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What Qualities Do the Predicaments We Face Possess?

What Qualities Do the Predicaments We Face Possess?

The view from Sunset Rock near Sparta, Tennessee

I’d like to address something which has been on my mind quite a bit recently. How we view things or how we judge things has a lot to do with how we see life (our worldview) and the circumstances surrounding it. I was having a conversation with my mom and she asked me something rather interesting. She wanted to know if I thought that the topics I spend so much time dealing with causes me to feel down “because they are so negative.” I feel compelled to dive into this with zeal because I think that there are probably MANY of us who likewise see things from a different angle than society in general.

First things first; I don’t necessarily see collapse, climate change, energy and resource decline, and/or extinction as being bad or negative. They certainly have some bad qualities and negative effects. I cannot deny the grief I have felt as a result of learning that ecological overshoot has many serious symptom predicaments which I learned about mostly BEFORE I learned about overshoot itself. However, as part of the learning process, I was required to view the situation in geologic timescales and from nature’s perspective – and these change the viewpoint or perspective from an anthropocentric, human-focused worldview to a more natural biospheric-based perspective. Nature doesn’t care about our judgements or opinions. So, while I cannot deny the grief I have experienced, I also cannot label all these predicaments as being “bad” either. This is simply nature’s way of evolution. Only humans give such hubristic judgements about these predicaments, based on our perception of loss…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Of Heroes and Dragons

Image credit: Kent Pilcher via Unsplash

The following read might incite serious levels of cognitive dissonance and result in anger, disbelief and an irresistible urge to trash the author. Unfortunately I cannot take responsibility for your actions, so proceed at your own risk from here on.

During my journey, discovering the predicament of our civilization, I’ve met quite a few different views and perspectives on how we should proceed from where we are as a global community. I listened to countless stories on how technology, or the ‘inevitable’ awakening of a ‘collective human consciousness’ will ‘solve’ every ‘problem’ we have and how we only need the money or simply the ‘will’ to save ourselves. However, there was always a fly in that magic ointment.

I had to realize that in order to promote and to keep on believing in the continuation of this high tech civilization, one has to embark on a mental journey into fantasy land, populated with heroes and cruel dragons.

(Hey, I warned you, it’s still not too late to stop reading!)

Every fantastic story, no matter how unrealistic it is, always has an element of truth to it, but there is also a typical pattern of thinking required to wholeheartedly believe in them.

It usually starts with accepting a small subset of predicaments (discussed on these pages), but only by mentally reducing them into a ‘problem’ with a ‘solution’ — which they are definitely not. The next step requires dismissing the rest of the predicaments altogether — either because of a lack of knowledge or care — or, as I often warn my readers, because of rampant magical thinking; believing that as a boon to implementing the ‘master plan’ these ‘problems’ would be sorted out automatically.

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

What is the Root Issue of Our Unsustainability?

What is the Root Issue of Our Unsustainability?

Two pictures from Falls Mill, Tennessee, depicting life in the late 1800s. The mill now houses a museum and is open for tours and a bed and breakfast is also on site.

Last week, I updated the files here with over 250 new articles and studies (see this list). There were 59 new entries in the Climate Change and Collapse file alone. So many of these files now contain new studies which are increasingly worrying; some of these new entries are located in the Species and Biodiversity LossExtinctionDiseasePollution LoadingTree Decline and Deforestation, and Ocean Acidification and Marine Life files. As can be seen in these studies, this is a rapidly developing situation which is now beginning to gather speed and overwhelming existing infrastructure to deal with the ongoing disasters.

There is a new article regarding methane emissions through permafrost thaw which is rather chilling. Another version in the Smithsonian Magazine describes the “methane time bomb” and lists a paper from Andrew Glikson from July of 2018. Over the past several years, there has been a growing debate over just how much of a threat methane emissions pose to the growing climate situation. Methane emissions coming from hydrates (clathrates), permafrost thaw, thermokarst lakes, and even from behind dams in the thousands of reservoirs we have built are growing, and combined with other methane sources, provide about a quarter of effects contributing to climate change. Some scientists have argued that these pose no threat and that “all we have to do is cut emissions” and nature will solve the issue. This is, of course, pure lunacy, and designed to prevent panic…

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

 

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXVIII

Tulum, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Today’s very brief ‘contemplation’ is a comment I penned on an article that discusses the limits to growth we have probably surpassed, Kuber-Ross’s stages of grief (especially denial and bargaining) that the world seems to be experiencing in the wake of increasing awareness of our existential dilemmas/predicaments, and a call for cooperation amongst the world’s people to address our plight.

I have repeatedly experienced the denial and anger that tends to arise when one challenges another’s personal beliefs. I should know better than to present countervailing evidence/narratives, especially given the defensive psychological mechanisms that arise to preserve such beliefs. We tend to look for confirmation of our strongly-held views by surrounding ourselves with like-minded voices, not disruptive narratives that can lead to cognitive dissonance. Such stories are denigrated and attacked (as the author of the article points out for the Limits to Growth authors).

I do believe, however, that the acceptance of our limits in many aspects leads to a conclusion that degrowth needs to be not only considered and discussed, but widely pursued if humanity is to have any hope of at least some of us transitioning through the self-made bottleneck that is directly ahead of us. Pursing the ‘wrong’ path will only make our predicament far, far more challenging and greatly reduce any opportunities for at least some of humanity to survive.

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

The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

One of the things that is so pervasive in today’s society is the constant flow of hype, advertising, marketing, and propaganda, and many people fail to see through it. Steve Bull came out with this article explaining the same scenario. They are led to believe that everything is a problem and that technology or some product produced from technology can solve it all. The truth is that technology and its use is actually the root source of these issues; and they are predicaments, not problems. Furthermore, more or new technology can do nothing but cause yet more damage. Technology is what supports civilization, as I pointed out in my last article (see the top picture)Agriculture is technology. Civilization is unsustainable, so we cannot solve portions of civilization and stop the damage caused by civilization, which is causing those portions to develop trouble in the first place. In other words, we cannot switch out ICE (internal combustion engine) cars for EVs or coal- or gas-produced electricity for non-renewable solar panel- and/or wind turbine-produced electricity and claim that we have solved anything. ALL the exact same mechanisms civilization uses to destroy life on this planet are still intact. So switching out or substituting different “portions” of civilization won’t help. Civilization cannot be made sustainable.

One of my friends, Chery Young, pointed this out; quote:

Historian H. Maynard Smith contended that a person who could perceive two conflicting sides of an issue might be overwhelmed by a mentally inflexible person:
A broad-minded man, who can see both sides of the question and is ready to hold opposed truths while confessing that he cannot reconcile them, is at a manifest disadvantage with a narrow-minded man who sees but one side, sees it clearly, and is ready to interpret the whole Bible, or, if need be, the whole universe, in accordance with his formula.

The illusion of control or agency and the attachment to it creates such suffering.

…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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