I THINK, THEREFORE I'M NUTS!
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
- Genesis 6
I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, oh I'm an ape man
- The Kinks
Recently, I wrote a post (Sade and the Body)proffering the idea that the roots of sadism, and peoples' fascination with it in films and literature, can be found in the nature of our consciousness, specifically that we humans are acutely aware of just how much our bodies are capable of suffering, under certain unwelcome conditions. In that essay, I referred to the mind's "hatred" of the body, a kind of psychosis arising from the mind's awareness of this worrisome aspect of its nature. In the interests of fairness, I would like, with this essay, to consider the human body'spredicament, the raw deal it gets from being attached to a mind that operates like no other in the animal kingdom.
As bodies go, yours and mine are nothing more than variations on a theme. They are closest in form to the chimpanzees and other higher apes, of course, but in fact they are not so different from hundreds of species having vertebrae, internal organs held within a rib cage, extenders such as arms, legs, fingers, toes, etc. Our pinkish pigmentation can be found under the fur of numerous animals, from pigs to guinea pigs to dogs to prairie dogs. In terms of design, I think it fair to say that we have more in common with squirrels, physiologically and stylistically, than a Model T has to a Ferrari, and than either does to a bulldozer or a city bus. Our bodies are just another example of The Mammalian Success Story that has been going on since ancient cataclysms laid the dinosaurs low.
If a chimpanzee were to wake up one morning, and find it's body transformed, a la Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, into that of a homo sapiens, leaving aside the muscular strength it would be sacrificing, we can imagine that it would be able to find its way around its new contraption fairly easily. If it felt an itch, or an urge, it would pretty much know what to do about it. And the alternative would be true for us as well. All that chimp hair may take some getting used to, as would being able to effortlessly rip doors off their hinges, but on the whole we'd probably be able to master our new equipment, eventually. Learning to function in our chimp body would probably be considerably less difficult than learning to fly an airplane or navigate a submarine.
Now, on the other hand, stick that chimpanzee's body with a human mind and tell me it wouldn't freak out! "What are all these...things?" They're called abstract thoughts. "WTF am I supposed to do with them?" Uh..., this is going to take some time. Our minds, with their abstract, logical, inventive, metaphoric, etc. ways of operating represent such an anomalous feature of evolution that if even our closest relatives were to suddenly come into the possession of one they would likely go flat out insane in a matter of seconds! We, fortunately, have had all of seven million years (since we broke off from the chimps, a mere blink of an eye in the history of evolution) to get used to our minds. We're comfortable with them, or are we?
It's not so much the minds themselves, which, unique as they are in the Wild Kingdom, nevertheless have clearly aided our survival and expansion over the various terrains of the earth. You don't find chimps living in harsh, dry deserts or frozen hinterlands, after all. But what we havedone with our minds, how we have shaped our environment with them, has surely put tremendous strain on our poor animal bodies. Consider our eyes, hardly different than a chimp's, which evolved while looking at relatively few color schemes, primarily the greens of the jungle, the blues and grays of ocean and sky, the browns of the earth and mountains, etc. Seeking out the sudden stimulation that comes from finding attractive fruit, or the sudden rapid movement that alerts us that prey or predators are about. This is what our close relatives see, what they use their eyes for, up to this very day. Whereas we, on the other hand, are constantly blitzed with a mad barrage of colors, flashing images, tiny backlit characters on a computer screen that we put together to make words, etc. Other senses are similarly blitzed; our ears, certainly, to say nothing of our taste buds! We are a hyper-stimulated species, made so by the downright freakish environments we've built and placed ourselves in.
We spend so much time in boxes; buildings, rooms, cars, and, perhaps, that most unnatural environment of all, fifty thousand feet above the earth, in airplane cabins. Our air is conditioned, our light is electric, our drinking water comes to us through pipes. Our contact with other species is extremely limited. Our natural patterns of sleep and movement are severely compromised by the demands of the unnatural world we've engineered for ourselves. Oh, the poor human body! So near, by its very structure, to the natural world, and yet so distant!
It's bad enough that we modify our own bodies. We have gone further, employing our minds to mould oddities of biology that Natural Selection would have, er, naturally selected for extinction tout suite. Consider the poor pug, which sounds asthmatic as it manages to breathe through a flat apparatus that was meticulously squashed from a wolf's long snout by generations of breeding. Consider as well ears of corn with husks wrapped so tightly around the seeds they can't possibly be dispersed. Or bananas with seeds so useless the plants must be grown by cuttings. Cows with udders so huge, and geared toward milk production, they would possibly explode without human assistance. I wonder, if the beauty, vulnerability and exquisiteness of our own human bodies was fully appreciated and honored, would such manipulations of other creatures even be thinkable?
in 1968, Erich von Daniken published a book titledChariots of the Gods. In it, he referred to certain passages from ancient literature, such as the one I begin this essay with, as indicating that human beings are in fact manifestations of an experiment of sorts, a hybridization of terrestrial ape bodies with highly intelligent aliens (the "gods" who came by "chariots" to the earth). Whether or not there is any truth whatsoever to the claims the book makes, the metaphor of "sons of Gods" (minds) mating with "daughters of men" (animal bodies) quite poetically describes our predicament, I feel. We are, by all accounts, an oddity of nature. Ours is an uncomfortable marriage of raw, animal senses and sensitivities, to abstract, intellectual sentience. For now, our minds have succeeded in constraining our bodies within an environment and lifestyle that no stretch of the imagination could argue they were evolved, over the course of millions of years, for. One can only hope that as the human mindcontinues to evolve it will work out a happier medium for the animal it lives its life contained within.
EVOLVE OR PERISH
(a response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster)
THE DISSENT OF MAN
We are stardust, we are golden
we are billion year old carbon
and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden
- Jonie Mitchell, "Woodstock"
Ferrets are more determined than they are bright. Case in point being my own pet ferret, Rosie. Rosie explores nooks and crannies with the unrestrained zeal of a fanatic. Wikipedia tells me that ferrets have been domesticated (they are the domesticated version of the polecat) since perhaps the time of Socrates and Buddha, and all that breeding - for going down holes, for ferreting out pest rodents - has resulted in a lovable freak of nature that behaves nearly suicidally in its compulsion to know, KNOW!, what's down that hole, or in that crevice! Even if that hole leads to a drop off of ten or more feet (that's like a twenty story building to a ferret), and a fatal fall, the only thing that will stop a ferret is the loving hand of its exasperated owner. We can't understand ferrets in this regard; it's something they "just gotta".
Or perhaps we can understand them, and all too well at that. My thoughts are now joined with those of so many others as we contemplate the unspeakable tragedy that is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. As the oil spews out from a mile below, it is staggering to consider how technology has been so horrifyingly misapplied in this instance. Explorers were able, through sophisticated devices, to discover that there is a vast reservoir of oil out there beyond sight of land. Engineers developed machinery that can dig through solid rock, three more miles below the ocean floor, in order to get at that reservoir. Because we "just gotta" have that oil! Cruelly ironic that we have developed astounding technology in order to drill through bedrock, but have not developed applications to produce or harvest energy that doesn't send the environment, our one and only home planet, down a tailspin of degradation. Humans, like ferrets, are more determined than they are bright.
Lemmings, on the other hand, don't really commit mass suicide. It turns out that that is a myth. The whole myth developed like a meme in reaction to some wildlife footage shot in the mid 1950s, and televised frequently thereafter, for a Disney-produced wildlife documentary. Multiple generations gathered in living rooms and watched in horror, on their upholstered couches (and I was among them) as a mass desperation forced the pathetic critters to fling themselves out over a cliff, into the cold, cruel sea, where they swam a futile swim to exhaustion and a watery death. This was a culling process of nature, we were taught to believe; that as their population exploded beyond a certain point, instinct forced them into behavior that they would never otherwise consider, as if a switch had been thrown by Mother Nature. The footage itself, and how it was presented, was hokum. First of all, the "documentary" aspect of the scene that fused itself in our brains has been challenged. The animals we saw were herded, it is now alleged. The rush hour subway density of lemmings was staged in order to heighten their panic. Lemmings do behave radically when their population exceeds a certain quotient. They do fan out in all directions in search of new habitat. They do, if they encounter a body of water, jump in, in order to explore the land, and its food potential, on the other side. But lemmings are very good swimmers. More often that not, as in WAY more often than not, the majority of them reach the other side. Therefore, the fact that they were transported to an inhospitable coast by filmmakers is all the more ghastly. Those critters thought they had a good chance of crossing over, because in a naturalsituation, they would have. Thus, this all too convenient, and frequently used, metaphor for our own existential situation is forced and inaccurate. We do not have allies among our fellow animals (or at least if we do, it is not the misunderstood lemming) in plunging carelessly toward our own demise. We as a mammalian species are alone in engaging in obviously suicidal behavior, with the concomitant collateral side effect of taking billions of other life forms with us.
And there can be no mistake, this IS the direction we are heading. One of Einstein's most famous quotes is that problems cannot be solved at the level of consciousness at which they were created, and yet many hasten to assure us that technology, for all the devastation it has wrought since the Industrial Revolution, is nevertheless the solution to the ills we face today. Apparently, according to this way of thinking, it is now incumbent upon our technology to transform itself into Superman, and rescue us from the death trap its Lex Luthor alter ego has placed us in. Uh....right.
Technology is not the answer. Nor is it the problem, per se, so much as it is a symptom. There is a sickness affecting humanity that threatens our very survival as a species. We have lost touch with our center, our very DNA, and are behaving as if we are not part of this earth any more. We base our way of life on a system that will stop working in less time than the duration between now and Shakespeare. It is utter madness, but we go about our lives as if it will all work out somehow. We are the true "lemmings", and our divorce from our naturalness will not, and cannot possibly be, solved by forcing ourselves even deeper into the ouroboros that is the left hemisphere of our brain, there to extract ever newer technologies to serve as antidotes to the technologies that are being run with such destructive consequences in our modern civilization.
Our survival as a species has nothing to do with technological geekery or, as some technophiles have suggested, "heading out to the stars". Imagine the audacity! We trash life on this planet, but hey, it's okay, so long as we learn to cultivate our own moon, or the moons of Jupiter or wherever. The very fact that some would consider this to be a solution is indicative itself that something is really wrong with our current mindset. A species, a contributing member of the biosphere and completely dependent on it, deluding itself that it can pick up and move elsewhere if need be. The Sufis advise us to "be in the world but not of it". Sound advice when its meaning relates to an individual striving for peace of mind. But for the human race as a collective, the admonition should be, "Be in the world and don't forget for a moment that you ARE of it!" Ours has been a history of pulling ourselves out of the real Matrix, the impeccable miracle that is our planet's propensity to, generously, host ecosystems based on the simplest and most brilliant of exchanges - oxygen for carbon dioxide, food for fertilizer, death for life - and placing ourselves in an unreal Matrix that weakens us fundamentally and threatens us existentially. And we must learn how to stop.
Surely Tokyo, where I live, is one of the most wasteful cities on the entire planet. The foods that are thrown away each day, the electricity used in the neon signs and giant televisions advertising bubblegum pop music in front of the major train stations; the air conditioners blasting out from four million domiciles in the summer, raising the temperature two degrees (Celsius) higher than outside the city; the appliances and computers and cellphones that are pitched and replaced rather than repaired, etc.; taken together this would easily provide enough food and energy and sundries to supply a city of a million or more people each day. And yet, a mere hundred and fifty odd years ago, Tokyo, or as it was then called, Edo, was a very different place altogether. It was, as has been suggested in a book by novelist/historian Eisuke Ishikawa titled "The Edo Period had a Recycling Society", the most environmentally efficient city on the face of the earth. The Japanese of Old Edo were not self consciously preserving their environment so much as they were subconsciously aware of themselves as part of the environment. Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than the commercial use of "night soil", a lovely euphemism for human excrement, as a fertilizer. If you were to go back to Edo and stop by a roadside teahouse, you might meet a man who would proudly tell you, "I sell shit". And why not be proud? While Europeans were risking plague at every turn, throwing their raw sewage out onto the street, the Japanese were living healthily and sanitarily, giving their produce back to the earth, so that it could continue to yield its produce for their use. This is the way of things, it is what Nature teaches us, and yet it is something that we have forgotten. Instead, we eat chemically fertilized foods, laced with pesticides and denuded of nutrients, and dump (literally) that into our water supply, of all places! We have night soil for brains, it seems!
We have to, metaphorically if not literally, return to the wilds and become creatures of the forest again. In a forest, absolutely nothing is wasted. Not air, not sunlight, not a drop of rain or sweat, not a carcass or a pellet of shit. A forest can run, continually rejuvenating itself, for millennia, once a system is set in place. In a place called Gaviotas, in Colombia, a group of scientists and environmental engineers figured out a way to put a rainforest back where the desert had encroached, and not by simply planting trees. They built it up from the ground floor, beginning with the small plants that would have originally grown there, and moving forward incrementally. Almost miraculously, the birds began to appear as if from nowhere. And the lizards, and the rodents. Over time, the forest was back, and all its creatures were working in harmony. Gaia knew what to do, and just needed a nudge.
I am not idealizing forest life as if it is some sort of trans-species hippiefest waiting to welcome us back. I am well aware that it is not. In any given clump of dirt in a forest that you may happen to pick up with your bare hand, an atrocity is occuring. The little things of this planet dispense with each other in ways so gruesome and cruel that they would blush the face of the most depraved Medieval torturer. It can easily be surmised that such very terrors of the natural world have impacted our psychology and seeded our destructiveness. We needed to learn to use our brains for protection, for offense and defense. We would not have survived had we not learned to attack, fight for our very lives, take without asking. It's part of who we are, and it was bequeathed to us by Gaia. We are her legacy. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse to stay on our present course as it leads down a road toward extinction. We can use our minds to imagine, and create, a new Eden. Our children can be the butterflies and birds that spread the seeds, through their vigor and curiosity. Our senior citizens can be the massive sycamores that hold the very life of the forest in their hearts and minds. Every one of us must discover our place in this new "human forest" before we can reintegrate ourselves with the broader ecosystem both on our terms and its. As wasteful as our modern society is, what we are wasting more than anything is our minds. As destructive as we are to the planet, what we are destroying perhaps even more rapidly is our humanness. We have to remember what that means first, to be human. If we want to be sane again.
THE LONELY APE
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”
- (attributed to)Einstein
- (attributed to)Einstein
My morning yesterday was like so many others, riding a crowded train out from suburban Tokyo to neighboring Yokohama for work. As usual, I would have to wait several stops before managing a seat. So as I stood in the cramped aisle in front of a row of seats and watched the scenery change, I happened to glance over at the kangaroo standing next to me. He was reading The Kangaroo Times, and, since I don’t read Kangaroo, I could only get the barest notion from the photographs of what seems to be the chief concerns of kangaroos these days. Some sort of major kangaroo sporting event is going on, as well as what looks to be some sort of territorial dispute in a place I assumed to be part of the Australian outback. When he noticed I was poking my nose into his newspaper, the kangaroo seemed a bit miffed, and ever so slightly folded his paper as if to demonstrate to me it was off limits. Not wanting to make a kangaroo angry, I quickly looked in the opposite direction and found something frightfully interesting about the ad for after shave lotion above the luggage rack.
I’m not quite sure which is more absurd; the scenario I just described above, or the fact that for the vast majority of human beings alive today, nothing even remotely similar will ever occur for them – an encounter with another species of animal, in both creatures’ natural environment, on equal terms. We have fashioned a world that has become so people-centric that some of us go through whole days without ever seeing another species from the animal kingdom. Those of us who don’t have pets might go a few days without even thinking about other creatures, aside from the eating of them. Many will not regard the food before them as a once living animal. Hamburgers and chicken nuggets so completely disguise the fact that This Once Breathed that it is as if food originates in supermarkets and restaurant kitchens. No other species lives like this on our planet; so isolated, so disconnected from other creatures. A hefty toll is being paid for this, I believe. In fact, I believe that one of the main reasons there is so much alienation, depression and other forms of mental illness plaguing the human species is because our relationship to our fellow creatures has become so distorted. We are a lonely species.
To see this loneliness given expression, we need only look at children’s stories and entertainment. When I was a child, my television friends were Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Scooby Doo and Bullwinkle. Especially Bugs. Now, Bugs is a funny fellow, as are the other characters I loved, but he’s nothing like an actual rabbit, even in appearance, is he? Why even depict him, or any cartoon character, as an animal? Why Mighty Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, Eeyore, the White Rabbit, etc.? Couldn’t they all be people? They basically are people, just ones wearing funny animal suits.
What does this tell us? That we long to reconnect to animals. We miss them, and as long as we do, we’ll insert them into our culture any way we can. On greeting cards, calendars, animated programs, children’s book illustrations, T-shirts, etc., etc. We’ll also put them in zoos, basically prisons for innocents, and go to gawk at them in an odd and wholly inappropriate gesture of reconnection. Our popular culture indicates a deep yearning within us to restore something beautiful that has been lost.
To be sure, the reasons for our isolation are clear and reasonable enough. Animals threatened us. Whether lions, tigers or bears, whether locusts, snakes or scorpions, whether disease carrying rats, flies or birds, we built our cities and homes to shelter us from the danger so many of our fellow inhabitants of this world presented. But we’ve gone too far. We have created a sterile, barren environment. Wherever you are, sitting right now and reading your computer screen, try to imagine this same spot of land five hundred years ago, and for tens of thousands of years before that. It was very likely a lush forest with a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere of squawking, hiding, howling, hunting, slithering, jumping animals. The land pulsated. The animals had an alertness we can only dream about, knowing that every move they made or failed to make could be fatal. In this threatening world of predators and prey, still they managed to mate and raise children. Surrounded by creatures utterly different from them, they shared and persevered. Consciously or simply instinctually, they participated in life, just as their descendants still do in the vast but ever shrinking expanses of forest that yet survive on our world. But for us, our world has been reduced to slabs, boxes, and slick surfaces. We see a spider or cockroach run along our walls, or a line of ants moving back and forth across our floor and we nearly freak out. “EWwww! How did these animals get in here?”
Our isolationist course has taken us to, and perhaps beyond, the tipping point. The latest hypothesis to explain the disappearance of honey bees in some parts of the world is that mobile phone “noise” is disrupting the bees’ homing sensors. Once they leave the hive to gather pollen, they can’t find their way back. The hives die. It’s hard to proffer a more essential species than the honeybee. Most of the world’s crops depend on them for pollination. So, will it be mobile phones that ultimately do us in? If so, I see a profoundly sad irony in that. Our isolated, lonely species, robbing the planet of its life force, while we go on chattering, chattering, chattering among ourselves.
Missing The Jackpot
"And she'll have fun, fun, fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away!"
- The Beach Boys
Imagine a product that, if they could afford it, nearly everyone would want to own. Imagine it being so expensive that any company that made it, so long as it managed to cater to the desires of potential customers, would become one of the biggest companies in the world. Imagine that this new product would be of a type such that, to be viable, a slew of new industries and services would have to be invented to support it. Imagine that, as well, some former industries that existed long before this new product was even thought of would become transformed and revolutionized as they fitted their production capacities toward this new product, growing huge themselves alongside it. Imagine that the very environment we humans inhabit would change dramatically, by necessity, as this new product made old notions of communities, towns, cities, even the very notions of "near" and "far" obsolete. Furthermore, imagine that the people who manufactured this product, and worked in all the other industries that serve it, were paid so well that they could afford to satisfy their desires for other products, and that these products also then grew into enormous industries of their own. I think you can easily imagine that this product would have a profound influence on the world's economy. I think it is fair to say that were such a product to arise, within a few short years the bleak economic forecasts of financial meltdown and worldwide economic malaise would be briskly whisked away. I also think you would agree that such a product coming about now, when the world needs it most, is unlikely at best.
The problem, of course, is that such a product did come about, once. However, that happened around eighty years ago. The automobile represents what I call a "Jackpot Industry". With it, the world economy hit the jackpot. Around it grew the oil industry, the steel industry, the rubber industry, the glass industry, etc. The workers at the factories where all of these were produced were able to buy televisions, radios, stereos, etc. It grew cities such as Detroit, Pittsburgh, Akron, Nagoya and Hiroshima. It took two countries, the U.S. and Japan, as well as the already mature economies of Western Europe, to economic heights never seen before, and brought about a new system: an economy not based on lords and serfs, but on a middle class with desires they could now fulfill by virtue of their paychecks.
It is staggering to think what this one product made possible. And yet, as with so many other products invented before the mid 20th century, the automobile began as a plaything, strictly for the enjoyment of the leisure class. It was therefore the vision of Henry Ford - that the very workers who produced it would themselves be able to afford one - that brought this machine among machines into its own. But once that genie was released from its lamp, the world's economy was set on a course of expansion never before seen. And the world changed. Very old industries, such as metal smelting and glassworks, as well as newer industries such as oil, rubber and cement, grew to heights undreamed of as they fitted their technology to serve the demand for automobiles and the roads and bridges to drive them on. Buildings reached new, literal, heights, as working spaces for people traveling great distances to their offices - made possible by cars and highways - resulted in the need for skyscrapers, creating our modern image of what cities look like. Homes filled with consumer goods, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, shopping malls, etc; not to mention freeways and suburbia - none of these things existed before automobiles became a commonplace item, nor could they have.
Tragically, the effects of the automobile industry are as much a litany of global woes as a story of new possibilities. The devastation to the environment wrought by the automobile and its ancillary industries represents a threat to the planet that we are slowly beginning to recognize as existential. What we are also learning is the benefits may be far more ephemeral than we imagined. Whereas most Americans growing up in the Age of the Automobile may have easily deluded themselves that the country's vibrant middle class was the true economic bedrock upon which the nation depended, we have woken up to discover that, to the executives in their gleaming Midtown towers, the middle class was simply a moveable feast. They milked it dry in the U.S., and then began building it up, in Japan, Korea, etc.; with eyes on an even bigger prize: if China and India, which together comprise nearly a third of the world's population, should manage to evolve into western-style consumer cultures, the American middle class can ever after be treated as an afterthought. Which, considering the outsourcing frenzy of corporate America, appears to already be the case.
But even that scenario will not come about as planned, to the chagrin of ruthless executives. The Jackpot Days are over. Supplying India and China with cars for every available driver simply doesn't work. Our environment is already severely wounded, and we are reduced to tearing up mountains and gouging holes into the ocean to squeeze out the last bit of oil that cars need to run on, with ever more disastrous environmental consequences. Electric and hybrid cars won't do the trick. Certainly, making cars that run more efficiently and pollute less should be the top priority of all car companies. But their products still have to be manufactured and shipped. That means tons of steel, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, and all the energy required to produce them. The most recent super freighters, fully loaded, are perhaps the largest and heaviest things ever built by man, and eco-friendly cars will do nothing to unclog shipping lanes.
Likewise, there is no new Jackpot Industry to do for the world economy what the Model T began doing eighty years ago. The internet, mobile phones, ecological and medical technologies, etc., simply do not have the ancillary industrial backing to turn the world's economic downturn around. Some may champion the notion of home robots as a linchpin industry, as the populations of developed countries age and need caring for. This could (and well may) lead to extraordinarily lucrative technological breakthroughs, but cannot possibly create the kind of ripple effects that were the key to the success of the Age of the Automobile. In fact, nothing can. This limited planet cannot withstand another era of unrestrained industrial growth.
That Age is over. Period. The economic protests that are erupting all over the world right now are an entirely predictable consequence of the point we have reached, and a clarion call that bears heeding. Nothing, within our current framework of thinking about economics, commerce, or manufacturing, is going to get us out of the mess we are now in. The benefits of the automobile industry are now in our rearview mirror, and fading fast. We must begin creating non-economic solutions to the problems our world faces.
While scientists remain puzzled as to the cause of the dramatic decline in honeybee populations in North America and elsewhere, some are speculating the cause may very much be human related; however, not technological, but philosophical. It appears that “Randism”, a trend that has recently exploded on the American political landscape may similarly have caught on among our bee brethren. It seems that the reason for the decline of hive populations is that many bees are now practicing “the virtue of selfishness”, keeping the nectar they collect for themselves and not returning to the hives they emerged from. These bees consider the notion that they should return for the benefit of the whole colony “evil altruism” and look down upon the “Hive-ists” who would act for a goal larger than themselves. They argue that “there is no such thing as a species” and that it all comes down to individual bees and their pursuit of their own happiness. When it is pointed out to them that this could result in the extinction of honey bees and have cataclysmic results on worldwide crops, they scoff and say, “and this is my problem how?”
Meanwhile, more religious-minded bees are concerned about how to carry on in the aftermath of what they regard as “The Great Rapture” that has decimated their populations. “Left Bee-hive”, the bee adaptation of the “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, paints a bleak picture of life on earth after the Chosen Bees have been taken up to their Maker.
So, will it be Rand that the bees turn to, or the Good Book? “Why should I care?”, a distraught bee who agreed to be interviewed for this article lamented. “It’s so hopeless that I just may go off somewhere and sting someone!”