On 11/6/2013 10:13 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

*From:*everything-list@googlegroups.com [mailto:everything-list@googlegroups.com] *On Behalf Of *meekerdb
*Sent:* Wednesday, November 06, 2013 7:40 PM
*To:* everything-list@googlegroups.com
*Subject:* Re: Our Demon-Haunted World

On 11/6/2013 6:32 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

    The problem of any system ever devised is that eventually it will become 
    -- through one path or another corruption will become endemic and 
increasingly it
    will parasitize the system until eventually the empty husk of the hollowed 
    society collapses as all the illusions and Ponzi schemes become marked to 
market and
    no one is buying into it any longer.

    Systems are human creations and suffer from all the pitfalls and blindness
    characteristic of our species. A system organized around a Party or a 
Church will
    end up creating the same social structure of a corrupt class of successful 
    families becoming entrenched at the vertices.

    In Roma there is a saying that translated more or less: "The first 
generation are
    bandits; the second generation are bankers; the third generation are 
    and by the fourth generation a Pope." Or the Anglo saying "Behind every 
    fortune there is a great crime"

    I think it is important to look at how even a system dedicated to the 
principle of
    wiping out class has invariably spawned various nationalistic red 
bourgeoisies (the
    Radish communists -- red on the outside white on the inside) Look at the 
    in the PRC; or the weird family dynasty in the PRK... or the Stalinist 
    of the former USSR. Or conversely how a system purporting to be based on the
    teachings of Jesus Christ resulted in the sordid history of the Papacy.

    It does not matter much what the superficial forms of a system are, if the 
    outcome is invariably the same -- that is the society becomes dominated by 
a small
    entrenched elite that enjoys disproportionate benefits and is concerned 
only with
    its own self-serving interests.

>>You keep making these arguments that everything must necessarily get worse, every human institution must become an oppressive force run by an oppressive elite for pure selfishness. This is like the argument Boltzmann initially made that entropy must always, and has always increased. To which the response was, "Then why is entropy not maximum and the world not pure chaos? Why is there abundant and complex life?" Maybe when you ask yourself that question your posts will become more than simple rants and counsels of despair.


We are on the path to everything getting worse. The evidence is incontrovertible. Pick your yardstick: rates of desertification; loss of biodiversity; loss of forest cover; collapse of ocean food webs; toxification of the biosphere; loss of topsoil; loss of natural soil fertility; peak fossil energy [peak oil, peak gas, peak coal & peak uranium]; collapse of resource supplies for many strategic materials required for industrial civilization.

Mix this all up with our propensity to solve problems by violent means coupled with weapons systems of a destructiveness and reach that is unparalleled -- and you tell me why I or any one for that matter should not feel pessimistic, despondent, despairing... take your pick.

How about incidence of violence, c.f. Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature". Or the below-replacement birthrate throughout most of the OECD. How about the fall of communist totalitarianism in Russia and China. The peaceful revolutions in Poland, South Africa, and even relatively peaceful in Libya.

I recognize the genius in our species and am immensely saddened that we are burning it all up, for we could have had a long beautiful story... but it does not look very promising -- when one takes off the rose colored glasses and looks at the hard metrics of resource depletion; of rates of species extinction.. at what is really going on in the biosphere of the planet we all live on.

By the way I have long asked that question myself... the answer that seems to make sense for me is that entropy still prevails in the end -- just give it enough time... lots of time, but in the meantime, local dysentropy is possible at the cost of increasing the overall entropy of the containing system.

There's an enormous source of negentropy in sunlight - of which the biosphere is using only a tiny portion.

I hope we can pull a rabbit out of the hat, or better yet wake up and mend our ways and begin the hard multi century task of healing the biosphere of the planet that has given us life.

I also propose that societies should erect a kind of cordon sanitaire around power by making access to get into the running for elected office be determined by a transparent & random means. That we need to do something to keep power from becoming monopolized by a small subset -- the very worst subset -- of the range of human beings.

What do you propose?

Or do you feel that there is no problem?

There have always been problems and every generation has had its doomsayers. I think the "monopolization of power" is hardly even a problem. Do you want to run the government? I certainly don't. I'm thankful there are people who want the damn job, and I fully understand that it's not going to attract the sharpest most ethical people. But those people aren't evil. They can be educated to see that raising the Earth's temperature 4degC is a really bad idea. They can understand the importance of clean water and air. They will respond to public pressure, but people have to make democracy work. It doesn't work just because it's written into the Constitution.


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