When I sat down to write here the last time around, I initially set out in grand ambition to address the broad and interrelated set of subjects of the state of the Earth as a whole, energy matters, and economy. Then I found myself distracted slightly and diverted into a subject that, as I said then, was not actually such a diversion.
The start of the eighties really and truly marked a starting phase, into a period of time when we began some kind of broad national cultural trend that was, to try to put it nicely, profoundly unhealthy. We started along a road of willingly letting go of troublesome reality and gradually going a little nuts. It’s becoming more and more apparent that a lot of people have never snapped out of that, and now that things are more complex and troublesome, with a batch of really serious problems, those people are really going bonkers, completely unable to comprehend what’s happening, and digging deeper into fantasy worlds and delusions.
Something new popped up and grabbed my attention since then. I came across this checking in on the Early Warning blog of Stuart Staniford.
The event happening was GF 2045, or Global Future 2045 International Congress. The big banner on the website for this event proclaims “TOWARD A NEW STRATEGY FOR HUMAN EVOLUTION“. Off to the side, we find the statement “Our mission is to ensure the survival of civilization, build a bright future for all mankind, reach new goals and create new meanings and values for a humane, ethical, and high-tech future“.
Check out a list of topic areas:
Project Avatar, Android robotics, Anthropomorphic telepresence, Neuroscience, Mind theory, Neuroengineering, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Neuroprosthetics, Neurotransplantation, Long-range forecasting, Future evolution strategy, Evolutionary transhumanism, Ethics, Bionic prostheses, Cybernetic life-extension, Mid-century Singularity, Neo-humanity, Meta-intelligence, Cybernetic immortality, Consciousness, Spiritual development, Science and Spirituality.
Looking around on the website, you’ll find that the conference is organized by some entity known as 2045 Strategic Social Initiative, declaring “The mission of the 2045 initiative is the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity.“.
Well, alright, then!
There’s an online discussion thread that started with the post of a link to a recent article, How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, from MIT Technology Review. The general notion is apparently that all kinds of technology, beyond (but including) industrial automation, will take away all work and jobs, work done by, you know, actual conscious physical functioning humans.
One point about this is that an awful lot, unfortunately, comes down to the more basic matter of too many people operating on the premise “I want to not pay anybody for anything“. There’s a lot of that around.
Aside from that basic problem, I think another basic and vital point to consider is that the near and more distant future of technology is likely going to be different from what many people might imagine, or have imagined in the past. Any of us who remember the visions of the future found in science fiction and journalistic media back in the sixties, all the stuff about “in the 21st century, we’ll…“, can compare the differences between all that, and the reality of right now.
There seems to be a pretty substantial amount of confidence and presumption in a basic premise that technology in the form of assorted computer and robotic devices and systems will just march onward perpetually, progressively eliminating humans doing work. It’s hard to get people to break out of what think of as extrapolation bias, that some particular trend line has been like so, so, then, we can expect that to just continue onward that same way, always, just more and more.
Sometimes, things go a certain way, in a certain trend, and then… they don’t. Somebody is always surprised and shocked by that. Who knew?
If we want to try to characterize the early 21st century so far, let’s try describing it as the era of the surprising and unexpected repercussions of the 20th century.
Things don’t really just suddenly appear out of nowhere.
As I get to this subject, I’m still considering news I just read today, that the website The Oil Drum is going to be ceasing active operations as of the end of July 2013. This is really bad news. It might strike some people as trivial to note that another website in the ocean of bits of the World Wide Web is going to cease to be, but this is a serious loss. It’s possible to find much of the information and thought that’s found on The Oil Drum elsewhere, but not in such a nicely collected form, and to put it simply, The Oil Drum has served a useful and noble purpose as an antidote to the enormous mass quantities of confusion, deluded nonsense, and sheer idiotic and/or blatantly deceptive bullshit bombarding the public.
The term “peak oil” was coined some time ago as a neat summary shorthand way of referring to the characteristic patterns found in oil discovery rates and extraction rates and described by Hubbert’s curve, specifically addressing the subject of reaching an all time maximum rate, the peak, of crude oil extraction rates, and turning into the phase of diminishing return declines.
It’s a good, simple, useful reference term. It’s severely unfortunate that, from the looks of things, right now, if you ask some random people about the term, it’s a high probability that you’ll find people thinking nonsense that it means “people think that the world is about to run out of oil, followed by end of the world doomsday”. The problem here is that people don’t have their heads around the actual concept, and it’s not a case of it being too hard to understand. It’s not. It does require taking a little time to absorb it, being explained well by people who first understand the idea properly, and are then trying to honestly get people to understand it.
What is Peak oil?
“The term Peak Oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognising that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion.”
Most people, not really digging into these things, and simply wallowing in what they’re fed for news as entertainment, are not getting that, despite the importance of understanding the basics in this. The barrage of specious nonsense and subtle (or not so subtle) reality distortion is likely to include things like telling people “this ‘peak oil theory’ says that the world is almost out of oil, but, look, here’s all this oil, right here!”. The variety of bullshit is wide, and amazing to anybody with the slightest idea of what’s going on, and I’ve written about it repeatedly.
We have, for example, one of the most gross examples, referring to the sludge of bitumen found in the Canadian province of Alberta, the tar sands, as “oil”.
Other supposed new “solutions” include the scattered tiny pockets of normal crude found locked in shale formations, usually referred to as “tight oil”, like the Bakken formation, the source of the hyped PR excitement of the North Dakota “oil boom”. The difficulty of the geology, and the nature of the small scattered pockets, mean a low energy return on energy investment (EROEI), much higher costs than what have been the past norm, and the rates of depletion are such that some people are describing the situation as the “Red Queen syndrome”, referring to Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen running faster and faster just to stay in the same place. More and more wells need to be drilled, with greater and greater difficulties (meaning more expense), just to try to counter depletion and maintain the same oil extraction rates.
Virtually all of the “exciting news” about petroleum (and natural gas, too, for that matter) is, in fact, once you understand it, actually clear evidence of the state of diminishing returns in hydrocarbon resources we find ourselves in, right now, not “some decades in the future”.
The message isn’t getting through, and it’s even worse because what does get to most people and forms some notions in their head about “energy issues” is bullshit, even from what the majority of people will happily accept as some sort of credible sources and authorities.
A recent article in The Atlantic monthly, a magazine regarded as a serious publication, carried the title “What If We Never Run Out of Oil?”, and the article certainly did not help put our situation in realistic perspective. Even worse, the cover of that month’s issue of the print edition made it even worse, with the cover blasting an altered version of the article title as “WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF OIL”. These words (all capitalized) appeared on a bright yellow background, complete with large smiley-face graphic. The strange twist is that if you go and read the actual article, it’s not bad, and is pretty informative about some things, although some things about the article I find questionable. [The main item being discussion of the idea that we’ll just change everything over to run on the amazing new resource of methane hydrates.]
Regardless of the questionable suggestions, you’ll realize that what the article is actually telling you is much different from the impression people would take from a glance at the altered title found on the smiley-face cover. It does actually get something across, which is not what some people might assume from that cover blurb, a delusion that there is some endless supply of oil that will never end, so no worries. The reality is that at some stage, whatever is left beneath the surface of the Earth will be too low quality, too difficult, and economically unviable to go after it, and there will always be some oil somewhere that will just never be extracted from the Earth.
About a week ago, I caught a short program on C-Span with a host/moderator in front of a crowd in some venue in Washington D.C. with oil business propaganda mouthpiece Daniel Yergin and Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy Daniel Poneman.
It was a waste of time, and it was only a half hour. If there was anything useful about it, that was in the form of providing a glimpse of something, a sense of how people regarded as serious people in positions of expertise and authority can put on such a dog and pony show, that seems impressive to some people, while completely dancing around and avoiding getting to grips with the problems at hand. The questions that were being asked by the host were, in themselves, managing to do this dance around substance and reality, while appearing substantial. Perhaps a much more succinct summary would be to say that it was a demonstration of top level expertise and skill in bullshit.
If we look at the realm of American politics and government, in terms of “energy policy”, we still find all kinds of specious and distracting noise, while the study presented to the US Department of Energy back in 2005, the paper usually referred to informally as the Hirsch report, continues to be ignored by everyone in the US government, at least as far as I’ve seen and heard so far.
What the audience did hear was Deputy Secretary Poneman rattling off what sounded like a reasoned and articulate set of statements, complete with a suitable injection of some statistical factoids as “evidence” (with what was being left out being crucially important to actual realistic understanding), and including at some point a popular political platitude, about “all of the above energy policy”. Yergin, someone who promotes bullshit sales pitches for the fossil fuels business as a spokesman regarded with the gravitas of academic authority, was asked something I didn’t quite catch, but I heard the term “peak oil”. I did hear all of Yergin’s response.
He said nothing about the peak of US oil extraction rates that arrived way back around 1970. He kept the meme going that the wonders of new technology and shale resources were making things all good, and getting better, while never mentioning the rapid and extreme rates of decline involved, or the inherent high costs that go with all that. He threw out numbers about increases in US oil extraction rates over the past couple of years attributed to all that, something like 700,000 barrels per day increase over the last year, never mentioning how far we still are below the all time peak of around 9.5 million barrels per day of oil output around 1970-1971, and that we’re devouring somewhere over 18 million barrels per day of petroleum crude here.
Yergin threw out a common bit of nonsense talking-point fodder, that being to throw out offhand comments about how assorted people in the past had made some sort of forecast declarations at the time that the world was going to run out of oil in some near future, and all those had been wildly wrong. People throwing out this as being some sort of significant point always avoid the simple fact that before oil specialist geophysicist M.K. Hubbert, who was working for Shell and analyzing the real world data, studied the matter and presented his findings back in 1956, including projections about the future of petroleum that have turned out to be amazingly on target, nobody making those “predictions” really knew what the fuck they were talking about.
The ongoing recent wave of public relations hype and propaganda about shale formation resources of both petroleum and natural gas, this supposed recent “energy boom” thanks to “new technologies and innovation”, can be put in more realistic perspective in short order.
You can listen to oil geologist Jeffrey Brown talking with writer James Howard Kunstler in a recent podcast, and get a sense of the reality of depletion rates and all that’s involved in going from an underground substance to stuff that people use.
You can read a fairly extensive report about the shale hydrocarbons bubble in general, and it certainly is exactly what you would think it means in terms of the use of the word bubble in economic terms.
Complicating things massively, we have the trend of circumstances on a worldwide frame of reference. Hubbert’s curve applies at any scale, from a well and field of deposits to the planet as a whole. We have been showing the signs of what some people thinking about this refer to as a bumpy plateau, or wobbly plateau, of petroleum extraction rates on a worldwide scale, bumping into limits to increasing rates more to meet rising demand, since around 2005 or so. That is ignored by people who find it convenient to ignore reality, and pretend, with the picture being grossly confused by statistical tricks that count all sorts of liquid substances as “oil production”. There is more going on than just this.
Ever since the rate of oil extraction in the United States hit its all time peak around 1970, rather than dealing with the need to conserve oil resources remaining within US territory, the amount of oil imported from elsewhere in the world has provided the majority of US oil supply. A couple of factors appear to avoid acknowledgement and understanding among most people.
First, that Hubbert’s curve applies to the sum of all oil extraction rates on a worldwide level. In short, when the planet as a whole peaks, there is not some other planet to then turn to for a new source of crude oil imports. Along with this, part of that, is the fact that oil exporting nations also are subject to the same phenomena described by Hubbert’s curve. When you divide up the scope of examining the numbers to a view of national data, all oil extracting nations will reach all time maximum limit peak of flow rate, if they have not hit the limits already, and most already have peaked. It’s not hard to understand the result; at some point every “oil export nation” becomes less and less able to keep up their levels of oil exports.
That’s not all. An astounding number of people seem to never consider that any oil export nations use their own oil; people seem to think that it’s all for us, and this leads to a dead simple fact. Nations extracting oil from the Earth all reach a maximum peak, and the numbers start into decline, and if you couple that with a phenomenon of a nation also using more and more of its own oil as time rolls on, here’s the result. “Oil export nations” eventually, sooner or later, cease to be “oil export nations”, as they reach the point where they can no longer even supply their own oil demands within their own borders.
Really, what it comes down to here is that the broad summary of the state of things under the heading of “energy” is, pretty much the same. That is, in the realm of reality, changes continue, as nothing is static, while virtually everyone in American officialdom and positions of authority and prominence keep playing the same games, doing the same performances, repeating the same general message of “on we go, status quo!“.
Into the murky waters where “energy” and “politics” intersect, madness reigns. You get the same nonsense endlessly from people who seem to seriously believe that we can have an endless supply of hydrocarbon deposit fuel supplies, if only pesky government would get out of the way of The Market and “innovation”, or people who insist that if only our government were freed from domination of Big Oil and fossil fuel lobbying, we would all just switch everything over (or would have already) to “green clean renewable energy”. Pointing out all the serious practical problems and clashes with physical reality in either of these camps is usually guaranteed to get people pointing and declaring you to be one of those people from the enemy opposite Other Side.
People like to toss out casual platitudes about “solutions” and “innovation“. It sounds nice. That isn’t actually doing anything. Few people want to hear anything about the complications and limits of reality involved. Even fewer want to know anything that suggest that the future might be less convenient or something. Very few people want to hear that the future is going to be much different than they might have imagined.
I’ve noticed that it’s incredibly difficult to get people focused in on anything as it actually is in many different subject departments, not just energy matters, and not go banging off the walls. Why people do this might be beyond my grasp, but you’re likely to find people either chattering about some particular sort of miracle “solutions”, or an array of such things, or flying into freakout panic about the end of the world shutdown doomsday. There is not much surprise to me in observing that this kind of thing gets paired off into dualistic opposites; laid out as optimism versus pessimism, or hope versus despair, or positive versus negative.
It’s amazingly hard to get people focused on the more basic reality, which is that we are facing changes, that are happening right now, and we’re going to just have to deal with figuring out what’s actually happening, and change ideas and plans accordingly.
Here, the United States, and everywhere in the world that fits the label of industrialized technological society, has had a long run, in the perspective of human lifetimes, and a momentary blip in the larger view of human history (never mind the timeframe of the history of Earth itself), of the windfall of energy sources locked in chemical deposits storing the energy of ancient sunlight.
We blew through it at an astounding rate, and now we’re into diminishing returns of what’s left. It’s that simple, however complex the repercussions become.
It amazes me, although I can understand a lot about how it happens this way, that so few people here in America cannot seem to get their heads around the most basic fundamental factors here; how much we’ve wasted of that enormous natural windfall, and the challenge of how we change what we’re doing and how we go about doing it to just not waste any more of what we have left.
That’s it. However difficult and complex it might be to work through it, that is the general “solution”. We need to work on this, we’re way behind, but people would rather indulge fantasies that you can simply will physical matter into being, or declare the laws of thermodynamics null and void, just because you really want to.
You can easily find plenty of people who seem to regard it as obviously self-evident that the business practices of international commerce we now know as globalization is simply the standard way of things now, and shall always be. You can find this presented as wisdom about a vision of the future, one of the more highly visible proponents of this being found in New York Times columnist, occasional book author, and television talk show guest douchebag Thomas Friedman.
Aside from all the other problems associated with it, the practices of globalization all depend on a particular pair of conditions. One is a state of relative world peace, which sounds odd, considering all the conflicts always raging somewhere in the world, but this simply means some major war isn’t disrupting some stuff being shipped around the world by the threat of being blown out of the water crossing the sea by a hostile navy, for example. The other condition is the presumption of unlimited and cheap petroleum fuel for long distance shipping that makes this kind of commerce logistically practical, and at relatively low costs. The first condition is always tentative, in the long term, and the second is going away steadily, and this will never revert back to past conditions. Part of our problems involve people being fiercely determined to believe that it will.
We live surrounded by a systematic appeal to a dream world which all mature, scientific reality would reject. We, quite literally, advertise our commitment to immaturity, mendacity and profound gullibility. It is as the hallmark of the culture. And it is justified as being economically indispensable.
– John Kenneth Galbraith
James Kunstler wrote a great condensed summary of the general situation of where we are right now. I’ll borrow from him here, quoting what might be just about the best concise description I have seen about what’s happened in the last few years, under the label of “the financial crisis”. (I should add, having used that sound-bite term, that a lot of people seem to actually think that this is something that has passed.)
Here’s what actually happened to this country leading up to the fiasco of 2008:
Highly paid banking lobbyists (including former federal regulators and elected officials) bought enough influence over lawmakers to get rid of the Glass-Steagall Act, a Great-Depression-vintage law that required the separation of commercial banking (checking and savings accounts plus mortgage and business lending) from speculative investment banking. That allowed large banks to combine their operations and, among other things, turn loans into “innovative financial products” (bonds constructed out of massive quantities of non-performing mortgages and other loans), which they pawned off far and wide on “muppet” clients, including big institutional investors such as pension funds.
The big banks retained pieces (tranches) of these innovative products (called collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs), which they bought insurance on (credit-default swaps, or CDSs), since they were guaranteed to fail and thus generate insurance payouts, covering the costs of the whole racket for the banks. However, the insurers (for instance, AIG) did not really expect to have to pay out, weren’t prepared, and didn’t have the scratch to cover their obligations when the payouts were triggered. These daisy-chained counterparty obligations between financial institutions threatened a systemic cascading bankruptcy of all of them (massive counterparty failure). The then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (former CEO of Goldman Sachs) importuned the U.S. Congress to bail out these banks, which they reluctantly did. And ever since then, the Federal Reserve and its handmaiden “too big to fail” banks have been running an array of scams aimed at concealing the worsening bankruptcy of American society and its government.
There’s a great quote from some of the last words of Steve Jobs that wrap up Walter Isaacson’s biography of him. I realized that I really needed to get this in here, and let Jobs lay out something that’s been on my mind for a long time, that manages to very concisely summarize what business should be. A basic reason for the wretched state of the American economy now, I believe, involves the abandonment of this simple principle.
I hate it when people call themselves ‘entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. That’s how you really make a contribution and add to the legacy of those who went before. You build a company that will still stand for something a generation or two from now. That’s what Walt Disney did, and Hewlett and Packard, and the people who built Intel. They created a company to last, not just to make money. – Steve Jobs
Compare that, including what Jobs and Apple have done, to any number of companies, especially massive corporations run and dominated by salesmen, accountants, and lawyers. Judge for yourself.
Many people might think it’s irrelevant to discuss repeat Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney, now that we’re over a half year past the 2012 election, but a look at the business practices of this character and his cohorts is a display of something very ugly and destructive that has become more and more the norm, steadily destroying the American economy. It’s a story of supposed “investment” where the basic notions of what investment means, what it’s all about, have been warped and perverted. Much of it (you could argue that nearly all of it) is not about investment of capital into enterprises doing good, useful, productive work, making good useful things, doing good work, but often involves creating debt, then used to take over some useful productive enterprise, destroy it and strip it of any value, like scavengers, and then leave behind a dead or dying hulk and debt that they manage to shove off onto other parties. The last kick of obscenity is for the people involved in this kind of misbehavior to proudly strut around referring to themselves as “creators of wealth”, or “job creators”.
This is really a subject that’s a little too big and complex for me to really address properly. It gets us into many things that are large and complex, made much more large and impossibly complex by just plain gross malfeasance and misbehavior, deception and delusion, and the willingness of so many people to play along with all that because they think they can get something out of it themselves, especially if the play the game right, even while failing to realize that they’re being “played”, using that term in the sense of being victims of scams and confidence men schemes. It gets down to basic concepts, like, what is capital, and the difference between capital and debt, which are not the same thing. Pretending that they are exactly the same has brought us all loads of serious trouble, although as soon as I write that, I realize that it has not been trouble for all of us, at least temporarily, as some people have managed to play the games that keep going, so far, through what basically amounts to massive systemic accounting fraud.
I’m boring myself by talking about the astounding freakshow you find now in any kind of televised “business news”, particularly the droning daily marathons on CNBC, which strike me more and more as a complete circus of madness, of people so immersed in an alternate reality of contrived lunacy that they believe their world is reality, and everything else is meant to be subservient to that, that Wall Street really is the center of the universe. The chatter about the daily Dow Jones Industrial Average (which, as I’ve observed before, has very little industrial about it these days), teetering over 15000 now, is enough by itself to make anybody out here in the real world, anybody hanging on to some kind of reasoned grip on reality, anyway, think “what the hell is going on?”.
There is always a lot of chatter about the Federal Reserve Bank, and right now, the program of “qualitative easing” being referred to as “QE3” is so surreal it defies belief. People keep talking about it as a “stimulus to the economy”, coming in the form of billions of dollars a month from the Federal Reserve. This alone is a staggering example of the sheer mass reality warp going on in banking and finance. This is “stimulating” nothing, the whole thing is a program of the Federal Reserve buying up piles and piles of the toxic waste hallucinated phantasms of the stuff people call “securitized mortgage bundles” or “mortgage-backed securities” that coupled with all the insane con-game contrivances of “financial derivatives” that blew up and brought things to full on crisis mode in the latter part of 2008. It was all a worthless pile of imagined “wealth” that, indeed, routed a lot of money to some people and entities, or at least numbers representing “money” and “wealth” in accounts, but were nothing but a massive hallucination and set of games in accounting fraud. All “QE3” is doing is forking over money to the people responsible for this insanity and taking the problem off their hands, to make their fucking books look better, instead of making the bastards take their own losses (and, many of us hope, choke on the shitpile they made).
It occurs to me that even writing about this and skimming the surface produces something that more than a couple of people might glance at and dismiss as “angry ranting”. This whole mess is so surreal, so bizarre, so completely outrageous, that it’s nearly impossible to write about it realistically without it seeming like an “angry rant”, which says more about the state of things in this subject than the writer. (I mean, honest, I’m not sitting here red-faced and veins bulging shaking my fist at the sky.)
A lot of this, as complex and tangled and confusing as it is, can probably be summed up very broadly, and, again, we can trace back to a turn away from reality to some degree back in the eighties, when people turned away from facing this. That is, what happens when everything has become based on assumptions of perpetual endless “growth”, and then we start running into very real limits, finding that endless exponential growth of anything is not possible, and people start turning to contriving ways to pretend we have endless “growth”?
Look around. This is what happens.
the malfunction of politics
“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini
I just recently became aware of proposed legislation in the House of Representatives, the bill introduced as H.R.129 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013. It’s a little embarrassing, as an American citizen, that I just found this. It’s completely outrageous that this bill has been so completely ignored, and so lost in the endless barrages of infotainment passing as news and high volume flow of bullshit from elected public servants, that I just noticed this bill.
What stunned me was looking around and finding that this same thing was introduced into the House as a bill as the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011. That is how long this has been around, and I don’t recall ever hearing or reading about it before. If I did, I forgot it, swept aside by all the endless noisy chatter that passes for news.
The bill was introduced into the House January 3 of this year, passed on to the House Committee on Financial Services, and what has happened since then, I have no idea. This is a clue, a basic sign of the present state of things, to find this, and realize that it has been completely lost in the noise background for at least a couple of years, ignored.
The introductory text of the bill lays out the long overdue basic essence…
To repeal certain provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and revive the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Banking Act of 1933, the so-called “Glass-Steagall Act”, and for other purposes.
This has been needed for a long time, and that understanding should have been obvious since autumn 2008.
Adding to my sense of something being very wrong here is finding that even very serious people, who make it a point to continually make themselves aware of current events and what’s happening, even focusing attention specifically into the ongoing fiasco of banking and finance, are completely unaware of the existence of this proposed bill in Congress.
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell
Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions. – Niccolo Machiavelli
None of anything else really matters if we have problems with the only home we have, we living human beings, Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, this big ball flying through space, carrying and sustaining us all.
I realize as I sit here that I’m going to need to cut this rather short, because there’s just too much to talk about in one shot here.
I came across an interesting statement that I think is profound, on a webpage about what have become known as “Earthship” houses.
Native peoples, plants and animals existed for many millennia without an adverse affect on the Earth’s ability to support life in general and humans in particular. These beings encountered earth phenomena for sustenance. They did not have an “economy”. They did not have “garbage”.
Now, of course, I understand that we are in a world, and here, in this country, a civilization that is not really able to simply say “right, so, we’ll just turn to living like the native tribes of North America did before all the Europeans came in and completely changed the whole continent”. But we might learn something from their past cultures.
Right now, the gigantic story I’ll skip now and leave for later is that we have a massive dose of reality smacking us around in a variety of different forms that all basically come down to being the consequences and repercussions of ignoring nature, in other words, actual physical reality here on Earth, and pretending, indulging delusions that somehow we’re just so clever, so special in the universe, that we’re somehow separate from “nature”, above it, superior. However you want to describe it, the universe is about fed up, and has begun kicking our asses.
There is so much more to say, about all of this. Enough for now.
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