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There's an even BIGGER change in the thought process that comes when you recognize that the active parts of ecosystems are whole individual systems. You begin to look at them as individually animated, somehow, and their internal designs and environmental relationships constantly reorganizing as they interact with their environments. Equations can't do that. It means you've switched the subject of science from the study of our abstract ideas the working parts of nature themselves. Strictly speaking, only subjects that can be strictly defined, like "data" and "theory", can be subjects of study for the scientific method (except as used in SEA so far as I know). So science then simply unable to study "things" in their natural form, and can only study them as parts of our abstract models. The big difference it makes to learn how to study the actual working parts of nature includes the range of new questions one needs to ask about individually behaving systems. You are also then studying "perfect models" of the real subject of interest. For both reasons you can then ask a wide range of questions you simply never got to ask of an abstract model. You might ask how the parts of a growth system change their behavior toward each other, as the whole runs out of room to expand. Of course, as a growth system runs out of new stuff to consume the growing parts run into each other. So the behavior of the parts switches from consuming more and more unclaimed stuff to consuming each other's stuff. One of the most interesting features of that kind of profound behavioral change is that it occurs without any noticeable event taking place. It's a distinct change in kind in the organization of the larger system with no immediately observable cause. As to the post I thought wasn't recorded, it seems I just didn't turn to the next page...! ;-) Anyway, I think I said it better on the retry.
It does indeed make a big difference in the meaning, that you read my word "reorganize" as "recognize"!! ;-) I had written a reply a couple days ago, but now can't find it. It used the example of hurricanes, and how we can observe them reorganizing as they first drift over warm water then again when they drift over land. The first change is for them to develop a clearly defined wall around the eye, that then later collapses. During the time when our economy was discovering its ever richer supplies of resources it developed a very tight organization for endless growth, designed as if to exploit ever richer resources forever. As we hit the natural point where newly discovered resources fell short of increasing demand for them, any expanding resource needs had to be taken from some other part of the economy, “cannibalistically” you might say. The businesses that grew did so by consuming contested rather than uncontested resources, or even each other. When that change in the relation between the economic system and its environment occurred, ALL the social values of growth naturally changed meaning too, regardless of whether anyone noticed or not. It's a change in the organizing principles of the economy that was not apparent to most people, even most who think of themselves as being observant. So that's the kind of reorganization of natural relationships I think is important watch closely for, to anticipate, and to observe developing when it really begins happening. Otherwise a society is caught "flat footed" and pays a heavy price, as we are now. It can’t act because it is quite unaware of what symptoms have what causes, quite unable to even discuss the subject.
George, I've been on travel a bit and that's why I didn't respond promptly. Your first two questions are excellent. What I and Robert Rosen did was distinguish between "what we see"(a cognitive construct made in the brain") and "what we are looking at" (an environment of energetic systems organized as independently as weather, worms and sparks). There are lots of very recognizable differences between cognitive realities and physical ones. They have quite separate energy sources, for example, and so are differently organized to deplete different gradients. Granted it's confusing that how we imagine what we "see" is itself imagination, not reality. Our perception uses essentially the same process of individualized cultural "story telling". It doesn’t bring the natural world we are looking at into our minds, but only creates our image for our own mental theater to "see". The difference between how a brains think and nature works is visible in all the details. The brain thinks of nature as working by what we see. Nature mostly works by what is hidden from view, her systems that evolve by their own internal growth processes unseen from the outside, not by their measurements from the outside. One could go on to the very different kinds of change that are possible for information systems and physical ones. There's the extreme difference between the time, the process and the energy it takes to change the images of things and the reality of things, for example. What I'm saying is not that models are incomplete, but are quite unlike reality is kind. Models are naturally missing all the details of how natural systems are organized internally. For models we have to use our own imaginative idea of what might make them tick, and represent it with rules of our own. One thing we can't possibly achieve is models that are continually reorganizing their own internal designs, as natural systems typically are doing, everywhere, all at once, all the time. I think that means a model that is not designed for asking helping us learn how real world systems are behaving differently are ultimately pointless. Sure, one may design a very creative model, based on some principles you like, as you say Gerald Edleman did. What that does not help you with, in the least, is an economy operates by the creative learning of a society of people discovering new uses for their own environment. One of the very big differences is that human learning, and the swarm behaviors that develop from it, are themselves far more inventive than anyone would claim to understand. Another is that no model has our environment, or even has the capacity to interact with ANY sort of faintly realistic environment. Models are self-contained intellectual constructs, so if they're not designed as learning tools for understanding OUR environment, raising questions for us to use as we go, I don’t think they tell us anything relevant. So, all that is why I took the approach of studying environmental systems themselves, as physical rather than as theoretical objects. I realized that models would never successfully emulate them. So I switch from looking for models and instead followed the other most useful habit of science, looked for simple questions I could answer with high confidence (like some of the above). It comes down to how what we see in our minds is so very different in nature from what we're looking at in the world. As I said: "They are as different as the mountain in the distance is from the image in the camera. The subject and our information about it represent quite different kinds of reality." It'll take work to learn how, but I think it has become simply untenable, with all we now, to continue saying that nature can be represented as a construct of our information. That's what science started out trying to do, but it's not working. We need a "paradigm of two realities" one we individually learn with, the other the one we learn about in common, our individual information worlds and the physical world. Central to that, of course, is learning how to refer to the physical world as our common subject. That’s what seems needed to claw our way out of this tangle we’re in, with every thinker, every social network, and every sub-discipline of every field referring to the world as a different universe of their own design. Kind of a weird impasse,… no?
George, I made this a blog post on 'Reading Nature's Signals', still short and very well worth reading but a bit longer than these three paragraphs. Phil --------- ...Can we shut down the system for repairs?... The first learning steps beyond the impasse, on a new path. Well, that would be conceptually neat, but does not seem to use the path finding mechanisms that nature typically uses. She offers myriad examples of how run-away growth systems can change by maturing to become stable self-managing ecologies. That's what we need to do, and learn how to mimic, that our culture knows little about because science has avoided the subject all but entirely. I know this approach is problematic for someone accustomed to representing systems with equations. Real ecosystems are niche making learning and development processes, though, and “rule making” not “rule following” processes. The far better conceptual models are of collective learning and development. Collective learning and development systems can cling to one systematic behavior while it is useful, and the break from it to find and cling to another model, when that is opportune, because the parts are actively learning as they go. Continued: http://www.synapse9.com/signals/2011/09/18/can-we-shut-down-the-system-for-repairs/
Ahhh... the sparks of creation! That's nice. I spend a lot of time admiring the sparks of nature in 'my' flower garden [http://www.synapse9.com/join/img/hg04as.jpg], the splendid 200 yard long Heather Gardens in Ft Tryon Park.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2010 on Where is the 'Economy' Going? at Question Everything
Florifulgurator... Glad to have sparked your interest. I've been wondering about your handle, do you say it, F_loriful-GUR_ator or F_lori-ful-gur-A_tor? I began to realize at some point in the late 60's that complex natural systems behave as individuals, and science didn't have any means of refering to them individually. English refers to them, but not the scientific method. The scinece is limited to studying statistics and making up our own versions of natural systems represrented by our mathematical theories. The theories, oddly, don't have a way to refer to the units of natural organization they supposedly represent... is one problem. Thinking about the considerable differences between mathematical and physical systems, and then studying how runaway growth processes steer their development in natural thermal convection currents, made it apparent something other than equations was really needed. That was my immersion, but farming or other things looked as systems that come and go through a life cycle of growth and decay would raise many of the same questions too. I developed a kind of observer's crib sheet in 1979, called "An Unhidden Pattern of Events". That first attempt to write it up is still mostly OK, and linked from my publications list [synapse9.com/phpub.htm] with other things. It may also be less complicated by the struggle and strain of trying to explain things to scientists who want no part of it, because they know science has nothing to do with the study of local, uncontrolled or individual systems... The model is relatively simple, though, and based on an extension of the conservation laws [synapse9.com/drtheo.pdf]. If you trace natural processes that use energy from beginning to end their evolution can be studied as a succession of four separate irreversible and self-destabilizing developmental phases. They correspond to the four basic directeions of feedback. Chained together they can be expressed as an single event in time ¸¸¸.•´ ¯ `•.¸¸¸ or broken down as separate periods of regular proportional change [first¸¸¸.• then •´ ¯ then ¯ `• then •.¸¸¸]. Once you realize that local processes can't be following global maps it gets easier to find them in the data of things beginning and ending. As you begin to see change as needing these phases of intensification and relaxation, or fail trying, it becomes a great question generator about all kinds of changing systems of relationships. Not all of what's on my website [synapse9.com] will make sense even after people get the basic idea, but there's lots there. My blog [synapse9.com/blog] may be a good place to go, to skim over till you find something interesting. The other two essays I linked above include some of my better understanding of our mass societal confusions, and some links. "Stimulus as Constraint" both offers a simple demonstration of the method and points to the clearly mistaken belief that stimulating the economy with efficiency improvements will reduce it's physical impacts and slow resource depletion. Having our cultural beliefs so completely contradict evident physical causation like that would make a case for our having a full blown case of socetal madness loose on the earth, it seems. Mostly though, it's just fun to pick up early signs of new directions of developing events, making them subjects of original scientific research if you like, and to watch the events of life in general in a more intimate way. phil henshaw
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2010 on Where is the 'Economy' Going? at Question Everything
Good questions.... The idea of a "mass sea change of some kind", a religion that's not a religion..."immersion rather than separation with nature" is something that could be curiously hidden in plain sight. It might be a matter of becoming part of nature's intelligence as a physical act, as a way to overcome our flawed mental constructs of how nature works. Immersion seems to help, but is easily derailed by the our habit of converting the physical subjects studied into theories, and so loosing sight of the originals. That only seems avoided by leaving your theories incomplete, and finding a way to retain the questions you wouldn't have had time to explore, the openings to unexplored paths in the road map. You see the other solutions to the growth problem demonstrated all the time that way. They're in the deep mystery of the natural systems that grow explosively to a point at which they change form, and mature to perfection instead of ripping themselves to pieces or disrupting and depleting their environments. The catch is not that how they do it can't be studied well enough to imitate. It's needing to keep the open questions as you go, and getting lost if you strip them away to make things more explicable. If you can maintain your contact with and curiosity about the physical subjects themselves in that way, not reducing them to images, one can watch where the net energy goes that gives natural systems their self-steering capability. You'd need to find a community of people curious about the possibility of looking to the physical world for the "true religion" and for not finding it in just a more ethereal images. You could say it's in "the unending meditation" of "being here" if that softens the jolt a bit. It seems to involve separating our information and cultural realities from the independent realities of their physical subjects, in order to fully enjoy the richness of useful questions nature's physical intelligence raises, and to give our rich mental experience a more reliable connection. That double step of separating our mental realities from our physical ones, leading to a better way to connect them, makes most everyone I know turn and run, though... That's a bit of a problem. It's the subject I write about though, and find a minute growing audience for. http://www.synapse9.com/pub/ModLearnChange.pdf http://www.synapse9.com/drafts/StimAsConstraint.pdf http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2009/12/15/throwing-our-energy-at-impossible-dreams
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2010 on Where is the 'Economy' Going? at Question Everything
Yea,... I agree that there are practical and logical reasons for us to "rise to the occasion" and "grow up" to begin to "think for ourselves". I'm afraid that takes generations of cultural development our culture thought it was doing, but was just faking and didn't get done. How do you explain the inexplicable timidity of all the environmental movement leaders. They seem completely satisfied with their commitments to piece meal solutions that directly make the problems they say they're solving worse. The world consensus "green economy" policy that making energy resources ever more productive for creating wealth (what efficiency is used for) can be relied on to reduce our demand for and use of energy, is so bizarrely backward and misguided. Another example is the clear indication that relieving any one resource constraint just shifts our growing pressures onto all other depleting and conflicted resource uses. Still everyone is busy busy about finding new resources to throw into the fire. Thirdly, I raise these two problems and other related ones over and over, and get immediate response showing that people understand. Nothing ever happens! I think we have arrested development, as a culture, for maintaining the domestication of a people as servants to an ideology, keeping them from maturing enough to feel free to question their own domestication. That the ideology is one of "be fruitful and multiply" and remains unquestioned even as it clearly stopped working as sold helps confirm that. We're just "good servants" waiting to be told what to do, rejecting every hint that what to do is think for ourselves. We seem just too domesticated to object, like grazing cattle, on principle, that we have no right to object. We were all taught the natural law, and would like to be treated nicely. So we shouldn't object (overlooking that having leaders be servants to the same ideology means being culturally addicted to a fatal disease). phil
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2010 on The Situation Now at Question Everything
I'd second that, you've been provocative and clear in posing many of the tough questions which might indeed be "the answer". I've been thinking more about how to tell the difference between ideas and realities, and realizing that it's not in the information you gather, as that's all been made into ideas. I think it's in the gaps in your information that prompt you to go back to your raw data and unexamined parts of the physical subject for answers. Does that mean it's in the hunt more that the spoils?
Toggle Commented May 28, 2010 on A Heartfelt Thank You at Question Everything
George, I think you know by now I like the "metaphor" of growth to maturity for describing what a physical system needs to do to become sustainable, grow to maturity... What keeps humanity from adopting that approach to our use of the earth, is the question. Something drives us treat the music of life as if amplifier feedback, so on the first note of modern civilization we are taking our new found power of science and reason to the point of blowing out all the speakers and all the instruments. Why is hard to pinpoint. I posted a nice couple comments on it on DOT EARTH this AM, on the critical moral and practical difference between "the golden rule" and "the rule of gold" humans have been living by and treating as if "normal" for so long. ++++ Well,... one of the other "golden rules" is one we need to break our true addiction to. That's arranging economies like casinos, where everyone is offered sure bets of a wide variety and encourages you to keep piling your winnings on your bets. It's a very effective way to manage the economy and the earth as a casino where the house is sure to lose ever more on every bet, giving away wealth to idle users ever faster. No wonder the finance industry (of the 1400's I guess) set up government to establish that central purpose of economic regulation. --- Not to avoid mentioning the more "golden ethic" we've been failing to recognize, in the failure of the "rule of gold" in managing the economies to guarantee the bets of idle players and encourage them to pile on their winnings. It's that betting with a guarantee to win is no bet at all. That's also because it otherwise naturally craters your environment to take such bets and continually add your winnings to them. Everyone is then both naturally and morally obligated to give away their winnings, any time they come from the synergy of the place in which they were found. That is indeed where the great majority of profits do come from. It's elemental math, involving a recognition that the synergy of all the others around you is not your private property, but a stewardship responsibility. That's unfortunately, almost a completely foreign concept in our culture, having been run of, for and by the wealthy for so very many centuries it seems. Maybe it comes from the sloppy way we tend to buy someone's story, just because it seems give you part of the spoils. That may seem profitable at first, yes, but it's apparently not actually be a very good form or reasoning.
oops... 2nd pp correction: "...and so can't conceive of anything BUT trying to change our world to fit our own images."
George, Where we go from this miserable crossroads is clearly not up... but I think we're likely to go in directions we can't really picture yet. I think the underlying problem with intelligence is the way knowledge represents itself as the world we live in, and so can't conceive of anything trying to change our world to fit our own images. Our failure to consider the physical world as our subject, but only our theories and beliefs, results in our perceiving the limits of the earth, by definition, as nothing but the limits of our ideas. That is completely nuts, of course. I think we're approaching true madness, as our beliefs and realities progressively diverge, and that's dangerous. We have this unshaken belief in our own perpetual physical multiplication even as we visibly see the physical systems on which our lives depend collapsing out from underneath our weight. For decades I've watched in astonishment as our culture has treated that as a news item like any other, to chat about or not, rather than as something to try to understand. I think the "crisis of a new kind", unlike any we've seen, is right around the corner. In the next 10 years by all counts 1)the unusual lag in global warming of the last decade will become an unusual spurt, following the natural cycle of lurches and lags we seem to be in, 2)real supplies of oil will begin to sharply decline causing a see-saw of price rises and falls as large sectors of the world economic system try to hang on to survival but fail, and 3) the money funds continue to be managed to only multiply their control of everyone else's future earnings, or fail. As in the past when a society's "crap hit the fan" by using its own energy to drive its own dismemberment, we might not even learn from it. It'll come as a nearly complete surprise to virtually everyone on earth, with everyone all but completely unprepared for it. Worse political chaos than we've ever know might be expected. How we'll respond is not so certain, as people under unusual stress do also have the capacity to rise to the occasion and get real somehow. Still, my hunch is that more than half the earth will be under marshal law without a real government before 2020. It's crystal clear that all the world's governments are planning on being as great a failure at their intended task as physically possible right now. The universal plan is to maintain our multiplying impacts on everything we depend on as long as physically possible. That's not a good plan. No one at all seems interested in developing a new language for understanding what's happening, either. Is there anything that could go right?
You say “energy is the only real currency in human life” but doesn’t that omit organization? My study of the energy budgets for how systems change finds exceptionally strong evidence that wherever you see energy powering various things what seems to be actually doing that is a local system of organization. Local systems of energy transfer commonly have the unusual property of *developing in place*. Of course, energy using systems developing by releasing an energy gradient are a “chicken and egg” proposition, that the energy can’t be used without organization and you can’t build organization without using energy. So, wouldn’t you then need to say that the currency of life is the *partnership of energy and organization*, not just one or the other? Both human economies and natural systems seem to rely on that partnership in much the same way, except for humans also organizing their information and using money as a measure of value, as well as organizing the physical processes of the economy themselves. Our crisis appears related to how the energy costs of organizing information are going down, that is, except for the great cost of our large glaring information errors.... So, yes “The future is dim, as in a fog at dawn”, especially in that we’re continuing to push ahead into the darkness, follow major misdirections. The strongest clear evidence I know is the hard data for the relation between energy use and economic growth. Comparing the total monetary value of economic products and the total purchased energy used, the ratio of the two makes a good proxy for the effectiveness of the organization of the system (us) doing the work. That organization of the whole economy for using the earth and energy to create things of value is “our economic technology”. What you find in the developmental history curves is the record of that learning process, the record of our organizing our economic technology. It shows our learning rate has itself been improving at a remarkably regular rate. The curves are relatively very smooth and have followed a quite constant formula for the past 35 years at least... What the math says is the rate of our learning to improve our economic technology has been reducing the energy needed to create value by constant %’s. It also says that the total energy consumption has been going the other way, growing at a rate 2.5 times as fast. That’s a problem for the common belief that “doing more with less” will make less go further. It doesn’t. It has clearly always made less go faster. So, really, I buy the idea that “the real value of any artifact inheres in its contribution to net energy gain”. When one uses calibrated measures, though, it seems clear that improving technology for using energy is an “artifact” with remarkably high negative value. There is certainly more to it, but we clearly need to rethink. [see also "The curious case of stimulus as constraint"]
Toggle Commented May 11, 2010 on Energy and Value at Question Everything
Oh, yea, the other question. Was there any talk of the societal ROI + and - equation, and the energy balance between energy producing and energy consuming sectors?? To keep energy at a reasonable price we BOTH to maintain a HIGH enough EROI for energy producing and a LOW enough SROI for the energy consuming overhead costs for running the form of society we adopt. Those two seem to be on diverging tracks, for example, with endemically growing energy consuming sectors like healthcare... and a list of other things. So, I guess the question is, is anyone else trying to formalize the whole energy budget model Charlie roughed out rudimentarily in his EROI sustainability paper, taking into account the issues I raised in "Profiting from scarcity" and other writings?
Great that you found them so ready to listen! I'm wondering, did anyone bring up how both familiar human managed and natural growth systems change directions of development and stabilize at the peak of their vitality by maturing? That's not the usually discussed option, and distinctly available it seems, maybe even a necessary precedent to the more commonly discussed objectives. The economic version was first raised in one of JM Keynes's 'off beat' proposals. There are some conceptual hurdles that my having extensively studied the theory and examples of might be of help to others for understanding it.
I've been studying why everyone builds "ivory towers" with "academic walls" separating their little huddled clusters of ambitious people, separating them from everyone else... I think it's a natural pot hole in the fields of brain work, a work hazard handicapping nearly everyone . We seem to arrange knowledge in a cellular fashion, and mistake it for reality! We can only see our own points of view, and then huddle together with others that give us a feeling of affirmation. It's locally quite productive but globally quite destructive. That’s particularly the case in an increasingly complex world with ever multiplying perspectives. That's where the external reality seems to stick it's drippy nose under the tent flaps, to sneeze all over us, letting us know our little convenient clusters of self-agreement have gotten too disconnected from each other. We just completely lose track of the common external reality we are immersed in. Today we're immersed in a common external reality of ever exploding physical complexity, for example. That’s a remarkably simple and observable fact, but an external reality *in-between* our subjects, and I've yet to find a single ivory tower with gate keepers allowing the range of intriguing questions it raises in the door. I have a short series of even shorter essays on how we make and are misled by packaging our ideas of reality in bubbles of self-agreement, cellular design with dangerous consequences, What wandering minds need to know" fyi.
Just a quick comment on the cultural component of "sapience". In both history and personal experience we see lots of examples a active "flowering" of new ways of thinking. That gives considerable support to it being partly a developmental process. Such flowerings also often seem to identify and explore some real pre-existing natural level of explorable relationships. So there's an appearance that some of the great flowerings of reason are real processes of learning about a environments of real relationships. I find my little model of that process (¸¸¸.• ¯ ¯ •.¸¸¸) quite useful for helping find where that's happening and not. Do you "buy" this "physical world" thing as what the internal meanings of language are often intended to refer to?
George, I guess I missed your Mar 9 reply due to not subscribing to the thread (and switching computers I think four times since then!) You speak of "sapience", as what helps us question our own beliefs if its strong enough. That treats it as a scalar force, that can be stronger or weaker. I'd be more inclined to refer to more concretely observable aids to self-critical thinking, such as "diversity" and "curiosity" and the complex learning processes they allow. These days I'm trying to explore the distinct curiosity "turn off point" crossed by the vast majority of people when needing to find new terms of discussion for unfamiliar scales of organization in the world. I'm recognizing that as a very pronounced response, even when the clear evidence points quite clearly to unfamiliar scales of organization dominating familiar ones. Any comment on that? I have two cases in point, here clipped from my recent comment to the UK Finance Lab (http://thefinancelab.ning.com) discussion on changing the financial system: Two cases in point of some immediate relevance come to mind. One is that solving the money creation problem doesn't solve the macro problems with money caused by other things. However you define money you'd still have the problem that how people customarily use money, those with more money than they need will still habitually invest money to multiply their money. As Keynes first pointed out that will continue to cause that "unearned" income to multiply until the economy produces zero net returns. I call that the intrinsic problem of money, that the natural limit of financial growth is when the average business has no profit. If you wonder how that would happen, just consider a business environment of ever increasing competition over ever shrinking resources, as we are not going into. The other example of that same error in systems thinking, fixing things on one scale to let things get worse on another, is the whole world's dependence on efficiency for reducing our resource uses. Improving efficiency is what businesses use to redesign their products and methods so each part of the business becomes more productive, with the main object being to help it multiply its resource use. That's a process of saving on one thing to be able to use more of *other* things. People think efficiency only has only a linear cost reduction effect, as often described with the equation I=P*A*T. Including the non-linear stimulus effect of what we actually use efficiencies for, that equation becomes I=P*A*T*S. I have a new long paper on this, called "Stimulus as constraint". fyi and a shorter web page of notes from a talk I gave on it. phil
George, I think the key question you mention is why decision makers don't know to ask about the values of EROI that are possible. I think the answer is in a similar puzzle. Why is it that economists have known for a long time that profitable efficiencies tend to stimulate resource consumption, not restrain it, and have not mentioned it to either policy makers or the environmental movement? Both seem to go back to your comments on critical thinking, and my "Wandering minds" model of the barriers between languages. I think the answer is that each social culture develops its own language. Without a way to link people can neither ask or understand answers in the language of another social cultures. It strongly looks to me that the intellectual languages of different social cultures are just not connected. So for "environmentalists" energy saving efficiencies save the earth's resources whether for the "systems ecologists" they physically cause ever faster resource use or not, and the "economists" don't seem to see a reason to mention what they know about it or respond to the questions of either. People, especially the "..ists" variety, seem to seclude themselves in their own "preferred reality" rather than struggle with the more interesting problem of connecting different conceptions though the natural commonality of referring to the same physical things... Did I mention my EROI paper, for May's ASME-ES meeting, a method of calibrating whole system EROI measures? fitting right in with what you sketch out above with not much giggering at all I think. http://www.synapse9.com/pub/EROI.Wind-UT&HDS.pdf best phil
George, We seem to be thinking along roughly parallel lines, that we are being outdone by our "cleverness" as it were. I've become more interested recently in how our cultural ideas of reality are social constructs creating "artificial realities". That makes both sapience and intelligence subject to being fooled by clever ways to stick with old ideas and loose track of change taking place around. Even, or especially, in the environmental sciences schools of thought can become bubbles of misinformation, as world views being created by mutual agreement in prior environments find they were built with no regular way of noticing fundamental change in new environments. The big change our professional and institutional cultures are not responding to yet, of course, is the point of diminishing returns being variously discussed. As I see it that occurred half a century ago at the point when the rate of new oil reserve discoveries peaked, in the late 50's. That coincides with numerous other early signals of the whole system shifting from being guided by how much more opportunity it was ready to take to how much more there was left to take. For clarity, that's my way of defining the end of positive returns for depending on a perpetual growth system. So that's also where I date the "end of growth", more than ten years before the publication of that "futurist tract" The Limits of Growth. ;-) I have a series of recent short items on the perceptual problems on my blog you might like. I also have ten very short analytical essays on it called "What wandering minds need to know". I'd be interested in your thoughts on anything you see. phil henshaw www.synapse9.com/blog www.synapse9.com/issues/WanderingMinds.htm
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