.” Katherine Anne Porter


Two Headed Snake: A Double-Sided American Crisis



Lately I’ve been getting the feeling that we can’t go back anymore. We can’t hit a reset button to some erstwhile period of bliss. And I don’t mean historically or sociologically. The idea that there was ever a very good time in recorded history to return to is ludicrous. By civilization’s standards, we are sitting pretty high on the hog in America. Any industrial nation can say the same: advanced medicine and attempts at democracy have given the world unprecedented levels of comfort. But ironically, the suicide rate in industrial nations is higher than ever, especially in the United States and Britain. This is puzzling, considering that we are in such a position of luxury.

Many ideologues of today’s strange academic climate will argue differently. They will say that for many minorities, things are still dire. I’m not an academic though, so I don’t need to save face lying to myself. Or you. I’m an artist who likes to pretend to be an intellectual every now and then. But when I look out at the country I live in, I see improvement everywhere from just two hundred years ago (that’s not a long time in the scope of what we call “progress”), although I would never go as far as to say that things are “good” for some minorities. But all in all, we’re not dropping like flies from diphtheria, facing crushing infant mortality rates, starving to death en masse, or being mass murdered by political tyrants. I’m not saying those things might not occur in the future, but at this time, we are doing alright in terms of survival.

Yet, spiritually and psychologically, it doesn’t take a very astute mind to see that we sick. As a culture, we seem to be infected with some raging disease of unhappiness. We see it in manifestations everywhere but we have a hard time pin-pointing exactly what ails us. Our young men are killing themselves at mortifying rates, our young women are depressed more than any time in recent history, and the problem only seems to be magnifying.

Our media and our intellectual elites are doing their best to take on these issues in splintered factions. They would like to address each symptom of civil breakdown in as orderly and grotesquely simplified way as possible. There is an interesting and problematic cultural tendency occurring as a result: fewer and fewer people are buying into the media and academic elite’s obvious bullshitting, and they are looking instead into even more dubious places for the truth. They begin looking into what Donald Trump has called “Fake News”, which is, you know, opposed to the real news, which is also often fabricated. Ironically, Donald Trump himself capitalizes on Fake News every day. But this is no different than the liberal talk pieces who admonished the high idealism of men embracing equality for women that were later found to be sexual predators. The world is rife with slanderers, snake oil salesmen, and rapists. Not on your block, most likely. But if you were to drive down the right gated off neighborhood, with security cameras at every ten feet of the fence and pretty cedar trees blocking the view of their multi-million dollar estates, you would be driving by absolute sociopaths.

Our reaction to this crisis of morality and order, at this time, is to politicize every tragedy and enemy. To use each bit of new information as weaponry at each other. We are a nation divided. But as sad as the breakdown of a civil society is- which is what are witnessing- we are in the throes of a much more sinister breakdown that cannot be fixed.

Civil breakdown happens all the time in history. It’s not, by any measure, the end of the world. We see it on the news often in other countries. Now it’s happening to us. But what makes this breakdown feel so eerily apocalyptic is that there truly is an apocalyptic breakdown occurring behind the scenes:

Our wild ecologies are disintegrating at morbid rates, and we are doing almost nothing to stop it but yelling at each other and voting in new sociopaths to run the same broken machine that it has always been.

Our wilderness is in a far worse position than it is has ever been, at least in recent history, and it doesn’t take a scientist to see it happening. It only takes close observation of our wild places, and some brief history lessons of our natural spaces. Millennials had time to witness the near eradication of our amphibians. Remember guys, when we would go look under rocks at Grandpa’s house, or at the cabin by the lake, and find all kinds of salamanders, skinks, and other amphibians? Try that now. Check out those same places.

Chances are you won’t find them.

Remember the flying squirrel?

You won’t find them around much anymore either.

These are just two examples of pretty common critters from my childhood that have nearly disappeared in the last two decades. Closer scientific observation has revealed that the ecology of our wild places really is falling apart. Aside from pretty much annihilating half of the wild animal populations of the earth in the last century, new studies have revealed that insect populations are decreasing at alarming rates across the globe.

If an insect apocalypse occurs, as some scientists are now warning against, we are all toast, and so is pretty much everything else living on this planet.

A social and ecological doomsday is coming, and both are symptoms of one fatal disease:

Humanity’s addiction to technology, which begat our addiction to overconsumption.


            We know that our current farming techniques is genocide for the environment, but we would rather see an ecological apocalypse than admit that our JD tractors are somehow flawed. We are glad to vote in “green” politicians, and throw our trash in a separate garbage can, but we would never think of sharing a cell phone with our partner (which would save money as well), or not upgrading to that newest Notebook. But, but, Ethan, I hear all the time. Those are clean technologies!

Not at all. Not only are cell phone towers causing increases in mortality rates(1) in many bird populations, but are doing heavy damage to amphibian and mammal populations as well (2). And we are only a couple decades in- we don’t yet know the long term effects.

Cell phones also contain many toxic compounds that need to be mined in highly specialized ways. So the phones are toxic themselves, are toxic when thrown away, and toxic when they are in the creation process. Yet we are expected by each other to have one. I can speak from experience- when you ditch your cellphone, people get angry. To not have a cellphone is akin socially as walking around with your pants around your ankles and your middle finger in the air.

Another byproduct of our civil breakdown is the complete polarization of real-world issues. Often, the polarizing creates meaningless results either way. When we look at young liberals’ obsession with “climate change”, we would assume they would be boycotting harmful corporations, ditching their smart phones, and not buying oil-guzzling vehicles. Yet a Forbes study found that 70 percent of Millennials were not interested in electronic cars, and prefer internal combustion engines (4). It doesn’t matter anyway, since electronic cars still require extensive mining and oil consumption to actually make the car. We would assume that Millennials would be ditching their smart phones, since they are disastrous for the environment. Yet virtually all Millennials in the US have or have had a smart phone. I think it doesn’t take much of a poll to see that most of us young folks not only own a smart phone, but a Tablet device and a Lap Top, as well as a TV. The mining alone required to feed us these devices is enough to devastate entire ecologies.

This is the irony of “climate change”. It is real- we know it is- but it is only a tiny part of the ecological disaster facing us today. The reason we focus on “carbon emissions” is because we have been told that it’s not our fault. It’s the fault of a few massive corporations, and we can fix it, if we just vote in the right gal or guy to do the job. “It’s out of our hands,” we say. “We can do nothing about it. The scientists and the politicians will fix it.”

Luckily for these massive corporations, most of the public who calls themselves “green” spend about as much time out in the wild as they do at the public library. Wilderness, as a place in the human heart, is already gone. Unfortunately for the earth, we have been equipped by evolution (or perhaps some other misunderstood force?) to kill almost everything else on the earth before we kill ourselves. It would be well for the Red Wolf or the Flying Squirrel if we weren’t so well equipped; we would have undoubtedly brought ourselves to extinction long ago. But like any addict, we hurt others far more than we hurt ourselves. Until we hit rock bottom.


            Rock bottom is coming. We are witnessing the beginning of an ecological collapse that, all evidence accounted for, we cannot survive. If, like scientists are beginning to point out, our insect population declines too low, we will witness extinction at rates never before seen (5), from mammals to plants to birds and reptiles.

The techno-brainwashed lunatics among us just sneer at this great extinction. They say, “Genetic modification will allow us to repopulate and save the planet.”

But this is the same mad-scientist pride-choked mindset that got us in this situation in the first place.

There is no easy way out. In fact, there may be no way out at all. But we can’t say we are trying if we continue to follow the same insane strictures we have been. We are obsessing over our own civil breakdowns. Cute ephemeral social movements are sweeping the internet every day. But the Red Wolf doesn’t care about #MeToo. The Flying Squirrel doesn’t care about Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein, or Donald Trump. The insects of the earth are not concerned with whether or not equality is achieved among the sexes, or among different races. We should, as humans, obviously- but we can’t confused these human-centric cultural maneuvers for environmentalism. And if we continue to lump environmentalism in with other liberal talking points, like feminism, free college, and universal healthcare, there is a good chance we will complete the most unnecessary and total extinction the planet has ever seen.

Chances are, we won’t even notice it until that final breaking point. We will be binge watching Orange is the New Black, patting ourselves on the back for being such good humans, and our eyes will fall to that “I Voted” badge on our dresser, right next to our new I-Pad, and we will look out and think, “Didn’t there used to be trees out there? Or… animals?” But, like any good addict, we will quickly return to our regularly scheduled program.












America, and the Android Future: Imagining a Hybrid Nation


I grew up in a place called America. As a child I was often confused as to where or what America actually was, because on the map there is clearly a North America and a South America, but no America. There is a Central America, but it is not where I live. So how I lived in the miraculous place called America, when it did not seem to exist, I could not fathom. Now that I am grown nothing is any clearer. There are we the Americans, and there is The World. My globe is here, soaked in the red blood of the corn fields and the white bones of the plantations and the blue sky where drones scour foreign mountain ranges for evidence of terror activity. The water that comes out my tap tastes like hard work and blue collar sweat. Broad swaths of potato fields remind me of the magic of an order of small fries.
Somehow in the air America drifts. It is not any one of the fifty states, no, but it is an ether that is carried in jet streams throughout the land, replenishing its many components. I cannot help but see this place America as a trinitarian being-metaphysically it follows the same kind of blueprints as Jesus Christ. It remains fifty independent states, though it is also the United States, and finally it is America, which is a non-physical concept we all intrinsically understand but cannot really put into words. Christians feel this when they step out of church on Sunday and order a quick Starbucks on the way out the door, or hit up Hardees for some cheeseburgers to top off the Body of Christ.
But America is bitter sweet and we know it. On certain evenings it feels like something uniquely folky, something risen from a tameless wilderness and constructed in rebellion. The rebellion of a culture that we used to see as petulant and silly, if we’re honest. America is ranch hands and deer hunting and guns and Native American genocide and black slavery and loons and grizzly bears and the Bald Eagle. America is rugged. We have committed every sin so we know the tricks. We instinctively mistrust rich blood.
And yet we are the very bastion of capitalism in the west, a burden we don’t yet know how to carry. A title we were never sure how to carry. What did the cowboy ever want to do aside from ride off into the sunset with his sweet loving lady? What’s he supposed to do with nuclear arms races and with global trade activity and international espionage? He’s not cut out for this world.
We are approaching a world of global automation. Capitalism has gave way to such extraordinary heights of luxury that we are inevitably on the path to transferring huge amounts of our daily labor to machines that will do our work for free. There will still be jobs to be had with these machines, but they will be highly specialized tasks carried out by specialized workers. So the question is arising in our culture now- how do we keep capitalism creating prosperity for humans when machines do capitalism better than we do?
I find the poetic justice to be too sweet.


History is actually just the story of people who think like machines killing people who don’t think like machines, with machines. Ask any nation’s indigenous tribes and they will spin for you an accurate yarn. Today’s systems are more efficient than ever before: communism, capitalism, or any hybrid of the two, are machine systems. They take the spirit of the human person and place it within a clearly defined set of directives. The existence of all subjects are reduced to the will of the system, of the government, or the economy. On many levels these systems mirror the workings of a machine, made to carry out a single task and to just keep doing that thing forever. Capitalism has found a way to create growth at staggering rates despite the ecological ramifications and it does not know how to do anything else. It is built for one thing only: profit and growth and prosperity for those who adopt it. It does this with a ruthless efficiency. Communism was never able to achieve levels of economic luxury, but it did find highly exploitable methods of controlling populations and rendering them loyal to fanatic regimes.
In this new world we are entering, communism and capitalism will both be utilized under single entities. China and its bulldog Hong Kong have already demonstrated clearly how devastatingly efficient this hybridization is. Even Marx admitted that communism could only be completed with the help of the capitalists. Luxury communism rests on the fruits of capitalism.
And so capitalism, in order to remain efficient, must adopt its nemesis in order to remain relevant in the world that it created. It’s Shakespearean. After all this time, a piece of that holy American trinity is ready to be dethroned: America, the metaphysical spirit of our rugged and often violent roots. It will be forgotten. The spirit, though filled with scandal and turmoil, was a precious one. It was rooted to the earth, albeit a bloodstained one. Without it we will be mere actors. Or more correctly, machines.