The Watchman’s Rattle

The Watchman’s Rattle is a book written by Rebecca Costa published in 2010 which, apparently, didn’t cause much of a stir. I never heard of it until last evening as I was clicking on the blog links. Costa’s overriding question is this: Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve?  Further, wonders the author, have we humans reached our limit in our ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems facing humanity?

Costa cites the cultures of both the Mayans and Romans as examples of unpreventable societal collapse; both of these cultures reached their limit in attempting to solve their problems, and as a result of that, they collapsed. The author cites several warning signs from these cultures that ought to sound alarm bells for us here in the 21st century.  Yet, before I list them, which of you already thinks that nothing will happen- that we humans will continue to ignore or deny the massive problems facing both the earth and the people on this planet?

The first warning sign is gridlock.  Immediately my mind focussed on Congress; you too? in fact, rather than thinking globally as Ms. Costa suggests, why don’t we focus on the United States to see how these warning signs play out here in the Home of the Brave.  However, there may be a catch: the author says that the most effective weapon to use to solve this problem is the human brain. Imagine that- using the brain to solve problems.  How rare; how ingenious.  Let’s see what might get in the way.  Let’s explore some ways that the human brain has been stifled. How about these nemeses: greed, God, war and politics.

• First: gridlock.  Has this governmental structure outlived its effectiveness? After all, it was invented 235 years ago for a nation that looks nothing at all like the society of the 21st century. Yet the system endures-  even the oddly quirky Electoral College. How can a ‘system’ set up for a small, agrarian, all-white society serve 350 million mixed culture, non- agrarian, fast-paced, technologically-wired society as we have today? The problems our nation faces are so much more complex than our Founding Fathers ever could have imagined, yet our governmental structure sells of the 18th century manure on the boots of the congressmen.

• Second: the substitution of beliefs for knowledge and facts. This factor surely compels those in the right-wing to look backwards for ‘solutions’ to today’s problems.  Many begin with, ‘If only they…’ If only they would…; if only they didn’t…; if only we…’  Longing for the imagined glories of the past as solutions for the present gets us nowhere, but conservatives are not willing to have that dream extinguished. The political gridlock above bleeds into this problem. The religionists fall here as well. God will not solve the problem of climate change no matter how many prayers are lifted heavenward. Neither will verses from a book written 3000 years ago for a wandering Semite tribe.

Ms. Costa says that if the first two symptoms are not acknowledged and addressed, then the collapse surely ensues. Irrational opposition, blame, silo thinking and ‘extreme economics’ add to the situation and catalyze the problem.

Ho hum. One more thing to keep us awake at night.

Is it just a matter of time? Should we just pull the covers over our head?

Or what?


6 thoughts on “The Watchman’s Rattle

  1. “Is it just a matter of time?”

    It could be. I was listening to an interesting discussion on public radio the
    other evening. The radio? Yep!

    The point of the program was antibiotics and how bacteria are becoming residtant to antibiotics. As we know, hospitals and clinics are limiting the amount of time a person will stay in a hospital, not because the care is so much better, but because of the bacteria, expecially MRSA.

    The reason bacteria is becoming resistant to antibiotics is the amount of
    antibiotics in use. But, it’s not the use of antibiotics on humans that is the
    problem..It’s the use on animals as cattle, swine, and poultry. 80 percent of all antibiotics go to treat livestock, not only for disease, but it also provides weight gain in the filthy feed lots.

    Here is the time bomb. All the commentators accepted that there is this problem and that there is five years or less to reign in antibiotic use for
    livestock, or we face the 21st century version of the medieval Black Death.

    Now, for 12 years a Congresswoman from upstate NY has been warning of the problem and has introduced legislation to stop the use of antibiotics in the feed lots. She is the only microbiologist in Congress (of couse she must be suspect, lol) . Her name is Louise Slaughter, how ironic! She has sponsted “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act”.
    For additional information google her and many other reverences will be available.

    1. Thank you my friend for that scary info. So then, the question might be asked- why is her legislation summarily dismissed year after year? Is it the substitution of beliefs for knowledge and facts?

      You know, God “promised” that he would never send another “worldwide” flood, but he never mentioned that he wouldn’t send a plague of bacteria our way. Get down on your knees, brother and pray for salvation!!

      1. There are two main interests groups that have tied her legislation up.
        These are BigPharma and the many subdivisions of the livestock industry.
        If you really want to be scared and pull the covers up over your head, read
        her testimony and the other referrals. Our national tendency is to not plan for the future. We wait until the house is afire before we do anything. By the time these resisant microbes get loose, there will be no way to stop them….

        I’m beyond prayer!

  2. Stormy greetings from the State of Mississippi!
    The news crawler in the health section mentioned the high use of antibiotics
    in humans.

    Then I opened my morning paper and on the fourth page in large letter was the headline saying ANTIBIOTICS OVERUSED.

    This news is from a study the CDC did and it says “doctos are prescribing enough antibiotics to give them to four out of five Americans every year.”

    The article continued, “overuse is one reason antibiotics are losing their
    punch, making infections harder to treat….bacteria have increasingly gained the power to shrug off antibiotics…and that the CDC is tracking at least
    20 strains of resistant bacteria….Doctors and other health care providers
    prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics for a population just shy of
    309 million…..”

    But, as I reported above this is only a small percentage of the antibiotics
    being used. The livestock industry uses 80% of all antibiotics.
    As we know, we are to wash our hands with sanitizer when ever we touch raw
    meat. It is also very important to sanitize cutting boards or anything used to
    cut meat on or up.
    My wife can no longer take any penicillin, because as a E R supervisor one evening an aide dropped a penicillin bottle on the exam table and she was
    spread with large amounts of it…She had huge blisters over her hands and
    arms…The end result is that she is now allergic to any penicillin.

  3. Don’t forget an out of control military! How many countries have found their ruin from excessive military budgets?

    Toss in that the Constitution is about Civilian Control of the Military. What is the Second Amendment really about?

    Try Civilian Control over the Military establishment–and there’s far more evidence that is the case than anything to do with private arms.

    Just look at the Declaration of Independence–was there anything about gun grabbing?


    But there are these:
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

    “What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.”

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