Double Ice Axe


In recent days, we have been rediscovering the poetry and philosophy of Robinson Jeffers. In his remarkable preface to The Double Axe (1948), Jeffers writes:

By “inhumanism”, Jeffers is not proposing a standard of interpersonal conduct but rather a way of experiencing the world that breaks loose from the solipsistic assumption that the human species alone embodies meaning in the universe.

Meanwhile a DP associate, knowing of our interest in the arctic ice sheet and its potential chilling impact on the solipsistic worldview, alerted us to updated data regarding the arctic ice melt, as monitored by the National Snow & Ice Data Center. On the graph below, the left hand unit of measurement is millions of square kilometers. The blue line for 2012 is on track for a dramatically new record low, which appears to be in excess of six standard deviations from the norm. Statisticians will comprehend the implications of such extreme data:A second graphic provides a bird’s eye view, with the orange outline representing the median melt; keep in mind that as of this posting, we are still three weeks away from the normal September data point for the minimum extent.

A perspective of “inhumanism” may not be one that we freely choose, but rather one that is forced upon us, as mother earth harshly reminds us of our pathetic insignificance. It may be timely to meditate upon Jeffers’ poem, Vulture:



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