Thoughts on biodiversity, social fabric and finding planetary sustainability
Posted: 30 January 2012 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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One reason why biodiversity is so important is that it represents life’s future potential.  That is, a higher biodiversity represents more chances for life to find a way forward in the vastness of the “design space” provided here on Earth.  A tendency towards biodiversity is not just a tendency towards life’s ‘coagulation’ and the strengthening of ‘Gaia’; it is also a tendency that maximises the chances of life’s survival into the future at all levels.  Bio-diverse synergies or interoperations seem to be blind Nature’s way of looking into the future in order to maximise its own selfish chances of success.  However life doesn’t always get its own way – there are several epochs of mass extinctions in Earth’s past.


Could a healthy ecosystem offer us any tips with respect to the social fabric of human civilisation?  Does nature’s blind Method of increasing complexity and synergistic cooperation have anything to say about humanity’s socio-political systems or methods?  Maybe it suggests that those systems that maximise synergies, inclusiveness and individual input are better, i.e. more conducive to our long-term survival, than those systems that waste human potential, exclude sections of the community and discourage individual endeavour.


Maybe much like the national motto of the French Republic, it suggests that we need an individual ‘liberty’, we need a participative ‘equality’ and we need, perhaps above all, a shared ‘fraternity’ – if we are to secure the future of our species.  It is our freely chosen fraternity that is perhaps the most direct measure of the health of our social fabric or glue – rather than unlimited self-interest (individual liberty) or an unlimited social equality.  That is, an intelligent self-interest and social equality would limit themselves to the bounds of a freely chosen fraternity.  Fraternity seems to be the thing that brings balance to individual freedom and equality.  But it is also the least defined by the rule of law.  Unlimited freedom can be violent and unlimited equality can sap innovation.  But unlimited fraternity incorporates a self-esteem and mutual respect in its fulfilment.


The only bad thing about a limited fraternity is that it suggests the inclusion of an in-group and the exclusion of an out-group.  But an unlimited fraternity suggests no recognition of an out-group.  This is what human civilisation on this finite planet needs.  We need to find more and more ways to eliminate the out-group by including it in the in-group.  This is what Gaia seems to do.  This is what Nature’s biodiversity seems to achieve over time.  Such a synergistic fraternity would not impinge on the self-imposed limits of liberty or equality.


It is the idea of fraternity or mateship that we need to find again, but this time outside of religion and warfare and violent national revolution.  A wise fraternity promotes the idea that the body is fitly framed together by that which each part, according to its ability, supplies.  As the body finds success, so does each part and so does life!  Fraternity is encouraged by shared experiences, mutual respect, mutual admiration and the idea that “I’ve got your back” and you’ve got mine.  We need a global secular fraternity and new rituals that celebrate it, full of shared and recalled experiences of exchanged values.  We all need to become active traders of positive values and value-adding experiences if we are to secure a sustainable long-term future.  I think this is what a healthy biodiversity strongly suggests.  But maybe I’ve fallen for some kind of naturalistic fallacy; life’s a competitive struggle after all.  Yes - I acknowledge the limitations of the analogy, but any thoughts?

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Posted: 31 January 2012 10:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Michael Kean - 30 January 2012 11:46 PM

A tendency towards biodiversity is not just a tendency towards life’s ‘coagulation’ and the strengthening of ‘Gaia’; it is also a tendency that maximises the chances of life’s survival into the future at all levels.

Well there is a naturalistic fallacy here since you have in mind only *certain* kinds of life. You exclude AIDS for instance. and other unhappy forms of life. H2N1 is out also I suppose.Just being a hard ass because that’s what I’ve been trained to do.  I actually think this has merit, but I’m not sure I’m able at this time in my development to say exactly what that merit is.


Bio-diverse synergies or interoperations seem to be blind Nature’s way of looking into the future in order to maximise its own selfish chances of success.  However life doesn’t always get its own way – there are several epochs of mass extinctions in Earth’s past.

Hello. Hard ass here. “Nature”, that is, the laws of physics,  definitely doesn’t care about your “Life”  and calls it “life” behind your back. Mass extinctions are just another expression of the laws of physics working themselves out in total ignorance of everything you’re talking about. Even talking about *ignorance* is a type of anthropomorphic projection.


Could a healthy ecosystem offer us any tips with respect to the social fabric of human civilisation?

And now, just five sentences into a discussion of Gaia,  I will realize Godwin’s Law, the only *real* Law of the Universe…....drum roll pulease…....


Hitler thought so too.


If you look to natural examples for guidance about how to organize society, you can look left, as you are doing,  or you can look right can’t you? There’s nothing to stop anyone from emphasizing the social and genetic Darwinistic survival of the “fittest” , selfish gene,  fuck you aspect of how nature sorts things out, and in fact this is what yesterday’s and today’s conservatives are drawn to, isn’t it? 


Point being that once we set nature up as the model of morality, if we condition ourselves to accept that, then it can all turn very ugly very fast. So let’s not condition ourselves to think this way.

Maybe much like the national motto of the French Republic,

I have always loved this motto.


What is ours again? Oh yeah… “I got mine. So go fuck yourself. “

it suggests that we need an individual ‘liberty’, we need a participative ‘equality’ and we need, perhaps above all, a shared ‘fraternity’ – if we are to secure the future of our species.


And there you go with this *our species* -centric positioning again. The only species or thing that cares about you is *us* ... and your doggie.

Unlimited freedom can be violent and unlimited equality can sap innovation.  But unlimited fraternity incorporates a self-esteem and mutual respect in its fulfilment.

In you.  Unlimited fraternity incorporates a self-esteem and mutual respect in its fulfilment in *you*. Not in everyone. In other hands, unlimited fraternity is a problem, and one best solved by a specific aspect of unlimited freedom- the freedom and power to kill those I don’t care to fraternize with.


Problem solved.


Everyone including me makes the mistake of thinking that we all have the same basic impulses and goals and starting from this, we can start to recast society into something better. I call this Maslow’s mistake. What percentage of the population do you suppose needs to NOT share the basic egalitarian impulses you’ve displayed in your post in order to twist, fuck up, warp derail and hijack any high minded, nature anthropomorphizing programme you care to construct? 5% 10%? 


It’s highly instructive , in a back of the envelop kind of way, to pay attention to the results of national polls of all kinds as they come up. From doing this, you’ll realize that there’s always that 25%, of the US at least,  who is totally right wing fascist.

They’d steal everything “fuckin’ Grandma Millie” had then roll her wheelchair into cross traffic, while citing some passage from the bible or Schumpeter as justification. They’re the American Taliban. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LACyLTsH4ac


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x1711340


Current *and historical* polls show there’s a consistent 25% of the total population that is incredibly anti-social. We’re talking slavery loving, women’s sufferage opposing , Martin Luther King assassinating, absolute laissez fare capitalism promoting , homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, other intolerant,  fascist . 

 

You can learn all about this *other* type of person here:; the intro on this site is a little preachy, but I cannot recommend the book itself HIGHLY ENOUGH (<—recent edit -doh!), which is a review of 40 years of research into this *other* kind of person. :

 

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

 


but any thoughts?

Yes.


Suppose this is given the most sympathetic reading, which is basically-  we all need to find anther way to think about our place on this earth and our relationship to each other! - a proposition I totally agree with.


I acknowledge that thinking by analogy is the primary way people relate to reality. It’s how they orient themselves philosophically and politically. You can’t pooh-pooh all such efforts, as I have seemingly done here, and consider yourself a serious intellectual.  You just have to take people as they are to a large extent and deal with them as they are and communicate to them in ways that are meaningful to them.

 

So Gaia and all this is not the worst idea ever, even if it’s a huge exercise in anthropomorphication, if it serves as a unifying touchstone and framework for people to act in a less species-destructive way.

 


But even within that large and comfortable space afforded it by taking a   utilitarian attitude,  the idea has the following flaws.


It lacks any realism or acknowledgement about how bad people are by nature and what a large number of such people there are and how very immutable their characters are.

 

Perhaps you have not encountered these types. Go read some of the comments section on http://www.redstate.com  or better yet read The Authoritarians (link provided above)  and meet the people who not only will never adopt anything like you’re talking about, but would prefer to kill you for even thinking about it.

 

So the problem is only partially with antiquated, destructive ways of interpreting reality that the average person unconsciously partakes of .


The *real* problem is people who would never change their minds about anything and would sooner see the world destroyed than have any part of change since of course the Rapture is going to lift them all to heaven where there will be 41 virgins- all hotties- naked and on all fours before them, panting like bitches in heat.


Oh wait am I mixing up fairy tales?


See the problem is not so much that we have to tweak the ideas of the sane into some new form, although that would help. But they’re not who is causing grief and strife and destruction. The problem is the functionally insane who are never going to listen to anything you or anyone else says, ever. Ev-ah.


For these types, the only thing that gets to any of them, and not all of them either,  is the threat of personal consequences. The law. Jail. You have to account for how you intend to *influence* these types and stop them from gaining power and working their wills in this world. 

 

Talking about stopping people from getting into power is anti-democratic, anti-freedom, anti a lot of things and probably pretty distasteful to you on just a gut level. But the green bunny people aren’t the ones currently threatening the earth are they? Influencing them can only change things to the extent that the fascist right wing is intimidated by their numbers and what laws they’re able to pass and get serious about enforcing.

 

Look, what rips the social fabric apart isn’t disagreements between the philosophical frameworks which guide the actions of reasonable people. It’s the behaviour of unreasonable people. This has to be addressed. 

 

 

[ Edited: 31 January 2012 03:58 PM by softwarevisualization]
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Posted: 31 January 2012 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 31 January 2012 10:01 AM

Well there is a naturalistic fallacy here since you have in mind only *certain* kinds of life. You exclude AIDS for instance. and other unhappy forms of life. H2N1 is out also I suppose.Just being a hard ass because that’s what I’ve been trained to do.  I actually think this has merit, but I’m not sure I’m able at this time in my development to say exactly what that merit is.

Yeah - ok I agree with the limitations too, but actually I don’t think you’ve hit on it here - acceptance of a place for AIDS was like the idea of being so inclusive in the in-group that we eliminate the out-group.

Hello. Hard ass here. “Nature”, that is, the laws of physics,  definitely doesn’t care about your “Life”  and calls it “life” behind your back.

Yeah - I agree.  Nature doesn’t assign meaning to the universe, we do, as fallible and observant moral agents.

  And now, just five sentences into a discussion of Gaia,  I will realize Godwin’s Law, the only *real* Law of the Universe…....drum roll pulease…....

Hitler thought so too.

If you look to natural examples for guidance about how to organize society, you can look left, as you are doing,  or you can look right can’t you? There’s nothing to stop anyone from emphasizing the social and genetic Darwinistic survival of the “fittest” , selfish gene,  fuck you aspect of how nature sorts things out, and in fact this is what yesterday’s and today’s conservatives are drawn to, isn’t it? 

Point being that once we set nature up as the model of morality, if we condition ourselves to accept that, then it can all turn very ugly very fast. So let’s not condition ourselves to think this way.

Yes - agreed again.  But given that we are fallible moral agents that subjectively assign meaning to our world and given that there is no God to save us, but in fact that responsibility is our own, what would you propose we do about our sustainability over the next century?  Nothing - just business as usual?  Maybe we need to take responsibilities for the mistakes of our forebears and the short-sighted limitations of nature’s genes and memes as well.  Better to look some way for answers than none at all, don’t you think?  Or should we just repeat Easter Island all over again?

I have always loved this motto.

What is ours again? Oh yeah… “I got mine. So go fuck yourself. “

Yeah - point taken.  This is exactly how it must have been on Easter Island too when the last tree was lopped.

And there you go with this *our species* -centric positioning again. The only species or thing that cares about you is *us* ... and your doggie.

No - wasn’t intended like that.  Our species is stuffing up the whole planet and will destroy it just like we did at Easter Island, etc. in the past.  So it is our species that must take responsibility for fixing our problem.  And that problem is in our very genes and memes - right inside our own instincts-with-consciousness.

In you.  Unlimited fraternity incorporates a self-esteem and mutual respect in its fulfilment in *you*. Not in everyone. In other hands, unlimited fraternity is a problem, and one best solved by a specific aspect of unlimited freedom- the freedom and power to kill those I don’t care to fraternize with.

Problem solved.

Yeah - I get the point but by unlimited fraternity I meant an elimination of the out-group through inclusion into the in-group.  That’s the basic challenge I was highlighting we face.  We’ve seen real communities pull together, bury their differences and gird their loins to face adversity before.  The question I was asking was, can we kick off this process again outside of global warfare or global revolution?

Everyone including me makes the mistake of thinking that we all have the same basic impulses and goals and starting from this, we can start to recast society into something better. I call this Maslow’s mistake. What percentage of the population do you suppose needs to NOT share the basic egalitarian impulses you’ve displayed in your post in order to twist, fuck up, warp derail and hijack any high minded, nature anthropomorphizing programme you care to construct? 5% 10%? 

It’s highly instructive , in a back of the envelop kind of way, to pay attention to the results of national polls of all kinds as they come up. From doing this, you’ll realize that there’s always that 25%, of the US at least,  who is totally right wing fascist.

They’d steal everything “fuckin’ Grandma Millie” had then roll her wheelchair into cross traffic, while citing some passage from the bible or Schumpeter as justification. They’re the American Taliban. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LACyLTsH4ac

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104x1711340

Current *and historical* polls show there’s a consistent 25% of the total population that is incredibly anti-social. We’re talking slavery loving, women’s sufferage opposing , Martin Luther King assassinating, absolute laissez fare capitalism promoting , homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, other intolerant,  fascist . 

You can learn all about this *other* type of person here:; the intro on this site is a little preachy, but I cannot recommend the book itself HIGHLY ENOUGH (<—recent edit -doh!), which is a review of 40 years of research into this *other* kind of person. :

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

Yes - good point.  Loved the idea of Maslow’s Mistake too.  But this doesn’t stop the clock from ticking.  Sooner or later the last tree will be removed from our island.  Is there a better solution than that found on Easter Island or have we already passed the tipping point?

“but any thoughts?”  Yes… the problem is only partially with antiquated, destructive ways of interpreting reality that the average person unconsciously partakes of .

The *real* problem is people who would never change their minds about anything and would sooner see the world destroyed…

See the problem is not so much that we have to tweak the ideas of the sane into some new form, although that would help. But they’re not who is causing grief and strife and destruction. The problem is the functionally insane who are never going to listen to anything you or anyone else says, ever. Ev-ah.

For these types, the only thing that gets to any of them, and not all of them either,  is the threat of personal consequences. The law. Jail. You have to account for how you intend to *influence* these types and stop them from gaining power and working their wills in this world. 

Talking about stopping people from getting into power is anti-democratic, anti-freedom, anti a lot of things and probably pretty distasteful to you on just a gut level. But the green bunny people aren’t the ones currently threatening the earth are they? Influencing them can only change things to the extent that the fascist right wing is intimidated by their numbers and what laws they’re able to pass and get serious about enforcing.

Look, what rips the social fabric apart isn’t disagreements between the philosophical frameworks which guide the actions of reasonable people. It’s the behaviour of unreasonable people. This has to be addressed.

Yes - got your point.  We know the social fabric is crumbling and I think we know why too.  But that’s no longer the point.  The next century has to play out one way or another.  I guess we can try to start a fraternity that is so strong it can change governments or give up to the status quo.


Any thoughts at all on how to construct such a powerful secular fraternity? 


Are the people who exercise an intelligent moral agency able to ascend above those that exercise a less intelligent one?  Or will blind and perhaps short-sighted nature take its course no matter what our species can achieve?  Are we in the middle of a mass extinction of species that is simply accelerating to an inevitable end?  Or does a probabilistic universe and our own fallible consciousness-with-instincts offer us some kind of reprieve from such an inevitability?

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Posted: 01 February 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Yes - agreed again.  But given that we are fallible moral agents that subjectively assign meaning to our world and given that there is no God to save us, but in fact that responsibility is our own, what would you propose we do about our sustainability over the next century?  Nothing - just business as usual?  Maybe we need to take responsibilities for the mistakes of our forebears and the short-sighted limitations of nature’s genes and memes as well.  Better to look some way for answers than none at all, don’t you think?  Or should we just repeat Easter Island all over again?

 

OK I agree with your POV and think we are totally on the same page. Especially with the environment. Especially.


Something sprang to mind when I read the first sentence above.


The root, or to rip a phrase from Pink Floyd, the Atom Heart Mother,  of morality is the Golden Rule. Let’s just suppose that’s true so we can talk about it. So, I think morality isn’t *really* all that subjective between individuals. 


I think that morality stems from empathetic participation in other people’s lives , a kind of losing of the boundaries between myself and other, and that empathy is not something humans make up out of whole cloth.  That losing of boundaries that gives rise to empathy is a natural function of the human brain and all morality springs from it. Laws are roughly an attempt to pacify the participants when morality has broken down or the situation is too complicated to work out using empathy alone as a guide.


So the impulse to be moral is an inherent part of our psychology that we all share. In this real sense, it’s not subjective at all, but objective, a thing which exists outside ourselves, something imposed from without (even though it’s within us… the same way our brain structure is impose from without… from without our locus of control).


The fact that some people don’t have this ability at all has to correlate to some bad brain state over which the bearer has little control, either functional or structural or both. Thus my idea that the sociopath is a kind and not an attitude or a strategy on the part of an individual.


So I reject the idea that very basic morality is subjective unless you’re talking about the difference in morality between say aliens from planet Zork and humans.


Now onto the constructive part. I think we agree that the crisis we’re facing is AGW. In fact, what we’re watching is a a group of people building a super-bomb, capable of deconstructing the habitability of the earth for all creatures, especially ourselves,  and these people have the full intention of setting it off. 


These same people are all the while denying they’re doing so and imagining they have some *right* to do so. I have heard on the DL that the people who are funding this *know* what the likely result will be and *want* it to happen because they see it as way to deconstruct society and get rid of the current governments then put in their place a society founded on their idea of *freedom*. But that’s beside the point.

 


When you look at it this way, as war ( and is there another way to look at it? ) you understand that we’re not waiting for WWIII to start- it’s started and we’re fighting it right now and in the balance hangs the future of all civilization , and I say this without even the slightest shred of hyperbole.


We have to do three things. 1) We have to convince as many deniers as we can of the veracity of what scientists are telling them, 2) we have to have a set of affirmative actions that those people and ourselves can engage in which will have the likely result of turning back the ship from the iceberg and 3) we have to undermine, disable and otherwise defeat those forces in society who are determined to set that bomb off. Those are three distinct activities.


In my opinion every person of conscience should dedicate at least some block of time - however small-  regularly, every day if possible to fighting this battle online. Because this war is a culture war; it’s a war for hearts and minds. If we lose Afghanistan to the Taliban again, it will be because we were not able to win the H and M part of the war and we didn’t see the option to fight a “total war” with nuclear bombs as viable.

 

If that’s true of Afghanistan, how much more true is it of Conservistan? As incredible as it sounds given what they’re engaged in, no one is going to bomb the bomb makers, not until it’s too late to matter and then of course anything goes, for all the good it will do.

 

But it can’t come to that. That’s losing the war for civilization and human survival.

 

So if bombs are out then that leaves persuasion . A war for hearts and minds fought online, in chat rooms and forums, in OP-EDS and over dinner tables, over drinks and at parties, in street protests and in legislatures, in civic organizations and in law making and in elections.

 

We have to engage and win that part of the war.  Silence = death.


Then we have to take direct action, including writing your elected officials and voting. You have to impress on your representative that THIS is the issue which decides your vote and THIS is the issue that you want something done about- yesterday.


Have you seen the Princeton stabilization wedges concept?  This is very practical IMO. Here’s a link in case you’re not familiar with it.


http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/01/10/207320/the-full-global-warming-solution-how-the-world-can-stabilize-at-350-to-450-ppm/

 

1) Ef?cient vehicles Increase fuel economy for 2 billion cars from 30 to
60 mpg


2). Reduced use of vehicles Decrease car travel for 2 billion 30-mpg cars from
10,000 to 5000 miles per year


3). Ef?cient buildings Cut carbon emissions by one-fourth in buildings
and appliances projected for 2054

 


1- bought fuel efficient auto- very.


2- telecommute a few days a week, consolidate errands etc. 


3- retrofitting house to Passiv House standards, or as close to it as I can get by:


* super-insulation by building a double wall inside the house, adding another 10 inches of wall space,  and filling it with cellulose insulation, 


*sealing off every air leak we can ,


*fixing windows to be much more energy efficient.

 

*energy conserving blinds, which can actually give you an insulation value of R4 or 5 above your window’s R value
eventually installing an ERV to maintain air quality


*saving for solar panels.


*signed up to get 100% of electrical energy from renewable sources from my energy provider.


Those are thing if you own a home you can do and those are one part of the stabilization wedges approach.


Out of time right now. We still have to deal with what to do about the bomb builders.

 

 

 

 

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Posted: 01 February 2012 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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A cornocopia of truly authoritative knowledge- in with the real out with the money wasting greenwashed gadgetry   bullshit- for people with homes who want to DO something about global warming.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/

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Posted: 01 February 2012 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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A modern way warrior and how he did it:


http://web.me.com/kellygrocoff/missionzerohouse/Home.html

 

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Posted: 01 February 2012 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The whole “trying to live green” thing is either a big hoax, or people truly are deluded. Your entire life you can try to live green, but the moment you become a parent you will have undone all of it and doubled the damage. The only way to achieve anything is by massive birth control. Of course people are unwilling to do that, so they do little green things to make them feel good about themselves, like buying an electric car or using a different lightbulb.

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Posted: 01 February 2012 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Yeah statements like that without any kind of reference are basically useless.

The Princeton wedges takes into account population growth, so your post is as wrong as it is irrelevant.

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Posted: 01 February 2012 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Yeah statements like that without any kind of reference are basically useless.

The Princeton wedges takes into account population growth, so your post is as wrong as it is irrelevant.

Oh yeah th’s right now I remember you.. thank goodness there’s that ignore button I’m going to push right now.


update:
awesome, all I had to do was click on your name and push “ignore member” and not only don’t I see your future posts, I can’t see your past ones either.  Awesome.

Buh bye!

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Posted: 01 February 2012 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 01 February 2012 11:23 AM

Yeah statements like that without any kind of reference are basically useless.

The Princeton wedges takes into account population growth, so your post is as wrong as it is irrelevant.

Oh yeah th’s right now I remember you.. thank goodness there’s that ignore button I’m going to push right now.


update:
awesome, all I had to do was click on your name and push “ignore member” and not only don’t I see your future posts, I can’t see your past ones either.  Awesome.

Buh bye!

Exactly what i mean: birth control makes people so emotional that they wont even think about it. And so they just change their lightbulbs, then spawn a baby that undoes that times a billion.

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Posted: 01 February 2012 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 01 February 2012 09:13 AM

The root, or to rip a phrase from Pink Floyd, the Atom Heart Mother,  of morality is the Golden Rule. Let’s just suppose that’s true so we can talk about it. So, I think morality isn’t *really* all that subjective between individuals.

1. I think there are lots of problems with the Golden Rule, and so if that’s the root of our morality, then here’s our major problem
2. I agree that basic morality is instinctively objective, although this is modified by consciousness if indeed consciousness, by means of its subjective observations alone, feeds back to subconscious instincts in a way that we at least interpret as free will.

The fact that some people don’t have this ability at all has to correlate to some bad brain state over which the bearer has little control, either functional or structural or both. Thus my idea that the sociopath is a kind and not an attitude or a strategy on the part of an individual.

What do you think is the cause of this “bad brain state” in the context intended here, i.e. in the context that “Current *and historical* polls show there’s a consistent 25% of the total population that is incredibly anti-social”?  For this figure to be so high, I’d suggest the only explanation would be that there is a serious mismatch between our evolved consciousness-with-instincts and the human environment we live in.  This is the basic issue.  It seems all the “practical” solutions in the world for global warming just aren’t going to work if we’re less and less “socially practical”.  I really think this was the same problem faced in the last days of Easter Island as well – so I don’t think we can say it’s a twentieth century problem either.  It might even be a 15,000 year old problem.


After outlining many of Earth’s environmental problems and a few suggested solution, the last line of Prof Tim Flannery’s book “Here on Earth” says, “But I am certain of one thing – if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further human progress is possible here on Earth.” 


This is a very sobering thought.  The really big problem is not our global environment – it is individually us.  This, I think, is the main reason why initiatives to solve global warming get slammed.  This is what the really important book on tackling global warming needs to be about.  And this was the point of my thread.  The environment without us finds more and more synergies, but we on the other hand, find more and more divisions and strife as the clock ticks on, as your following comments demonstrate…

When you look at it this way, as war ( and is there another way to look at it? ) you understand that we’re not waiting for WWIII to start- it’s started and we’re fighting it right now and in the balance hangs the future of all civilization , and I say this without even the slightest shred of hyperbole.

We have to do three things. 1) We have to convince as many deniers as we can of the veracity of what scientists are telling them, 2) we have to have a set of affirmative actions that those people and ourselves can engage in which will have the likely result of turning back the ship from the iceberg and 3) we have to undermine, disable and otherwise defeat those forces in society who are determined to set that bomb off. Those are three distinct activities.

I think even before 1) & 2) we have to fully face the issue that our own consciousness has gone astray.  The way it has evolved out of instincts alone has really stuffed us up.  The side effects of the good trick of consciousness, if not tackled, are worse than the good trick itself!  Maybe this is one way of restating 3) – it’s not just “defeat those forces in society who are determined to set that bomb off” but also “defeat those forces in our own nature that are determined to set that bomb off (even if we don’t know it)”.

In my opinion every person of conscience should dedicate at least some block of time - however small-  regularly, every day if possible to fighting this battle online. Because this war is a culture war; it’s a war for hearts and minds. If we lose Afghanistan to the Taliban again, it will be because we were not able to win the H and M part of the war and we didn’t see the option to fight a “total war” with nuclear bombs as viable.

If that’s true of Afghanistan, how much more true is it of Conservistan? As incredible as it sounds given what they’re engaged in, no one is going to bomb the bomb makers, not until it’s too late to matter and then of course anything goes, for all the good it will do.

But it can’t come to that. That’s losing the war for civilization and human survival.

So if bombs are out then that leaves persuasion . A war for hearts and minds fought online, in chat rooms and forums, in OP-EDS and over dinner tables, over drinks and at parties, in street protests and in legislatures, in civic organizations and in law making and in elections.

We have to engage and win that part of the war.  Silence = death.

Fully agree with this sentiment.  But we have to first, yes first, very basically understand that the enemy is not out there – it’s inside of all of us.  In all the dysfunctional mind-games that play out in our lives every day.  We have to own up to it to solve it.  Global warming is just the latest Easter Island.  I guess we could also point the finger at religion.  But religion was our choice to give up our fallible moral agency to the “bomb-makers” – so again it is our fault that the bomb-makers even exist.  And it is our fault that we didn’t prize highly enough the birthright of moral agency we so thoughtlessly gave up (to religion)!

Then we have to take direct action, including writing your elected officials and voting. You have to impress on your representative that THIS is the issue which decides your vote and THIS is the issue that you want something done about- yesterday.

What would you write, in light of what I have said above?  How can your local pollie be responsible for you?  Sure – write more of the usual stuff, but will it solve the real problem?  At best we’d get a whole lot of fed money thrown at ‘the GW problem’, just to be squandered away, and we’d all be left with the tax bill and an ever lower standard of living.  No, I think we have to take the whole task on ourselves.  We have to manage the pollies from a position of knowledge and strength, not just write them a letter.

Have you seen the Princeton stabilization wedges concept?  This is very practical IMO. Here’s a link in case you’re not familiar with it.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/01/10/207320/the-full-global-warming-solution-how-the-world-can-stabilize-at-350-to-450-ppm/

Fair enough – but not the basic point of this thread.  I think only a global but grass-roots fraternity of humans who really want to solve the problems of our ethical systems, our religions and our wayward consciousness-with-instincts is really going to get anywhere.  It’s a problem that’s been at least 15,000 years in the making if you read Dennett, Pinker & others.  Like you, I don’t think I’ve been too radical in what I have said, even though it is alarming.  I hope there are global citizens that are willing to take up the challenge.  In a pioneering and small way I think Harris, Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchens (and many others, including even types like Tolle - although I’d disagree with his religious beliefs) have done just that.  But it’s now time to do far more.  Do you agree?

[ Edited: 02 February 2012 06:15 AM by Michael Kean]
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Posted: 02 February 2012 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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For example, if there lived only 100 people on the planet. Would it have the same kind of pollution problems as it does now?


Somehow, birth control is an extreme taboo and as long as thats so, nothing is going to even remotely make our societies greener.

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Posted: 02 February 2012 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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But we have to first, yes first, very basically understand that the enemy is not out there – it’s inside of all of us.  In all the dysfunctional mind-games that play out in our lives every day.  We have to own up to it to solve it.  Global warming is just the latest Easter Island.  I guess we could also point the finger at religion.  But religion was our choice to give up our fallible moral agency to the “bomb-makers” – so again it is our fault that the bomb-makers even exist.  And it is our fault that we didn’t prize highly enough the birthright of moral agency we so thoughtlessly gave up (to religion)!


OK there’s a basic difference in our approaches that we just have to ack.


From my POV, you’re too inward looking and contemplative, which is not to say that that activity or the advice to be so is a bad thing, because I don’t think it is.  It’s just that I perceive the house as being on fire and action is what’s needed. I believe that action can happen right now, prior to some major high order revelation about who we are what our relationship to the earth is etc etc, or to be more accurate in tandem with it.


To your very good point, because I sound like I’m slighting it when I’m not, I totally agree that the radical rethinking you’re talking about IS going to happen.


Of course not by those now entrenched against it- Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, the libertarian movement the evangelicals etc but by the next generation who will loathe those personalities, their parents and all the people who are going on record as deniers. With certainty, this is conservatism’s last hurrah….hey guys! way to clearly identify yourself and your movement with the wrong side of the most important issue ever facing humanity! Nice going.


These sounds of voices and the images of these people spewing forth climate change denial will have the same meaning and resonate the same way as Nazi propaganda and images of Hitler and Goering and Himmler did with my grandparents Doubt it not. .


This is unbridled capitalism’s last hurrah, the whole Ayn Rand / coke snorter / amphetamine popping / Hayek- Friedman citing / libertarian thing is over and for exactly the same reasons. 


All this WILL happen and more, but before it does, we need to solve this crisis and failure is not an option.

What would you write, in light of what I have said above?  How can your local pollie be responsible for you?  .

The way to influence your legislator is by communicating with him. This is just how democracy works. You need to communicate and you need to vote in accordance with your communication. The entire power of lobbyists and organizations such as the Koch brothers fund are 100% predicated upon their being able to threaten congressional members with the loss of their positions by manipulating voters. You’re a voter. You put it together what they’re afraid of . They’re afraid of you. You know that voting population was represented by the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of OZ, right? You get this, right?


Communicating and voting is how democracy mobilizes itself. Denying that this is the key to getting your government to enact policies which will avert disaster is   just a morbid expression of personal angst and nothing more. Lobbyists know how it works and so do   you. Vote.


  The things governments can do are innumerable and essential.


First and most immediately the Keystone pipeline has to be stopped. Setting the tar sands on fire could be the final nail in our coffin (see Hansen on this topic) . 

 

Other things the government can do are in no particular order:


a moon-shot effort at a source of sustainable energy. It’s going to take time and money to find this, so start now and start spending that money on anything that could work.


Investment and subsidies in current technology. including all forms of renewables. Despite Solyndra, which is the denier’s whipping boy- (what happened is the price of solar panels being dumped by China- because they are so popular- drove them out of business)  the fact is that government subsidies put highways across the US, put electricity into rural areas, armed this nation for WWII, put a man on the moon and   can put solar panels on roofs and put wind turbines in the midwest and geo-thermal installations in the ground have the y have the power to punish over-consumption by building into fossil fuels the REAL cost of their use. 


forcing more stringent energy consumption standards upon makers of energy consuming appliances.


forcing higher R standards upon makers of home windows


forcing more stringent MPG standards upon auto makers


forcing the installation of electrical charging stations and the manufacturing of electric vehicles


forcing more stringent standards upon home builders forcing them to first build 30% then 50% then 80% then 100% net zero housing by 2050.
 

subsidizing insulation and energy retrofits of existing homes. This is huge.


This is the kind of power the government has wielded in the past and can wield now, in our hour of greatest need.  Please don’t tell me we can’t afford it . We can’t afford the alternative- what’s the dollar cost of failure? This point, which deniers love to kick around, is the stupidest talking point ever: it’s cheaper to die.

 

 

[ Edited: 02 February 2012 08:50 AM by softwarevisualization]
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Posted: 02 February 2012 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 02 February 2012 08:46 AM

OK there’s a basic difference in our approaches that we just have to ack.

From my POV, you’re too inward looking and contemplative, which is not to say that that activity or the advice to be so is a bad thing, because I don’t think it is.  It’s just that I perceive the house as being on fire and action is what’s needed. I believe that action can happen right now, prior to some major high order revelation about who we are what our relationship to the earth is etc etc, or to be more accurate in tandem with it.

To your very good point, because I sound like I’m slighting it when I’m not, I totally agree that the radical rethinking you’re talking about IS going to happen.

Action needs to be taken now - agreed.  So let’s do both at once.  What I’m suggesting is building a social synergy or fraternity to slowly engulf the madness of the current social (and mental) paradigm.  You seem to want to allow the in-group - out-group paradigm to remain in place and I do not.  I want to encourage a healthy “biodiversity”.  The greater the health, the more the unhealthy responses to the environment (and everything within it) will fade away.  So I agree with all your actions to the extent that they firstly face the fact that the paradigm or thinking has to change.  I’d go back to Tim Flannery’s comment: “But I am certain of one thing – if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further human progress is possible here on Earth.”  Please think about this comment very carefully.  Well-intentioned actions won’t work with our wrong thinking / wrong morality.  This is the last Easter Island.

[ Edited: 02 February 2012 10:06 PM by Michael Kean]
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Posted: 12 February 2012 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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davidstardling - 10 February 2012 05:47 AM

thank you so much for sharing this!

Hey - assuming you’re genuine, thanks for that.  I’ve added a few other thoughts on the topic in other threads:

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewreply/220503/

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewreply/220568/

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewreply/220583/

What are your thoughts on the topic David?

[ Edited: 12 February 2012 10:40 PM by Michael Kean]
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