Good theory is clear understanding, but nature has given
us a complex world full of simple traps for making clear understanding
logical... Some further help on reading natural systems can be found
exploring my site, or in the two short essays for serious thinkers in any
"Why scientific models don't make good working manuals" - SciMan.pdf (draft)
"Life's hidden resources for learning" - Hidden-Life.pdf (draft)
Note: I write to paint a picture that's fun to draw, and hopefully provide a reader some leads for their own exploration and discovery, the learning process. Expecting any more assurance of communication from writers seems to be one of the basic mistakes, because of how much active rewriting of ideas any process of listening really is. Trusting that the ideas you hear are the ones a writer had in mind is probably the biggest blind spot of all... and so seeing through that the biggest clarification of where our real confusion is.
‘Efficiency’ is a sacred idea… but the Learning Rate is slower than Our Growth Rate.
So efficiency is not working to reduce our impacts, only to slow their multiplication. It's not physically doing what people believe in it for, and that our image is blinding us.
The Clear Spot is seeing we can switch to the feasible solution of stabilizing the economies. Then improving efficiency would have the intended effect.
‘Life saving aid’ is a sacred idea, but it's not true life saving if it multiplies the number of people living in unstable communities. Our 'idea' of helping is then blinding us to how to make it work.
Clear Spot in facing the whole
reality is seeing how to tie life saving to success to stabilizing
communities, putting the usual 2nd step 1st. Remarkably most aid
organizations, urban planning societies and even the press treat the
subject as taboo. So that's the first real moral issue to deal
1) OECD IEA 2007 World Data
The Food Crisis
It helps point to an error in reasoning when made by people with unquestionable commitment, compassion and creativity, like the leadership community of the environmental movement. The long promotion of ‘renewable resources’ is a classic case of ‘functional fixation’. Our fixed image of ‘good’ hid the ‘alien’ life of food consumers that happened to be in the way. We were not watching the limits and did not see the point where ‘more good’ turned to do harm. Our questioning ‘buttons’ were turned off, as if not needed. All the ‘renewable’ technologies are actually niche opportunities with problems in the future like that.
All the promising ‘renewable’ technologies from wind to solar to the other interesting bio-fuel options are the same kind of good niche opportunities, being offered as a way to solve what our blind spots prevent us from seeing as an unlimitedly growing problem. We seem destined to over-develop them. When you don't explore the limits of the niche your intrusions run into upsetting consequences before you can see a reason to slow down. It guarantees that you'll overshoot their limits and step on everything around them. What you find when you ask, is that all the 'renewable resources' being proposed as growth opportunities would consume land in ever growing non-renewable ways. We didn't notice that apparently because the word 'renewable' fits a place in our thinking that says 'don't look'. If used for the assumed purpose of eliminating the impacts of ‘non-renewable’ energy resource use, all the 'renewable resource' options will backfire. They'll have unlimitedly growing impacts of their own. It simply takes using a great deal more land to offset the vast amount of energy coming from small holes in the ground.
Ethanol is really just the ‘canary in the coal mine’ signaling that the environmental movements let the meaning of the term ‘renewable’ disguise the fact that these technologies would have ever growing impacts on other things. A huge amount of well meaning activism, scientific, financial & government research went into it. That ethanol production seems to have directly triggered a bigger economic change is the next part of the puzzle. I and others had been warning about related things for a long time, but I had not realized what the dynamic was myself before the the food price war suddenly added a 100 million or more people and their communities on the permanent dire poverty list. The large ethanol demand spike in late 2006 ran into an environment of unusually inflexible supply, and thus the growing momentum of the price war and global shift in food costs.
When you start listing the reasons for the simultaneous rigidity of increasing food demand and decreasing food supply, there seem to be a *lot* of them. They're mostly going to get progressively worse too. The one that collects the largest number of them together seems to be the huge momentum of global development, vastly increasing food demand while non-renewably consuming food producing land by several means. It's really very bad news, and a further warning about what happens when you let crises determine your growth limits. Everything steps on everything. Global warming and the food crisis are just the first two big and highly threatening disasters to come from guiding our future using reassuring images of the past, our self-made blind spots. Now the price war has permanently reduced the number of people that can be fed by the free market system. The arithmetic is simple and the 'clear spot' is to fight your way through the disconcerting clutter of 'conventional wisdoms' in our way to sense the true great moral questions of our time, and our genuine choices.
jlh Physics of Happening