Motorcycle Diaries Part XIV

I am always baffled by the failure of the human race to overcome many of its lingering challenges and nagging troubles, despite the monumental level of intelligence and sophistication that we have reached as a species.

This thought visited me again most recently when I travelled to attend a conference and unpacked my favorite navy blue suit out of my suitcase, the one I usually put on when I am about to meet a bunch of very serious people.

Mankind, I said to myself as I examined the state of my official uniform, was able to squeeze billions of documents and complex data inside a tiny microchip, retrieve them at will, save them back and then retrieve them again in mint condition. All inside a piece of silicon the size of a finger nail. Mind-boggling stuff, almost like magic, we all agree.

However, we have not yet figured out a way to place a business suit inside the common suitcase and retrieve it at our destination without creasing the hell out of it. If that task is physically impossible, why can’t the federation of world manufacturers of travel bags come together and decide to rename the famous suitcase to something else, like underwearcase or sockscase, since it has been forensically proven that the worst item you can fold into a suitcase is an actual bloody suit?

You try to fix the problem.

Some hotels often leave you an ironing kit inside your room, assuming that you have just arrived in a luxury hotel and would want to start performing a tedious manual task, one you have not even considered attempting when you were a broke student, let alone the guest of a five star hospitality institution. This makes me wonder even more.

Mankind was able to invent machines whereby you insert a thin disc into an automatically sliding compartment and a crystal clear moving picture comes out on the screen. We perfected machines where you throw in a small sack of plastic, press a button, and a nice cup of espresso comes out of the other end, with a choice range from Bourbon Amarelo to Decaffeinato Intenso. Yet, we still cannot fix the creased shirts dilemma; we cannot invent a machine in which to throw all those garments with the nasty wrinkles and receive them crisp and silky at the other end.

Blindfolded, I’ll put my money on the inventor who starts drawing the designs for the next big thing: The Decreasinator, the portable device that is certain to outsell the entire world’s output of DVD players, suitcases and coffee machines, combined.

Such is the folly of scientific achievement in our world today, which is only a reflection of the inherent deficiencies in the evolution of our brains. We can send a rover light years away to reach and photograph planet Mars, but we still cannot reach out to each other to resolve our differences back on Earth. We can discover DNA and map the human genome, yet we are unable to find a cure for the common cold. We can peek at other galaxies with giant telescopes and google-earth our houses and backyards, but we still cannot locate Osama bin Laden’s hideout in the mountains of Terroristan.

We can remove a human heart and replace it with an artificial or even an animal equivalent, yet we cannot get rid of simple bad breath. We can afford to spend trillions on building enough bombs to turn Earth into dust in seconds, yet we cannot allocate a small fraction of our nations’ wealth to fund research to cure cancer.

We can invent technologies that enable us to talk to each other across continents at the press of a speed dial, yet we miserably fail to communicate with each other face to face to avoid waging genocidal wars against each other. We can build gravity-defying flying machines that serve Dom Perignon while crossing the Atlantic or send a man to the moon and bring him back, yet we cannot achieve peace between Arabs and Jews that would send a Palestinian child walking to school without the risk of getting killed.

Indeed, we can espouse many stubborn beliefs linking us to a benevolent, omnipotent Creator of this life, yet we are unable to recognize that the single most act this Creator would abhor is the unnecessary taking of this same life in His very name.

It is obvious that we have got our priorities mixed up somewhere along the way. For example, I could never understand how so many people can get overly obsessed with the prospect of certain species becoming endangered, all along oblivious to the impending extinction of our own kind in a man-made nuclear holocaust. Why are we so worried that killer sharks, for instance, are dwindling in numbers?

What possible inconvenience can such an eventuality add to our already complicated daily lives, apart from many divers and surfers feeling safer while frolicking in the oceans? What great loss to humanity has the extinction of dinosaurs brought about anyway, except to make Steven Spielberg much richer than he already had been?

I bet you if these giant lizards were running around today causing mayhem to lives and properties, we would make them extinct yet again, because all the arguments about protecting the eco-balance of mother nature would go down the green drains they came from when you or your child are being chased down the street by a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex. You and I would kill the bastard without hesitation, even if it was the very last one walking the Earth, and so would all conservationist freaks, although they wouldn’t like to admit it.

The same goes for snakes and alligators. I, for one, am not going to lose sleep if none of these nasty reptiles are left to spread their venom and terror, and will be very happy if my wallet or shoes were made of raccoon skin instead. My children are not going to mind either, and are going to be equally happy poking fun at elephants or chimpanzees when they go to a zoo, because neither of them has yet complained that they cannot go Apatosaurus back-riding on the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong here, but I’ve had it with the fantasy world of the scaremongering green industry. Their alarmist tactics have gone too far, and their conviction in their trade has turned into zealotry, seldom relying on solid scientific grounds. For example, I’ve always had a hunch that Al Gore’s dabbling in documentaries had more to do with his apocalyptic mood after conceding the election to a monkey than him sincerely fearing the extinction of all monkeys.

I’ve always felt that his “Inconvenient Truth” was never really about truth as much as it was about the re-invention of Al Gore as the savior of this planet. I was right. Last November, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the best experts on global warming that money cannot buy and the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize along with Al Gore for their work on the subject, finally published their findings.

Contrary to the green lobby’s assertion that a 20-foot wall of water would drown low lying cities in the near future, the IPCC predicted that oceans would rise by no more than one foot over the next century, as they have also risen by one foot during the last 150 years, a natural phenomenon that we have hardly noticed when it did happen. Here is a conclusive quote from their report: “Catastrophic scenarios about the beginning of an ice age… are mere speculations, and no climate model has produced such an outcome. In fact, the processes leading to an ice age are sufficiently well understood and completely different from those discussed here, that we can confidently exclude this scenario.”

There is a lot more evidence out there to prove that Al Gore’s hysterical claims are not only unfounded exaggerations, but at points mere fabrications. I am not saying that we therefore should continue desecrating our environment and continue burning those fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow. On the contrary, there is nothing I find more detestable than the black diesel fumes coming out of all those trucks and buses on the streets of Amman.There is nothing I despise more than a family not cleaning up every single piece of litter after a picnic in the Dead Sea.

But for Al Gore to make a movie telling us to start building Noah’s Arc because of carbon emissions, while ignoring the real catastrophe of his country’s intentional littering of Iraq with thousands of tons of depleted uranium – a substance so poisonous that its cancerous qualities have a staggering half-life of 4.5 billion years, a substance that has already caused a cancer epidemic for those Iraqis who were fortunate to survive the unprovoked war against their country – this I find to be the most immoral course of distraction from the real environmental evil facing our planet, and is in my opinion the lowest depth of unashamed hypocrisy.

My son will hate me for saying this, but to hell with all the sharks. Let us first worry about the well-being and survival of human beings. Once we’ve achieved that – and we are very far from doing so at the current rate – then, and only then, we can perhaps start dedicating resources towards saving the great white killers, and all those other man-eating beasts out there that we like to stare at as long as they are securely chained in captivity.

Take care, and if you ride – or scuba dive – do it safely.

This article was originally published in Jordan’s Living Well magazine

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