Macro/micro — we are a microcosm in a macrocosm but the micro is so much easier to grasp. The immensity of immensity is too much for us and our little hands, which, in my case are about 7 inches from wrist to the tip of the bird finger. That we might have a role in the immensity is completely beyond our comprehension. We can’t even fathom our effect on our little microcosm, our planet.
In one of the books I’ve been reading (as part of evaluating books) I learned of a “cat killer” in Australia. Why does this guy have such a raging vendetta against cats? The domestic cat has done incredible damage to the native species in Australia, and this man is out to do his part in helping some of those endangered species come back. But what 18th century ship did NOT have cats aboard to help fight rat population? The author puts forth that the cats were brought to Australia as pets, and while that’s possible, I think a lot of them were stowaways, freeloaders. The ships were a huge rendition of a human body unwittingly transporting a contagious disease to an un-protected population.
People yammer on about “But look at the big picture!” or “The devil is in the details!” or “Pay attention to the small stuff!” and I honestly don’t know how we can ever tell whether the picture we’re looking at is a big picture or “small stuff.” It happens often that the entire big picture depends on the small stuff. And the big picture? Who’s to say it’s not small stuff?
Back in the 1950s, we didn’t have garbage disposals. We had a thing called “wet garbage” and a corollary called “dry garbage.” I think some of the wet garbage went into the garden and other wet garbage went into the 10 gallon trash can with a lid that sat outside the back fence and was picked up once a week by the trash guys. These guys lifted the trash can and tossed the trash in the back of the dump truck. That’s a trash can about the size of what most of us have in our kitchen. The dry trash was burned in a backyard incinerator. We didn’t have plastic everything. Plastic was an up-and-coming product whose uses were barely exploited. Nylon was still considered to be “fake silk.”
If you think about it, this was all what we would now term “responsible recycling,” but for my parents it was just daily life. For their parents? For my mom’s family, the disposal of trash was even MORE meticulous and what we would term “responsible.” They lived on a farm. The pigs and poultry got much of the “wet garbage.”
In the 70s the incinerators were “bad” because the smoke caused air pollution. Plastics were suddenly everywhere (thank god for plastic shampoo bottles, seriously, but…) and our trash cans became immense. Trash trucks developed into enormous beetles that lifted enormous bins over their backs and emptied them into a churning abyss to break things down for an overflowing landfill. The first time I saw one of these in action I was 22.
Each little person made these changes believing them to be for the “betterment” of the world and the safety of people. These are tiny changes, microcosm level changes. Where are we now? The macrocosm (relative to us) is in trouble, serious trouble.
My point is that we just don’t have any idea at ALL what we’re doing. We go through our lives like scurrying, near-sighted moles. The values of the future are predicated on the choices we make today, and I don’t think we have any idea what those choices will mean in fifty or one-hundred years.
In micro news, I changed my voter registration this morning. This person (me) who was originally a Libertarian, then a Republican, then an Independent is now a registered Democrat. What changed my mind? The “Tweet” posted as the featured photo.
Why? Porque, en mi vida, algunos de mis mejores amigos han sido hablantes nativos de español. I was horrified to hear some of the members of Offal’s “team” describe themselves as “true Americans” because they speak only English. Apropos to the “macro” theme of today’s prompt, we don’t live in a nation. We live on a world. Y, por eso, por tantos años, por lo major parte de mi vida, he creído que necesitábamos hablar más idiomas que nuestro idioma nativo. My Spanish is far from fluent or perfect (I used Google translate to check my sentences here) but I am happy to speak with anyone who allows me to or needs me to.
Anyway reading that Tweet it suddenly hit me. I may not like the Democrats all that much, but certain of my values align with the party line much better than with whatever the fuck it is the Republicans are doing now. I want leadership that recognizes that we are part of the WORLD. I want leadership that is open to others and the idea of conscientiously attacking the problems we’ve created along the way. While it might have been smarter to continue using incinerators (with filters to capture pollutants on the chimneys as we use on fireplaces), at least those people’s hearts were in the right place. BTW, Switzerland gets a large percentage of its electrical power from burning trash.