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Robin Datta
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Wow. A thoughtful and organized dirge. Regrettably, "their beliefs in something that could not ever happen — that happy days would come again" is all too prevalent in the eloquence economics, financial and business crowd (and in society in general), the expectation of return to BAU. The evolution towards greater sapience is something that may proceed at a brisk pace, but whether it will be swift enough to stay apace of the changing milieu. It was perhaps two million years ago that Homo erectus showed up on the scene. Homo neanderthalis had been around for 400,000 years before going extinct 30,000 years ago. Homo sapiens has been around only 200,000 years: a spring chicken when compared to any and every species we see around us. Yet on a scale of 200,000 years evolutionary change may not stay apace of the alterations in our lot that may play out over a millennium or so.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2010 on The Situation Now at Question Everything
Ray Kroc was acknowledging the role of others in helping him. But a point of difference was that he provided food for stomach rather than food for thought.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2010 on A Heartfelt Thank You at Question Everything
As Ray Kroc (the founder of the McDonald's restaurant chain) said: "None of Us is as Good as All of Us." Thanks for being a "Ray Kroc".
Toggle Commented May 30, 2010 on A Heartfelt Thank You at Question Everything
Yes indeed, a feasible living situation of the future would include both appropriate primary economy (nature) and the secondary economy (labor), to borrow the ArchDruid's terms. The golden rule, "He who owns the gold makes the rules" (as I had once heard) has been applicable ever since we have had tertiary economies. Depending on its robustness (if such a term can even be applied to a faith-based system of promises as is the tertiary economy), the tertiary economy may continue to sustain that golden rule. Regrettably with that golden rule the rules that are made are designed to facilitate the further accumulation of gold.
There was mention on the PBS series online on the origins of humans that our species may have passed through a bottleneck as narrow as 600 breeding pairs. If true, we almost missed extinction once. What (if anything) will come out on the other side of the forthcoming bottleneck is a matter of speculation. If wetware is the basis of wisdom there is a chance that it could thus contribute to a transition to a better society. But first, ofcourse the bottleneck. It is interesting to speculate on what it will select for.... It is my presumption (hope?) that it will select for community/societal values.
Regrettably all too many of the wise men of economy and finance do not grok the idea that the world of their domain is disintegrating because of something that has this far been outside their ken - the energy flows that are an essential basis of well-being and prosperity. And they continue to delude the rest of the sheeple - including the CEOs of major organizations - into expecting a return to BAU.
Toggle Commented May 11, 2010 on Energy and Value at Question Everything
Thank you for the work you are doing for humanity. Voices of wisdom have cried out in the past. Those included Malthus, Hubbert, Meadows and even those with authority (Jimmy Carter, in the "Moral Equivalent of War" speech). They had been ignored. The time to pay the Piper is perilously close. The opening that you have gained is to be commended.
The "further levels beyond human cognition" refers to the possibility of dimensions beyond those which we cognize; if there are such dimensions, we exist in them even if we do not cogsize them.
Human cognition is a significant emergent epiphenomenon that rests on a hierarchy of multiple levels of epiphenomena for which we have constructed coherent presumptive explanations. Matters beyond our ken cannot and do not have to be so accommodated. We have no basis to posit or reject further levels beyond human cognition. Perhaps however, understanding human cognition may require operating from such levels.
A deeply insightful post. "The proper response to the reality of diminishing energy flows from fossil fuels would be to greatly reduce the flow budgeted to growth" If we delay too much in doing there will be none left to "redirect it toward investment in alternative energy capture/conversion capital" and "to preserving the valuable artistic treasures of the past as well as support current humanities". "Unfortunately, the majority of the population, and especially the economists and politicians, don't get it."
In a longer perspective, say five or ten millennia the languages derived from English may be as different from today's English as is today's language from the Old English of two to three millennia ago. Their recent music may be as different from today's as tofay's is from that of fifty or a hundred years ago. And the lyrics of today, in a sapient future society might be comparable to the musings of their children. If we are to consider what might survive many millinnia, we could start by looking at what has survived a few centuries.
The POTUS's veneer cracked when he said "Go for it!" (in reference to those who are considering running on the issue of repealing ObamaCare. His panic (two words) if any, is engendered not by the long term outlook, but by the desire to keep the whole contraption from falling apart before the next election. A politician's horizon is the next election. Unfortunately, "Drill, bro', Drill" won't produce results for a decade or two, and then at $100-$200 (in today's dollars) per barrel. I read somewhere that $85 a barrel is about the most the uS economy can tolerate without crashing again. Ofcourse, if the prognostication about "my last vote in a national election" are right, there is no need for that panic.
Some might consider saving a few luthiers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luthier so that others can draw beauty out of their creations http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_gupta.html And then ofcourse there is the extensive accumulated creations of the past.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2010 on What Should We Fight to Save? at Question Everything
Thanks for a synopsis of what is now burgeoning field of study, of which general public ignorance is slowly waning. The impression that I had got from The Oil Drum, the Energy Bulletin, etc. has been that the EROEI needed to sustain anything close to BAU is in at a minimum in the high teens. Yet it would seem that efforts to point the way have not (yet) persuaded us to turn away from the present course: passing SNAFU on the way to FUBAR.
Please go through the information at The Fully Informed Juror Association: http://fija.org/ Know that you have the power of jury nullification, and make sure that the bench is aware of your knowledge.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2010 on The complications of life! at Question Everything
The key to the whole essay is in the line "This education would not be viewed as the end-all of learning, but just the beginning." And another significant concept would be that education would be everyone's responsibility. When one sees someone fumbling around for lack of certain information that one has, one should be expected to transmit that information. And someone comes upon a new process, method or fact, one should share that with others (some already do, after communication with the patent office). Some elements of the knowledge and technology already acquired will be applicable to a low energy society, in an ecologically sustainable way. These will be the basis of The Ecotechnic Fucure. The fascination with fire and tools is something that Hominid males have been selected for over more than a million and a half years (for tools) and about half that time (for fire). Hence the enchantment of the tool section in the hardware store (which is quite absent in women) and the appeal of barbecues - we have been selected for these. http://www.betterworldbooks.com/list.aspx?SearchTerm=The+Ecotechnic+Future http://www.newsociety.com/bookid/4051 As for agriculture and education, the old Chinese saying goes: For a return on investment in a year, plant rice. For a return on investment in a decade, plant fruit trees. For a return on investment in a century, educate men.
"We can choose to allow billions of people to starve, dehydrate, or succumb to diseases from population density effects." Actually, we do not have to make that choice. It is the default outcome. We can choose another outcome, but we cannot reset the default. And there is no reservation or restriction on "Reproductive Rights" that requires the intelligence, knowledge, foresight and motivation promoting actions that manifest responsibility towards future society and its members. In some ways it is reminiscent of the spawn of frogs or fishes.
Pardon the cynicism, but maybe the shrewd are positioning themselves for the best chance of getting through the bottleneck without stampeding the herd.
A beautiful template for the Future reflecting sincere hope in spite of the odds. A WWII+ attitude was advocated by James Earl Carter in April 1977 shortly after he took office ("The Moral Equivalent of War"). We have wasted more than three decades since then and the consequences are at hand. The future arrangements will not support today's population: Albert Bartlett had said that if we do not limit population voluntarily, Nature will do it for us. That leaves us with William Catton's bottleneck. These complicating circumstances will also have to be addressed in the transition.
I had 4 riceburners starting with a Datsun 280Z in 1996.12 and three Toyota Supras (the last one being a "twin intercooled turbocharged 320 hp V6 which I gave up in 2007.05 for a Bowling Green z06 only because Supras were no longer made. It unfortunately lacks the dependability of those others. Toyota's fall from grace may have been a while in the coming but was swift in its dénouement. The basic problem with science today is avarice. There was once a time when it was considered unethical to seek more than a modest profit on a new drug - at least that was the case at the time of the discovery of sulfonamides, cortisone and insulin; they could have made their discoverers extremely wealthy in our day and age, where different attitudes are the norm (the patent for insulin was sold to the University of Toronto for one dollar.) But in other sciences as well, everyone is out to see how they can make a buck. Knowledge can continue to advance in such an environment but it will be molded to those constraints. Perhaps when we are out of sheep to shear, the shepherds of our social conscience and noesis may revert to those values.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2010 on What Institution Is Working? at Question Everything
We comprehend levels of emergence above the level of our individual selves: the family, the community, the county/state/nation, local chapter/regional/national organization, etc. And at whatever level we seek a purpose, it is in a wider context than the entity for which a purpose is sought. Once we reach the widest comprehensible context, our quest for purpose can go no further. Are we to presume that there is no context beyond our comprehension? Or that there are levels of emergence beyond the dimensions of our existence? The question of purpose cannot be answered within the framework of a finite context. Hence the workaround - a reference to the "Divine", when grappling with this issue.
The more one stirs a bucket of - shall we say - humanure, the more it stinks. Maybe in his wisdom the POTUS has decided to let it compost. Let's hope it does not hit the fan!
The B-52 did not fly until 1952 - well after the Serond World War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-52_Bomber Lanec versions carried quite sophisticated (for the time) electronics. Even the "Enola Gay" (which dropped the "Little Bay" on Hiroshima) was a B-29 Superfortress - a prop job. its successor, the B-47 Stratojet served the United States Air Force from 1951 through 1969 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-47_Stratojet.
the power to go to engage in preemptive war in Iraq, I'm asking you, this evening, to give me the economic adjustment equivalent of that power. Echoes of Carter
A discussion about "meritocracy": http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2009/05/the-decline-of-middle-america-and-the-problem-of-meritocracy/
Toggle Commented Jan 29, 2010 on The Core of a Sapient Society at Question Everything