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Posts Tagged ‘Industrial age’

One day I want to be as composed and moderate as Post Carbon Institute Fellow Bill Rees who appears in the video below. I think there is enough justification to be emotionally explosive about the dramatic reality he describes, precisely because of how real it is. Bill is a source of inspiration not just in the scientific sense but also at the emotional level. Behind his refined and corteous professor demeanor lies a visible flame of outrage, passion and justice.

The message Bill provides is liquid gold, so concentrated and rich that it becomes precious. I feel I must not allow myself to run the risk of taking away anything you may get from his discussion by adding my own thoughts. If you read me enough you will realize I am on his page. Enjoy the potent flavor of truth.

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This post is specially dedicated to those who want to convince us that the material based progress and the global economic system we have is the best and the only one we can have.  I am often the critic of such manipulative assertion, but I am going to let someone respected by millions be the critic this time.

Not being a particularly religious person I often have my ear on what religious leaders have to say, particularly the Dalai Lama whom I regard as being light years ahead of most religious leaders.  He speaks deep truth and high wisdom. I believe the commentary below is not just a brilliant critique and analysis of today’s reality but a daring look at the world calling it for what it is.

Few individuals today have the courage and the critical mind to recognize, let alone face such reality. But guess what? The number of people waking up to this often uncomfortable and even scary reality is growing. People are slowly but surely stepping up to face these planetary compounded challenge. However if we want to make a timely difference we need such growth to be exponential, and to me it still feels linear.

I cannot wait for the growth of consciousness to become a runaway (ever growing) effect, a positive feedback loop so that it can keep up with and counter our runaway global crisis.

 

Dalai lama

Source: Dalai Lama Daily Quotes

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Internal view of the Stanford torus

Internal view of the Stanford torus. Source: Wikipedia.

From all the modern crises we face and suffer, there is one no one suspects of. It is the big elephant in the room of our challenging future ahead. I am referring to the unsuspected crisis of imagination. Since I was a child it bothered me and bored me why adults would not stop until they managed to strip away our dearest fantasies, imaginative ideas and any dreams that would not fit into the pathetically tiny box of possibilities for supposedly a successful career and life like doctor, layer, salesman and a just a few other professions. If we did not aspire to any of those limited possibilities, we were considered immature and childish, or living in La La Land.

Imagination is a word that has often become pejorative in our highly manipulated society as it often associated with kids or adults who cannot be taken seriously and therefore are pushed away from society being regarded as naïve, unrealistic or crazy.

We lose half of our humanity as we grow up and expose ourselves to the conditioning that annihilates our precious boundless and connecting child mind. Family, society and school make sure those ideas and attitudes that represent a threat to society’s narrow and fragile order are eradicated quite often ridiculing, marginalizing and even physically abusing those who dare to think outside the box, let alone those who question the system and the status quo. I know this not so much because of the dozens of passages where I have read about it, but because I have lived this painful truth in my own being.

Let’s be honest. Creativity is rewarded in just a relatively few exclusive circles, most of them not even available to the public at large. A few folks in the arts are allowed and even encouraged to think more creatively than anyone else but even then they are often subject to the same prejudice, criticism and antagonism as everyone else who dares to question The Establishment.

Even when creativity is made available to the public such as through activities like arts, crafts and cultural events, such creativity represents a mere narrow band in the vastly wide spectrum of possibilities available to re-define and re-live reality, and quite often such activities are nothing but an embellished repackaging of traditional outdated cultural icons and views thus offering a false and deceiving creative outlet.

A big inhibitor of creativity is the prevailing prejudice that creative activities are secondary in importance. They are generally thought of as a good hobby, a way to relax. They are usually played down by parents, teachers and neighbors as respectable career paths as an engineer or a sales executive are, simply because they are not perceived as ‘bread earners’.

A bigger detractor of creativity which reaches the rank of malicious is the prejudice and mental hijacking exerted by religious and political ideologies. These preconceived views of reality are mental strait jackets that keep individuals in a highly reduced universe whose limits cannot even be defined because they cannot even be imagined. The manipulative nature of these ideologies is so potent that it keeps the minds of the subjected believers unable to consider any idea outside their mandated conception of reality.

In this day and age creativity is still not taken seriously enough. The irony is that it will be our creativity, not traditional thinking, what will allow us to survive and thrive in this brave new world. No, this is not just a minor nuisance or even a loss of talent and potential but a cause of complacency, ignorance and ultimately inaction regarding the global crises we face including climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, food and water scarcity risks, world financial and economic instability, and all the other global challenges ahead.

Our lack of imagination to (1) conceive an alternative healthier world and (2) develop an alternative sustainable way to relate to ourselves, our species and the earth, results in our lack of ability and will to take the action. And of course I am referring to the action required to correct our accelerating collision course with the planet.

Source: Inhabitat

 

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The level of disconnection we humans have reached from our life sustaining environment, originated in the Cartesian philosophy of separating mind from matter and conceiving the universe as a machine is at the very the root of the problem. Fortunately it also holds the key to the solution. Descartes and Newton developed a new sterile but nonetheless irresistible conception of reality where the universe was a predictable and subsequently controllable machine. Such view gave humans tremendous sense of power, control and comfort as science and the industrial revolution brought unprecedented material progress and standards of living.
The noble effort of finding objective truth and eradicate ignorance, injustice and superstition unfortunately madescience came unfortunately at the high cost of stripping its new view of reality from precious human feelings, values, sensitivities and even morality. Scientific materialism created a fragmented reality conceived as a collection of separated objects interacting in linear deterministic ways. Its reductionist analysis which breaks down things, beings and phenomena into their constituent parts to understand their nature and behavior of the former brought so much material success that science has become hard to question as the legitimate way of explaining reality.

In the last hundred years the foundations of classical mechanics unquestioned for over 300 years were shattered by scientific discoveries by modern physics. Quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory and general relativity showed the universe as an endless network of relationships. Even the unquestioned believe of scientific objectivity stopped making sense as it was demonstrated that the observer influenced and became part of the scientific phenomena observed.

Although I support the objection to the illusion, I would call addictive hallucination of unlimited economic growth and resources on which our current economic system is based on, I need to consider such believe more the symptom than the root cause of the actual disease.

The disease is our erroneous view of reality based still in the Cartesian universe. Until we can learn in our minds but also at the emotional level that we are not separated from nature but just a manifestation of it, we will NOT be able to achieve a safe and truly sustainable future. We need to realize the world is a huge ecosystem rather than separated collection of machines and objects acting like clocks or billiard balls. The world looks more like a never ending web of complex of relationships that we can study as systems within systems within systems all intimately through which matter and energy flow. What we call each entity in the universe, thing, being or phenomenon is ultimately an abstraction that separates a part from its bigger whole. Our human mind has had to use such abstractions to break down and ultimate make sense this infinitely complex reality which is the world. Man has also being able to overcome the overwhelming feeling of such complexity by realizing that despite our mental limitations, approximate knowledge is all we need to cope with reality and perform our mission as humans.

As philosophical and apparently impractical this assertion may seem we realize it is imperative to understand for it is only when we embrace the infinite connection and interdependence in nature and the world that we will understand our actions on nature and the planet are ultimately actions on ourselves as we are nature since we are part of the planetary ecosystem or biosphere.

Our environmental problem which distills to a mental and emotional problem was originated by a cultural problem, an oversimplified but powerful conception of reality. Shifting such conception of reality or paradigm in theory should fix the problem. Unfortunately waking society or at least the Powers that Be to the actual eco-systemic nature of reality is going to take longer than we have to mitigate our global crisis.

I do believe in the capacity of society eventually realizing this truth. However we cannot wait until that shift in consciousness happens. We need quicker solutions. I fear we are not going to listen to the scientific evidence that urges us to embrace the eco-systemic view of reality and calls for immediate radical action changing our unsustainable existence in the biosphere, devouring resources and degrading our life sustaining systems (from forests to polar ice cups). Someone however is going to awaken us from our toxic hallucination. And that someone is the very same one we are trying to avoid, the global crisis and the multiple disruptions and catastrophes that is bound to bring.

Only when we become overwhelmed by the effects of resource scarcity, global climate change and environmental and social order degradation will we question our “way of life” which some of us have so worshiped and imposed including the former US administration. Given this emerging scenario I have decided to develop life-saver type solutions that will help the planet survive the upcoming crises while teaching that the permanent and final solution is the transformation of our human infrastructure into an ecosystem that can ultimately and seamlessly be integrated in Nature.”

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