Friday, November 1, 2013

Social Engineering Requires Info on the Status of Society

Bear with the lack of paragraphs, please. One of these days, I'll do the code thing. I'm trying to look at things from the engineer's standpoint of causes and solutions. Mostly the causes so far, because the solutions (if they are to put us in harmony with nature) would be too draconian or bizarre for most people to accept. Here's a list of some points: 1. Civilization is the means we use to isolate humans from the natural risks and responsibilities of life. It works only for humans, and only temporarily (until resources are unattainable to support it). In terms of natural resources and economics, civilization is always a pyramid scheme, but some cultures (Amish) try to keep it down to one layer of bricks or so). 2. Money is a tool that accelerates resource consumption. In order to use money the way nature works with other things, the use of money needs some kind of feedback mechanism (predator-prey equations apply), and that has to be applied at the point where people choose to spend money, not on an intellectual blame level or educational level, but at the action level. This is related to "People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff: in that order." 3. The old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." James Kunstler said, "'Efficiency' is the straightest road to Hell." Raj Patel said, "The opposite of consumption is not frugality: it is generosity." Those things add up to what I say: "All paved roads lead to Hell." 4. I will always fall back on my main theme of Net Usefulness: any species survives or goes extinct (in general) based on whether it is useful to the resources it depends on or simply a consumer of those resources. The problem with humans is that they have created an ever-accelerating extraction process that feeds usefulness up the pyramid of civilization, and we allow people who are the MOST disconnected from nature through the pyramid's infrastructure to make decisions about the flow of resources. Barbarians and farmers and naturalists are the interface between civilization and the actual world. They should be in charge of where resources are allocated (less farmers now because many are now factory managers rather than walking the wild fencerows).

Apocalypse Now

We're all Apocalyptic Now

Robert Jensen: "The claim that people are inherently greedy and self-interested is true enough, but we are also inherently bent toward compassion and cooperation. The question is which of those is dominant? If you create a system that rewards people for being greedy and self-interested, people will act in greedy and self-interested ways, but to claim that that's what human nature is, is an intellectually vapid argument." That's gotta be the Phrase of the Day: Intellectually Vapid.
The other aspect is that we have basically conflicting systems in America: we have a system of Corporate-controlled government which rewards greed and self-interest, but many systems of belief that emphasize cooperation and compassion. It is this conflict that is at the heart of our political stress, and it is fundamentally a conflict between those with resources to DO cooperative and compassionate things, and those who NEED cooperation and compassion. The solutions being presented are all about accumulating resources for greed and self-interest, then re-distributing those resources in token gestures of compassion. Better to stop the accumulation and denial of resources at the start, leaving people with the ability to act in their own compassionate self-interest locally. In other words, stop trying to get rich and start trying to live.

The Pile...

An old rant that I found in the archives.. The usual response to problems is to find a single Purpose to follow that will Solve the Failure. As illustrated by the idea that metal coin is better than paper money, or Hemp as a Solution to our energy problems. We don't have an energy crisis or political crisis. We have a consumption crisis. The same applies to the military bases, the deficits, the joblessness, and the status of our disreputable money. We get the government we purchase. Every empire has done something similiar: deceive themselves about the value of things so that the public will be sated (let them eat cake, bread and circuses, "Monsanto feeds the world", etc.). Those on the apex (on top of the piles of dead bodies) know that they only have to stay on top of the pile. They don't care what it does to the world, because their world is only the Pile. Those at the bottom of the pile of bodies are dead or dying, and they only know hunger or oppression: not Life or Law. This is the Predicament of Empires: that lack of moderation of the value of people (sometimes represented by coins or paper)that leads to some group creating a System of systems that exploits resources (including people) by controlling the perception of all value. In most empires, value is Inspired by an elite religiously-favored class (Capitalism is the worship of money, so those with the most money are the 'gods')established by Perpetual Growth and anything or anyone who defies that perception is marginalized. The System of systems is focused on its ever-expanding pile (GDP), not on any reason for the pile, nor any concerns with the future of the world that provides the resources for the pile. Only collapse of the pile will reveal that it is rotten and hollow. Even that revelation only works if the population wants to see the corruption. 9/11 blew a great big hole in the perceptions of the White Hat America, but the public didn't see the hole, and the media managed to cover it up rather quickly with lots of flags and flat screen TVs.