Matt Damon’s motion picture, Promised Land, is effectively, promoting fracking, while pretending to be critical. It washes the burden of guilt from the hands of the perpetrators, making the viewers accomplices, as if people living in suburban communities with no public transportation and a 20 mile commute have a choice about putting fuel in their cars or about where the fuel comes from.
Promised Land promotes the idea that you are responsible, as if as a voter in a democratic process, you had a say, as if government in the U.S, is responsible to the needs of the many, while in fact, the “Pigs At The Trough” as Ariana Huffington calls them in the eponymous book, those who fund expensive election campaigns, control your government’s mineral development policy and you know it.
Damon’s movie suggests that fracking technology is the problem, when it doesn’t matter how destructive a technology is for the ecosystem—the problem is that, due to other policies, people have no other way to feed their families and even though they must pull up stakes, abandon communities, they head for the fracking fields, presently the Dakotas, but the plan is to continue to exploit buried petrochemicals across the continent.
The argument made by those who benefit from fracking is economic independence from oil fields in the middle east but economic independence is but a myth in a global economy, in which international corporations and giants of government enterprise in China operate without regard for local or national political or geographic boundaries.
Economic recessions that eliminate employment opportunities are described as arcane fluctuations in the market place but in hindsight, recession has been exploited to make people more accepting of risks and ecological damage of development that led to disastrous engineering decisions, from the Salton Sea to Katrina and Fukushima.
Nuclear fission power plants are under construction with no acceptable plan for risks associated with storing nuclear waste. Hoover dam in Nevada and similar constructions in China, Egypt and Europe, have in common that they are publicly funded and built by workers who had no other opportunities. Those now employed in North Dakota know they are destroying the future habitability of the planet but they have no other choice if they are to enjoy the lifestyles promoted in the media and public education.
Examine your own values. Are you thrilled about living in a modest rustic home or would you rather have an SUV in the garage and a Seadoo in the driveway? Self esteem of children that watch TV depends on living the vision of their lives they see in sitcoms and social media, since birth and there’s nothing legal they can do to obtain the funds to support the lifestyle they’re conditioned to desire and they gladly go to North Dakota.
Some don’t because of family ties or affinity for homes in small towns but young people leave every small town as soon as they are able in hopes of finding a foothold, with a prayer things will improve, while politicians tell them that affordable gasoline will solve their problems. Those, who oppose fracking near their homes are characterized in the media as a lunatic fringe. Concerns about poisoning the Mississippi, the Delta and the Gulf of Mexico are paranoid.
Promise Land ultimately convinces viewers they are powerless to change the course of history, exonerating them from taking action, while comforted with the illusion that someone is paying useful attention, so they can feel better about being powerless. “It is hopeless and we are doomed.” (Emoticon)
“Environmental issues” are semantic manipulations for thinking people but only those who have nothing better to do with their time are thinking and for most people, something better to do amounts to washing the car, smoking a joint, screwing a stranger, riding a bike or personal watercraft, generally narcissistic endeavors.
In hindsight, it’s as difficult to believe human beings are capable of the stupidity of the holocaust, engineering Fukushima, Salton Sea, Mono Lake, developing in the Mississippi delta that led to the destructive effect of Katrina as it is to imagine the hundreds of years and lives that went into building the great pyramids of Egypt and Aztec sacrifice. Yet at this moment, a dozen nuclear fission plants are under construction in India and China, an army is using munitions supplied by factories in Europe, China, Russia and the U.S. to destroy every city in Syria, tens of thousands of new homes are proposed in areas with no transportation infrastructure or water to support them.
The myth of modern media is just as strange. Those who produce and distribute media are no different from the legions that work in fracking fields. In both cases, it’s the only paid work they are offered. The proliferation of media on the internet serves ignorance and misinformation by promoting a multiplicity of partial truths without the benefit of a philosophic orientation. What leadership benefits from public ignorance?
Stupidity in leadership has been falsely attributed to technological advancement without the balance of a moral or ethical compass provided by a spiritual tradition, however, it is simply due to information technology designed to enable centralized management of huge populations. The combination of surging population growth and centralized control exaggerates effects of perverse stupidity, which on a local level, might be laughable. The problem is actually related to the elemental nature of human beings, who since they are social creatures, are guided by identification with shared core values if a community.
People decide what they like and who they are based on close relationships, which is why politics is local and when development policies are made by a distant central authority over which the individual has no direct say involving policies that affect them. Activities, like fracking, are employing engineers and laborers to carry out destructive development with no regard for risks or the ecological damage. This kind of thinking destroyed 95% of the forests of California and the Pacific Northwest and even though clear-cutting has been condemned for destroying a critical part of an ecosystem, the managers of Sierra Pacific, are clear-cutting in the Sierras today as if there were no tomorrow.
We see such things in hindsight but media of all types barrages the populace with ideas and values that overwhelm the senses and meanwhile, instill core values that are essentially a promotion of the narcissism common among youthful people. Older people, who are usually and traditionally regarded in small communities as possessors of wisdom of experience are portrayed in entertainments as incompetent and incapable, discrediting those who have the longest memories. This conditioning has convinced most people in America to anticipate incapacitation after the age of 55 or 60 and since young people accept this view of their elders, they naturally accept their own incompetence with relief and do their best to live up to this image since it removes their accountability.
In earlier times, communities respected the wisdom of age. Traditions determined the core values of the culture. Today, when the culture derives these values from media, in which incompetence is erroneously portrayed as an effect of aging, rather than application, just as people have enough experience to begin to understand how things work, they are not only encouraged to retire, but also, respected for giving up their dreams and denying their own values. Younger people, with little experience and less knowledge, who haven’t figured out the economic connections between climate change and unemployment lines are hired to shape the way their peers perceive the world.
Matt Damon, like the young lions and lionesses of Wall Street, Yale, Harvard, Hollywood, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, UCLA and so on, don’t have the experience to see the big picture but huge salaries suggests to them that they should, while the result of their work provides leadership in a culture to support fracking and whatever else.
Is this too simplistic? Do you think a tanking global economy is a naturally occurring disaster over which no one ever had control? Are billions invested in fracking now for some other reason than because nothing else pencils out?
Sinking the global economy only coincidentally drives responsible people to employment that does the worst damage to the ecosystem, reducing the capacity of the planet to sustain the life of most species, rather than just human beings but fracking is a symptom, the disease is that capitalism nurtures policies of development, the priorities of which are based on profiting from population growth rather than development to accommodate human needs within locally sustainable boundaries.