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Old 12-09-2010, 09:10 AM
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Default On the weird psychology of humans facing peak oil (speech mp3)

Here is a speech of Kathy McMahon on the weird psychology in the face of peak oil and global warming

http://bit.ly/gj0rbK
http://bit.ly/gJWBxr

I found it very enlightening and in parts quite funny. It deals with how people react if or despite they see that oil is peaking, global warming accurs and biodiversity is declining. She covers several reactions, including denial, "pathological optimism", "Mc Gyverism" (="We will invent our way out of this with a pocket knife and a paper cup") but also mentions individual survivalism and preppers (which she says are doomed to fail, as the true survival strategy of humans is to form communities). A sometimes gloomy but enlightening and reassuring talk by "The Peak Shrink"

"We are not crazy. The facade of the dying oil civilization is definitely crazy" says Alex Smith, the journalist recording this talk.

She explains the difference between "problems" (which humans enjoy solving) and "dilemmas" (which we loath). The dilemma has no good solution. We get more problems whatever we try, all options stink. She goes on to describing that peak oil (and the future of industrial civilization with it) is such a dilemma in that no matter what options one can take, it always is undesireable in some way to many (use less oil and walk more? face economic crash when oil runs out? produce nuclear waste to cover the energy need? consume a lot less?)

There is a shorter edited version on Internet Radio
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Last edited by auroraglacialis; 12-09-2010 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:27 PM
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Interesting. You also have a good overview of it in your post.

It reminds me of a social studies lesson when I was 15 (Just a year ago). We were supposed to create a political party that represents our ideas. Well.. I tried to find a solution to all the problems in finland. It was horrible, every seed of a solution I had in mind was worthless, as in, only causing more problems elsewhere.

So what happened is that I gave up and instead decided to create a troll-party who are dedicated to complaining about everything. Stupid idea.. but seems like it saved me from those sleepless nights..
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:32 PM
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Well.. I tried to find a solution to all the problems in finland. It was horrible, every seed of a solution ...was ...only causing more problems elsewhere.

... I gave up and instead decided to create a troll-party who are dedicated to complaining about everything. ...seems like it saved me from those sleepless nights..
When I studied to teach English (several thousand years ago) one prof gave us an advice that I am still using, sometimes: "Even in a failed lesson, look for the golden grains of success". (New teachers sometimes face very hard times, right). I didn't become a teacher but I still keep the advice in my "first-aid kit", so to speak.

Your troll party was maybe a "golden grain of success in a failed lesson": you didnt change the world but at least you started sleeping Not to see any way out is sad, but to have an insomnia on top of that is worse (imho). So if at least one person - you (who is also a part of the world) -feels just a wee bit better, that's already a good news, even a tiny one.
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:56 PM
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KalTXi Aurora (I wish they had a Na'vi smiley of a hand touching the forehead - altho that mb difficult to make)
I'll be a pathological optimist nah, I just wanted to say that I liked the swirling colours on the screen during the speech - they gave me some ideas on finger-painting at least smth good...

On a more serious note... I was quite impressed by "20% of people consuming 80% of the world's resources". Scary. Amma says: "It is enough of evth in this world for evb to live well - but too little for a few greedy ones" (smells of Skypeople, doesn't it? taking what they want without giving anth...)

This speech also reminded me of some Stanislav Lem's stories (a Polish sci-fi writer, the author of Solaris btw - his stories are set in other worlds but they are mostly philosophical/satirical). He mentions a race of cosmic wanderers called Wygonty ("Thrownouts", in Polish - I think). The story goes that they exploited their planet so savagely and dug so many holes in it that one not very good day it simply crumbled under their feet & they happened to be hanging in the outer space. Since then they are wandering the Universe looking for a suitable planet to land & live; still haven't found any.
(I'd say that planets have their communications, too, & rumours run fast in the cosmic family: as soon as these Wygonty approach, the planets start spewing volcanoes & creating all sorts of natural disasters in order not to let them land... no planet wants them).

This story has been on my mind ever since I saw Avatar, the "Landing on Pandora" scene: a huge hole, like an open wound, in the ground, scary machinery, smoke from grey pipes - & a beautiful lush selva on the background. My reaction? "Oh, no! they are already digging holes, even here!"

Anyway, to wrap it, I'd quote Kanko Hoshi (a 14th century Japanese court poet turned Buddhist monk): "When the Moon is full it starts decreasing, when a business prospers, it starts tending down. Evth reaching its limit declines towards destruction - that's the law".
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:05 PM
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ah, I would also join Pr. Carter "Cassandra", in practical terms: to do what is in my hand. Turn the heating down & close the windows (instead of having it full blast - & half of the heat heating the... street). Buy what you need (check the fridge: what is really necessary? the food is to be eaten, not to be thrown out for becoming rancid). Instead of leaving plastic wraps, soft drink cans, etc. etc. in a forest it is better to take them & drop into the first bin (that's the right place for them). And so on & so forth. It seems little - but little drops of water make oceans. If, say, evb takes care of their own garbage - then the forests (seas, valleys, beaches) will be much, much cleaner (who is leaving the trash there, anyway? Lots of individuals, right?)
It won't sort the Peak Oil out - but at least I feel more in peace w myself, doing what I am able to do...
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by apache_blanca View Post
...Turn the heating down & close the windows ... And so on & so forth. It seems little - but little drops of water make oceans.
...
at least I feel more in peace w myself, doing what I am able to do...
That is a good motivation to do it I guess. I am not anymore under the illusion that doing all these "drops" will really make an ocean anytime soon. Partly because we simply do not know what impact every action has.
A nice example is part of this talk: Catherine Mohr builds green | Video on TED.com
But in general, buying anything has an impact, and usually a high one just because of all the system that is attached to it. 90% of the water goes to agriculture and industry, not private homes, only 20% of electric energy is used in private homes and only 20% of that for light. So the effect of shorter showers and energy saver bulbs in private homes is rather limited. I am not saying one should not do it - anything that can be done is good, and if it helps one to feel a bit less down it is also a good effect, but buying into the illusion that this will be "an ocean" is wishful thinking.
What has to change are the means of production - One can feed oneself with a lot less water and energy consumption if the food does not come from industrial farming, is produced locally and in regions that are suited for the foodcrops (like not planting rice fields in areas that are almost deserts)

Quote:
Originally Posted by apache_blanca View Post
I'll be a pathological optimist nah, I just wanted to say that I liked the swirling colours on the screen during the speech
What colors? It was an audio file...
Yeah - pathological optimism - I am not that. Maybe I am a bit too much of what she calls "Downer" - but then - what to do in a dilemma . Oh and in a way there is optimism in me - I do not really see the collapse of civilization as we know it now as a negative .

[img=http://www.springfieldcolorado.com/news/beginning.jpg]

Quote:
On a more serious note... I was quite impressed by "20% of people consuming 80% of the world's resources"
Yeah, that is why it is simply impossible for 100% of the world living as the 20% do now...

Quote:
This speech also reminded me of some Stanislav Lem's stories (a Polish sci-fi writer, the author of Solaris btw - his stories are set in other worlds but they are mostly philosophical/satirical).
Interesting story.
I really like SciFi, as it always had been - except in many of the more recent mainstream cultures sadly - a philosophical sort of literature, looking at the problems in the development of technology and science. It always not only looked at the nice comforts that brings, but also at the possible social, ecological, philosophical and psychological implications. And often their points were very well made. By transposing the stories intoa distant future, a distant planet or anything like this, one can criticise the present culture in ways that otherwise would not be accepted. Avatar did that as well, but rather bluntly. Putting the destruction of ecology, nature, indigenous people on a distant pplanet is a rather weak sort of such a transposition, but the concept is still there.
It is funny, as SciFi writers are often viewed as advocates of science and technology, while in fact they were at least to the same degree if not moreso warners and alarmists when it comes to the developments they foresee for the immediate future of the society they live in.

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Aurora
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Know your idols: Who said "Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.". (Solution: "Mahatma" Ghandi)

Stop terraforming Earth (wordpress)

"Humans are storytellers. These stories then can become our reality. Only when we loose ourselves in the stories they have the power to control us. Our culture got lost in the wrong story, a story of death and defeat, of opression and control, of separation and competition. We need a new story!"
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