Climatic Change in a Bathroom
Startled awake by my wife’s accusation, I grew quickly annoyed—even suspicious.
“Jimmy! You left the stupid heater turned up in the bathroom again! I told you to turn it down. You’re wasting electricity and running up the bill.”
“Aw sh*t!” I exclaimed. “I could have sworn I remembered. Are you sure?”
While I groaned from under the covers, she stood in the doorway, frowning in frustration. Money wasted on electricity would mean empty cupboards at the end of the month. Four or five times in the past two weeks—since the nights had turned cold in Colorado—I’d forgotten to lower the thermostat before going to bed. I tend to retire after Selene, so the heaters had run all night.
Angry with myself, I sulked in denial. It wasn’t true! My wife had made it up or done it unwittingly when she rose in the pre-dawn gloom to pee. One way or another, I was sure I wasn’t to blame. [Note: I kept these ravings prudently to myself;<] Having shunted my guilt to her, I felt slightly better until common sense popped my delusional bubble. Then I felt like the fool I was.
Who was I kidding? Of course she hadn’t made it up. Selene is far too practical to spend her waking minutes in a cold apartment playing head games, nor would she raise the thermostat for a thirty-second sojourn to the toilet. If the heaters had run all night, I was to blame and no one else. I shook my head in self-reproach as the irony of my initial reaction made me chuckle.
Despite spending years to craft an action-adventure novel that explores the psychological roots of Climatic Change—roots embedded in the human capacity for self-delusion—I’d just rationalized an unwanted reality to buttress my ego…a mental process (1,2) that pollutes our relations with other races, nations, creatures, and Earth (3,4,5).
We’re all human. Thus we’re all prone to the pitfalls of human nature. The above sketch concerned a mundane issue I had previously agreed had merit—a matter that required me to merely pay attention and turn down a switch. Even so, I had tried to shirk my responsibility for fumbling the ball. How much harder must it be for those who see Climatic Change as a threat to their beliefs or jobs to consider whether ambition or bias skews their ability to consider energy issues in an objective light that prioritizes safety and a sustainable future—especially since the most blatant effects of Man’s fossil fuel madness will become readily apparently only after it’s far too late to avert a permanent cataclysm for life on earth?
For many thousands of years, human foibles didn’t threaten our planet, but now they do. Regarding fossil fuel usage and Climatic Change, our species can no longer afford to delude itself, or we’ll pay a ruinous tuition to discover that “cause-and-effect” has its own agenda—one that doesn’t care a whit about our wants, convenience, beliefs, or survival (6).
- Westen D, Blagov PS, Harenski K, Kilts C, Hamann S., Neural bases of motivated reasoning Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 11/06;18(11):1947-58.
- Political bias affects brain activity MSNBC.com, Jan 24 2006
- Albert Einstein, 1954 “[As] human beings, [we] experience ourselves, our thoughts, and our feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and our affection to those nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of Nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein, 1954 “We shall require a substantially new way of thinking if mankind is to survive.”
- Chief Seattle, 1786—1866 “This we know: All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of Earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
- Niall Firth, Human race ‘will be extinct within hundred years,’ claims leading scientist. Mail Online, 18 June 2010
Twice a surrogate ‘stem cells’ spokesperson for the GW Bush White House, James ended his biotech activism over the hypocrisy of worldview politics at the national level and the eco-denial of his former social allies.