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Earth vs. The Amoeba

Earth vs. The Amoeba

Raphael The transfiguration 1520

A few days ago, I received a video of an April 22 (Earth Day) lecture by my longtime friend Nate Hagens. Nate and I both owe a lot concerning our view and understanding of the world to Jay Hanson, who tragically died about a month ago on a diving trip in Indonesia. Many people have written and thought about issues of energy, or economics, or ecology; Jay brought it all together and, crucially, added the human brain and genetic properties to the mix.

Teaching at the University of Minnesota, Nate has greatly expanded on this big picture, and produces -among other things- a lot of video material for his students. Lucky them: a view with so much breadth and depth at the same time is exceedingly rare. What most people don’t get is that you can say: we can do so-and-so, but it’s mostly just in theory. In practice, our brains make us react much different from the theory. Because it’s not our “rational brain” that drives us, it’s our amoeba brain.

We have to work very hard, and be very self-critical, to escape the ‘trap’, that, as Nate formulates it, dictates that:

Thermodynamics, expressed through genetics, creates beings incapable of not maximizing energy consumption.

We can even wonder if we can escape it at all. Nate’s position on this is more positive than mine. So I guess if you follow the theoreticals, you’ll be more inclined to listen to him than to me. Because there’s more dopamine to be gotten there. And denial is our main engine.

Two pics from the video of Nate’s lecture which you can find below give an idea of what is our problem, at least the energy part of it:

One man with a chainsaw (powered by fossil fuels) can do the work of 100 men.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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