Friday, June 26, 2015

A Bang and a Whimper.

There is the assumption that humans will change their ways and conserve energy and not consume, consume, consume. This is akin to Jevons' paradox (perhaps their is one more germane). If the energy is available, what will stop continued consumption of tools and toys? Who will go first with this restraint and restricting? Think of the uproar if legislated.

It is comforting to prefer the noise of delusional magical thinking and pretending that the system of perpetual growth can work forever; that some variant of business as usual can persist.  There is just too much tied up with it and any unraveling would be far too chaotic and unpredictable. Wrapping our heads around the eventualities of global warming; of overshoot; of the desecration of world wildlife; of the acidification of the oceans; of the poisoning of pollinators stymies.

A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying.  . It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) means not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it. So we do more technology and more ultimate harm.

It is like a person diagnosed with lung cancer saying he/she will just smoke these organic, non sprayed cigarettes for a little bit longer instead of facing the reality of the situation, quitting and having the operation.

We are slowly technogizing ourselves into extinction. Technology is seductive. Is it the power? Is it the comfort? Or is it some internal particularly human attribute that drives it? Technology surrounds us and becomes part of our story and myths. Technology tantalizes the human mind to make, combine, invent. There are always unintended consequences with technology. It effects how we experience the world in time and space. It affects how we feel the world. If all the externalities were included in the prices and cost to nature, we would be very, very wary of technology.

I think we have moved from technology in the service of religion (pyramids and gothic cathedrals) to religion and culture in the service of technology. It isn't a deity that will save humanity but in the eyes of many - it will be technology.

We will do more of the same, business as usual until there are no more holes in the ground to dig, no more water above and below to contaminate, no humans to wage slave, no other lifeforms to eliminate. Yes, we are building Trojan horses in our hearts, minds and spirits. It will be elitist and entitlement and hubris - both a bang and a whimper.


  1. Yes John - your post has triggered a number of responses from me ..

    and others

    we really are in a sad pickle

    As Helmut said - so many of us are "HOT" (HOPE OPTIMISM TECHNOLOGY) .. the reality is rather different.

  2. Dennis Irvine (an internet friend) commented:
    That solar and wind energy collecting devices are a product of the fossil fuel industry and inevitably linked to it, and dependent on it, an effective extension of it, that cannot break free and 'create green energy' seems spot on to me. It is
    almost as if the entire petrochemical based industrial(and social/cultural)
    infrastructure will only 'allow' changes that, ultimately, continue to burn
    fossil fuels. Much like a living system defending itself from foreign bodies
    with alternate agendas.

    The story of Daedalus and Icarus speaks to this and hints that we should only fly within a certain safe range, a thermodynamic mean.

    A very interesting observation. It is technology running the show, we are the mental/physical/spiritual slaves now.