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Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CIII–We All Believe What We Believe…Evidence Be Damned.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CIII

Teotihuacan, Mexico. (1988) Photo by author.

We All Believe What We Believe…Evidence Be Damned.

The following contemplation is my comment on the latest Honest Sorcerer post that explores personality ‘types’ and how these contribute to why we tend to hold such different views of our world.

Very interesting discussion and does help to explain a lot. And, again, you’ve provided me a springboard to share my own thoughts…

Perhaps these inherent differences (not necessarily hard-wired since I can see that my own answers to many of the questions on the test — which I took many years ago as well since my employer at the time regularly discussed and explored such things — have changed significantly over the years; I seem to have ‘come to the middle’ in many areas) are a big contributor to why I’ve come to hold that we believe what we believe, regardless of evidence or well-reasoned, counter-arguments.

In fact, being who we are with our complex cognitive abilities, we fight off non-confirmatory thoughts/ideas to reduce/avoid the stress/anxiety that can arise when our beliefs are challenged.

One of those beliefs I’ve certainly encountered when discussing ‘collapse’ with others is the idea that our pursuit of the perpetual growth chalice on a finite planet is just fine, thank you very much; please don’t regale me with your data and/or pre/historic and research-based examples of societal decline and/or overshoot…I will not listen or I will list off all the evidence of human progress and problem-solving abilities — particularly with respect to complex technologies — to prove my perspective.

And, of course, it doesn’t help the attempt to counter this notion of infinite growth on a finite planet when the ruling caste who significantly profits from the pursuit (in both monetary and power terms) cheerleads and encourages it at every turn and opportunity. I hear nothing but propaganda about the benefits of human expansion and development from my local/regional/federal politicians whenever they open their mouths and rarely, if ever, discussion of the knock-on, negative impacts except assurances that they will be minimal and/or overcome — yes, we are constructing a relatively expansive community upon these wetlands in this ecologically-sensitive area above important aquifers, but we’re putting a butterfly parkette in to benefit the environment…

For anyone agreeing with the herd and/or deferring to authority, as most of us do, or simply sitting on the fence, then it’s next to impossible to break with the majority perspective. I’ve given up my attempts to raise or even discuss the topic with most family members and others in my social circle — unless I am directly asked for my input. They simply do not want to even think about such a ‘depressing’ subject. Better to discuss and debate whether you think the Toronto Maple Leafs will make it through the first round of the upcoming hockey playoffs…

We even see such opposing views within the ‘collapse-aware’ communities, such as the Degrowth Movement, where a major core seems to hold that with just the right tinkering, and then widespread adoption, of ‘correct’ behaviours and technologies, humanity can solve the problems at hand — never recognising that it’s an unsolvable predicament that we might, at best, be capable of slightly mitigating for some small percentage of people.

It’s a right pickle and reminds me of a quote from a Richard Duncan article (an electrical engineer behind the Olduvai Theory of civilisational collapse):

“…according to the Olduvai schematic, world energy production per capita will decrease…[then] there will be a rash of permanent electrical blackouts worldwide. Consequently the vital…functions — communication, computation, and control — will be lost.
…Mother Nature then solves for us the (apparently) insuperable problem of the Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons, which the human race seems either incapable or unwilling to solve for itself.”[1]

If you’ve made it to the end of this contemplation and have got something out of my writing, please consider ordering the trilogy of my ‘fictional’ novel series, Olduvai (PDF files; only $9.99 Canadian), via my website — the ‘profits’ of which help me to keep my internet presence alive and first book available in print (and is available via various online retailers). Encouraging others to read my work is also much appreciated.

[1] See this.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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