Dead or alive

Image by JonHee Yoon from NY Times article, “The Earth Is Just as Alive as You Are”

To say that geology is a study of non-life or the inert would be the same as qualifying the geologic science as the study of the current state of the planet, thus viewing the planet as a static system. 

Even from an elementary level, school curriculums teach the basics of the geologic rock cycle. This process started with heat and the formation of the first minerals and igneous rocks, and over billions of years has decayed into cycles of heating and cooling. Heat from the earth’s core radiates outward, bringing energy to matter, so much so it becomes liquid. This liquid heats and cools, convecting and bringing heart to the plastics above (core and mantle processes). These material cool at varying rates depending of their properties, and this forum unique solids (Bowens mineral series). This underlying heart allows large masses of these soils top move, colliding in to one another (plate tectonics). These collisions are capable of forces strong enough to build the highest mountains, where matter, once to hot to solidify, now reaches high enough into the atmosphere to store the coldest regions of the solid surface (mountain belts and metamorphic rocks). These landscapes bring energy of their own in the forum of potential energy. Here, erosive forces create sedimentary rocks. This new form of the same matter is transported to the lowest reaches of the surface, where the heat created from the same matter gives rise to more tectonic activity, returning the matter to whence it came. 

Without this internal heat, there would be no new rock formation, no liquid core to create a protective magnetic field, no covective mantel to give rise to plate tectonics, minimal mountain building, minimal terrain alteration, no dynamic earth systems, no life. The heat that makes this cycle all possible is derived from small particles of a deceist start, drawn back together by the gravitational fabric we can barely observe.

To see ourselves – as humans – as independent of interstellar and geologic processes is to view the universe as a static and dead system; and yet we see ourselves as the life (the one true light in this world). This is the mindset that Lynn White argued was fostered by religion, a mindset that encouraged individuals to view all external things as tools to the self, resources to exploit, an earth made for us. If this same mindset is now being used to link geology and racial exploitation (and thus a dive into an unconscious anthropocene), it is likely that neither is the root cause of the other, but rather our narcissistic and greedy nature/tendencies that are at fault. 

It seems that neither geology or religion have given rise to the mindset which has guided us as a species to exploit, but rather our is our nature – as collectives – to desire to conquer all things. Human nature is responsible for the possessive properties and interpretations of religion, the extractive curiosities that infiltrate geologic science, the urge to dominate all things and people deemed different; human nature was destined to give rise to the anthropocene. If we apply our character defining mindset to anthropogenically driven disasters, there is yet hope that we are self aware.

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