Evolution vs. Devolution (14)

Anticipatory vs Catastrophic Change
ANTICIPATORY vs CATASTROPHIC CHANGE
by Erich Fromm (from the first chapter of his book, May Man Prevail, 1961)

Societies have lives of their own; they are based on the existence of certain productive forces, geographical and climatic conditions, techniques of production, ideas and values, and a certain type of human character that develops under these conditions. They are organized in such a way that they tend to continue existing in the particular form to which they have adapted themselves. Usually, men in each society believe that the mode in which they exist is natural and inevitable. They hardly see any other possibilities and, in fact, they tend to believe that a basic change in their own mode of existence would lead to chaos and destruction. They are seriously convinced that their way is right, sanctioned by the gods or by the laws of human nature, and that the only alternative to the continuation of the particular form in which they exist is destruction. This belief is not simply the result of indoctrination; it is rooted in the affective part of man, in his character structure, which is molded by all social and cultural arrangements so that man wants to do what he has to do, so that his energy is channeled in such a way as to serve the particular function he has to fulfill as a useful member of a given society. It is for this very reason, namely that the patterns of thought are rooted in patterns of feeling, that patterns of thought are so very persistent and resistant to change. Continue reading

Anticipatory vs. Catastrophic Change?

Gravity Lessons

The Weight Of Ignorance

   

Albert Bartlett (Professor of Physics – University of Colorado, Boulder) has given the following one-hour lecture, Arithmetic, Population and Energy: Sustainability 101 over 1,600 times world-wide. His audiences have ranged from junior high school and college students to corporate executives, scientists and congressional staffs.

He first gave the talk in September, 1969, and subsequently has presented it an average of once every 8.5 days for 36 years. The presentation is based on his paper, Forgotten Fundamentals of the Energy Crisis, originally published in the American Journal of Physics.

   

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Got your parachute ready?

There’s No Tomorrow?

The choice is hopefully still ours…but not for long. The film below isn’t based on some kind of doomsday speculation (e.g., 2012), but instead is a simple gathering of facts. It is a portrait of reality that most people either can’t, or don’t want to see. But nothing (literally) is more relevant to our future.

So…watch it, think about it, and then start doing something about it. Now!

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The Us Department of Energy Hirsch Report estimates that at least two decades will be needed to prepare for the effects of peak oil. The issues of energy shortages, resource depletion, top-soil loss and pollution are all symptoms of a single larger problem: Growth. As long as our financial system demands endless growth, reform is unlikely to succeed. What then will the future look like?

Optimists believe that growth will continue forever without limits. Pessimists think that we’re heading toward the new stone age, or extinction. The truth will lie between these extremes. It is possible that society might fall back to a simpler state, one in which energy use is a lot less. This would mean a harder life for most, more manual labor, more farm work, and local production of goods, food, and services. What should a person do to prepare for such a possible future?

Expect a decrease in supplies of food, and goods from faraway places. Start walking or cycling. Get used to using less electricity. Get out of debt and try to avoid banks. Instead of shopping in big box stores, support local businesses. Buy food grown locally at farmer’s markets. Instead of a lawn, consider gardening to grow your own food. Learn how to preserve it. Consider the use of a local currency should the larger economy cease to function. In short, develop greater self-sufficiency.

Of course none of these steps will prevent collapse, but they might at least improve your chances of survival in a low-energy future. One in which we’ll have no choice except to become individually and communally self-reliant…as our ancestors once were.