The following is taken from the personal diary of Atieno Jabari, Lead Warden of Marsabit National Reserve (1972-84):
I fear for the safety of Tonto. I have not seen him for 3 days now, although his behavioural patters have been growing increasingly erratic; I could usually rely on him to collect his weekly food drop. Since being ousted from his troop by a new buck on the scene, Tonto has taken to roaming the reserve alone. It makes me sad and worried, and yet I know that this is the way of the world. It is not fair and yet it must be, in the natural world (as is sometimes the case in our own human world) the powerful wield their strength will little regard for lesser individuals. And so it is that, after leading his troop through famine and the threat of invading predators, Tonto finds himself alone.
I have grown tired of waiting for Tonto to return, it may sound ridiculous, but I feel compelled to venture into the forest to search for him. Nearly a week has passed, if he doesn’t find food soon he will surely die. More importantly he needs to socialise. To go from living with his troop, assessing signs of danger, sourcing food and attending to his females to simply fending for himself is a hard change for any
man beast. This is why I must find him more than anything, to remind him that there is someone who still needs him, that his life is not without purpose. I will head in to the great forest at dawn and search for his tracks and other tell tale signs of his whereabouts. Tonto has always been a little destructive, leaving claw and scratch marks to mark his territory. Then again, there is nothing wrong with a little aggression, in certain situations it is more than warranted.
It has been tiring searching for Tonto, his marks seem to be everywhere I go yet his tracks are no where to be seen. My fresh water is beginning to run low, and fire wood is beginning to run low. Although temperatures must be running into the forties, inside the great forest moisture hangs heavy in the air, dampening the underbrush and making it impossible to find dry tinder. I should have brought supplies and more protective equipment, but I was in a rush when I left – not thinking straight. Gloves would have been useful, I’m starting to graze my knuckles and the tips of fingers are bloody – must be from hacking away the mangroves. Today I am thinking of my family, I do not know why – I must find Tonto.
I’m not going back. Tonto is dead. I have not found his body, but I know it in my heart. No man can survive without the love of his family, just like no beast can survive without water. The claw marks have been leading me in circles, and they have started to be embedded deeper and deeper into the trees. The troop found me today, marking my territory in the great forest – they want me to stay with them. It is not as simple as this though – I must prove myself – I must challenge the male.…
Here is the question, the real question, the question on everyone lips: What would the world look like if animals that aren’t humans ruled the world? What if all the giraffes ruled the world instead of all the humans? What on earth would that look like? Well I guess everything would be higher up, and a lot of stuff on the ground, and things would be written in Giraffe instead of the various human languages, and swimming pools would be absolutely massive, like really, really big. HUGE! Ha!
Can you imagine the swimming pools you’d need?! And what about all the other stuff? What about the swimming pool pumps and covers that you’d need? Eh? What about all that stuff? That’s a lot of things that would have to be different and we haven’t even moved beyond the problems of what we’d have to do if all the giraffes were in power and maybe wanted to swim in swimming pools with swimming pumps and covers. What if they wanted to go skiing? Can you imagine the size of the ski’s that you’d need for a giraffe? They would have to be at least two times bigger than normal human skis I reckon, two times!
It’s taken us two hundred words to cover swimming and skiing! There’s so much other stuff!
This is going to take a while…
When I was young I wanted to be a monkey so bad it hurt. I only went to the zoo once or twice when I was young (even though we lived very close to one of the best zoo’s in the country, I think my parents just didn’t care to much about me having fun) but the few times that I did go (and I don’t want to sound unappreciative for those times, I mean, I got to go to the zoo and the zoo’s amazing and many kids don’t get to go to the zoo, it’s just that for whatever reason all the other kids who grew up near me seemed to be going to the zoo a hell of a lot more…) I used to just love watching the monkeys.
All I ever wanted to do was to climb into those cages and cover myself in hair and be one of them, one of the monkies. And of course I would! Who the hell wouldn’t! I mean, one way you have to go to school and do what your told and eat boring food and stay inside and go to bed and maybe, maybe, you might get the odd chance to go and climb a tree if you are lucky and you are allowed and your parents aren’t being totally unfair. The other way you are a monkey and are always climbing trees like all the time! That is like literally amazing. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
I love getting out of the city, it’s something everyone should do as much as possible. Should people who live in the country try and visit the urban world every once in a while to make sure they stay connected to that aspect of the modern human experience? Well, I don’t know, I think people who live in the country side a deep connection with life and nature in its essence and the natural order of things, and really don’t need to have all that confused by what they might see in the city. The city is gross and bad, just leave it alone and keep going as if everything was still just the countryside, that’s what I say!
I go to the countryside all the time, just last week I went up to stay in some lodges in Perthshire, Scotland just to get out into the fresh air for a bit and it worked wonders. If you’ve been stuck in the city a while you really have no idea just what a feeling it is to get out of there, do it now.
Perthshire is a beautiful part of the country which doesn’t really get the attention it deserves, probably because it’s just so far away from everywhere. But, trust me, that’s what makes it such an escape!!!!!!…
Are you radical?? Do you believe that society is radically flawed and that the answer is a radical restructuring? How does that effect your thinking when thinking about small improvements? Like, if there is some minor change you can make to industrial production which will lessen its detrimental environmental impact, is something you care about? It can seem that when people tout these sort of moves they also hold them up as an example of how the system works (to an extent). In the mediated world we live in everything becomes propaganda for something, and most of it for the very idea of capitalism itself. Also, if you feel that the world is effectively doomed until there is a revolution in the core of our society, how we produce and how we share in what we have and what we make, then surely incremental improvements is basically just completely irrelevant window dressing on a house that is on fire? So why on earth would you care?
‘yes we’re very happy with the grass, we really are improving…’
But then, maybe, that is all just a form of arrogance and narcissism. It is a feeling of ‘Why would I bother doing something small and potentially inconsequential? I am not small and inconsequential! I refuse to be so! Unless I can act on a grand scale I shall act on no scale at all’. Well perhaps you should reduce the scale on which you feel on act, Marxism denotes that everything must be seen in the context of the ‘Totality’. You must contextualise all small problems and dynamics within the whole, to see thei origin in the all consuming dynamic of capitalism, a dynamic which originates from the private ownership of the means of production.
To pick a particularly convoluted case. Someone was recently telling me about advances in Industrial electric fans which mean that the cooling process involved in industrial production will, aided by these new industrial extractor fans, become more efficient and less wasteful, less environmentally destructive. These new fans will improve things. Can such a thing mean anything in the face of institutionalised destruction? Can such a thing ever matter?…
The central question of our age and perhaps the central question of all ages (politically) is: What can we achieve? You’ll notice these days, that the lines of political divide are not (in rhetoric) drawn up along lines of what people think we should achieve but what people think we can achieve. In this context goals that used to be seen as reasonable, or even essential, roles of the state have now become idealistic fantasies that can be dismissively ridiculed with no actually insight or analysis. The key form of power in our world is not so much the power to stop things happening, but the power to form what we think is possible in the first place.
But this has also been the case, and it has always been the role of great movements and people to change what we think is possible. To push us to achieve what the dominant political powers and climate do not want us to think we can achieve. You have to take a position in this life, a position based on what you think is right first, and then you make that possible. Our world is as we make it, it is created everyday by the attitudes people have and the decisions people make, all that you have to be able to do is change those attitudes and that is always possible.
Timber Packing Cases. Timber packing cases are a more environmentally friendly way to transport. They are practical, green and deserve funding. Some choose to deny climate change as a way to avoid the things we have to do to combat it and moderate it’s effects, I think a lot of people manage to actually believe their climate change denial is somehow justified. It isn’t based on the facts. But we make decisions based on a whole load more than facts, we make them based on cultural allegiances and personal emotion. You have to recognize that, even when the people you’re trying to convince don’t. Also, recognise it in yourself! Climate change is real, but you didn’t arrive at your feelings about the issue in some truth vacuum were you evaluate things as truth prospects and then follow them if they appear to fulfil your wonderfully scientific minds truth conditions. You’re at this point because of your background, because of the friends you have, of the friends you want to have. Because of where you feel you belong, where you feel you don’t belong.
Timber Packing Cases. Something as small as that. Something as big as THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET.…
The world is being destroyed at an alarming rate. It is not by an invading alien army and not necessarily through war or robots or anything like this. It is through indifference and greed. It is through a mantra that centres on the impossibility of making the world a better place, the essential selfishness of human beings, and the easy nihilism these ideas results in.
This type of Nihilism is different to the traditional philosophical position. There’s a big difference between ‘there is no objective moral reality and actions only have the meanings we, as humans, give them’ and ‘because so many others act with little or no care for anything but their own accumulation of capital and power, and in doing so are creating an unjust and unequal society and wider world, there is nothing I can do to oppose them so I may as well adopt their values to best profit with in the society of competition and exaggerated reward those values have created’. That position holds a whole host of moral positions in it, but combines it with a nihilism of the potential of personal action, a core belief no that nothing matters but that you are personally powerless to do anything that ‘matters’. It is not a position that contests that there is no morality or no moral positions, but that the world around us is so fudged that it does not give us any true opportunity to put any morality into action. So, it is not that any form of Nihilism is, it is that Nihilism is the only position you can take and live by. That’s the idea: not that there is nothing, but that there is nothing you can do. And that idea is bullshit.
That form of Nihilism, Nihilism that comes simply as a weakness in the face of the morality (or lack there of) of those around you, is simply a cop out. It’s cowardly. It is a way of excusing yourself from morals that you do feel are right and good. It’s away of letting yourself be a raging twat.
Don’t be a raging twat.…