Words cannot capture a day of intense impressions. Yet let me try. Go east of Lima into the hills (as I did today) and see this:
- Tailings clinging to the steep hills in defiance of gravity.
- A mine closed by the government to perfection. They know what they are doing!
- Filter-pressed tailings transported fifty kilometers up 1000 m elevation to a new disposal site — economically?
This all defies logic. Yet it is true.
Go through the depressing neighbourhoods of dilapidated buildings up the narrow roads traversed by innumerable trucks transporting gas to a distant mine, and you wonder at the needs and power of mining,
Do any of these communities throw their waste into the river? For it flows to Lima. And only the mines are blamed for tailings seepage that pollutes. But what of the human pollution? I am convinced that people pollute more than mining.
Then return to MillaFlorez, the posh part of Lima and go to supper in a posh restaurant. There they play music of that Peruvian mystery and dance those sensuous dances of sex and love.
Which is real? The unfinished structures of brick and concrete; the poverty of those lingering in despair; the gray sky where the sun never shines; the gaudy dress of the dancers; the fat bellies of the men and their slim women who caress their wavy locks?
Why do women wear pants or short skirts when the voluminous frocks and lace pantyhose of the dancers are infinitely more sensuous? Or the sweating flesh of a naked torso gyrating to an eight count says it all?
I am working with one who got a degree in philosophy and is now a consultant in mining mergers & acquisitions. “Philosophy teaches you to think, to analyze, and to decide. What more do you need to make people sell mines, buy mines, and invest in the impossible?”
I find Peru depressing: that constant gray cloud over Lima; that never-ending city of ugly structures; the impossible hills of erosion gulleys; the grim visage of the nice guy who drove me for four hours who yet had to catch a bus for a two-hour ride home. A few rich who eat in the nice places where I eat–but millions who labor to make this possible. The desperation of the disposed who strive to wretch a few dollars from us fools who delight in their art, music, and a culture based on dead Inca of inhuman savagery.
Then the luxury busses filled with students from Michigan intent on seeing the Amazon. They flit like moths through the light to an illusion to be burnt to platitudes back home. At least their rich parents back home support the local economy in the illusion that they are educating the kids.
As a consultant to the mining industry, I enjoy this stupidity: I get well paid to think, to frame issues, to help the clowns get out of mad past decisions, and avoid the consequences of folly in pursuit of greed. They have fucked up the environment bent on profit. Now they must pay. The only question is how do they limit payment, maximize profit, and leave Peru better than it was before they came?
Philosophy and art are one (two) way(s). Blogging is a third. So I end this blog by remarking: as a blogger I had a good day. I know the answers. I may not persuade others. Only the philosophers may agree. The regulators will never admit to the good work they do. And miners will continue to expound!