[] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 11:06 PM
Subject: Re: Our Demon-Haunted World


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



[] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 7:40 PM
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
corrupted - through one path or another corruption will become endemic and
increasingly it will parasitize the system until eventually the empty husk
of the hollowed out 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 crime 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 politicians; and by the fourth generation a Pope." Or the
Anglo saying "Behind every great 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 princelings in the PRC; or the weird family dynasty in
the PRK. or the Stalinist bourgeoisie 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
end 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.


On some levels we are improving - take the system of slavery, much less
widely practiced than it had long been. I can agree with you that it is a
mixed bag. However when you mention the fall of totalitarianism in Russia
and China (correct to a degree though would not exactly call those places
free either LOL); what about the rise of totalitarianism in our own country?
Such as the fact that this very email is going to likely get parsed by some
NSA program. What about our new "secret justice" system; what about our
"managed free press". If this is the trade-off for bringing capitalism to
Moscow & Beijing. is it worth it?

On Libya - that country is now a failed state rife with warlords, armed
militias, terrorism, kidnapping, crime, gangs. The quality of life for those
unlucky enough to live there has collapsed, the medical systems, education
systems, everything has collapsed and it is now a case of the naked rule of
the gun. I don't see how this can be described as relatively peaceful;
perhaps compared to Genghis Khan. yes I would agree. 

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.


Sure of course and our planet is in the right range to get a nice solar
flux. Biology does a much better job harvesting that solar flux than we have
yet managed to achieve -look at the planets annual production of biomass -
surely a huge number. 

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.



We will just have to disagree about whether or not the monopolization of
power is a problem or not. I believe it is a serious problem and that
ultimately it leads to Fascism the natural end point of that process. Power
needs checks and balances; there needs to be many independent centers of
power that can keep an eye on each other.

People do not begin evil, they become evil, over time. little bit by little
bit. until corruption of the soul is complete. No one - or at least very few
- set out to be evil. I agree. But criminal syndicates and other similar
type organizations - such as our very own cocaine import agency, as well as
all the civic, financial, and other organizations they have penetrated and
control - will weed out the incorruptible types, sidelining them. The higher
one goes to where power resides the more controlled is access; the corrupt
protect themselves by ensuring that only the corrupt ever get to positions
of power. If you don't have bones in your closet you don't get the job.
People are not born evil (psychopath perhaps), but step by step they can
become evil. or at least very controllable and corrupted by evil. 

Sure every age in history has had its problems - its doomsayers and every
age has also had its happy talk - but there has never been the confluence of
problems that are bearing down on us. We are facing multiple challenges in
orthogonal dimensions of complexity. All of which are being compounded by
our vast numbers 7+ billion and still growing fast (population momentum is
going to push the numbers up even if the world can bring its TFR down to
below replacement levels) This is a mixed bag with some notable successes
even in the developing world - Brazil for example has a TFR of somewhere
like 1.8 (the same low value for Iran by the way). But in too many places
(such as Nigeria for example) the TFR remains far too high.

On another level I think it is important - for us Americans especially - to
bear in mind that we do not live unconnected to the rest of the world -
these are global problems and if one part of the world goes down it is
likely that there are going to be terrible spinoff effects all over the
place. We cannot ignore the rest of the world and we certainly cannot impose
our will - we tried that and bled ourselves dry doing so. Americans tend to
be inward looking - and its natural, after all we are a continent sized
country and its easy to forget we live in a larger world, but we do.  On a
larger scale if the rich world - not just the US but as a G8 group --
decides to abandon the failed world to its fate - as many would like us to
do - I fear the blow back from this hard hearted course could be much worse
than anyone can possibly imagine. The world needs solidarity now; we need to
nurture a conscious dawning that we really are in this all together and that
either we all succeed or we will surely all fall together in a mass



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