Big, bold Jupiter reigned in a brightening sky inhabited by a few stars when Koko and I went out walking this morning. It was so quiet I could hear the cattle chewing, a horse biting an itch, and all the while the crickets sang in harmony.
A band of dark clouds was approaching from the east, settling in around the Giant and promising rain, though likely not before we returned home. The sky over Lihue wore the dull red of urbanization — light pollution, if you will — as it always does. And Waialeale was clearing, though still gathering a white cloak modestly over her summit.
As you may have noticed from the recent dearth of postings, I haven’t been much in the mood to blog lately. Perhaps it was delving deep into depleted uranium munitions — a topic that dominated this past weekend as I worked on an article — and global climate change that wore me down a bit. As one reader noted astutely in a comment left on my last post:
I just read your August 11 post. We're like junkies. We know we're ruining the habitability of the planet but we just can't help ourselves.
Boy, does that say it all. It prompted me to pull Anne Wilson Schaef’s excellent book, “When Society Becomes An Addict,” from the bookshelf, and when I opened it at random, I found this:
The addictive process is so insidious, and dishonesty and denial are so integral to it, that it is difficult to see and know that our system is morally and spiritually bankrupt. The system itself is its own disguise. Add to this the fact that living in it robs us of the clarity to recognize it for what it is, and things become even more confusing.
Must we placidly await the destruction that is the promise of the Addictive System? I do not think so, and again, I am drawing on what I know about the treatment of addicts. It used to be believed that addicts could not begin the recovery process until they had “bottomed out.” Until they had gone as far as they could in their self-destructive downward spiral, they were not ripe for recovery. More recently, some treatment centers have been accepting addicts before they are brought to their knees, and the resulting treatment had been successful. Let us hope that the same holds true for the Addictive System.
Well, that book was written back in 1988 and though celebrities galore have gone through rehab, society as a whole has yet to start the process; indeed, some folks still refuse to admit we’ve got a problem. So hope wears thin.
In the meantime, there’s solace in nature, which seems to be to be the antithesis of the Addictive System, which Schaef describes as having a nonliving orientation. That’s why I also liked a comment that another reader left yesterday:
Nature and all of its glory make politics almost insignificant except when politics impacts the magnificence of nature. Something that is happening all the time.
That alone offers reason enough to get involved, to care, which is probably what prompted a friend to send me this early morning email:
See todays tvr article with the smile of the mayor, does the smile say 'the tvr owners donated so much fucking money my way, I'm stoked to sign this bill?’ or does it say 'fuck you to the rest, i'm happy as a pig ...
Yes, the lei-bedecked mayor, flashing a shaka, was the file photo The Garden Island chose to accompany its article on him signing the newest incarnation of the transient vacation rental bill into law.
Well, it wasn’t actually an article, just a rewrite of the county’s press release. So that’s why it doesn’t mention that even though supporters kept saying it wouldn’t result in any new TVRs, it actually opens the door for TVR owners not just in the ag district, but everywhere else who didn’t apply the last time around.
It does mention that folks will need to submit “plans signed and stamped by a licensed engineer accurately representing the property as it exists today,” thus ensuring work for Jerry Kaluna, Cesar Portugal and other engineers associated with the county. But it doesn’t mention that no inspection is required, so we’ll just be taking their word for it that their representations are legit.
And it doesn’t say a word about what kind of impact this is going to have on the economic viability of agricultural lands for agriculture, or how the county plans to deal with property tax assessments or the deep, underlying concerns about the legality of TVRs on ag land.
Instead, we’re left with the assurance of the politicians that this bill will “stop the bleeding,” make all our problems associated TVRs go away.
Which, I suppose, is to be expected, because denial and wishful thinking are the two hallmarks of addiction.