Scenarios "Ascension to Nothingness" (Himmelfahrt ins Nichts) - VI-6 [ D   E   F ]
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On 400 pages Herbert Gruhl gives his 1992 account of the state of our civilisation.
In the last chapter he draws the definite conclusion that we are lost.

(This is a machine-made translation, partially revised. Good luck! Deutsch)
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Also see: Das Ende - The End - La fin - El fin ("Der Spiegel" 1992)

Herbert Gruhl: "Himmelfahrt ins Nichts", München 1992 [ D   E   F ]
[P. 380-388 (Not-for-profit reproduction; machine-made translation, revision in progress.)]


Part VI Chapter 6: "Is there an Afterwards?"

Skies and earth will pass, together with us.  
Whether it is then the complete end?        
We do not know it.                                   

The Chinese Philosopher Liä Dsi                   

There are earlier persuasive statements about the limited term of life on our planet. Particularly the famous one by Friedrich Nietzsche, that he wrote down twice, with a slight divergence: »In some remote corner of the universe, poured out glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented cognition. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of world history, yet only a minute. After a few breaths of nature, the star froze, and the clever animals had to die. It was also timely: because though priding themselves of having recognised a lot, they nevertheless found out, at last, to their great annoyance, that they had wrongly recognised everything. They died and cursed the truth whilst dying. That was the art of these desperate animals who had invented cognition.«64 When Nietzsche speaks of a few breaths � in view of eternity � he thinks in millions of years, till our earth chills. So he means the geologic development, like already Liä Dsi in the fourth century before Christ65, as well as Oswald Spengler who said that the earth and the solar system will ultimately disappear.66 But Nietzsche also recognised the other danger - that the clever animals could die because of their knowledge, not at last by the freezing of the earth. They had believed to be allowed to trust her own abilities and to use their skills in world-changing actions. Today, 120 years later, a few people recognise that this has been a mistake, and already curse man. However, isn't it a grandiose phenomenon that a species of clever animals is able to destroy with their own hands all life on our planet and with it also himself? Who can deny that for that to happen such a high level of genius is required, as may possibly not return a second time in the entire universe? However, not we people have gained that genius, nature has lent it to us.

[381] To the genius of mankind also belongs that he has dreamed up - in all ages - marvellous kingdoms of heaven to himself. Over the millenniums the different religions moved all worthwhile to beyond the veil. After death the tormented soul will mount to the everlasting heaven of bliss. Finally the technically victorious Euro-Americans believed being able to create heaven on this earth. Their new faith adopted religious traits, consequently it came to wars about the right way towards heaven on earth. The communist way failed. With it the capitalistic-democratic way seems to have gained the victory; but this is a deception that will end fatally. Since exactly his far more efficient technology and economy will necessarily ruin the earth even faster, particularly as he is, moreover, entirely helplessly delivered to the population explosion which he has only enabled. The »free« west lives exactly the same way in earthly delusions as communism. The most extreme delusion is that of the emigration of the people in space, so into Nothingness! The tragic result of the latest delusionary ideas of man is that he transports his life base, his planet earth, into Nothingness.
Nevertheless there remains the fascination of our blue planet that a development, incomprehensible in itself, could reach such a culmination point. To that also belongs our knowledge that there is no longer a "beyond-that" option, because this time all physical possibilities which our planet has offered have been exhausted. With it the way back is cut off to us. The rescue boats are burnt; but most people do not know it and will never know it.
Now the tragedy can end with an atomic thunderclap or in a less theatrically effective wasting away of the living beings, to whom mankind belongs. The latter will fight unponderable fights, surging to and fro, with uncertain result in detail, but with a certain result as to the ultimate end of mankind.
It is not a fight »here man - there nature« which is led on this planet, but a murderous war within nature, because mankind of course is a part of nature. No longer only a small particle, oh no; how could we still call a »particle« a being that is armed with atomic bombs and with chemical poisons? Leonardo

[382] da Vinci he has probably been the first who has grasped the whole horror of man armed with technology. And he knew exactly what he spoke of, because he himself has contributed a lot to his arming. Therefore he does not belong to the »prophets« who have put prophecies into the world on the basis of divine inspiration or an »internal voice«. I do not get involved with those. It was left to the theologians to take up Phantasmagories like »The revelation of Johannes« into the Bible. Leonardo saw in the rise of modern man an explosive that got ready to destroy entire nature. This is why he called the human race »something pointless in the world, that only destroys all creation!»67
He not only marks mankind as pointless, but as extremely injurious for the living world. Therefore the push sigh: »O earth, why do you not open? Why do you not throw them in the deep crevisses of your gigantic abysses and caves, and do no longer expose the sight of such a terrible and gruesome dreadful abusive being to the sky?«68
400 years later Nietzsche called man a »small, overexcited animal species that - fortunately - has its time; life on the earth in general one moment, an incident, an exception without result, something which remains insignificant for the whole character of the earth...«69 Ten years earlier he had the following thoughts: »Maybe the whole of mankind is only one development stage of certain animal species of restricted duration: thus man descended from the monkey and will become monkey again, while Nobody is there who would take an interest in the conclusion of this surprising comedy ...
so a much more increased ugly deformation, and a final animalisation, to the ape-like, could be brought about by the former decay of the general earth culture. [< revision]

�At that time 70 Nietzsche added still hopefully:� Just because we can consider this perspective, we are maybe in the state to bend forward such an end of the future.� On the other hand, the daring thought also follows in �human, Allzumenschliches�: �The mistake has made people from animals; should the truth be in the state to make an animal from the person again?«71

[383] who could get on that just Mao Tse-tung came precisely [283] to the same train of thought? Word for word: �The communist society will have a beginning and an end... There is nothing in the world which does not originate, develops, disappears. Gape became people, the humanity originated. At the end the human race will also disappear, from him something else maybe becomes, and then the earth will also stop to exist. The earth will go out, the sun will cool off.� Besides, 72 Mao appealed to the German universal scholar Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) who judged about the world development that neither a certain aim nor a special purpose (for the purposes of the human reason) is to be proved to her. Therefore views on the Haeckels let themselves maybe lead back Maos and Nietzsches. Typically Mao has left no testament, because he knew on account of his philosophy that the successors would keep anyway to no such thing. The eternal change carries the people completely somewhere else there when they would like. The truth would be merely that what is necessary to survive as a living being. Thus seen the whole technical culture would have been a magnificent crazy rum. In this direction lies Robert Ardrey's consideration: �If there is hope for the person, because we are animals.� With it he subordinates 73 that the animal instinct with the will could be still strong enough to the life at least in a rest of the human race to get through the widrigsten living conditions by adaptation also. In the ice ages this will not have been different, but at that time there were no poisons invented by the people.

[revised >] The basic condition for survival of humanity would of course be that large parts of the plant empire and animal kingdom were preserved. However, man threatens to rob them of this chance. The atomic complex with all its long-term effects endangers the continuance of all higher life on our planet, not only the human one. A big nuclear war with the subsequent atomic night would co-destroy the plant empire and animal kingdom. The movies about it already exist. Maybe even then primitive insects and worms could still survive, as well as some simple plant life. It is also difficult to predict something about the continuation of life in the seas. Would a repeated evolution be possible over millions of years?

[< revision]

[384] Then she would not certainly go through the same steps and also not produce the same types which we might still get to know happy. Even if it never comes to a nuclear war, there will still be a ray infection of the natural circulations. 500 nuclear power plants will soon operate, and about 2030 they will stand there as beaming ruins. And how many will have arrived till then? Some will explode like in Chernobyl or in even worse manner, be destroyed other by earthquake or war actions. Besides, the closer surroundings are contaminated with radioaktivity in each case totally, and in the course of the time the number will increase such of uninhabitable spots on the maps. But also the whole level recorder of the radiation will increase necessarily.� The danger of a radioactive infection of the environment as a result of nuclear reactor accidents increases also like the possibility of an other spreading of nuclear weapons�, the report �put Worldwide in 2000� 74 at the moment the nuclear power plants in the world produce nearly 100,000 tonnes of burnt down fuel rods yearly. The amassed amount will reach up to 2030 about three million tonnes. In addition there come millions cubic metres of weakly radioactive rubbish. Some by-products of the reactors have decay times which are five times longer like the period of the traditional Geschichte.75 In the meantime, masses lie around already of it all over the world, openly above ground, in the chill hold washbasin (whose electricity supply may not fall out) mostly beside the nuclear power stations, the slightest part in mines. Who will look in the coming emergency times after it? Where in today's affluent times an adequate storage was not even found! The chemistry has shot up one single century to an immense "growth branch". Should she produce even other hundred years in the intensity achieved now, grounds will be, waters and even the air so from chemical compounds put through that only in it whole types must perish. There there come the metals by which yearly six million tonnes about the atmosphere are spread. The person becomes first by means of the medical antidotes

[385] so to speak, for a while about water hold. But also to him healthy water and unpoisoned food will be available only seldom. This is why it is only one matter of time, when the people will waste away. It is doubtful whether rests of them are able to hold out centuries, until the nature could have digested the poisons and radiations again. Since the genes of all living beings will damage the ultraviolet radiation from the space, the isotopes from the nuclear fission more or less strongly. And which results the manipulation of the person with the genes will have, l��Fgewollt t do not forecast themselves. Should these three Globalkalamitaten not rise individually and in her cooperation excessively, essential parts of the flora and fauna, however, hardly the person and in no case might survive his today's life style. As well as it looks at the moment, the herbal and animal life can be saved only by a quick disaster of the human life. However, it might not just be an atomic one! However, the decimation on some hundred millions would be a condition (survival of most remaining types. Their remaining stock causes the number of the people again who must live on them. Something can be forecast about the future appearance of the countries. Ruin sceneries will control the picture. The already today visible industrial ruins are only the heralds of the time in which the sceneries will be equipped by far closer with it than today with the rests of the medieval knight's castles. However, while one can quantify this in square metres, one will have to count with those in square kilometres. The question what becomes one day from it never has itself our technical age gesteilt. Also this an example of the person inability to administer the planet. Became rash and unscrupulous and are built in few years of ruins for millenniums. The resigning person will leave the earth as a field of rubble. What will become from the millions of towns for milliards from people, Bert Brecht has already said us: �From the towns will remain: by them hindurchging, the wind. �76 The same notion also had Friedrich Schiller77: �For years may, for centuries last the mummy, Like the being deceptive picture of living fullness bestehn,

[388] of the approaching dusk to lighted electric lights still shine brightly in the space out. However, midnight approaches soon after the beginning of darkness � and the lights will go out. What will still happen in the rest of the night and how - we do not know. However, the triumphant day of mankind had been planned in such a way - unconsciously - that there will not be another bright morning. The European culture, beyond which no more increase is possible � like we couldn't exceed the Greek civilisation, with the exception of our magnificent and deadly supertechnology � is the last of this planet. We have crossed her climax scarcely, so that we are still able to see the whole fantastic spectacle from pour vantage point - the play that ran for billions of years on our lonesome planet and that is now ending as a tragedy.

Post-Petroleum Landscapes

64 Nietzsche in: »Über das Pathos der Wahrheit«, niedergeschrieben in den Weihnachtstagen 1872 und »in herzlicher Verehrung udn als Antwort auf mündliche und briefliche Fragen« Frau Cosima Wagner gewidmet. (1-759f) Vgl. die entsprechende Stelle in: »Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinne.« (1-875).
65 Liä Dsi 37.
66 Spengler 217.
67 Leonardo 8.
68 Leonardo 863.
69 Nietzsche 13-488. Vgl. 13-50: »Es sind schon viele Tierarten verschwunden; gesetzt, daß auch der Mensch verschwände, so würde in der Welt nichts fehlen.«,
70 Nietzsche 2-205f.
71 Nietzsche 2-324.
72 Klaus Mehnert über das Gespräch Maos mit Bundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt in Peking (»Welt am Sonntag« 30.11.1975).
73 Ardrey 289.
74 »Global 2000« 85.
75 »Global 2000« 85f.
76 Brecht 262.
77 Schiller: &#Der Spaziergang«.
78 Wells 50.
79 Horstmann 27.
80 Wells 26,
81 »Faust II« (Goethe XII 291).
82 Horstmann 21.
83 Nietzsche 7-162.
84 »Sind wir zum Überleben zu tüchtig?«, so lautete der Titel einer »Spiegel«-Serie im Jahre 1990, Nr. 35-37.