After all, guilt is scaled to individuals

‘These are just questions. Please don’t care too much about them. As you move through this book, watch any feelings of guilt that come up. After all, guilt is scaled to individuals. But individuals are in no sense guilty for global warming. That’s right – you can totally let yourself off the hook, because starting the internal combustion engine of your car every day is statistically meaningless when it comes to global warming. The paradox is that when we scale actions like that up to include every car motor start on every day since the internal combustion engine was invented, humans are causing global warming. Big corporations are obviously capable of having this effect. But their employees’ effect is, to use the phrase again, statistically meaningless. Several thousand years from now, nothing about you as an individual will matter. But what you did will have huge consequences.4 This is the paradox of the ecological age. And it is why action to change global warming must be massive and collective.

‘What is global warming anyway? The correct answer is that it is mass extinction. This will be our next topic.’

— Timothy Morton, Being Ecological


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