I posted an intuitive insight on the 19th of October, 2001, going “On the Record,” about certain global events, then followed with an update in early 2015. Somehow both statements seem as relevant today as they did almost nineteen years ago, immediately following the collapse of the World Trade Towers in New York. I am reposting a modified version of this piece once again as we face global challenges with the emergence of COVID-19, a new corona virus that surfaced in late 2019. Presently this virus is believed to be transmitted by tiny droplets of virus-contaminated water entering the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, causing temporary and possibly permanent damage to the lungs.
Update From January 2015: Earth, Air, Fire, Now Water
Since 2001 we have experienced Banda Aceh, Fukushima, chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East, devastating earthquakes in Haiti, as well as in the U.S. heartland, the Near, Middle and Far East, melting glaciers, dead and dying coral reefs and disappearing islands and coastlines as our seawater rises and generates epic floods. On the other hand there is simultaneous drought and lack of water in many parts of the United States and the world, triggering massive wildfires that rage uncontained for months on end. Our drinking water is contaminated with lead and other untold chemicals. New and old viruses battle for our attention, our fear, and our funding: the ebola virus, bird and swine flu, and the still important AIDS epidemic, even though we try to make AIDS seem like ancient history by comparison. Now we add a new corona virus to that infamous list: COVID-19.
We knowingly contaminate our water tables and divert our water supply to serve identified national needs. In the early years of the millennium we justified fracking as a tool to meet our political and economic desire for energy independence and a strong economy. We made such near-term decisions even when we realized early on that the practice causes permanent damage to the planet and to our neighborhoods in the longer term. Because the neighborhoods immediately impacted were poor, we turned our heads and looked away.
We have experienced plenty of bad news during these past two decades, and the public discourse about current news could certainly qualify us as living in a political and social “cuckoo’s nest.” We have also experienced amazingly good news during this period, but the original insight for that moment in 2001 dealt with contemporaneous craziness.
We sit squarely on the horns of a dilemma: what action, if any, shall we take? When Jack Nicholson landed in the cinematic version of the cuckoo’s nest, he decided to do something about his situation and that of others, even at great cost to himself. Will we exercise similar courage?
Here is what I wrote then about choices we were facing. The way I did things at the time was to get an mental or visual image or metaphor, describe the image, and then try to ascertain any potential meaning. Here I am, on the record, over eighteen years ago:
Original Post On the Record on the 19th of October, 2001
“General Image: ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.’
Meaning: Discerning who is crazy and who is sane becomes more and more difficult. Limiting one’s targets is impossible at this time. Discerning friend from enemy cannot be accomplished with any degree of accuracy. Making a water supply polluted only for the enemy is ludicrous. Releasing diseases only for the enemy is impossible to control. There are always surprises in such wars that are controlled by the forces of nature much more effectively than the forces of men in enclosed spaces.
Image about chemical and biological warfare: The same as above. ‘As above, so below.’
Meaning: All of the four elements will be carriers of chemical and biological warfare: earth, air, water, fire. Those who suffered already from oil fires in Desert Storm, napalm in Vietnam, radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, understand the four elements as opportunities for carnage as well as development. Earth, air, and fire have already been key conduits for carnage….now it is the time for water. The water may be bodily fluids, such as mucous and blood; public reservoir systems that millions depend on for life itself; lakes and oceans. Beached whales and angry sharks foretell of these new developments. Look and listen.
Laurel. There is a place called Laurel [possible state name deleted] that experiences the impact of water poisoning. It is a small place, and yet the impact is 100 times that of the September 11th events. We don’t absolutely have to fly, [for a very brief period all air traffic halted in the United States following the events of 9/11], but we must find and trust water to survive. One small and yet compelling incident with water and life is never the same. Such an incident is on the horizon. These four-part harmonies are just about to begin in earnest. Earth, air, fire, water. And the greatest of these is water. If we forget love, then we will remember water.”
That is what I wrote then. Now that we have hindsight, how much of it was truly foresight? What else do we need to remember, and what else is it finally time to forget on the way to becoming one world?
I will say it again: pay attention to water.