A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Friday, November 28, 2008

Clugston’s Question – essay two

(essay one, essay three, essay four )

I think that odds are very long that, as a species, there is a “we” that can stop or even slow down the exponential pattern of our changes and the ecological devastation that will result.  But that said, I can ‘imagine’ a dramatic reconnection with reality though the agency of our own body’s Living Order connections if a design of Story can be formed and spread.  The powers of the Consciousness System of Order (CSO) have brought us to this pass and the powers of the CSO can reconnect us to the biophysical reality.  It is worth a try.

The way I see it, the present construction of living arrangements in the biosphere face 2 major dangers: (1) rapid (in evolutionary/geological time reference) changes in climate and (2) disrupting chemical and structural contributions to fragile biophysical systems originating from human activity.  Since the natural sources of rapid climate change are almost completely beyond our influence and tend to be unpredictable, the second danger is what should concern us.  To concretize the abstract: we face super-volcanoes, asteroids and human intervention into biophysical systems.  The first two are certain to happen on a time of scale of 100s of thousands to 10s of millions of years.  The third is in process this moment and accelerating toward an increasingly dangerous climax within the next 10 to 50 years.

We are 100% powerless in the face of a super-volcano.  We are 99.99% powerless in the face of a large asteroid or comet.  But 100% powerless against something that has a .0001% probability of occurring within any 100-year period is not so bad.  But being seemingly powerless to influence our own actions, actions that are, by the largest consensus of scientists and thinkers in history, certain to drastically change the living order of the planet and create an extinction event equal to an asteroid strike is not credible.  There should be some “we” working on it. 

The obvious “solution” to the problem of using too much of the earth’s capacity as resource for our productions and toilet for our wastes is to immediately use much less, then study the capacity to determine what we can effectively use, design our various human systems within the limits defined and monitor carefully to make sure that we don’t overdo.  This is exactly the process of coming into ecological balance and has been going on every moment for nearly 4 billion years (adaptation and evolution in biological systems accomplish these things). 

Humans found a way around this Living Order process for a part of a second on the geological clock and sprang up like a time-lapse movie of a field of mushrooms and may very well die back just as quickly.  But the adaptation that facilitated this often terrible and now dangerous growth of our species and our technologies is perhaps the most magnificent arrangement of matter and energy in the universe.  It is a fully formed system of order on equal footing with the Living System of Order and the Physical System of Order as a source of its own probability structure of occurrences.  It is the CSO that has delivered the planet to this moment and there are only two possible outcomes: either humans apply the capacities of the Consciousness Order to the solution of the problems that we have created or the Living Order and Physical Order will respond massively and rearrange the table; ultimately, we have no idea what form this might take as species go extinct, as materials are released into the environment, as new disease vectors respond to changing conditions and as humans make uninhibited efforts to squeeze every last calorie out of photosynthetic product. 

We also don’t know what form the application of our practical understanding of the Consciousness Order will produce.  The elites may construct a new species concept in which they should survive – have the responsibility to survive and carry on the species.  The vast multitudes would have been a mistake that humans made over the last few thousand years and, as terrible as it may be, they would have to go (die), and quite quickly, since biospheric destruction is a function of per capita resource use.  I am confident that such plans are in consideration. 

Another option is for the “advanced” nations, meaning wealthy and holders of technological preeminence, to engage in massive programs of education for all the world’s people.  The elites in this case would give up their wealth to these projects.  Especially women would be educated in especially health matters – a proven way to put population growth under human control.   A massive redistribution of land would also be vital and the localizing of economies with foundations on local agriculture.  Everyone would have to produce, by their own efforts, some large part of their sustenance.  The goal would be to re-form a cultural Story of ecological balance as a primary forming experience of cultural life rather than the ‘human domination of the living space’ as the forming experience.  Populations would be reduced through normal death and women’s selection of birth rates (informed by a cultural Story of small families and supported by economies that do not rely on large families for work and protection especially in old age).

It would be possible in this model to rather quickly reduce the total earth use rate to below one earth and at the same time reduce the worst and most ecologically destructive aspects of poverty.  There would be great advantages to the process that could bring this about; and great difficulties, not the least of which would be absolute rejection of these ideas as deeply criminal by the short-sighted criminals who now feed off of our future.  The next essay in this series will look at more of the details. 

There is nothing inherently impossible about having a global Story of ecological balance; it would be much more reality based than our present Madness.  But there would be great resistance from those who are hardened into the present Story of the individual right to use the world in any way that makes a profit.  It could be done in about a generation with enough effort and if an element of the elite don’t sink the whole project by engineering wars and other conflicts, economic and local environmental collapses and other destructions to isolate and remove populations.


Michael Dawson said...

Of course, as MLK and others have observed, one constant of human history is that elites never voluntarily surrender their privileges, which they invariably interpret as the natural and just returns to their own nobility.

It's gonna take a fight from below.

James Keye said...

I agree. But I prefer to see humanity as much more entitled to their "humanity" than the elite is 'entitled' to their entitlement. The point being one of focus: yes, it will be a fight, but a fight of the elite's illegitimate power against the full force of the human adaption for survival; what is called by enlightenment thinkers 'inalienable rights.' This is one 'war' where all the battles must be won in the minds no matter how much the elite would like to win them with blood. When the many believe, they have already won, because there is no place left to be but where they are.

There are terrible dangers in this; there are terrible dangers coming in any case.