AuthorTopic: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?  (Read 5189 times)

Offline g

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2013, 10:41:08 AM »
I stumbled into "The Diner" to read.  (I'll just have coffee, thanks.)  I probably have no business commenting on this site as I used to be well-educated, but I've become pretty average over time.  I just wanted to let you know I'm here; reading and enjoying the forum commentary.  Hi and thanks.  vwclown

Pleasure to meet you vwclown, hope you continue to enjoy our coffee;  hope you will comment as well. Welcome!

Offline monsta666

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2013, 10:48:39 AM »
I stumbled into "The Diner" to read.  (I'll just have coffee, thanks.)  I probably have no business commenting on this site as I used to be well-educated, but I've become pretty average over time.  I just wanted to let you know I'm here; reading and enjoying the forum commentary.  Hi and thanks.  vwclown

Don't be shy! The more Diners that post the merrier!

Offline agelbert

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good. Talk about SYNCHRONICITY!
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2013, 10:49:25 AM »
vwclown,
:hi:   Welcome and what an amazing coincidence that you just quoted part of the title to a Dilworth book I just mentioned on the basic income thread!  :emthup: :icon_sunny:

Here's what I quoted:


A quote from the following (perr reviewed) book:

Dilworth (2010-03-12). Too Smart for our Own Good (pp. 399-400). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
Quote
"As suggested earlier, war, for example, which represents a cost for society, is a source of profit to capitalists. In this way we can partly understand e.g. the American military expenditures in the Persian Gulf area. Already before the first Gulf War, i.e. in 1985, the United States spent $47 billion projecting power into the region. If seen as being spent to obtain Gulf oil, It AMOUNTED TO $468 PER BARREL, or 18 TIMES the $27 or so that at that time was paid for the oil itself.
In fact, if Americans had spent as much to make buildings heat-tight as they spent in ONE YEAR at the end of the 1980s on the military forces meant to protect the Middle Eastern oil fields, THEY COULD HAVE ELIMINATED THE NEED TO IMPORT OIL from the Middle East.
So why have they not done so? Because, while the $468 per barrel may be seen as being a cost the American taxpayers had to bear, and a negative social effect those living in the Gulf area had to bear, it meant only profits for American capitalists. "
Note: I added the bold caps emphasis on the barrel of oil price, money spent in one year and the need to import oil from the Middle East.
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/07/17/hope-for-a-viable-biosphere-of-renewables/
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if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2013, 12:35:58 PM »
I probably have no business commenting on this site as I used to be well-educated, but I've become pretty average over time.

Don't hold back. The discussion is better when more people participate. I think all viewpoints are respected here more than most places. But welcome regardless. Does VW in any way refer to Volkswagen?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline vwclown

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2013, 04:41:32 PM »
Thank you Eddie, agelbert, monsta666, Golden Oxen and Surly1; what a warm welcome!!  Yes, Eddie the VW is for Volkswagen...  So, I've got the car...  :D   I truly appreciate the quality of the writing and the subject matter covered here at The Diner.  I can't even express how relieved I am to find you.   Happy to meet you and to read your blogs and commentary. 
vwclown
PS  I hope links are OK  http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-physics-of-clown-cars-feature

Offline RE

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2013, 06:26:45 PM »
:hi: to the Diner VWC!

PS  I hope links are OK

Links R Fine, Embeds also!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/O_o3eeb1AKs" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/O_o3eeb1AKs</a>

This is my first post on a new Windows 8 Laptop.  So far other than the fact it is FAST on the Wireless 4G, I HATE it.  So far I can't see embedded videos.  Is this one working OK?

RE

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline RE

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Dumb Computer Shit...
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2013, 06:44:53 PM »


This is my first post on a new Windows 8 Laptop.  So far other than the fact it is FAST on the Wireless 4G, I HATE it.  So far I can't see embedded videos.  Is this one working OK?


OK, D/L Firefox and Adobe Flash...things are improving.  I now see the vids and the Browser is better...

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline vwclown

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2013, 07:35:18 PM »
Thanks RE.   ;D

Offline EndIsNigh

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Re: Too Smart for our Own Good...and too dumb to change?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2017, 12:09:21 PM »
WHD,

Quote
Without having read the book, as I would very much like to, I have this first critique, that the VCP does not adequately explain the current abject denial on the reality of a limited planet among people generally, or the very over-arching "hologram" presented as reality by the military-industrial supported main-stream-media (MSM).  It is one thing to say that tech progress has brought us to this place; it is something different to say that tech progress keeps us here against all apparent evidence of potential collapse. Obtuseness is being reinforced every day by the media, and only a very small few control the media.

The technological aspect is just one dimension of the VCP.  You have to remember that we're dealing with instincts which have developed over many millenia and won't be easily overcome.  Dilworth also points to other instincts such as individual territorial instincts (we often forget we're still animals) which drive individuals to operate in their own perceived best self-interest, as well as something he calls the reaction principle.  These instincts served us well on the Savannah, when it was more important to react to immediate threats than to perceive distant threats, but have since turned against our long-term best interests.  It's this instinct that explains the general apathy toward threats that, in the predominant worldview, are very distant.  As quoted in the article, see below:

Quote
According to the VCP the individual territorial instincts of the powerful override whatever other instincts they may have as support the well-being of the species, and it is they who determine the course taken.  And, it seems to me, there's not much we can do about it.  The revealing of the nature of the situation, such as is attempted in this book, is not going to make any noticeable difference.

Dilworth reminds us that some of the instincts that lead to overshoot cause us to behave no differently than other animals in this regard.

Quote
The fundamental problem as regards the continuing existence of the human species is that, while we are ‘smarter’ than other species in our ability to develop technology, we, like them, follow the reaction, pioneering and overshoot principles when it comes to dealing with situations of sudden, continuous or great surplus. In keeping with this, and also like other animals, we are not karyotypically built so as to care about coming generations, other than those with which we have direct contact. As Georgescu-Roegen says, the (rat) race of economic development that is the hallmark of modern civilisation leaves no doubt about humans’ lack of foresight. Even if made aware of the entropic problem of the human species, humankind would not be willing to give up its present luxuries in order to ease the life of future generations. When problems arise we turn to the nearest solution to hand, and do not take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. In this regard we act irrationally. We humans, in whatever situation, will gladly use irreplaceable resources to produce a technological fix if it fills an immediate need. The longest we are prepared to put off gratification is perhaps a year, where in certain societies, though people may be dying of starvation, seeds are saved for the next year’s planting.

Dilworth (2010-03-12). Too Smart for our Own Good (p. 393). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

You see, it's quite simple really.  We have deluded ourselves, through our success, that we're above the laws of nature.  That's why it's easy to forget that we're subject to the same rules as every other species.  We can't believe people can be so dumb in light of overshoot, but they're doing what every other species does.  But why then, do we get it?  Without being too self-congratulatory, I think it's because we are smart enough to see what is happening, or through our circumstances it has been revealed to us, and we were receptive to the message either because we're open minded or it's fulfilled some personal need.  Most of us were already dissatisfied with modern culture and were therefore drawn to an awareness of our predicament.

So at this stage I'm actually calmer and more accepting of the situation given the knowledge that we're mostly just acting as our evolution and biology would dictate.  What's happening can be viewed as horrible, or it can be viewed as the nature of things.  I'm now interested in enjoying what time is left and trying to do what seems fulfilling to me, while appreciating and helping my loved ones.  I am not going to participate in a culture I don't agree with.  I'll try to, as RE says, "save as many as I can," but at the same time, I'm not going to beat myself up any more or feel guilty for not doing more than is realistic, or get angry at other people for not acting as I am.  I think it's a bad idea to cling to any particular outcome.  If our species smartens up and overcomes our instincts I will be delightfully surprised.  I guess this would be good advice even if it weren't the end of the world as we know it.

A bit more from Dilworth:

Quote
From the point of view of evolution, to react spontaneously to one’s immediate environment has been the best policy for all species up to now. But now, in our case, in acting spontaneously we are not only worsening the situation for our own species, but for all other complex species as well.

To react directly to our surroundings is how we instinctively react; it is built into our karyotype, just as it is built into the karyotypes of other species. And if it were at all possible to overcome this predilection, it would seem that we, as a species, would have to act on the basis of that very intelligence that has landed us in this situation in the first place. Overcoming our instincts with our intelligence would be a difficult task to say the least however, as is evident from the fact that we haven’t made the least effort to do so despite being well aware of the problem for many years.

To use our intelligence in this way would require our manifesting, as a species, social instincts which could override our survival and sexual instincts. But for such instincts to work, first they must be appropriately manifest, and with tremendous force due to the extent of our species’ disequilibrium; second, in order to be effective they must be manifest globally; and third, their being manifest globally presupposes world stability and the creation of population-checking traditions. As regards this last point, for modern hunter-gatherers, the constancy of the life-situation, including the lack of technological development, made it possible to implement adequate population checks through the creation of traditions so as to keep the size of their populations oscillating about a mean. But the present human ecological situation is unstable due to constant technological development, and will continue to be so as long as technological development continues. (Cf. Wynne-Edwards’ comments regarding animals in unstable or transitory environments, cited in Chapter 1.) Change is occurring at a faster rate than ever; and this change not only prevents the creation of new traditions, but means the disappearance of those that are already established. Among other things, this change has meant that the various environmental triggers (epideictic phenomena) for the appropriate social instincts are now lacking, while at the same time our own genetic domestication has made us disinclined to manifest such instincts, or inclined to manifest them in counterproductive ways.

That our survival as a species is in jeopardy, and that we must act with an eye to the long-term future, has been realised by educated people at least since the beginning of the 1970s. At that time we already knew of the greenhouse effect, as mentioned, and of acid rain. And people generally became aware of our dire situation with the publication and wide distribution of such works as Commoner’s The Closing Circle in 1971, the Meadows team’s Limits to Growth, and Edward Goldsmith and others’ Blueprint for Survival – both in 1972, and Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful in 1973, as well as by the holding of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. And the 1972 Peruvian anchoveta collapse coupled with the 1973 oil crisis should have driven the point home.

In A Blueprint for Survival, for example, Goldsmith and his co-authors claim that at that time, i.e. more than 35 years ago, humankind was faced with a total ecological crisis, and that with the chaos to come there would be social disruption and a great likelihood of war. They also claimed that governments at that time either refused to face the ecological facts or played down their seriousness. “A measure of political reality is that government has yet to acknowledge the impending crisis.” This is a situation that has not changed in the ensuing 35 years. And they draw the conclusion that we are on our way to extinction as a species.

Similar views were expressed around the same time and earlier by such authors as Boulding, Schumacher, Hans Palmstierna, Hardin, Commoner, Georgescu-Roegen, Forrester, Donella and Dennis Meadows, and Wilkinson. These are the wise people of what may be the last age of humanity, none of their ever so important warnings being refuted (or acted upon). Rather, they have since been corroborated in the works of Daly, Mishan, Orio Giarini and Henri Loubergé, William Catton, Hazel Henderson, Michael Redclift, Trainer, Lester Milbrath, Mary Clark, Ponting, Douthwaite, Diamond, Abernethy, Anthony McMichael, James O’Connor, J. W. Smith and Sieferle. As Dennis Meadows has recently said, “The message that current growth trends cannot be sustained is now reconfirmed every year by thousands of headlines, hundreds of conferences, and dozens of new scientific studies.”

Furthermore, all computer simulations of humankind’s development into the future since that time, including the original ones of Limits to Growth, show not only that the present system will decline, but that it will crash, and that the longer it continues the greater the crash will be. In terms of Schumacher’s metaphor: we’re stampeding over a cliff. So the fact that our situation is terribly threatening has been known to decision makers for more than 30 years, and this quite independently of an awareness of the operation of the vicious circle principle. What an understanding of the VCP adds is a realisation both of how we have come to this pass, as well as why we in fact have made no serious attempt to remedy the situation despite our being aware of it.

As P. R. and A. H. Ehrlich also noted even before the first Gulf War, the world might well come to be engaged in nuclear war over the oil resources in the Gulf area. The inclination to acquire (further) power, or the inclination of the powerful to act offensively rather than defensively when possible, inclines leaders to attempt to secure sources of energy rather than make their societies independent of such sources. No laws are enacted to make non-practical use of oil illegal – such use as one sees in motor sports, for example. Again, this is because the powers that be in today’s world are economic, and for power-hungry or greedy capitalists increasing consumption means increasing profits.

Dilworth (2010-03-12). Too Smart for our Own Good (p. 393-395). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

 

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