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False Beliefs and Denial

False Beliefs and Denial

Sam’s Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina border

I have embarked on quite the journey over the past year. I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to begin writing this blog. I do enjoy discussing energy and resource decline and climate change, because of the stark implications they present. I’m less comfortable talking about extinction due to the uncertainty of a timeline and the controversy surrounding it. Despite my knowledge in this field, I never feel like I know enough; so I’m always digging for more information. The studies, articles, videos, and other media I have discovered are sometimes difficult to digest. I often have to step back to think about what I am writing and how it will be received for those few who are reading it. I am ever mindful of how I felt upon first discovering where we are as a species and precisely how we continue chopping off the limb we are perched upon. It is quite difficult at times, understanding not only where we are but where we are headed; also comprehending the inertia behind us pushing us into new realms and sending us beyond tipping points. Today’s article combines an eclectic mix of both recent events and stories with new material from Tom Murphy, William Rees, Jeff Masters, Alice Friedemann, and many others. Those of you familiar with my posts will be unfazed; new readers may be horrified.

The way some of my articles are received by a few point to anger and denial. I understand this because I was also there for a while, although I quickly progressed beyond those stages of grief. Despite my knowledge regarding human denial of reality and then the accompanying optimism bias which often typically lead to overshoot, I am still surprised by the sheer scale of this denial..

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

Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

One of the things most misunderstood is the concept of free will. Most people have the misconception that we all have free will and (more or less) can “do whatever we want.” In reality, this is actually false. While we have the ability to make certain choices, those choices are all constrained to certain norms on average, based upon the reward of dopamine. As Dave Pollard writes about a year ago, “Everything we do is dopamine-driven, based on experiences that have, through positive reinforcement or coercion, dictated our entirely ‘unconscious’ behavior since we were born. There is no ‘us’ somehow apart from these evolutionarily conditioned animal bodies, to intervene to do things differently.” Now, Dave explains why assigning blame is pretty much useless and nothing more than theater here. Nate Hagens adds this to the mix.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote an article about blame because of the amount of blame I was seeing constantly in the groups I am a part of. It’s true that there is more than enough blame to go around; but at the time, I was seeing the assigning of blame as a complete waste of time and wanted to encourage those engaging in it to discontinue the drama. It’s always easy to point one’s finger away from oneself; but in reality, one often may as well be standing in front of a mirror. As the facts in that article (and many others I have written) bring to the forefront, we simply do not have the agency we often think we do. It is this assumed thought process that we have agency (which in reality we don’t) over these things which lead to hubris, arrogance, and denial of reality which inevitably lead to optimism bias.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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