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Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh LXXXVII–Limitless, ‘Clean’ Energy: More Magical Thinking

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh LXXXVII

December 29, 2022 (original posting date)

Chitchen Itza, Mexico. (1986) Photo by author.

Limitless, ‘Clean’ Energy: More Magical Thinking

A brief contemplation that shares my comment on the latest post by The Honest Sorcerer regarding the recent fusion energy ‘breakthrough’ that has been making the rounds on many media sites. My current ‘bias’, given my last post, has me viewing this particular topic in a focused way that I outline below.

You’ve hit the nail on the head of the dominant narrative and mass magical thinking that goes on in our world around notions of limitless and ‘clean’ energy: given time (and funding/resources), our human ingenuity and technological prowess can ‘solve’ any problem thrown our way. Limits imposed by our existence on a finite planet are minuscule compared to our unfettered imaginations and abilities provided by our opposable thumbs. Finite limits? Meh. Ecological destruction? Who cares. Global collapse? Nothing to see, look over here…

And you ask a pertinent question: “Who in their sane minds approved the budget for all this?!”

I think energy analyst Art Berman highlights the nefarious actors that have done just this (see here). As he argues, not only are the claims about the ‘breakthrough’ a big nothing burger (since the energy-return-on-investment is about 0.005, or basically zero) but the announcement just happened to coincide with an announcement by the U.S. Congress to fund to the tune of $624 million this type of research.

Given the ties to the military that lay in the shadows of the event and the media propaganda about this fusion energy ‘miracle’ that ignores this connection, we should all be asking some hard, critical questions. Like: is this all just a form of ‘money laundering’ by the government to divert funding in a roundabout way to its military while marketing it as ‘energy research’; and, is this just a funnelling of wealth to the elite that own/control the industries necessary to carry out the work? (Questions that should also be asked about the billions (if not trillions) of dollars heading to Ukraine, NATO, various military and quasi-military establishments around the globe; as well as all the other ‘clean/green’ energy research and industries.)

This certainly plays into one of the themes I’ve been writing about: the actions of our ruling caste is driven by the primary goal of controlling/expanding the wealth-generation/-extraction systems that provide their revenue streams and thus positions of power and prestige. Having control (or at minimum overriding influence) of the politicians/government aids this immensely.

Mix this up with the competition between polities that occurs (and is discussed by archaeologist Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies; and that I have just written about here) and one can well imagine the shenanigans that goes on amongst politicians (i.e., those allocating a society’s resources in the name of ‘citizen prosperity’), industrialists (i.e., those that ‘own’ the needed industries and resources), and the media (i.e., those that own the propaganda machinery and guide/influence societal narratives) to fund ‘research’ (especially military-oriented) and other wealth-extraction/-generation systems in the name of citizen welfare.

But let’s be frank, the ruling caste cares not one iota for the hoi polloi or the ecological systems destruction this pursuit is causing. Their concern is to maintain the rigged game with them at the apex of the pyramid (an apt description given the entire scheme is little more than a gargantuan Ponzi-like structure predicated upon infinite growth on a finite planet). And as Tainter concludes regarding the peer polity competition that arises as an epiphenomenon of this:

“Collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole. Competitors who evolve as peers collapse in like manner.”

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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