At a very young age, I had the privilege of studying with Ernest Becker, the author of, among other things, “The Denial of Death”. Sometimes, I wish I could speak to and with him about what all thinkers these wondrously complex and dangerous days consider the obvious – the fact that we, as human mammals, live with an increasingly compounded sense of our individual and species mortality.
I asked a research scientist today why there has been no organized voice around the hard facts of lethal climate change, of the ongoing as yet unknown mutations of the cellular body due to environmental chemicals, secreted facts about radiation levels and more. I referred to the august group of North American and international engineers who formed the Truth Movement to reveal the unpalatable (and easily denied) truth about 9/11. The engineers, established in their own right, are still working, teaching at the best universities and are hardly condemned for their science, for revealing the horror of what a nation can do to itself. What about the scientists, I asked? If they know and have the data and share the same concerns for the soluble ills of a limping planet (and its population), why can’t they unite in one voice? Surely, I opined, already knowing the tone and tenor of the coming response) “they” (industry and government lobbied by industry) can’t cut off all funding for every scientist who speaks to the rapidly deteriorating human condition!
The scientist, currently looking for funding, brought the tangent in our otherwise blithe conversation to a thud when he answered as predicted. Without tone, bereft of passion, with what is a pandemic numbness of the human spirit, he said, “But, they surely can, and do.”
“They” also ensure and insure the multiple levels of our denial and plant the seeds of illusion - to take the place of hope.