Thursday 10 January 2013

Totally Different. ('Eunoia? Is that it?)

                                                                                                                                                              Up, Down. 
Three foundations:                                                               [I like it when things come in threes :-)   ]
              1962 - Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1907–1964);
              1973 - Small Is Beautiful, Fritz Schumacher (1911–1977);
              1972 - The Limits to Growth,
                                   Dana Meadows (1941-2001), Dennis Meadows (1942-),
                                   Jørgen Randers, Bill Behrens, and many others.

Habits die hard, says Dennis (last man standing); three lessons: 1. It requires effort; and, 2. It's uncomfortable; but 3. It's possible. Four videos of him (~50 min. each): 2009, 2010 (90 min.), 2011, & 2012; and a symposium in March 2012 - here is a playlist.
Donella & Dennis Meadows.Donella Meadows.Dennis Meadows.Dennis Meadows.Donella Meadows.Dennis Meadows.
I read these books in the 60's & 70's when they were written; some of my friends were already talking seriously about the greenhouse effect by the mid-70's; my 'A' subjects were maths & biology - Doh!    Better late than never I guess - for ethical if not practical reasons :-) 
Querido Galdo.So ... towards the end of the 2011 lecture (at minute 29), he says, "I think we need something totally different."

Sure, he is talking about discount rates but the question hits me at another level and I am wondering: What would 'totally different' look like? (vis-à-vis the approaches of various social movements towards somehow re-establishing balance).

I have found two clues:

1. Efficacy in this context depends absolutely upon the nature and the strength of relations between individuals - that is what (fundamentally) moves us. Consider the word 'saw' in Luke 10-33 (possibly qualified by Matthew 18-15).


2. Economics and other (dismal) models based on the metric of price simply do not wash - they are irrelevant. Dennis Meadows proves it in a specific case - just try it on as a general principle. Why is my inbox jammed with messages asking me for money but offering no connection? Try Matthew 6-31. Too extreme? Look again at Theresa Spence and Raymond Robinson.

That's it; and both couched today in a manner which I am certain will distract and mislead you. Please believe me gentle reader that I do not quote scripture as if I were any sort of a Christian, not at all. 
The list of disconnects becomes longer and longer:    Some people say to me, "So then, H. sapiens has had it. Oh well. Ho hum." Some say, "I have to bring up my kids," or, "pay for my house," or, "build up my career." Some just refuse to think about it at all. Some think about it and are overwhelmed and so stop thinking about it on purpose. And some are doing what they can.

And somewhat, a year or so, before the point at which abatement alone will not serve, we are already turning to adaptation & resilience. Resilience is very good - but is it a condition or a result of right relationship? And resilience or not, our best (last and faint) hope is for immediate economic collapse.

When I first read In Watermelon Sugar I got it wrong (I thought it was about sex but you know, I was in my 20's, everything was about sex). A friend took me up on it at the time but I wouldn't hear it. Thirty or forty years later I read it again and finally understood that I had got it wrong and how.

Just this week I looked at Brautigan's potted bio on Wikipedia, discovered that he died by suicide at 49, AND that his body lay for a month or more before being found. Hell, my father (not a suicide but dead nonetheless) only lay for a week! Something else I might be wrong about.

I am often wrong and it often takes a long time to figgure out - decades.

And I probably never get anything right either :-) I re-read In Watermelon Sugar this week and except for some tantalizing almost-connections I understand it no better than I did back in 1968. Reading some of the reviews at I see that no one else does either.

A very old friend said to me recently, "Our time here is short anyway - so we should do our best to be happy." Yes. Quite. I wonder if predicate logic permits happiness in the midst of economic collapse - I think so. 
Concernant les OGM, on n'a pas encore assez de recul ... / On GMOs, we don't have enough experience ...Problématique:    Humanity's predicament, the complex of problems facing humanity; and a central concept in The Limits To Growth.

One of the problems certainly is just that - the snake has so many heads. Hydra (defeated by Hercules only with the help of Iolaus - a lesson perhaps) and the Gorgon sisters all rolled into one and no Greek hero in sight.

Some of the fragmentation and competition among the aforementioned social movements stems from this: there are many issues and no clear hierarchy to provide an encompassing category. The 'environmental catastrophe' is close, 'décroissance' is close, but so is 'the 1%' and even 'the subject/object split in Graeco-Roman thought' ... lots of 'close', but no cigar.

Problématique may be the best; but it embodies a similar quandary to that faced by Stéphane Dion - and his 'Green Shift' failed to ignite. It takes time and study and probably a bourgeois education to understand.

If the Christians had managed to perfect humankind maybe everyone would already have that bourgeois education; anyway there is no time for that now (nevermind other impracticalities).

Just have to get on with no rubric banner I guess. 
Complete cultural disconnect: (coming soon to a theatre near you)

The very last sentence of The Limits To Growth:
The crux of the matter is not only whether the human species will survive, but even more whether it can survive without falling into a state of worthless existence.
Maybe it merits thinking about what 'human flourishing' and 'worthless existence' might mean? And now, at the end of his (last?) lecture, I hear Dennis Meadows saying:
If we go through this period of decline without foreknowledge, without preparation, I fear that it will strip away many of our fundamental values and that we will be left afterwards with a system that is very very unpleasant.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what 'unpleasant' might mean.
Adão Iturrusgarai: On the screen, Batman ... In the audience, Tarantino.Adão Iturrusgarai: On the screen, Batman ... In the audience, Tarantino.

So-oh, clue #3 - with a video (1.5 min.) this time: "If you go out'a here promoting sustainable development but your actions are consistent with overshoot, that's what you're gonna get."
   [There had to be three eh? :-)   ] 
Catching up on a few threads:

Tim DeChristopher is in a half-way house (see here and it was confirmed for me by someone who knows him), and due for parole as soon as April.


Stephen Gardiner has written several notable essays: Human Rights in a Hostile Climate; and, Geoengineering and Moral Schizophrenia: What’s the Question?. He keeps a list of publications on his website.


Simon Critchley published this just before Christmas: The Freedom of Faith: A Christmas Sermon.


The UN's FAO tells us that as of December 6 the Food Price Index was falling. (?) Hard to believe.


Paul & Anne Ehrlich ask a good question: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided? January 8, 2013. "Yes," they say; but qualify it so heavily as to mean "No".


Stephen Harper is up to dirty tricks; but Theresa Spence is right - it is a distraction. Nonetheless I am left thinking about 120 million over 7 years for 1,800 people - that's ~10 grand a year each - hard to ignore. I was mayor of a small isolated town for a while. We had about 400 grand in the bank and figgured we were all set for life. The mayor got no salary. Granted there were only 150 of us (scale it up is 5 million) ... still, 125 grand a year each for Theresa Spence & Clayton Kennedy?

That said, last word goes to Pam Palmeter: "... to stop Harper’s destructive environmental agenda."

Another eu-word: Eunoia, meaning "well mind," or "beautiful thinking," according to Wikipedia. Not in the electronic OED I have (and that does almost piss me off :-) but I bet it's in the 24-volume.

That's it. Be well.
[Try a few bars of Euphoria, see if that works :-)   ] 

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