Human Flourishing

The title is misleading, sarcastic. This poem is a response to a talk by some guy called Alex Epstein, who started something called The Human Flourishing Project. Alex believes nonrenewable energy sources are the reason for human flourishing. The rise in population (which he seems to think good because that means humanity is flourishing), health, leisure, convenience, etcetera. In short, Alex thinks we should use more of them. He has evidence. Woah! Really Alex?

I have made Alex seem very stupid, however, the most worrying part of Alex’s existence is that he isn’t stupid. He does not speak emphatically, he is measured, diplomatic & seems to make a cogent point. I find this more difficult to digest than a ranting dinosaur like Trump. You know whether you hate or love a man like Trump, he’s obvious is so many ways. Men like Alex worry me in the same way men like Larry Page concern me. Anyway, I got a poem out of Alex. Beware the sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Human Flourishing
 
Too…such goodness from the bindweed
fumes of amor fati, flourishing in/exhaled.
No one to say to, nor with, & yet
we cannot not say, nor write
with no place to write in, or about.
This will happen at the end of time
with only silence for unnerving amity.
 
Mobile boys mark stuttered patterns
in the sound-lines of air. They inherit
a neural mastery over the insignificant.
The vital, new immortals condense
& swarm biblically; seize; climb
immortal landfills growing wild as they grow tame
under motile digits alive with current.
 
The world melts in a dance of dye.
The pollen snouted bee in lazy meadows,
hysterical verbiage turns dead matters
quick… ‘Quickly, hear the woodland sigh.’
Clusters of midges in a hug of light,
& bracken fronds, their bitter
scent wafting on winded, angry ratios.
 
Blind-catharsis, stamping barcodes
on the underside of leaves, on animal noise.
Our most unlovely heavens scapegoated
for glass & steel & smoke. These antsy, twitchy noses.
Who loves their hunch that promise
falls in code, & futures the restless destiny
of light-fingered, binary patterns?
 
Once-and-for-all, the perfect virtual
   
               dive unmatched
 
                             in its proliferating go.
 
 

7 Comments

  1. Alex Epstein’s ludicrous stance doesn’t really deal with the results of human “flourishing”: pollution, growing scarcity of arable land, pandemics, and so on. Forget the wolves… beware the sheep in sheep’s clothing.

    1. ‘Ludicrous’ is an apt word. He really doesn’t address enough, only drills incorrigibly a sort of like begets like fiasco: if the world is bounteous because of fossil fuels, if we use more, strategically, then we’ll flourish more. His myopia is staggering.

      1. If we were to use the hyperobject in such a way he’d be barking up the wrong oil well. You can’t tease a hyperobject away from ecology, in fact viscosity & ‘interobjectivity’ are fundamental to the hyperobject. He could certainly stand to learn something about not separating the inside from the outside. It’d do him good. As Morton says ‘The leg bones connected to the toxic waste dump…’

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