Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Ecological Overshoot, Existential Angst, Mass Die Off, Overpopulation, Problemsolving
One of many aphorisms about problemsolving goes something to the effect that the first step to finding a solution is proper identification of the problem. The redneck version of this is, “Well, that there’s yer problem!” as though all problems were duh! obvious. Both presuppose the existence of the problem and an eventual solution, getting cart and horse, chicken and egg, cause and effect, and other teleological dialectics hopelessly mixed up. If you’re a business guru, an image consultant, a press agent, a campaign manager, an ad man, a lobbyist, or a lawyer, you can simply
sidestep redefine problems as work to be done, an opportunity to seek profit, or a messaging issue, any of which causes mouth-breathers to go chasing after misdirection, much like an errant charge of racism completely derails rational thought. Those with a few still-functioning synapses are more likely too gobsmacked by your own idiocy to retain focus. Same result.
Inside the Beltway — a proxy for the halls of power distributed predominantly along the East Coast and populated by an insane
clown posse coterie of one-percenters who truly do regard setbacks as profitable opportunities in disguise — the preferred term is optics, meaning that any given problem is really only about visual appearance, and even then, only so long as it stays in the public’s fickle viewfinder. Thus, we get meaningless canards such as “clean coal” and “energy independence” that fly in the face of, oh I dunno, physical reality? We also get the impossible levitating act of fiat currency and indeed the entire growth paradigm. Yes, the growth paradigm, stated here accurately and succinctly as “grow or die.” Alternatives probably don’t include a steady state, frequently greenwashed as sustainability, because all species expand and contract their populations according to available food/energy. That’s just basic biology, and homo sapiens are crowning proof of it ever since we figgered out how to exploit ancient sun-blood in the form of fossil fuels and went into full-blown population overshoot. Well, let me suggest, that there’s yer problem!
The problem begs for a solution, of course, but aye here’s the rub: all things have their moment, and ours is running out. Our civilization will inevitably join those before that have sputtered and spluttered out (though ours probably has a few loud bangs left in it), and far and away sooner than expected, homo sapiens will join the pantheon of species to fall into the dustbin of evolutionary history, meaning quite plainly that we go extinct. That’s a whole different sort of existential crisis from the one that defines (among others) the human condition: præscientiam mortem or foreknowledge of death.
Lest anyone believe that this is a new problem, let me point out that from at least the beginnings of monotheism millennia ago, the response has been the same: launch a public relations campaign and adopt new optics. For the Christian faithful, that means being saved from death and delivered to eternal bliss in the company of god. For the Islamic faithful, the afterlife specified by the Quran — at least for male martyrs — is 72 virgin maidens in paradise. (Female martyrs can expect to find their husbands in paradise, which sounds like a cruel joke to Westerners.) Maybe that’s not so bad, except that the mutual exclusivity of such dogma guarantees that they are in fact just publicity, grappling with the problem of perception. Who’da thunk, then, that atheism, which calmly insists that this life, here and now in all its earthly manifestations and embodiments, is the real show, the only show in fact, so let’s try to do it right and equitably and with what integrity can be mustered, who’da thunk that atheism would turn out to be a better expression of humanity than the various rape-and-plunder-the-earth, go-forth-ye-and-multiply versions of faith?
There was a recent Truth-Out article which talks about many of the themes underlying my posts here at this website. The bottom line is that capitalism cannot be reformed to save the human species. A whole new socio-economic structure needs to be developed as of yesterday:
And the article even touches on the “optics” you mention in your post:
The primary social cue of our current socio-economic system is money, and it’s power cannot be overstated.
The problem/solution is staring us in the face.
Thanks for sharing that truth out article. I save information like that to help me make my case for communal living. As it said in the article, the only way or the best way to curb unethical or collectively bad behavior is through a cultural mandate. I would argue that, that cultural mandate has got to start small. Today, when people think small, they generally think of individual behavior, but this flies in the very face of what this article saying. When I say small, I mean something like 150 to 300 people.
“Research on human social networks suggest that there is a limit on the “natural” size of a human social group of about 150 members, which is determined by our cognitive capacity. This has been called “Dunbar’s number” (after anthropologist Robin Dunbar) — the number of individuals with whom any one of us can maintain stable relationships.” – link
Aptitude Design said:
Concerning the Heavenly rewards bit: the facts are these ” Heaven is like having 72 wives & 10,000 servants” & the Martyr’s reward is to ” fly about in Heaven as a Green Bird”, versus hanging out in the grave until Judgment Day. Do not believe everything that Orientalists write: check with source material, as I did. That said, I find the rest of the article on the mark.
Michael Sosebee said:
I agree the problems seems obvious but the solutions are usually of the boondoggle variety.
One obvious problem is over-development and exponential growth of the cities in the desert southwest. Take Las Vegas, with 24 million annual visitors and 2 million residents living large in a desert cruise ship where all of the resources must be derived elsewhere, processed & delivered ridiculous distances via land sea and air is the symbol of growth at any cost” policies. Even talk about “slow growth” draw jeers.
The obvious problem is water, however with Lake Mead’s bath-tub ring rising by the day, Colorado River flow down over 40%. SNWA (Southern NV Water Authority) is pushing ahead with policies of “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” growth. They say 60% of the water is for residential landscape-use. SNWAs has made actual progress in landscape conversion but with 78 golf courses and millions of toilets flushing water demand continues unabated (Jevon’s paradox).
Las Vegas built it’s reputation on “no-limits” so showing up at a planning meeting and mentioning that plans for “3 million people in an environment that would struggle to sustainably maintain 1,000. might not be a good idea” is considered heresy, . You might as well wear a tin-foil hat with an Edward Snowden t-shirt. Expect to be moved to the file “lunatic fringe” and ignored. What they are allowed to talk about is building massive solar powered de-salinization plants in Mexico and ship the water uphill.
IN the meantime we’ll spend 16+ billion on a pipeline to steal water from the Great Basin Aquifer in the north bringing to an end one of the last pristine high desert ecosystems on Earth, not to mention the small farmers, ranchers and indigenous who are threatened.
The question for activists trying to influence local public policy is what can you do? I don’t think blogging and signing on-line petitions will get it but I’m not equipped for violence, sabotage or even monkey-wrenching.
Don’t screw around with people’s dopamine. Go to Vegas and get the showgirl sex dopamine, the bright lights and glitz adrenalin, the free food and drink. Then go to your favorite casino and they’ll let you win just enough to lay down some dopamine traces in your brain and you’re hooked. Then you’ll go home and work another year at a dreary job as a slow dopamine drip of recollection leads you to the realization that you must get closer to the fix and you move to the arid suburbs to be near the action. Lets change the name of Las Vegas to Las Dopamine and replace the Kaaba in Mecca and Vatican with giant molecular models of dopamine, adrenalin and serotonin and dispense with the fantasy. Design cruise ships like giant floating phalluses with Bacchus captains. Hustle, hustle, hustle, your friends and neighbors are having a better time than you are. Screw somebody, screw anybody, get the money, your reward awaits you. Welcome to the world where all of that useless natural shit can be converted into fleeting moments of pleasure in a fantasy that never ends. It all comes down to a little sperm that must meet a little ovum and the time to be filled inbetween with a body that must thrive energetically and functionally guided by biochemical rewards.
Paul F Getty said:
You put it well. Enjoyed that.
Michael Sosebee said:
World class Rant. Thanks!
“What they are allowed to talk about is building massive solar powered de-salinization plants in Mexico and ship the water uphill.
IN the meantime we’ll spend 16+ billion on a pipeline to steal water from the Great Basin Aquifer in the north bringing to an end one of the last pristine high desert ecosystems on Earth”
This seems like JUST the sort of thing Tainter means when discussing complexity.
In my area there is a lot of discussion about “improving” infrastructure to deal with large amounts of rainwater from bigger storms due to climate changes. I’ve just flat-out become that weirdo who says “we should de-urbanize and de-industrialize”. What the hell.
Dave Cohen of “Decline of the Empire” is quiting his blog due to carpal tunnel syndrome. How’s that for fighting the brick wall of techno-narcicist, money-worshipping man?!?
Anyway, his latest post is a great one illustrating what we have been talking about:
Jacob Horner said:
To be clear…Dave is NOT quitting his blog due to carpal tunnel. I’m surprised you would say that. His doubts and frustrations about writing the blog have become increasingly clear over the past few months and reach far beyond carpal tunnel….which he barely mentions in passing.
“I have wanted to stop writing this blog, on and off, for some time now, for these reasons and others I haven’t mentioned. I’ve given everybody three weeks notice, which is only polite, and I’ve also given myself three weeks to summarize all the work I’ve done here on DOTE. I won’t be wasting that time, and hopefully, I won’t be wasting yours.”…
My interpretation comes from the following:
I found some of his posts informative, but yes I can vouch for his “asshole persona” from watching his interactions with commenters on his blog as well as from personal experience. He’s been that way for some time. And he has carpal tunnel syndrome, or the early symptoms of it, which he needs to take care of. I’m sure if the health aspects of high blood pressure and carpal tunnel syndrome were not a problem, he’d be full steam ahead.
Oh, please, Tainter is just another in an incessant line of self-serving morons. It is NOT “complexity” that is “the problem,” even the functioning of the tiniest living cell is complex and the biosphere, in general, exceedingly so. It IS “complications,” think rent-extraction, red-tape, etc., that lay near the crux of today’s cascading conundrums. Complications are instituted by useless fucking parasites so they can “get a piece of the action” (usually the “lion’s share,” think Cargill, ADM, BASF). Tainter and Gladwell and Myhrvold and Kamen and Kurtzweil and Gates and Jobs and Blankfein and Dimon and countless many others are abject fuck-wads that should be shot summarily. Why anyone would lend credence to the egregious drivel spewed by such cretins only serves as evidence that, by and large, the entire “human” species is quite insane and fucking stupid. Sapere aude!
Whoa. What you describe as “complications” are exactly the kind of thing Tainter talks about, and his deal is complex/complicated *societies*, i.e. human constructs, not the whole biosphere. You don’t have to agree with him but isn’t calling for his murder going overboard? He’s one guy who wrote some books. You could just ignore him.
Seemed a bit overreactive to me too, but I’m sure Colin will rethink his opinion.
One man’s heresy is another’s divinely given truth. No lack of men willing to kill over thoughtcrime. So yes, a wild overreaction.
Paul F Getty said:
The dismantling of industrial civilization has begun, even as we also are showing great determination to expand it.
This essay presents just one case, but this goes on all the time.
I especially liked this:
“Of course, once a company is reduced to a few MBA’s at the top and a rump contingent of insecure wage slaves below, lo and behold, its life expectancy begins to resemble that of a six pack of Mountain Dew in a meth house, and, just as in a meth house, at that point it’s time to strip the wiring.”
Great little essay. I’ll have to start following “cocktailhag”.
Re: religion vs. atheism – we assume religion has been with humans at least since 30,000 BC, based on studies with indigenous and tribal peoples throughout the world and archeological artifacts. We know it has been integral to Western civilization for most of its sixish thousand years.
Since religion has been, in a word, omnipresent, it is impossible to separate religious beliefs from human behavior when viewed from any anthropological or historical perspective. We cannot enter into the minds of historical persons, and unless they stated their motives for us in some record, we are always assuming.
And since religion was so present and integral to pretty much everything that people did, in one way or another, it is possible to link pretty much every bad thing people have ever done to religion. However, it is faulty reasoning, poor logic, and fails as truth to then assign all human wrongdoing or destructiveness to “religion,” regardless of what people state to be their motives. Although it is extremely popular to do so in some circles.
The problem with fundamentalists is that they cannot tolerate ambiguity. They cannot contemplate, much less reconcile, the truth that their religious beliefs might not be uniformly good or true. They cannot tolerate that some of their beliefs might be good while others are actually bad or erroneous, that some might be moral while others are, in fact, immoral. They cannot accept shades of gray, nor subtlety.
Anyone who dismisses “religion” wholesale as being worthless is just another fundamentalist who cannot tolerate ambiguity, who cannot deal with the truth that much wisdom is contained in religion as well as nonsense, that much valuable psychological insight is contained in religion, as it as been the locus of human caring arts, fine arts, counseling arts, and many other endeavors throughout the millennia.
Blaming religion is as narrow and insightful as Jerry Falwell, who also cannot distinguish form from substance. Our problem is human beings and human nature and what humans do with pretty much everything they ‘use.’ Humans have used religion to be destructive for thousands of years. Now they use technology. Unless they change, when they have something else they will use that, too.
This perspective that it is religion that is the big human problem is just more escapism that hopes to, at some fantasy future point, educate or somehow otherwise liberate people from the intellectual and ethical tyranny of religion.
You can’t. Your tyranny is just like religion. It’s just the same limitations in a new form, because once again there is no ability to tolerate ambiguity. You’ve just swapped out black for white, but the dynamics are the same.
Wow, all that from a swipe at religion? I think you’re reading a whole lot into what I wrote.
I’m not dismissing religion wholesale or assigning blame for everything. Rather, I merely said, with respect to two fairly dogmatic religious attitudes that clearly inform the modern world’s perspective — i.e., consume/exploit at will and propagate recklessly on your way to a paradiasical reward — one atheist perspective (of many, I presume) that roots morality in more earthly goals is a better — not completely pure or a total substitute in any fashion — expression of humanity. The obvious tie-in to the theme of the post is that salvation in its various incarnations can be understood as yet another branding exercise, with the important caveat that it excuses some of the most heinous things we do.
Context for my statements may be a little lacking, since this was only my second post and I haven’t commented too much just yet. So let me suggest that the big picture remains pretty clear even though the details get awfully complex. In short, we have no brakes, no more than other species, really, and worse, we managed to suppress satiety signals in favor of greed/profit, which knows not what enough means. So we have consumed and reproduced to excess (to put it mildly), leading to catastrophic results. It’s not the first time a civilization has overshot carrying capacity, but I daresay it’s the first time to be global. You’re welcome to disagree.
“with respect to two fairly dogmatic religious attitudes that clearly inform the modern world’s perspective — i.e., consume/exploit at will and propagate recklessly on your way to a paradiasical reward”
I’m not sure what that means.
Frankly, “exploit at will” is primarily the capitalist attitude. In fact, it is the very foundation of capitalism, and the class-caste-feudal economic system of the Western world. All true religions are thousands of times more complex than that. Sadly, people are not.
And while some idiots may have justified their choices through a religious verse here or there, how on earth can anyone else with any intelligence at all do the same? I don’t even have to read the Bible or believe it(!) to know that two verses cannot comprise much or provide much understanding. I can just look at it and with a few calculations by glancing at the amount of text per page and looking at the total number of pages, I can figure out that two verses don’t inform anything. Unless someone has an agenda.
I don’t disagree about no brakes. I’m completely convinced we are screwed. I don’t think we are going to put the planet back together anymore than Humpty Dumpty. If we could leave it alone right now, it would heal itself, but we won’t do that.
I’m not devoutly religious, but I can search well enough to corroborate what you are saying…
1 Timothy 6:6-10
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
1 John 3:17
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
And my favorite…
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.“
Thank you. The truth isn’t dangerous at all. No matter which direction it comes from. The Bible, like the Koran and the Gita and many other great religious texts, is a big book that contains a lot of little books that are all over the place in terms of time and content. Together those hundreds of thousands of verses say many thousands of things, some of which appear insane, and many of which contain the psychological wisdom of the ages, but not in empirical language.
Brutus attempts to provide a dignity and complexity to atheism that does not even exist, especially in his efforts to turn it into something that addresses morality. I don’t believe it does. Maybe *atheists* address morality, but atheism does not, because it is not a formal belief system that has such defined tenants. At the same time, he also reduces “religion,” as do most non-religious people, to a point so over-simplified as to render the word absolutely meaningless, however the broad taint of “bad” is not missed.
I’m no fundamentalist, but such dismissals are not any smarter than what the religious idiots do.
P.S. Your favorite is really, really good. It’s my new favorite, too.
Some of the people I follow, like Chris Hedges and Sandy Krolick, have a background in religious and spiritual studies. Despite being nonreligious myself, I can still appreciate the strong moral foundation religion provides – something completely lacking in today’s cutthroat and money-driven society.
Hedges is very good. He is a great example of what I think religion can inspire in the right person.
Hah. I am getting all my RSS feeds into my wordpress reader to track them better, and I see this recent headline:
Daily CEO Pay Now Exceeds U.S. Workers Annual Salary
The greed has no end. Even as we see the natural world collapsing around us, those in positions of power grab more and more on the way down like looters stuffing their arms with merchandise, only it’s legal for the elite.
In all fairness, I did read much into your comments. I am so tired of the bias in both directions. To be blunt, I find the attitudes among many educated people toward religion to be as ignorant as I think Randy Yates was, who kept getting Andrea pregnant because they wanted however many children God thought they should have.
But in fairness to me, think about it. If you changed the context and were discussing any other subject, would you be able to display as much bias and prejudice as you did with religion? Would you get away with being so simplistic and reductionist, and even, in its true sense, ignorant, pulling the most extreme examples of a few persons and saying this is what “informs”?
I appreciate your sincere reply. Thank you.
I had written a big, long, hairy response that was aimed at explanation but quickly became argument. Arguing online leaves a nasty aftertaste, and I’d rather not go there, so let me just say more briefly to oldgrowthforest that I think you’re fighting phantoms by inferring things I didn’t write and don’t believe (and some things with which I disagree).
My remarks about religion and atheism were made within a thematic context that requires careful readers to connect a few dots. They certainly weren’t intended to launch an extended colloquy on the subject. The two main points, stated and restated, are that (1) the search for a solution to one of the principal aspects of the human condition (foreknowledge) is handled quite differently by religion and atheism, and (2) the underlying attitudes (dominion and profligacy) that have brought us to the brink are deeply embedded in Western religions.
I’ve yet to see acknowledgement or appreciation of what is actually written, as opposed to inferred, and beyond those confines, point-by-point arguments go way far afield, which I’ll leave to others.
Brutus, you are correct, and I read much into your words. It is true. I appreciate your willingness to discuss my comments without being argumentative. I will try to do the same. And, you are correct, and there is some projection at work on my part.
However, with all respect, you write things like, ” the search for a solution to one of the principal aspects of the human condition (foreknowledge) is handled quite differently by religion and atheism.”
That sentence does not make sense in any context to me. Maybe it’s grammar and syntax, but “atheism” does not “handle” anything. It is not a belief system that addresses anything except an absence of deities. Beyond that there is no stance that atheism takes regarding the human condition. *Atheists* may handle things, but “atheism” cannot. Okay? This may seem trivial, but it really is not. At best, maybe your writing and/or thinking are a little lazy, and at worst, you’re really trying to be profound.
Atheism cannot be fairly or meaningfully compared to something like a real religion in way you state. It does not have a body of tenants and creeds and beliefs about the human condition. Your comparison is invalid.
And your point about religion is so broad as to be meaningless. It is not a point. There is no way that “religion” handles the human condition, either. However there are many beliefs concerning the human condition contained within all religions – unlike atheism which does not address beliefs about the human condition, only the absence of supernatural forces. Some of those religious beliefs are alike and universal, but many of them are not and they are quite different from each other, like the different ideas of reincarnation, one life, and resurrection of the material body – all of which are vastly different beliefs from different religions. For a different reason, your point is, again, not understandable in any context if someone knows anything about religions.
So, you are correct. It was my issue, a reaction to a number of posts about religion in the context of collapse on this and closely related sites, and it is, as you say, fighting phantoms.
Okay. You asked for me not to focus on trivialities out of context.
First of all, maybe you could ditch the stereotypes as a means of communicating. I am not going to say you are entirely wrong – lobbyists and campaign managers, for example – even having never met one I have my suspicions. Nonetheless, you mentioned rednecks, business gurus, image consultants, press agents, campaign managers, advertising, lobbyists, and lawyers. Are you sure there isn’t anyone else you want to add? How about sales people?
Truthfully, apart from stereotyping, I’m not sure what you are saying. You seem to believe that everyone sees “rednecks” and “lawyers” and “image consultants” as the same and we all agree that they all just “redefine” things. That is a pretty broad statement about a lot of different people in a lot of different fields of endeavor. But there is nothing based in measurable reality in your contention. You provide zero support for your premise here.
“. . . from at least the beginnings of monotheism millennia ago, the response has been the same: launch a public relations campaign and adopt new optics.” I don’t think I did miss your context. My point regarding history and the overriding presence of religion in all cultures applies here. You attribute a human response, one that is seen in secular, atheistic, and religious people, to only “religion.” It is a false association, and a false statement, but difficult to disprove because there is nothing about it that is based in measurable reality; it’s just a broad swipe that lays all of the human failings of the past six thousand years at the feet of religion.
“For the Christian faithful, that means being saved from death and delivered to eternal bliss in the company of god.” The Christian faithful may believe that they will end up with god in heaven, but that is not the limitations of the Christian response to all ordinary practical human problems, and to state so as you do (you are the one who tied this to the past six thousand years, okay?) is simply not true and not reflective of either Christianity or most Christian believers. Another false and wildly limited association to religious beliefs, reductionist to the point of meaninglessness.
I don’t know enough about Islam to comment on your assertions there.
“Who’da thunk, then, that atheism, which calmly insists that this life, here and now in all its earthly manifestations and embodiments, is the real show, the only show in fact, so let’s try to do it right and equitably and with what integrity can be mustered, who’da thunk that atheism would turn out to be a better expression of humanity than the various rape-and-plunder-the-earth, go-forth-ye-and-multiply versions of faith?”
Your very bold conclusion, the reductionism of which I addressed earlier: atheism is the truth, and it is superior.
Based on ??? Your logic? You are a very, very good writer. Your logic and ability to work with these abstract philosophical concepts in any real depth, I don’t see. I can’t see that you ever given any real thought to nor have any real knowledge of subject of world religions, which you judge repeatedly in one, undifferentiated lump.
Paul F Getty said:
Interesting thoughts, and in my book Joris Luyendijk is a very good writer. Plus I mostly agree with his conclusions. Both Nicole Foss and I have repeatedly mentioned at The Automatic Earth that the next crisis, or rather the next step in the present crisis, will risk a resurgence of political extremes and religions old and new. When confronted with sudden and life-altering change, people habitually flee into whatever makes them feel safer, and this time will be no different.
But I still would go a step or two further than Luyendijk does. I think what we might be looking at when the real depth of the crisis hits will be a change of religion, rather than a revival of religion. Religion never went away or diminished, it just – temporarily – put on a different hat. Even in times of plenty, people never lose their need for religion; they just switch to different beliefs, namely the ones they think provided the plenty.
Those church spires haven’t just been dwarfed by the banks’ high-rises, they have been outright replaced by them as both religious symbols and as symbols of power. Which are more or less the same to begin with. The tallest, strongest, most expensive, most enduring structures of any culture that has built them, have always been symbols of both. Even a king’s castle would reflect the notion that the inhabitant had been elected to his position through divine intervention.
If you want to talk religion in the western world, in the face of a financial crisis like the one we’re presently living through, you can’t really ignore the biblical stories of Mammon, one of the seven princes of hell (he represents Greed). Christianity overflows with warnings about adulation of this “false god”, but apparently that doesn’t sufficiently warn us away. Given the historic display of greed and wealth and lust for power by the Catholic church, perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising; how can you be expected to follow rules that your leaders do not?
The “American mindset” that the trader in Joris’s story mentions, seems to make it possible for people to chase Mammon, and still label themselves Christians. It takes a bit of interpretative rule bending, but if and when what you do is accepted as normal by a majority of those around you, who are you to question it, and why would you? A prime example: there is no doubt about what is meant in the US by looking out for no. 1; it’s not Jesus, and once he is seen as no. 2 by a nation’s entire population, that’s it, no matter how differently this was and is viewed in different times and different places. In the end all is relative.
The Christian warnings about the worship of Mammon have of course had one major effect: nobody sees themselves as money worshipers. “Greed is good” has taken a firm hold on western societies, but no-one will admit to believing in it, in money, in the religious sense of the word. For one thing, you don’t go to a bank, or to your corporate job, to do penance (if there is such a place in greed-is-good, it’s probably the IRS, or a favorite charity). As an aside, one might be forgiven for wondering why the Catholic church has never resorted to building worship skyscrapers in the City, or lower Manhattan, or Hong Kong. Intriguing question?!
– See more at: http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/money-religion-power.html#sthash.pLSQT5R4.dpuf
Kevin Moore said:
There is no need to search for solutions. We knew decades ago what the solutions were: halt population growth, and then encourage population decline; reduce consumption of fossil fuels; reduce dependence on complex systems.
The solutions have always been, and will always be, the antithesis of anything bankers and corporations -who rule this planet- want, so we always got the opposite of solutions, i.e. pushing everything towards ever-greater unsustainability.
It is now too late to implement last-minute strategies to prevent mayhem.
We could, if there were political will, implement policies to mitigate the mayhem to some extent. But we know the bankers and corporations, and their bought-and-paid-for lackeys in government will not allow mitigation. Money-printing, looting and polluting, and endless wars [for profit] will continue until the energy necessary to run the system becomes unavailable or unaffordable.
Anyone who has been following financial aspects knows there are share market bubbles and housing bubbles throughout much of the developed world, but yield has been hammered by the low interest rates necessary to prevent sovereign debt exploding. Driving up commodities is one means for making speculative yield.
We will know in a few weeks whether the rising energy prices witnessed over recent weeks will translate into a 2008-like surge, or whether energy prices will decline as demand destruction kicks in.
For the moment:
WTI at $106
Brent at $109
mean that numerous oil importing nations will be subjected to another ‘turn of the screw’ they really cannot cope with. Expect more economic decline.
So, in a sense, the idiotic financial-economic DOES provide solutions. The problem for human beings is that the solution built into the system are catastrophic.
Great synopsis! The system is so corrupt that its own solutions to the sundry self-created problems it faces are problems in and of themselves.
Wow, we truly are FUBAR’d!!!
You are correct. There actually is no hope, we have com down the path way to far. Maybe something could have been done 30 or 40 years ago but not now. The business school mentality of this country and everywhere has created mutants that believe and always believe growth will work out. Ha. As Einstein said he didn’t know what third world war would be fought with but the the 4th world war will be with sticks and stones.
Kevin Moore said:
We have, in no certain order:
1) A collapse in corporate earnings
2) The collapse in US GDP
3) The European banking crisis back
4) The European sovereign crisis back (Portugal’s 10 year spiked above 8%)
5) China’s hard landing (electrical consumption is up just 2.3%)
6) A Fed that is literally beginning to mutiny with calls to end QE growing louder by the week
Against this backdrop, stocks are undoubtedly in a bubble. Today, the S&P 500 is sitting a full 30% above its 200-weekly moving average. We have NEVER been this overextended above this line at any point in the last 20 years.
Indeed, if you compare where the S&P 500 is relative to this line, we’re even MORE overbought that we were going into the 2007 peak at the top of the housing bubble.
Where does that come from?
Nowhere, really. In the Middle Ages, the Christian Church used Latin and had strong claims to philosophical and scientific authority. I merely sought a Latin translation online to what I believe is a major issue in philosophy.
Just four words about the putative value of religion, not to be wholly discarded even when recognizing its entanglement with all imperial human endeavor: