Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

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If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

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Philosophy: Kitsch

After expressing my opinion in the last post, it was interesting to reflect on this novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.

In the novel, this Czech veteran of Communist oppression talks about what he calls, “kitsch”

Kitsch has its source in the categorical agreement with being.

But what is the basis of being? God? Mankind? Struggle? Love? Man? Woman?

Since opinions vary, there are various kitsches: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Communist, Fascist, democratic, feminist, European, American, national, international.

Since the days of the French Revolution, one half of Europe has been referred to as the left, and the other half as the right. Yet to define one or the other by means of the theoretical principles it professes is all but impossible. And no wonder: political movements rest not so much on rational attitudes as on the fantasies, images, words, and archetypes that come together to make up this or that political kitsch.

The fantasy of the Grand March that Franz was so intoxicated by is the political kitsch joining leftists of all times and tendencies. The Grand March is the splendid march on the road to brotherhood, equality, justice, happiness; it goes on and on, obstacles not withstanding, for obstacles there must be if the march is to be the Grand March.

The dictatorship of the proletariat or democracy? Rejection of the consumer society or demands for increased productivity? The guillotine or an end to the death penalty? It is all beside the point. What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March.

What we are facing now is the kitsch of Global Warming and the kitsch of Climate Change. One adopted by the leftist Grand March and one adopted by the rightists. The only real difference between the two is the vocabulary of the particular kitsch. The real issue, what is happening to the environment, is irrelevant to both sides. All that is important is which kitsch generates the greatest emotional appeal.

All religions are philosophies and science is also a philosophy. If we apply the Pareto principle to science only 20% of science uses valid hypothesis, oberservation, method, data, apparatus and events. 80% of science is suspect. And a bunch of priests of science will not persuade me that they are somehow superior morally or intellectually to me or anyone else. When I think about eugenics, lobotomies, unnecessary medical procedures, chemical, biological and nuclear toxins and weaponry, non-biodegradable waste and the plethora of other gifts of science, why can’t I say that scientists in the last century have done more damage to the planet than all of history’s religions combined?

So a bunch of climatologists are saying that science has destroyed the environment in less than a century? Big news. Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Maybe it is time for Scientists to wake the hell up to what they have created. Perhaps, like Prometheus, scientists should have their livers eaten every day. Because, it appears to me that there is no difference whether a person has many, one or zero gods, Mr. Dawkins. It’s just another vocabulary for another form of kitsch. What we need is a new level of consciousness, higher than the philosophy of science.

And that is how Milan concludes his novel. We have to recognize that everything natural has its own level of consciousness. Nothing living is a machina animata. Nothing dead is machina intertia. Man is not as Descartes claimed, “maître et propriétaire de la nature.” Nature is not a universe of unconscious machines over which humanity is master and proprietor. And that, science cannot accept.