Science Will Not Stop Capitalism’s War Against Nature by James Rozoff


Image by RANT 73 – Visual Storyteller via Flickr

by James Rozoff
Writer, Dandelion Salad
James Rozoff, Solutionist, Feb. 2, 2020
February 17, 2020

The scientific study of reality is one of detached observation. And that is a beautiful thing, it really is. The problem, however, is that the corporate capitalist approach to defining reality is influenced by self-interest and unafraid of narrative manipulation. It’s approach to facts is “How can they be spun?”

The rational, detached mind will never be able to defend nature from corporate capitalism. In fact, its track record has been to be a servant to corporate capitalism in its destruction of our environment.

In the abstract, science has a much greater love for nature than capital. But in the real world, science has served corporate interests at every turn. The capitalists who desire to turn trees into profit have terrifyingly sophisticated tools—created by cutting edge scientific technology—at their disposal. Corporations that seek oil have at their call all the geologists they require. Nuclear power and the threat it poses to our planet makes billions for the capitalists though it required the brightest scientific brains to bring it about.

Time and again, the scientific mind that sees the truth of the physical world is somehow nevertheless enchained by the economic one. The narrative that should come to light from the study of nature becomes buried by the artificial narrative of dollars and cents.

The scientist is by definition neutral because he is trained to be objective. He is not swayed by his emotions or desires, so that he may view the natural world free from prejudice. The capitalist has no such concerns. Truth is always secondary to getting his way, (i.e. increasing profits). The scientist, too, gets his way, in that the scientist’s primary goal is to see things as they are rather than as he’d like them to be. The scientist will watch as the world dies and call it regrettable. The scientist is a determinist, the capitalist is an indeterminist. The scientist places himself above the fray, the capitalist is in the thick of it. And what the capitalist fights for is always his own profit, regardless of its effect on the planet we all share. People with average intelligence who work with all their energy towards their goal will always get the better of those with superior minds who expect others to see things as plainly as they do.

Capitalism cannot exist without nature. Nature, however, can and has done quite well without capitalism. Capitalism has always been a parasite upon the planet, deriving its sustenance by draining its host. Primitive people who have encountered capitalism have seen this quite clearly over centuries, but now it takes an indoctrinated fool to deny it. Sadly, fools are often in the majority.

Capitalism is destroying our planet. Capitalists would tell you that it is progress and that it is inevitable. They will tell you no matter what damage capitalism causes, the absence of capitalism would be worse. Capitalists will also tell you that the only thing that can save us from the damage capitalism has wrought is capitalism. They allow themselves to believe that—because capitalism has been an answer to some of humanity’s problems at a given stage in its development—it will be the answer for all of humanity’s problems for ever and ever. But there is no technological miracle brought into being by the market that will aid in combating the ecological damage that capitalism causes, because capitalism has always been in a fight against nature. It’s like hoping a virus will protect a body from the effects of that virus.

Capitalism is not the answer to the damage capitalism has caused. Nor has the scientist shown himself capable of saving us from capitalism’s destruction of our planet. It is not enough to merely observe the planet upon which we live, we must connect with it. We need to step beyond the artificial identity that has been constructed for us—that of consumers of product and accumulators of capital—and rediscover what we once understood ourselves to be before the advent of capitalism. We currently view ourselves as economic beings, our existence meaningless beyond the market. But we have far deeper relationships to the planet and the ecosystem. We must come to understand that. Science can aid in our understanding of our connection to nature, but the kind of understanding science gives is an intellectual one. We must come to feel our connection to nature in a primitive and atavistic way. So that we do not speak for nature but allow nature to speak through us. Because we are nature, not its observer.

To reconnect with nature at this point in time is fearful, like visiting our mother in a hospital ward, her hair falling out, her skin pale, her breathing irregular. It will be painful, because we will have to face reality and come to grips with how OUR behavior has impacted HER health. But, for God’s sake, it is the only human, natural, loving thing to do. It is unnatural to continue to avoid providing whatever support we can to she who gave and continues to give life to us. Opening up your heart to such fear and pain will be difficult, but it will be the beginning of a healing that will make us so much stronger and joyful in the end.

To reconnect with nature at this point in time is to realize we can no longer afford to be predators. We fell asleep within our economic bubble as creatures living in a harsh environment, but must awake to realize we live in a much more fragile one. Capitalism helped us in dealing with a cruel and uncompromising world, but since capitalism was born in such a world, it bears all the worst traits of it. Capitalism was a response to a world that no longer is.

We now live in a new environment, shaped by capitalism and driven near to extinction by it. We no longer need to protect ourselves from other predators. The greatest predator on the planet is us, and we have become the prey of our own predatory behavior. Like any other too-successful predator, we now run the risk of destroying ourselves.

Our job now is no longer to make war against the outside world but to find ways to preserve it. Capitalism was a wonderful tool to achieve dominance, but it is a horrible one to achieve co-existence. Co-existence might be muttered by some who preach from the capitalist gospel, but it stands in contrast to capitalism’s central tenets. Capitalism states that the strong survive and the weak perish. This idea has been supported by nature, but only in a simplistic model. The strong survives until it has eaten all the weak it feeds on, then it too dies.

The capitalists, in their primitive understanding of their relation to nature, tend to view it in the same way as an ignorant and vain predator does. They like to see themselves as lions, who through strength of tooth and claw rise to dominance over all other creatures. In fact, humans are rather frail and vulnerable evolutionary specimens. We have not survived as long as we have because of traits similar to the lion. We have survived first because we have intelligence and can see beyond the present, and second because we have been able to cooperate in groups in order to achieve goals that have benefited us all. Humanity would not have survived if it were not for those who sacrificed personal gain in order to work for the common good. As much as a capitalist mindset has shaped our perception of reality, we still thrill to any story that shows such traits in our heroes. Hacksaw Ridge will always do better at the box office than a movie about the life of Jeff Bezos.

There are human traits, wound deep in our DNA, that will allow the human species to survive. The illusion that we are predators who must take all we can from each other and from our environment will pretty clearly be the end of our existence on Earth. Get in touch with nature, because you are nature. Elevate beyond the capitalist mindset, because there is more to reality than that.

James Rozoff is a blogger at James Rozoff, Solutionist, and other blogs, and writer of many books.

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From the archives:

Historical Developmental Dynamics of Climate Change, Political Economy, and Science and Technology by Fazal Rahman, Ph.D. + Costs and Consequences of US Post-9/11 Wars: Focus on Climate Change

The Climate Apocalypse Is Accelerating–If We’re Going To Dodge Extinction, We’d Better Hurry by Eric Schechter

Martin Sheen: The Twin Dangers Facing Humanity

Cop25: Never Have So Many Governments Done So Little For So Many by Pete Dolack + Chris Hedges: Sustained Civil Disobedience Necessary To Respond To The Climate Crisis

California’s Crises and The Prospects for Socialist Revolution by Rainer Shea + How Green Capitalism Fools People Into Not Pursuing Ecosocialist Revolution

Counting Down to Civilization’s Collapse + Inequality, Climate Change, and America’s Destabilization by Rainer Shea

Chris Hedges: In Conflict with the Natural World + What Happened to the Labor Movement?

8 thoughts on “Science Will Not Stop Capitalism’s War Against Nature by James Rozoff

  1. Pingback: The Twisted Climate Equation of the Ruling Class by Rainer Shea – Dandelion Salad

  2. The big question is – how do we get there? Capitalism has carved a very large slice of the pie of the resources of the planet and placed those resources into the hands of a few people and a few large corporations. Are those people and those corporations willing to let go of their control of the world’s future? Are those people willing to work toward a more sustainable future? Are those people aware of or do they care that their actions are driving the planet and the society toward a dystopian catastrophe? People in a position of power rarely willingly give away that power. I don’t believe that the world’s problems are insurmountable but I do believe that we as species won’t take those problems seriously until we are faced with an immediate tragedy that extends beyond national boundaries and affects nearly all the people of the planet.

    • In response to Mr. Pollard:

      “The big question is – how do we get there?” — I think our only hope of getting there is by spreading understanding. Converse with people, online or in person. Write essays or books. Make a movie, or a song. Whisper to your neighbor, “the emperor has no clothes.”

      “Capitalism has carved a very large slice of the pie of the resources of the planet and placed those resources into the hands of a few people and a few large corporations.” — I see that as inevitable, not just from capitalism, but from the institution of private property, which is 10,000 years old. Trade of any sort increases inequality, by favoring the trader who was already in the stronger bargaining position. And separate property isolates us from each other, and competition kills empathy. The resulting system is “get all you can, every man for himself, and to hell with the commons,” which is why the ecosystem is being poisoned — not intentionally, but through unconcern.

      “Are those people and those corporations willing to let go of their control of the world’s future? Are those people willing to work toward a more sustainable future? Are those people aware of or do they care that their actions are driving the planet and the society toward a dystopian catastrophe?” — I think it is a mistake to speak of “those people” as though they had some unified agency. They are all, as much as any of us, prisoners on this crazy train; they merely have more comfortable cells. (Did you see the movie “Snowpiercer”?) Or less comfortable, when your realize that they are incapable of experiencing ordinary friendship. They are actually all competing against each other to make their next buck. They only got rich by not caring about others — after all, no one can actually =earn= a billion dollars, if you take “earn” to have not just its meaning of “acquire” but its other meaning of “acquire and deserve.”

    • I hear you. The closer we come to catastrophe, the harder it is to sustain the illusions we currently accept, whether through fear, laziness, insecurity, comfort, whatever. As Caitlin Johnstone points out, control of narrative is key. Once it hits home that the planet is real and of primary importance, and that the economy and every other human-constructed system exists only through narrative, the power of the elites and anything they believe they own will become meaningless. Those who rule us will never change, they infect our society with a faulty narrative. As the ugliness of their narrative becomes more and more undeniable, it is up to others to weave a more attractive one. We build that narrative with every action we take and every attitude and fact we share with others.

  3. When most folks take their holidays, even the wealthy, where do they go?
    They head for the hills or down to the water.
    That’s because humans know instinctively that nature heals or has a recuperating effect.
    It’s sad that so many of us have lost that connection.

  4. Sociology is, to some small degree, a science. Economics is less so, though it pretends to be; but at least it has the possibility of becoming scientific. Together these two bodies of thought may awaken to tell us that capitalism destroys the ecosystem, and that we humans must end capitalism (and soon!) if we want to continue living, and if we want to find any meaning and happiness in our lives.

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