a scene from the film Racing Extinction.
Stories, Grieving & Action
by Bob Banner
There is a similarity it seems, between our denial of death and our avoidance of what appears to be the inevitable extinction of the human race. Why is this so?
Perhaps it is simply where humanity is at and to seek others who are chipping away at the various degrees of denial. So we can take a look at it and be attentive to what and how much we can take and how much we avoid. And to possibly learn from those individuals who have either crossed over, had near-death experiences or after death experiences and see what transpired. Why did the humans suddenly shift into doing their purpose, oftentimes dropping everything and simply begin doing what is quintessential, doing what has become meaningful to them and on top of it, it typically became a form of service for us all.
Yet we fear death, we fear extinction, we don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to look at it. I screen films as part of my service to not only share information but to engage in meaningful dialogue after some wildly challenging documentaries. I screened Racing Extinction and only a handful of people attended. Of course it’s heavy. It was meant to be, the film folks were activists trying what they could to illustrate the beautiful species who were and are going extinct. And each person who views the film will be touched in their own way. Some people can get hardened, some people will believe that this will not happen, even since it is. Others will believe in a higher power who will come and save our favorite species and let them live and most of us somehow imagine that it won’t happen to us since we are so smart and we will figure out a way or perhaps we will simply colonize Mars and bring certain species who we prefer or will need for our survival and existence.
The West African black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) was a subspecies of the black rhino that was declared extinct in 2011.
There is a scene in the documentary where scientists had stationed a number of recording devices in various pristine areas. When they decided to collect them there was this one recording that simply shook me up. One never knows what it might be that touches us or not but there was the sound of a mating call, in the film they actually used a visual tape of that bird giving its last mating call (see here or in the video clip below). The point was that they were no longer any females in the world (on this pristine planet called Earth) to hear let alone experience the mating. Can you feel this? Can you imagine that you were this male bird and you were doing what you always did by calling or dancing or singing or whatever your nature did… a song, a movement, a dance to entice a female (or vice versa) so you could mate so the two of you could do what is necessary to continue your species.
Imagine you are a male and you are hot to trot, as the old saying goes. You dress up, you shower, you play with your hair to make it look like it would attract a female… and you feel all those natural juices in your body and psyche to procreate, to spread the love, to feel the hormones, to feel that ache of Separation longing to connect with someone who will have you. You are so excited. You may even sing or whistle a tune of anticipation or ritual that you have felt every Friday after work or whatever the cultural milieu has created for you. And you go out and you walk around or drive around or bike around and there are no females around, none. You look at this town, none. You drive to another town or down another neighborhood and you cannot find a mate to connect with. You are now about to feel the throes of extinction and yet you travel and travel and dance and sing and look around and find no one.
I can’t fathom it and so I’m left with a deep sadness and deep loss that is unimaginable, that cuts possibly deeper than witnessing your mother being taken away by the ambulance because she too is part the Extinction plan. And you sit there with all of your evolutionary and biological juices running your life and it has no Outlet, no expression, no way to keep the species evolving let alone surviving.
And you see this bird, this bright blue beautiful bird dancing, flapping its wings and moving as if dancing a fox trot but with its delightful song so alive with anticipation and no one’s there to even hear your enthusiastic expression of your physical beingness. Can I feel this? What does it take? What will it take? Are we strong enough, am I strong enough or vulnerable enough to allow the grief to tear me open? Can we ever even fathom it? How many more will vacate from planet Earth before we do something? We will convince ourselves that we are doing stuff to relinquish ourselves from any guilt, if that’s possible. Can we simply feel the loss and not make any quick judgments? Do we cut ourselves off from any feeling with our strong and brilliant intellect so we really don’t have to feel? What about the burst of grief that gets so overwhelming that one day we simply lose it. Was it seeing the planes go into the towers exploding on camera during the six o’clock news or when black lives were indiscriminately extinguished by un trained police officers… ? Can we look at the extinction with an open heart and allow ourselves to get closer to the fact that 10,000 species go extinct every year (thats about thirty a day or one per hour! [http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/biodiversity/])
Could we take a look at our diets that are often times driving the habitat destruction that is happening on planet earth, i.e., animal agriculture, palm oil extraction that is destroying the amazon and other wild forests…What would it look like for you, if the closest species that is dear to your heart that is not the human species becomes extinct? How would that be for us? How would that feel like? And how would we respond? and how are we already responding by our own response?
I started this page because one day I saw the obvious link between species extinction and our fear of death. Im right in the midst of it. Im no better than you. I simply wish to address it and see what we can create together, not necessarily a list of things to DO, but can we genuinely feel it and determine somehow if this feeling aspect of a situation can allow us to go deeper into not just our feelings but to go to a depth that allows us to create new solutions that we couldn’t have even considered before?
Thanks for listening.
To join the conversation at EXTiNCTiON: Stories, Grieving & Actions, please visit a new facebook page here:
omg is this an excellent and moving film.. information, emotions, connections and results: https://twitter.com/UNFCCC/status/799236513745600512
Bob Banner screens documentary films, has published magazines and some books, washes windows to pay expenses, has lived in communities to transform his conditioning and brainwashing… hikes, plays tennis and pong as collaborative fun sports, allows how new feelings touch him to incite him to not only go deeper but to do things that are challenging. His main website is www.hopedance.org along with numerous facebook pages to stay connected, to share with others, to seek genuine solutions… He can be reached at [email protected].