All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us —Gandalf

Grizzly by Gregory Smith on wikimedia

e in the west live for now in a period of considerable freedom and diversity of thought. So much so that it’s hard to recall that these personal boons are not an inalienable human birthright, but harken to a particular social order that began to root only in the 15th to 17th centuries, under the auspices of the Scientific Revolution.

Foundational to this Enlightenment world view is a belief system in which science, reason, epistemological certainty and progress are all fully at home in a mechanistic, clockwork universe, and where our day-to-day decision making is largely shaped by a sense of separation from the Living World together with confidence in our intellectual capacity to comprehend and control said world.

In this section, I look at some of the pragmatic implications of humanity’s recent epochal cross-over to a new existential watershed often referred to as the Anthropocene (but here termed the Pandoracene) – a time in the unfolding of human destiny when the Enlightenment freedoms must increasingly butt heads with practical constraints now coming into force through the Climate Crisis.

I will try to show that while reasons for existential pessimism now greatly outweigh reasons for cautious optimism, they do not yet entirely extinguish them.

Next up: Speaking of the Weather