Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Sustainable World Civilization?

Is the human mind capable of grasping the complexity and the scale of the system we are trying to control?

The social organizations and coping habits we used 50k years ago are still in place today. Can we raise our consciousness enough to survive, as a species?

Ashby’s law of sufficient diversity. Ability to manage must expand geometrically with each linear expansion of the system that sustains us.

Asks, Prof. William Reece, UBC ecological economics

Humankind is little more than a vast collection of tribes and other self-interested groups who will fight tooth and nail, kill their neighbours without regret, and breed themselves out of existence rather than impoverish themselves to save some unrelated strangers ten thousand kilometers away.
World Society is a myth perpetrated by money-hungry corporations to sell widgets.

The few ridiculously rich people who adopt starving Ethiopean children or who kid themselves that recycling cardboard cereal boxes will make the slightest difference to the climate, aren’t enough of an ameliorating influence on the violent mobs that predominate the world population.

When the house gets cold, and food gets short, altruism goes out the window. It is a luxury of the rich and those who delude themselves that they are well off. Neighbours will come to blows over garden watering violations. It is foolish to think that food or fuel shortages, will somehow bring a population together to live in harmony more than a few weeks, as in say, a natural disaster. The latter only stimulates charitable behaviour when it is temporary and singular. When disaster is widespread and long term, altruism goes out the window.

The UN estimated 9.2 Billion population by 2050, should be a headline on every newspaper, every day, if we were serious about sustaining our current level of sophisticated world society. It isn’t.

Evolutionary forces operate on a time scale beyond the scope of most people to grasp.
The smartest people alive today are not more intelligent than people who lived before the earliest recorded civilizations. We have risen from the nomadic tribes of 10,000 years ago to the space age technological world society we have today. However the competition between groups, whether tribal, ethnic, cultural, gender, age, cult, gang, secret society, has not diminished.
Survival of a world society, however it is conceived by big thinkers, is a short-lived concept.
The industrial age, information age, as dependent as it is on cheap energy, is short-lived. It arose in less than two hundred years and can become medieval in nature and structure again in a few centuries.

In other words, human nature hasn’t changed enough for this complex, energy dependent, unsustainable society of 6-9 billion people to survive. How it will collapse will be a matter of dramatic and tragic events cascading one upon another until a dynamic stability is achieved.

Another way of looking at the question, “Is our world society sustainable? Can it be?” is to realize that the perception that we have a world society is not a universal one. The third world population, Africa, India, Asia, South America comprises 80% of the world’s population. They are poor. They do not perceive that there is a sophisticated wealthy, world society. Rather they think that there are a few rich people who have exploited them unfairly. They are right. 20 people living well, does not typify or identify the nature of a society when the other 80% are starving in sub-standard shelters with inadequate supplies of fresh water.

The chattering of hosts and guests on TV shows about this or that fashion, musical event or new widget (I-phone, say) is just a few rich people yakking with each other about how great their lives are while the vast majority of people – 5 billion or more worldwide – worry about where their next meal will come from.

There is no sense of reality in the world, just mass-deception and denial.