“metals groove to their rigid dance, while we sit watching, entranced”
We are normalized to what is a very anomalous geographical feature, namely the high quantity of large elemental metals and metal-dominated alloys. The most striking image I can think to provide you is gazing upon a skyscraper under construction with countless tons of steel “I-beams” conquering the airspace, or a suspension bridge donning voluminous quantities vast metallic twine. These peculiar purities of structural metal, which we can go and see without much trouble (unless we are in an unmantamed jungle), were never available to strike our ancestors’s perceptions. In the past—geographically speaking—most metals were more dispersed and far less in quantity at the crustal surface and atmospheric level, intermingled as they were with other chemicals and compounds where they served an important role but in relatively minute presence. The metals circulating in human cultural activity today, however, used to mostly be below our visibility and buried underneath the soil level, and deeper still. At present, metals exist not just alongside us at a much higher rate and in a much purer form, they also exist within us: our bodily tissues and organs have quantities of metals and metallic compounds that are generally too high (thus the high rates of autism and many, many other modern health conditions). The corollary to the high presence of newer metals is that other, particular metals (e.g. zinc) that have an important symbiosis with organisms may exist within us at lower levels than necessary, as they are out-dueled by other, competing metals (e.g. copper; other organically competitive metals are molybdenum and tungsten, selenium and mercury, and more that I’m just learning about).
Metals—before human adventures into bogs, mining, and sifting river sediment—would be unearthed only by cataclysmic earthen collisions with asteroids (and other spatial bodies); a large impact would stir the earthen pot, adding some fresh deposits of metals and unearthing others more accustomed to the depths. These days, the slow unceasing meteor that is human industry keeps throwing more metals up onto the surface, constantly displacing organic life that previously dwelt in the space that is now the home of the metals. These metals that so negatively affect us are the key to the process of unearthing more and more metals—it is rather tautological. We must ask ourselves: are we using metallic machinery to dig up more metals, or are the metals using us to dig up more of their friends? Does our lack of apparent control mean the metals are in control? Humans certainly have become less culturally organic and transitioned onto what could be dubbed a “metalloid path”.
Metals In Motion
From the perspective of motion—if we exclude sea waters and atmospheric winds (see note L, first paragraph)—there is a much higher ratio than there ever was before of heavier metal dominated chemical compounds than organic compounds; metals are getting plenty of exercise, but at our expense. One extreme example of where metals have been liberated very quickly into the larger atmosphere is the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Uranium and Plutonium, very organically destabilizing metals, have certainly restricted movement in proximity to Fukushima. The half-life of these metals quickly quarters a human life, if not “hexadecadenth-ing” it (1/16th). Perhaps the violent connotation of hexa-decimating life would not be inappropriate to convey what occurs after too much metallic-derived radiation exposure. Unfortunately, as opposed to Roman military decimation, nuclear radiation kills a far larger number of people without the strict control of human managers. Metals are in the driver’s seat driving, while humans are in the driver’s seat sitting doing little. The humans that do escape the effects of the potent metal pollution of a nuclear reactor disaster still have to deal with a restriction to their freedom of movement: DON’T GO ANYWHERE NEAR FUKUSHIMA.
Metals’ dominion of motion goes largely unnoticed, and there is a “textbook” physics experiment that goes to show how oblivious and uncritical people are of this fact. Inertial frames of reference are often initially demonstrated by physics teachers by using a particular space familiar to everyone: inside a moving vehicle. To prove that the space inside the moving car becomes it’s own inertial frame, the teacher might ask why no one ever feels wind despite undergoing high speeds; but to really bring home the point, the teacher usually gets us to think about a ball being tossed straight up in the car, and that it doesn’t fly into the rear window but returns to the thrower. Inertial frames of reference are now understood and everyone moves on, but no one thinks to ask, “are such inertial frames of reference normal to the planet’s history?” Even more to the point, no one brings up how despite the ~1,000 kilogram metal based car being hurled through (our) space with such violent force, that motion is almost completely sterile inside the car. Further troubling aspects are as follows: there is often a lot of boredom experienced on the part of the passengers; there is stale air that is frequently being cycled through a conditioner; there is light distorted and diminished by tinted, reflective windows; there is Earthen electrical isolation provided by the insulating rubber tires. The interior of modern vehicles in a large “sense” approaches sensory deprivation tanks, and surely the negative psychological effects of one forced to experience the peculiar space of a car, are ramped up as an effect. There are not voices raising this concern of why there is so little organic activity surrounding such a high energy event as a car in motion; perhaps the very energy available for thinking is cordoned off in the peculiar deprivation tanks that are our modern vehicles. Such an inertial frame of reference is an internal frame of restriction!
¿Carbon, Carbone, Cargone?
Where in this world of metallic motion is all the carbon going as a result? The question has multiple answers, the first of which is that carbon is not going anywhere, it is staying put, by suppression. Carbon that is enmeshed in living organic compounds—i.e. humans and all of our biological friends—is stuck in place or in a restrictive inertial frame which gives the illusion of motion. As for non-human animals, migration patterns are being reduced, forcing them to become “home bodies” or faced with becoming “dead bodies” (road kill, toxic-stream kill). Areas of habitability are being reduced through desertification, a complicated process that metals at least play a partial role in.L The inclusion of higher loads of metals within these organisms is also restricting them (and killing them), with some populations of water animals known to be dying off directly because of metal pollution. Essentially, the space in which carbon based life can thrive is steadily shrinking on all fronts.
The second place that carbon is going, is into the atmosphere, resulting because of its oppression. Simplified and alienated chemicals like CO2 and other building blocks of life are released in the processes that involve moving weighty metals; if from the dust we came, to the dust we are returning—the ~400 ppm (and rising) CO2 building blocks give plenty of proof of that! Metals are a lot more massive than carbon centered lifeforms, and to move them around requires a much higher calorie diet, despite whatever efficiencies adding rubber wheels (or floating them on the ocean) to the massive unleashed metal giants fretting through our environments provides. It is towards this end that the majority of human and metal activity on earth takes place: the extraction (via drill-mining) of high potency energy found in carbon based fuels. Millions of decades of condensed and concentrated carbon energy provide the only energy combinations (along with nuclear power, perhaps) powerful enough to feed the metal-moving agenda. Does peak oil exist, and if so is it enough to stop the metal hegemony?
The third place that carbon is going in the metal driven world is into enslavement at the purposes of hardening the metal. Carbon is intentionally alloyed to iron in small amounts (less than 5%) for the service of iron to make it harder for particular industrial purposes—it is marginalized; an interesting parallel to this ratio would be the aforementioned amount of movement of metals out-competing many-fold the motion of carbon-centered life. Another telling character in this story is oxygen. Metals underground used to be plagued by oxidation issues; now, above ground, metals routinely get rid of their oxygen, steel away our carbon, all while we carbon-based life forms seem to be bodily accruing oxygen as our own rusting agent, resulting in widespread oxidative damage. Oxygen is a turncoat—reactive and shifty—if we ascribe it agency in this narrative.
Metals In Charge
The metals in motion we have to deal with are moving as fast (or faster?) than a speeding bullet or shrapnel, slowing down then to modern transportation of planes/trains/cars/elevators, and then we have standing structures like buildings and transmission towers. Both the metals in motion and those standing give off some “destructive” electromagnetic interference, especially if they are carrying an electrical charge as in the case of the transmission tower’s thick power lines. Carbon-based life has adapted the best that it can in the face of all this metal, being more cautious (looking both ways before you cross) and passive (not crossing); it’s reminiscent of the Artilleryman describing humans adapting to Martians in The War of the Worlds (pages 248-251). One modern social habit that displays this passivity and awkwardness that people feel in association with the rigid spaces modern building technologies allow us is the over-utterance of “sorry”. It’s not completely a matter that “sorry” has changed meaning—though that is sometimes the case—but that some people are generally sorry for being in the way of a smooth flow of traffic. Whether it’s crossing the street in a very apologetic manner, waving and prostrating oneself to the massive car that is letting you walk pass, and seeming overly grateful that such a giant beast would have the kindness of heart to let you as a mere pedestrian cross first; or someone exiting a narrow corridor as another person is entering and saying “sorry” for being a body block to the other person’s continuing through the corridor uninterrupted. There is such shame many of us feel in our very existence, that we are somehow awkward and uncomely beings that are exceptions to the rule and need to be accompanied with constant apology.
Unfortunately, the latent content of our zeitgeist is that we’ve been conquered irreparably by metals (or computer technology, which is of the same logical blend) and there is no option to escape. In an inverted way to how Napoleon supposedly used language differences to use his conquered people to fight for him and not unite against him, metals have us all speaking their same language—which I think would be a type of binary—so that we are easily decoded. Words that could unite organic life to rebel against metallic life are not just marginalized from our typical linguistic use, they are being erased entirely as if they never had existed. Nuspeak—and universal efforts to have 100% literacy, including digital—is the cage that needs no prison guard because the prefrontal cortex is so effectively segregated from the other thinking regions. We are frequently unable to think, and thus communicate, the biological problems we are increasingly imposing on ourselves. All of these electric, metal-based infrastructured systems are regarded as essential to life—increasingly understood to be a priori to it—and so we put all our hope into its continuance and invest in its endurance, but all to our detriment.
There is still a warm, humid darkness at the end of The Enlightenment tunnel; sacred spaces un-scarred and less chronically scared are still available to those who want to escape the everyday metallurgy. One can choose to leave the metal majoritarian areas of contrived macro-climates in opting for a micro-climate where life grows and finds the healthiest niches. It is safer to be a freer life form in such a micro-climate, such as a commune where fast paced metal/electrical life is kept to a minimum (something which I recommend!). For those of us who want to battle (and succeed) right where we are: we are more complex than the metal creations we’ve unleashed, despite our very real depletion, and we do have biological systems within us and around us that are allies. The edible dandelions that grow on an untreated lawn are dynamic accumulators which restore soil health and mine up metals and other minerals in their proper balanced form; they can do this in some of the most abused landscapes and are vitality’s pioneers. We can build up oxytocin concentrations in our body by physically connecting with our species in a variety of different circles like massage groups (and other more and less taboo interactions) that does not include metal as a mediator. We can remove foods from our diet and undergo fasting when no healthy alternatives are present or growing. It is important to recognize that there may be much withdrawal pain (emotionally, and physically as with the Herxheimer reaction) as we detox from metal-dominated living, but it is a small price to pay compared to extinction.
Metal Appendages (Oppendices)
1) Artificial aging: Entire ages of “human development” are named after the particular metals introduced for weaponry, which is only the sharp tip of the great girth of non-metallic (mostly stone) developments early on in civilization’s history. This surely speaks to the level of worship—presumptively merited—that humans felt (and feel) in regards to metals. Metal was the cast, the clothing, the tip, to allow a widening of violence among humans whilst stone was at the core of the infrastructural project. Now, after the industrial revolution, it is metal which forms the foundational core, and stone that has been displaced as the superficial adjunct. To be literary—swords and axes only cut skin deep, but the electric grid penetrates right through us, deeper and more totally than Vlad the Impaler.
2) radar sdrawkcaB: Metals are not built to appear on the radar screens of organic life forms—there is no evolutionary precedent built in for organic life to recognize or deal with any concentration of metal that isn’t already sublimated in a properly balanced ecosystem. Bees are supposedly disturbed by radio and cellular phone frequencies, birds by that of wind turbines (ecosystem’s unfamiliarity with metal keeps the metal objectively intact for relatively long stretches of time where even common types of bacteria dare not populate on its surfaces—indeed maintenance is very efficient when the cleaning of metallic surfaces is seldom needed). The motion and concentration of metals is like a stealth bomber to our innate perceptual proclivities that we’re only able to see and recognize the potency of when we develop a “second” nature. As metal dominates more and more, nature does come second, it seems.
3) Metal as necrophiliac: The death of a carbon life form (then transitioned into a fossil fuel) is exactly what metals are dependent on for their own particular motion. Their intense motion on our Earth has heretofore in human interactions been dependent upon dead carbon matter. Their caloric needs met by gasoline ingestion is the destruction of us; it is metal feasting on the corpses of our carbonic ancestors. After digestion is finished they leave their excrement—plastics, pesticides, and other compounds—as donations to our cause of theirs. As they eat our carbonic fossilized corpses, they also have been eating us alive; if we include them as a specie-s, then we are not alone in our eating of food that is both alive and dead. The metals are borrowing on our credit, but they will stop only when we stop supplying our lives to work their hungry furnaces; until then we are just disinterestedly holocausting ourselves.
10) ¿Abiotic Carbonic Energy?: There are ongoing hypothesis that some carbon based fuels are not truly fossil fuels, as they are not in a lineage that once had some living biomass from which to be derived from. I muse here, but if this is the case could it be the higher levels of metals below the surface—using geo-pressures as a catalyst—growing their own potent source of combustible energy?
11) Yours, Mines, and Theirs: Metal mines us more surely than we mine metal. We spend our time drilling for them holding them as idols, and even as the metal idles in stagnation it drills against us, into us, with the electromagnetic force.
12) Iron Sharpens Iron: but concurrent to such sharpening iron dulls Life. We’ve betrayed the carbonic in favor of the ironic.
13) Sequestered: The concern of carbon sequestering is quite secondary to the very real need to bury metals. A great deal more could be said of this topic when I make the time to elaborate a juxtaposition between these two possibilities to heal the Earth.
20) Change versus Acceleration: We are not in an epoch of accelerating change—change is decelerating, it is dying, the becomings being beings; it is matter that is accelerating in it’s bundling and simplification to higher, larger amounts—metal here being the quintessential example. These concepts unfortunately are conflated and inverted which leads to a situation in which the problem is not appropriately intuited. Intuitive immediate imaginative senses are blocked, cobweb-ed over by destructive concepts such as “change is accelerating”. Matter is accelerating, not change!
21) We are our own key to open this lock: The liberation of Metals is the shackling of lighter non-metals. Metals are the cuffs that need no lock to imprison life. Their very concentration could have only been accomplished by our previously subtle intuitive abilities turned for destructive uses—we humans traded our synthetic imaginations for the pastime of analysis, and we project outwards the cutting logic that has us turning disparate metals into unified weapons against our own kind, reflective steel purified to great degrees for precise surgical uses. Mirroring our adoption of analysis as our inner monologue has been the ability to create extremely hot controlled temperatures as well as those extremely cold, this within small spaces where the general laws of thermodynamics are bracketed by metals and their allies. Metals could only have grown and gathered in such stature by our own fiddling with rapidly distinct and changing heats that separate and recombine old compounds into new ones, never before known to the Earthen context.
L The role that metals play in desertification could possibly be analyzed to be twofold, though more or fewer actual reasons may exist beyond the scope of the author. The first role is what has been mentioned in many places already in this essay, namely that metals in motion reduce organisms’ ability to be as dynamically involved in the environment, which might be a definition for a desert. To flesh this out a little more, consider how a lot of wind erosion on a mountain top keeps trees from growing there, but so too it could be said that a lot of trees growing there could keep down the wind erosion. Either way, the degree to which there is the homogeneous motion of larger, less subtle forces—a constant drying western gale force wind that acts as one large rigid force as opposed to a light humid breeze that dances between trees in no particular direction—is the degree to which smaller more complex developments are precluded. Along with the great currents of air that are eroding subtle areas that used to be rich with plant and fungal biomass, so too are greater currents of ocean water playing a role in eroding oceanic life, especially at the coasts where it used to be the greatest. Zooming way out, here’s a galactic example of the same phenomenon: think of a galaxy where large asteroids, planets, and even stars are constantly colliding and causing large violent impacts whereby thermal dynamic changes are undergoing huge changes in the local contexts; these large bodies gathering elemental matter and making it act roughly uniform (think of a giant gaseous planet with little chemical complexity) will give no chance to allowing any life to endure, whether carbon based or any other type. The celestial bodies interacting are themselves, perhaps, the lifeforms; however, it is a big waste of the smaller potentials within them: the variety of chemical elements from which they have pulled by gravity into strict enslavement could make such a richer tapestry, just as a one building with LEGO blocks can make something far more interesting than one can with DUPLO blocks.
The second role that liberated metals play in contributing to desertification is the way that their temperature fluctuations mimic that of a desert. Metals heat quickly with exposure to a thermal energy source, but also cool quickly when that energy source is removed (think of a pan being heated by a flame). This is the same process that goes on in a desert, whereby the sun’s thermal energy warms it during the day, but then when the sun sets the desert becomes very cool very quickly. Our particular earthly forms of life, at least, do best when under a relatively constant thermodynamic heat. This regularized temperature that our life needs is emblematic of the modalities of a life force: harmonization occurring through a common interactive vibrational level. The violent swings in temperature prevent life from spreading those deepening complex bonds because harmony is constantly being shattered/interrupted. Large concentrations of metals at the crustal surface are sure to exacerbate these swings in temperature, and so too will continue to diminish the global biomass which is so critical in regulating temperatures to foster additional layers of life.
ZThe beginnings—thankfully we haven’t reached an end, or else I would not be typing and you would not be reading. May this lore of metals help dissuade us from the lure of metals.
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2 thoughts on “The Liberation Of Metals”
This is an interesting topic, thank you … I had not heard of the metal ‘angle’ before and it is something to think about. One of these ignored results of our heedlessness of doom are going to do the trick. Humans are waiting for the horse to leave the barn: only then can they get excited about closing the door. We need the dark of near hopelessness to see the direction to solutions I think.
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Your very welcome JR, and thank you very much for reading and considering this metal angle (nice pun by the way!). I don’t mean for it to be the be-all-and-end-all, but as something to jostle the general thinking about our predicaments (or our “progress”) because if we don’t get on a new way of seeing things, we will stay in the same self-reinforcing rut and get deeper and darker as you allude to. We also, I believe, attribute to humans a lot more power and control than we actually truly have in determining our future, and I wanted to expose one of those layers of restriction that certainly robs us of a great degree of freedom to actually control and determine our future.
And unfortunately you are probably right about the needing for things to get really bad before we can change and “close the door”. I hate the “crisis creates change” reality of much of human history, and would like to think we can divert away from much of our future suffering.
Thanks again, your thoughts give me renewed energy to keep writing!