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Great stuff. My over-generalized thought is that politics as a whole are about who gets the money. Although, I know there are other important issues for self-interest such as social status and power (point 7). This post puts the matter more completely. It's why there are so few true 'mavericks' in politics - why it's so rare to see politicians, or even just regular citizens, cross party lines to support an opposing position.
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2018 on Sociality Rules (Tribalism) at Decline of the Empire
Meh. Someone has to pipe up. It seems I'm always the one to have to do it, or else Dave has to take it, so here goes.... This is what Dave got for his 7+ years of effort - anonymous trolls who despise him yet for some reason follow his site to the end, who never thank him for anything he had to say and the countless hours it took to publish the site for free, who seem to think the site was their property in the first place to say whatever they wanted yet probably never sent Dave a dime for its upkeep, who ask him for something new yet probably never read the four main essays (or if they did, didn't understand them), who whine to themselves and others about him refusing to accept their bullshit, who pretend that they might have been nice if they were treated with kid gloves but later reveal their ugliness in its full form, and who happily kick him out the door when he is no longer willing to bear it. Thank you, anonymous troll, for making humanity suck even harder. Your parasitic, destructive selves are a shining light on our species. You may now go to other sites to spread your bullshit ever further, and you may rest easy knowing you helped end one of the only, if not only, sites that refused to cater to the constant stream of bullshit we see everywhere else. Be proud, as I'm sure you are, of your bravery, wisdom, and intelligence.
To anyone seeing this at some later date, you might wonder if Dave has thought of this person, or that one, or this or that concept. I've found a simple keyword search starting with "decline of the empire" followed by the person or subject answers that question every time. For instance, "decline of the empire" "john gray" yields these links, in chronological order: One could then read those posts, and maybe have an inkling why Dave would be a little irked that someone would ask him, yet again, about subjects he has discussed several times, all without mentioning or commenting on any of Dave's own work, even on a final post when they could do so. You might be frustrated, too, to see over and over how you are "effectively invisible", despite years of effort. There have been those, though, who have appreciated what has been given by Dave in the past. I'm hoping there might be one or two out there, as well, who will catch this site at some future point, and gain from having found it. And there! I ended my last comment here with some obligatory hope. Whaddaya know? I still hope it's true. Thanks again, Dave.
I think something truly unique and remarkable was taking place here, and it was an honor and a privilege to participate in it from time to time. I do look forward to the occasional addenda to the Flatland series on this site. Even though I'll miss the interaction that took place in the comments, I understand the wish to close things as they are. Besides the honest and incisive analysis of surface-level topics like the environment, the economy, and politics that were presented here, there was a deep awareness of humanity and the human condition that I don't think would have been found elsewhere. It has enabled me to make many large steps in my own thinking. Additionally, I found that I was not completely alone in believing something was really "rotten in Denmark", as Brian also alluded to, and saw a coherent and detailed examination as to why it's rotten. All of these things have been invaluable to me, and I can't thank you enough, Dave. Thanks also to the others who participated here. Best wishes to all, but especially to you, Dave, who took the time to share so openly, had the abilities to present your exceptional views so well, and at least compared to the dog years in lifespan of an internet presence, for so long. I hope this website can remain online for as long as possible, so that others might find it in their own time.
@Idiocracy: yeah, I wasn't happy with the wording there, but I let it be. For one thing, it's not really possible that we all live in a Utopia at the same time as a wasteland - and a combination of the two doesn't make sense. However, I'm not of the opinion that we're going to have some sudden, civilization-ending catastrophe any time soon (say, the next 15 years), and more of the opinion that we'll see a series of emergencies followed by responses over a longer period of time, with each step getting bleaker as it goes downward. I am very confident of humans rushing to build more and more technology as 'solutions' to all this as it happens. Taking NYC as an example, the rowboats thing is just silly, but I'd rather expect the subway system in lower Manhattan to be replaced by an elevated platform at some point. I do expect we'll make strides in solar and EV deployment, and I even think we're going to land some people on Mars (colonization is far less likely, though). At the same time, I think we'll have a series of environmental flash points. I don't think the two things are mutually exclusive, especially because human nature will always prevent us from just 'giving up'. We're always going to think there's a way out, and we're going to try and find it. There was an awful Matt Damon film a while back called Elysium. The film is silly, and it has the subtext that the only way to fight technological superiority is, you guessed, technology, but it portrays a very wealthy minority that has isolated themselves in a techno-utopia, while the vast majority of humans live in absolute squalor. I don't think the elite will be sunbathing on a space station as in that film, but I do think the basic concept there of an elite separating themselves physically and technologically from the majority isn't an impossibility for our future, especially in regards to the elite having exclusive access to revolutionary medical techniques. In these ways, it's possible for a technological wonderland to exist as well as a degrading biosphere. How you or I value technology isn't as important as how most humans value it. An iPad is like magic to many people. Recent news: As for a true techno-utopian's best outcome - say, interstellar travel and a fully peaceful and materially content Earth 150 years from now (as in 'Star Trek Enterprise') - ha ha, no, I don't think that's likely.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2017 on Commute To Work By Boat at Decline of the Empire
If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd much rather be with a person who doesn't know everything and understands this, than a person who thinks they understand everything, and doesn't. That's all I'll say about that. I haven't read any Robinson, either, although I am a big sci-fi fan - have been since I was a kid, and still am now. I'm currently binge watching 'Star Trek Enterprise', although I can't help but chuckle at the silliness of it all nowadays. It's a marked characteristic of successful sci-fi writers that they're techno-utopians as well. For one thing, that's going to sell a lot better to the public, but it's also psychologically easier to write about hope than despair. Even Cormac McCarthy's book 'The Road' is essentially about hope, especially at the end. But, I'll also say this - we here tend to put a lot of weight on the worst outcomes, while techno-utopians put a lot of weight on the best outcomes. The future might be one, the other, or more probably, some combination of both.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2017 on Commute To Work By Boat at Decline of the Empire
A few thoughts after reading the Kolbert article: I wonder how many New Yorker readers saw it and thought, "Nah, that can't be right." I'm glad the article went into the importance of the social aspect, but it didn't mention the effect of cultural order and confirmation bias. A "strong" culture rigorously supports confirmation bias with all its members, whereas a "weaker" one has multiples factions questioning each other constantly, with infighting and a decay in social cohesion. Sad, but true. One would think clear-headed reason would strengthen a society, but I don't think history shows that. It's why authoritarian regimes crack down on dissent and opposing views. Everyone has to be on the same page, or else the society doesn't function well. Surely we humans evolved in small and large societies where reason consistently took second place to social order, and so we developed confirmation bias as a means of protecting ourselves with this conflict? This would prevent reason triumphing over our own biases on the social scale in many cases. We can go with reason when it doesn't threaten our social stability or personal identities, but when it does threaten these things, look out. I got a chuckle out of the "new discoveries" part of the Kolbert subtitle. It's funny, too, how these experiments are so modest in scale and sporadic in testing, too. It's almost as if we don't want to know this stuff, and what, it only took us 10K+ years of civilization to get a hint of it? Go figure. Finally, I couldn't help but notice how the Kolbert article is #4 on the "most popular" list. The current #1 is: "DeVos Says Trump’s Forty-Per-Cent Approval Rating Means More Than Half of Country Supports Him". Sigh.
@Brian: yeah, I suppose I can't agree. Rosling's basic conclusion, that populations stabilize (and even slightly decrease) in a wealthy, industrially-advanced country, is true. But, it's also something of a 'no duh' kind of thing. I don't think he was revolutionary at all in pointing this out. He was really only different in displaying it statistically and in communicating that on a wider scale. But, anyone in the developed countries knows not to have tons of children, because it's bloody expensive to have any, let alone many. Rosling's message was appealing to us in the developed world, however, because he was saying things we wanted to hear, like "things will work out, the world is improving, and there's nothing wrong with the Western lifestyle, in fact, the whole world should be doing it." The TED audiences ate that stuff up. But, what if it's all one big shiny lie? Rosling's basic conclusion about wealth self-limiting populations is right, but he's completely out of his depth when it applies to the actual job of transforming the entire world's human energy systems, its industrial resource needs and pollution, what is being taken from the biosphere to accomplish these things, and what a future scenario of everyone in the world living in an advanced industrial society would require. He didn't study any of that. He just focused on the statistics of population, then pretended like everything else would work itself out, and pitched that message to audiences. To me, he's just another unconscious dumpfkopf, albeit an intelligent and highly trained one, and even though he seemed like he was personally probably a decent and likeable guy. I'm not sure the world really needed his message. I know that's cold to say it, but we already have Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, and on and on and on. We already have all the successful humans telling us how everything will be alright if we just keep doing things the same way, or that we just need more of it, or that we only need to tweak it here and there. @paul: did he waste his life? I don't know. He lived according to what he felt was right, and we're all trying to do that in our own ways. His failing was a blindness to his own limitations, but then again, we're all failing in that regard as well.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2017 on Hans Rosling, Rest In Peace at Decline of the Empire
It's so frustrating to read anything on the mainstream liberal sites like Vox these days. They fundamentally do not get it, and they never will. For instance, the article ends with a bit about how a marketing campaign might be better than a march by pitching how science moves economic expansion, and thereby convince someone from Alabama to support, essentially, regulations on industry, the electrical grid, and transport (which is what the scientists are asking). The good folk of Alabama might be morons, but they ain't stupid, and they tain't a partin' with thar pickups any time soon. Freaking marketing and economic growth. Seriously. America is splitting further and further into isolated political camps. Marches will likely only increase this polarization, but then, what else can they do? They're totally screwed politically. The Republicans hold all the keys to the kingdom right now, with the Insane Clown Posse at the top. It'd be nice if the scientists could focus on gathering political support for just hard science, like the article is suggesting, but humans are "a bunch of big-brained, highly social, story-telling monkeys". They won't be able to help themselves. One thing is for certain. We're going to see a heapload of every kind of protest in our immediate future. And hey, good luck to them, I'd like to hope they'll have positive effects, but I don't see a President Trump, who is dismantling the EPA, reacting the same way to protests as President Nixon did when he created the EPA.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2017 on March For Science? at Decline of the Empire
I'm looking more forward to reading the Taibbi article than all the headlines about what people wrote on Twitter about today, so thanks for that. @Germ: Explained here:
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2017 on Inauguration Day at Decline of the Empire
@Mike Cooper: I read the same article this morning and thought the same things. There's a part in there about how Great Britain would need to trim 13% of their carbon emissions each year (and then every other country would need cut theirs as well, of course) to meet the 2 degree threshold, so I looked into that a bit. GB's emissions declined by 8.7% during the recession: One would think they would have risen a bunch since then, but they haven't. They've mostly continued to go down, with the notable exception of the year right after the recession. That's in part due to biomass, which is seriously questionable, and rather like robbing Peter to pay Paul: In any case, it's not a solution that could be applied to every country at the same time. But, emissions dropped in Great Britain by 8.4% in 2014 and 4% in 2015: A lot of these drops are due to the easiest emissions sources being eliminated first (coal), so future drops might not be as high. However, there's a lot of offshore wind being developed for GB, so it's reasonable to expect the emissions drops to continue at some pace: It's way off that 13% per year mark, though, and GB is doing far better than we are in the U.S. - and that doesn't look likely to change over the coming years. The author of the Guardian article you linked is an activist, though, and he has to maintain his optimism, despite hearing from every scientist he contacted that there's no way the world will meet the 2 degree target, and despite all the available data on the ground. He ends it with, "But we are also clever, quick and innovative when we want to be. Now that we understand the game better, the question we face is whether we will choose to change it, fast and enough, so that we can all have better lives." Psychologically, the average reader will see his ending and go, "Phew! I don't have to worry so much, after all."
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2017 on Teflon Humans at Decline of the Empire
@J. F. Mamjja: the United States and its media is like one giant funhouse mirror, so it's understandable to be confused at this moment in time, but Russia didn't 'pick' our leader. I'm so exhausted and frustrated at everyone in Washington and in major media right now. The Democrats are now a bunch of hawks. Putin 'might' have ordered the hacks on the DNC and Podesta (who aimed to be Secretary of State but didn't understand basic internet security principles), but this hasn't been proven to the American people. We're all acting like its established fact now, though, so let's say it's true. The result of those hacks were internal memos released to the press via Wikileaks. None of it has been shown to be faked memos. It's all real info, so in effect we had more transparency during this election than we might have otherwise had. Because we're a gaggle of morons, we now think greater transparency is a threat to democracy. President Obama's farewell speech was mostly, yet again, an autobiography of his legacy, but it was also a bemoaning of the state of democracy in this country, as if it hadn't been eroded during his term and by his actions, and as if democracy is only threatened when the other side wins. That said, the releases did have some effect on the election. It probably caused some who might have voted for Clinton to stay home on election day, for instance. But, this was one factor of many, and those other factors had a much greater effect on the election than the Wikileaks info, and none of that had anything to do with Russia. Finally, if Russia's leaders ordered the hacks, it's not like the United States hasn't also meddled in elections and governments constantly ourselves - and in far greater ways. The hypocrisy of it all is stunning. Mario Rubio yesterday called Putin a war criminal for civilian deaths in Syria. Did he forget about the events of the past two decades - or the events of the past century, for that matter. How much blood is on our hands? This whole Russia thing is one giant scapegoating, because we can't face our own faults squarely in the face. We're a nation of cowards and idiots. Argh. I just had to vent a little. I'm okay now. And, don't get me wrong. I'm not a fan of Russia in any way. On the Department of Defense - we call a massively bloated military that needs constant use "defense". We have so many enemies! Let's add Russia to the top of the list! I think some have missed the basic function of the Teflon principle. It's not just that bad news doesn't stick for long. It's that any news, good or bad, has a limited effect on what we desire, and how we act due to that desire. We return to our own baselines in time, and just continue to behave as our programming dictates. Life will go on, but outrage might not be forgotten quickly, especially if it serves a purpose towards our wishes in the first place. America needs enemies, and we SHOULD be asking why that is, rather than constantly seeking new people and countries to blame, but we don't do that. Asking why we don't, and really probing that question, leads to some depressing truths about ourselves as a nation and as a species.
Toggle Commented Jan 13, 2017 on Teflon Humans at Decline of the Empire
@knoelle: "what if the traits I’ve most hated about myself may be advantages in some way?" I think it's pretty clear that they are. But, one with those advantages has to navigate the fine line between exploring the verboten and living with the better adapted of society. Thanks for sharing here.
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2017 on Teflon Humans at Decline of the Empire
I was worried that you were dealing with absolutes here. There are always exceptions to any rule - but I think you've addressed that above. The question would be if more people return to the baseline than not, and then dealing with humanity as whole, one could say which direction humans are most likely to move towards. Gilbert has his answer ("the vast majority"), and he sees it as a positive event for individual human adaptability, but I wonder if there are other studies confirming the effect? It sounds right to me, though. Throughout history, one can see humans adapting to new normals constantly. It's pretty much why I rule out some great come to Jesus event regarding climate change. Sure, there was a hurricane that wiped out such and such, but come on, there are always hurricanes. Sure, the Arctic is melting at an unprecedented rate, but did you hear about the airport shooting today? It will just become old news in two seconds. Move on, brother! We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming - in more than one way. On nihilism, sure, for someone hoping for deeper meanings to life and seeing basically hardware and software in human form in a time-space continuum of random interactions, then one can say it's all meaningless. For many, though, and disregarding the fact that it is almost certainly a delusion to think it, but meaning on a personal level can be found in a smile, or a sunset, or a good song. Some people find meaning in prayer, some in a child's hug, some in learning something new about themselves or others. So, is life meaningless? From an objective perspective, and that's one in which we are completely incapable of perceiving anyway, then likely yes. But, I'll stick to my regularly scheduled programming and say I wouldn't mind another sunset or two.
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2017 on Teflon Humans at Decline of the Empire
@SomeGuy: I'll answer, but it won't be comforting. Dave's Authentic Hope listed above is purely hypothetical. It actually can't exist in the real world. An individual could take limited steps. In fact, Dave is doing that by posting here. He's drawing attention to the problem as best he can. Has it affected our species as a whole? Will it? The problem resides in our nature. We can't be what we aren't, especially not on a group level. We'll ignore our nature and continue to pretend we are things we are not using the very same adaptive filtering that brought us to this moment in time. A certain toolbox was created in us to thrive and prosper on this Earth, but it's wholly inadequate to address future problems created by human expansion. The very best we can hope for are forms of false hope from the deluded - from those that don't understand the depth of the problem in the first place, who deny and ignore complications, and who grossly overestimate human abilities and technologies. Welcome to the Ship of Fools: "Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering––every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain's senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain's hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not––the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?" Or a spewing misanthrope?
I didn't respond to the last post, Dave, but that sounds like a great plan. Whether or not you are unique or different amongst the sea of humanity, it is fair to say that only YOU can write it, and even though 99.9% of other humans will probably ignore it, there are a few out here who eagerly look forward to it. Anything else, like this post, is gravy, and greatly appreciated. I agree with your thoughts above except for one, and that's just three words - "Does not exist". I do think we have an experience simulator. It's just that we usually ignore it, or it's a crap simulator to begin with, as in: It allows us to "imagine" (ha ha) the results of, on a personal level for instance, robbing a bank, or on a group level, initiating global thermonuclear war. In some people, these might be good things, and perhaps they are imagining something like being rich afterwards or catching the Russians off-guard, in which case their simulators suck. But, the simulator has also probably prevented or aided the chances of several things that did or did not occur - good, bad, or mixed. I understand about unconscious drives affecting actions before entering consciousness afterwards, but what about cases of premeditation? A bank robbery is usually planned. Surely, the robbers are unconscious as to their deeper motives, but they are also visualizing some future of riches as they plan. To the case of Wall Street, the current reptiles in charge believe they are taking steps to ensure a prosperous future. It's complete shite, it'll have the opposite result if anything, but they are simulating. I think you are saying in the preponderance of cases, humans just act on impulse and ignore that experience simulator, or else their unconscious drives affect the imaginings of their experience simulator in the first place, and yes, absolutely, that's right. But, it doesn't exist? I think it is there, as weak as it might be. And, of course, the impact bias effects on that simulator make a weak and faulty ability even weaker and faultier. We think that's adaptation, but on a collective level, for our species as a whole going into the future rather than on an individual basis, it's anything BUT adaptive. People like Gilbert are siloed in their particular fields. He's looking at the psychology of the individual, but he isn't looking at the broader implications for the collective. On an individual basis, sure, it's a good thing. We'd be dropping like flies if we didn't have the ability to shrug off past events. On a collective level, though, there's horror there that isn't grasped by Gilbert himself and most other humans.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2017 on Flatland Nihilism at Decline of the Empire
If one wants to really ponder how screwed we are, one only has to realize that people like Grinspoon are the ones actively trying to save us, and what that means. People who don't understand the root causes of our present and future problems, who minimize multiple complications and difficulties, and who wildly overestimate positive trends, are the same ones most engaged in solutions. As a species, we might as well be the guy whose retirement plan is to buy a lottery ticket every week. Maybe we'll get lucky. There's always hope, no? I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that at least guys like Grinspoon aren't yet calling for misanthropes' (or however they want to demonize those that don't agree with them) heads on spikes. If the spewers are JUST as bad as actual carbon emissions, an implied threat exists, though. I don't consider myself a misanthrope, either. I like most people I meet. I just don't trust them farther than I can throw them. Cheers to 2016, while raising a glass to the next.
I can only sigh and nod in agreement. The last quote from McKinnon left me with my jaw on the floor. Dude's completely clueless. @Andrew: the key word in your comment is "think". The human species is the only one (to our awareness) that processes its reality within as many cognitive layers as we do. That process creates a heightened "centrism" for us, and it helps to separate us from nature in ways that other species probably don't experience, at least at our level. All species are selfish, yes, but because of our brains, we actually see the world with different glasses than other species, and we experience and process our reality in ways that don't exist to other species. Dave's Flatland series is an examination of these abilities. We like to believe our brain "power" makes us better than other species, but this isn't clear at all when trying to look at it from a more objective perspective. It is pretty clear that it does make us more powerful (in the metric of an arms race) than many other species. The irony being that these processes are an evolutionary offshoot created by nature. In a real way, we aren't removed from nature at all. But, we "think" we are.
The nihilism label bothers me, too, and I'm glad you added it. It's a blanket dismissal for someone who doesn't want to hear a threatening critique to their sacred beliefs, secular or non-, and that the person doing to the critiquing believes in nothing and has embraced some sort of self-pampering life based on selfishness. A lot of times, probably most, granted, the reasons for critiques can spring from a vacuum of idiocy, a need for negative attention and/or social acclaim, or an undigested bit of beef, bah humbug, but sometimes it is built on long and thorough processes of consideration, and in these cases the people behind the critique actually do believe in something, and have a decent reason for doing so. They often need to say it out of impulse, and usually that is because they actually DO care. Try to enjoy the holidays, too, Dave. Thanks again.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2016 on Catch-22 at Decline of the Empire
@Jeremy MG: fook, I'm tired of fighting. I don't have the same level of disdain for SA as I do for people like Grinspoon, though. At least his is a somewhat practical "solution", though it's immensely meaningless and deeply self-interested. DrFunkySpoon's basic assumption is that humans can mature with accurate self-perception, even if he mentions the chance is slight, and ignoring the bloody obvious which seems to have escaped him that we don't have a lot of time left to do it, if at all. There's no evidence to back DrFunkySpoon's assumption, other than a few scientists reporting their specific findings while crapping their pants and the handful of humans that have the impulse to look outside what's on TV that day. We just elected Trump, after all. It's the hero's journey to save the day, though. It's a potent elixir. Dream the impossible dream, after all. But, let's say for a second that's it's possible that humans, even with truly accurate self-perception being an egregious delusion, could at least wake up to climate change, just one of the massive problems facing us in the near future. Carefully spun delusions about our cleverness and self-perception only help to put up one more roadblock of denial in the path to meaningfully addressing climate change. He says we won't need altruism or self-sacrifice. Seriously. He's the one being "unhelpful", and he's making money off spreading his delusions to the very few people who do care about it. It's more Pied Piper than Superman - hope sold for personal profit as a comfort blanket to keep people contented. It's so infuriating that words can't express it, and over time that just becomes disdain.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2016 on Our Foolish Species at Decline of the Empire
@Jeremy (not MG): it saddens me you don't realize the gulf of difference between Dave's writing and his, or its commercial link and why that's relevant, or the deeper point of this post, the one underlying the obvious one that Grinspoon himself is delusional, but I won't fight about it. To each their own. We're all traveling on our various but self-interested paths, marked continuously by carefully fabricated delusions and a near total lack of accurate self-perception, anyway, and that's the problem of our species without solution.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2016 on Our Foolish Species at Decline of the Empire
@Survival Acres: there's nothing wrong with your first, second, and last paragraphs, but you just HAD to link to your own site, and you didn't realize how that directly applied to the very same critique Dave is applying to Grinspoon. Please re-read the last two sentences of his comment to Andrew. And now, I have done the same thing (to this limited audience), but it was also done to help Dave from bursting a blood vessel. Cheers, all, and happy holidays however you you mark them. I also watched the Grinspoon video. He specifically makes the comment in his blog post to Dave that he thinks several readers here will watch it and prefer it over Dave's response. Delusion seems to be the key word on this matter.
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2016 on Our Foolish Species at Decline of the Empire
@Dave: Or, get it for someone for Valentine's Day: Or, a cat: Stop being such a Debbie Downer, dude! Yeesh.
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2016 on Our Foolish Species at Decline of the Empire
Yeah, Dave, you aren't being helpful. It would be helpful if you agreed with everyone else that humanity is capable of accurate self-perception (there's little to no evidence that anyone but a handful can even come close), that the foundations of our industrial and technological civilization wouldn't require altruism or self-sacrifice in a move towards sustainability (there's no solid evidence of this, just wishful and theoretical papers from people like Mark Jacobsen, who only look at one aspect of the problem and discount all the others), that we have the time for humanity to suddenly mature and change course without massive ecosystem failures (there isn't), and that we don't face a harsh future already (and the subsequent social turmoil and wars) because of soil and water depletion, biodiversity loss, sea rise, increased storms, and so on (and we do). You too could count yourself as one of the heroes of the age, with the subsequent book sales and accolades, by helping to convince the few humans who do realize there is a major problem with our species and its actions that there is a happy ending to our story. But, instead, you are being destructive and corrosive by daring to question others and their assumptions. Shame, shame.
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2016 on Our Foolish Species at Decline of the Empire
This comment thread is done, but I thought it important to add two links to it, and they are relevant on this post: "Hillary Clinton on Thursday night attributed her defeat to a convergence of two “unprecedented” events: the release of a letter by James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, shortly before the election, and what she called an “attack against our country” by the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin." I never pegged much to the thought that a Clinton Presidency would result in a war with Russia, but she's making it tough to stick to that. Also, a very good analysis in Politico a few days ago: