On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 10:12 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>
> -------- Original Message -------
>>
>> On the subject of completely fucked up :
>>
>> In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad
>> Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists
>> at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San
>> Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed
>> Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to
>> interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his
>> adventures in deep-sea submersibles.
>>
>> But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It
>> was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical
>> Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for
>> Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).
>>
>> Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the
>> University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced
>> computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system
>> boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole
>> bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in
>> complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global
>> capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and
>> barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in
>> response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we
>> f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”
>>
>> Read the rest: http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt
>
> It is the case that our situation is beyond rescue.  Even if a turn around
> is to happen it may not be until 2025 before the political direction is
> seriously changed.  Even then one has to consider the economic inertia still
> to overcome, where this inertia is fossil fueled economic activity.  This
> then means we will have to engage in geo-engineering, which will be a part
> of trying to manage our situation that is becoming increasingly unstable and
> that involves exponential trends in growth, change and complexity.  We might
> only at best be shifting the collapse or implosion time a few decades; a
> century if we are lucky.

I believe there's an important aspect of this type of discussion that
is rarely considered. This sort of thing takes almost a religious tone
where we are supposed to feel guilty. I'm very suspicious of this sort
of thing. I was indoctrinated by catholic sunday school to feel guilty
about things that I didn't even yet understand. This type of discourse
has a similar smell.

Neither you, Brent, nor me, nor anyone in this list is at fault.
There's nothing we can do to prevent this. I would argue for a more
radical idea: _nobody_ is at fault. There isn't a single human being
that has the power to revert the way in which our species operates.
Again, I don't mean to make a political point and defend or condemn
certain ideologies. I mean to make a biological point: we are not
social insects. We are somewhat altruistic but by far not as
altruistic as super-sister ants. This is just how we evolved. We don't
know for how long we'll be able we'll be able to survive as a species
and we can't stop being human. The earth won't care. If we go extinct,
other species will take our place. Or not. In the great scheme of
things, does it really matter?

Meanwhile, we seem to be rather special children of the Universe, in
the sense that we are a mechanism by which the Universe can
introspect: powerful telescopes, particle accelerators, these are all
part of the introspection. There's beauty in that, and ephemeral
things are even more beautiful.

Sorry for the moment of zen :)

Telmo.

> It is curious that science and religion do seem to be converging on one
> point; the end is nigh.  The “end” here though is somewhat different, and
> religion proposes a certain faith based escape or end-run plan around the
> implosion.  Science offers no such thing, except maybe a way to hunker down
> on the moon or Mars long enough in order to come back to Earth.  The source
> of this end is also different, science tells us things about energy and
> environment, religion focuses on our moral failings and sexual peccadilloes.
> LC
>
>
>
>
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