Blog

In a Bad Spot

The future becomes clearer but more precarious
Monday, October 22, 2012, 7:24 PM

After traveling some, speaking with lots of people, reading, and digesting, I cannot escape the conclusion that things remain hopelessly off track.  Whatever form of 'recovery' is being sought here simply will not arrive.

The core of my views is shaped by the idea that the very thing being sought, more economic growth (and exponential growth, at that), is exactly the root of the problem.  I suppose I would take a similarly dim view of an alcoholic trying to drink their way back to health as I do the increasingly interventionist central bank and associated political policies the world over.

Go on then, drink more, but I think we all know what the result will be.

The most pressing concept at the center of it all is the idea of net energy, or the energy returned on energy invested.  As I explained in the Crash Course, the price of energy is not really the most pressing that we need to keep track of.  Instead, what we care about is the net, or surplus, energy that is returned from our energy exploration and production efforts for society to do with as it wishes.

Figure 1:  This hypothetical chart reveals the energy returned (green area) on energy invested (red part) and postulates what trying to live in a world of 3:1 energy returns would look like visually.  Where petroleum finds of just a few decades ago where offering 95% or greater returns on energy invested, a future of 3:1 oil offers just a 66% return.

The above chart reveals the world towards which we are rapidly moving with new petroleum finds being deeper, tighter, smaller, and generally more difficult to get to and extract, thereby offering lower net energy returns than in the past.

If there's less 'green area' in which to organize ourselves, then we will simply have to do fewer things.  However, the idea that we are going to get increasing amounts of exponentially-growing economy in conjunction with falling net energy is simply nuts.  It is insane, or at least developmentally immature.

Predictions for a World of Declining Net Energy

The world around me makes a lot more sense when I think about it in terms of net energy and where we are in that story.   Everywhere I go, I simply see oil, oil, and more oil, expressed in jets in the air, cars and trucks on the road, abundant and varied food types at every time of the year, and stores crammed with consumer goods from hither and yon.  We truly live in the age of abundance.

Yet that abundance is heavily subsidized by petroleum as well as other fossil fuels.

Where the prior 150 years were defined by ever-increasing amounts of both gross and net energy, a remarkable experience unlikely to ever again be replicated, the next 150 will be defined by its exact opposite.

The predictions for living in such a world are impossible to make in terms of timing and magnitude, but the trends and direction can be pinned down.

The big picture items are these:

  • Living standards are going to fall.  Ever-rising gross and net amounts of energy provide the essential building blocks for rising living standards, both directly through the goods and services brought to our doorsteps, such as food and warmth and mobility, and indirectly by allowing lots and lots of people to deploy their talents to things other than securing the basics.  In fact, this process has already begun; it will follow the 'outside in' model where the weaker elements of society and the weaker nation states will absorb the first effects of 'less than there used to be.' 
     
  • Inflation will come.  Because of the tendency of humans to try and print their way out of trouble, and because the system is now so saturated with debt that 'allowing' it to crumble to meet the realities of a world of less would risk a catastrophic systemic collapse of institutions and ruling parties, there's not much doubt that sooner or later all this will end in a very scary round of inflation.  Some currencies will not survive at all, and the areas served by them will experience hyperinflation first and complete monetary destruction second.
     
  • Stocks and bonds will fail to generate real returns.  Real returns, meaning positive growth in the value of stocks and bonds after inflation is subtracted, are an impossibility in a world where the economy is not growing in real terms.  You have to have real growth in the economy if you want real growth in stocks and bonds (in aggregate, that is).  Stripping away all of the gobbledy-gook, real GDP growth is simply not possible without real increases in real things – and those depend, in very large measure, on how much net energy there is to go around.  With declining net energy, there will fewer things to sell and do. 
     
  • Retirements will be postponed, if they happen at all.  It is only the very recent generations that have been afforded the reality of this thing called 'retirement,' which is the idea that you can live off of one's prior savings and investments for a decade or three, consuming and not producing the whole time.  Not so coincidentally (to me, at any rate), retirement and the exploitation of fossil fuels came along at roughly the same time.  That is, with enough 'green area,' we humans can do anything at all that we want with all that surplus energy. We can go to the moon, we can take long holidays to distant places, we can host Olympics, we can retire or do any of a billion other things.  For many, especially those at the margins of society, retirement will simply not be an option.  Retirement as a concept, and these individuals specifically, will be casualties of circumstances.
     
  • We're just going to do fewer things and produce less stuff.  What exactly will go away as the green area gets pinched downwards is impossible to predict, as much will depend on decisions that have not yet been made.  Perhaps we'll do something completely surprising with our remaining energy, channel the spirits of Easter Island, and build some huge yet frivolous monuments to ourselves.  Perhaps we'll squander the last bits of good energy on bad wars that end up destroying infrastructure that could only be built when there was enough surplus to go around.  Or maybe we'll get it right and choose a future that we can strive for and use our remaining resources wisely to achieve those dreams. While the exact features are impossible to predict, we can say that the map of our territory will shrink.  We won't be able to do everything, or even very many things as compared to before. 
     
  • More resources will be dedicated to and consumed by the energy sector.  One easy observation to make is that if net energy is declining, then we are going to be spending more of our energy wealth on the process of obtaining more energy.  This is one great field to be in, whether in the production side or the efficiency side.  If it takes more and more energy to get energy, what does that mean?  It means more drilling, pipelines, processing facilities, and all of the thousands of job types and millions of parts and components that are needed to get the energy out of the ground and to market.  As prices inevitably rise, the desire (if not the necessity) of using energy more efficiently will skyrocket.  Everything in the entire "built" environment, from commercial and residential buildings, to factories, to how we move ourselves around, and the water we drink will be targets for improvements and enhancements.  If you are thinking of a career to move into, the energy sector is a great place to start.

Eyes Wide Shut

I think we're in a bad spot.  I mean the globe here, but the developed economies in particular.  I am losing hope that we will navigate towards anything other than a hard landing at some point because even with copious amounts of data accumulating suggesting that the old ways are not working, I cannot detect even the slightest hint of original thinking or new thoughts coming out of the marbled halls of power.

Business-as-usual and more-of-the-same seem to be the only operative ideas right now.  And that's not really unexpected; systems always try to preserve themselves long after it should be obvious that a new tack is in order.  So there's nothing really surprising here about where things seem to be headed.

But what is a bit startling to me is the number of individuals that have not yet caught onto the idea that things have permanently and irrevocably changed. 

In Part II: If We're Ever Going to Take Control of Our Destiny, the Time is Now we take a deeper look at the dangers of inaction and explore the key question: What steps should we be taking right now to enter this new future at any other trajectory than a collision course?

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; paid enrollment required for full access).

Related content

45 Comments

ftealjr's picture
ftealjr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 19 2009
Posts: 30
Comment on In a Bad Spot

I talk a lot to very highly educated folks in a local book discussion group about the concepts in the Crash Course. Many of them just don't think we are on a "crash path".  They say either that the human race is very creative and innovative and will somehow find a way out of this problem or that I/we haven't really taken the energy from natural gas or coal into account. The first objection is really a matter of faith and, in my opinion, largely the result of wishful thinking. As for the second, I think we need to point out the contribution offered by electricity.

As I read the material above, it is clear that most of the emphasis is on the increasing scarcity of oil.  Somehow, Peak Prosperity needs to define the role of electricity (via coal or natural gas) and its contribution to our gross domestic product and economic growth.

I get frequent comments about the natural gas boom resulting from fracking and the enormous amount of energy generated by burning coal. I also am told that transportation will soon be revitalized by a conversion to battery powered vehicles.  I know that these are complex issues and I attempt to explain why electricity is not a replacement for liquid fuels but I meet a lot of skepticism.

Any help in this area would be appreciated. 

decemberlight's picture
decemberlight
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 4
All Things Must Pass

And that's a good thing, even though it hurts.  Thanks to Chris for visiting Iowa and speaking in Decorah tonight.  (BTW - this delightful little town is well on the way to solving these issues for itself: local food sourcing, building sustained energy installations, creating time exchange groups, and I suspect the cohesive quality of community so evident here will put it in an enviable position as austerity is forced upon us all.)

"I only change when it hurts more not to", a friend once confided.  Insightful if grammatically awkward.  My experience with human nature suggests this is true of most people.  

Dear ftealjr,

Your friends are comfortable.  For now.  After all its not real for them yet.  At least not painfully real.

It will be.  Then you'll have an audience.  Will it be too late ?  Isn't it always ?

But most of us will get something to eat and have a dry place to sleep.  The shift will begin.  It will take time.  Liquid, calorie-rich and portable energy reliant systems will give way to less convenient, higher mainenance and more expensive systems for transportation, industrial production, etc.  Plastics will be replaced with fiber based materials. Walmart will sell fewer pieces of junk made in China.  Petroleum will take on a premium product status.  The Prius next to you on the tollway will be carrying 4 people into work rather than one.  Fewer stops for "skinny moacha lattes with whip"  may ensue.  

People are creative and we will adapt, but the materials, structures and behaviors will evolve.  Evolving takes time.  There will be wrinkles.  It will be mightily inconvenient.  It will hurt.  Doesn't it always ?

Dislocation, dislocation, dislocation.  Dislocation offers opportunity.  Dislocation is our history and the inflection point to transcend that which is unsustainable.  Don't be afraid.

Rush the horizon.

e

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 507
Infrastructure is the bugaboo

ftealjr,

The problem with any new locomotive force is scaling to make a difference. Imagine if someone were able to make an efficient battery so an electric car could travel a couple hundred miles between charges. Here are some problems:

  1. The mining, manufacturing, marketing, and transporting the car to your local area takes energy. Supposedly, each of these steps would utilize the newfound technology. Which leads to ...
  2. Our electric grid is already operating near peak electricity carrying capacity (at extreme weather events.) Imagine the strain that a few hundred million extra vehicles being recharged would put on the grid.
  3. The US has about a quarter billion passenger vehicles.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States. There are another 15.5 million commercial trucks in the US. http://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm
  4. Those vehicles will take a while to be replaced. This site shows annualized passenger vehicle sales rates by month. It is currently trending at ~15 million per year. (Increased recently due to pent up demand and low interest rates - IMO.) http://ycharts.com/indicators/auto_sales
  5. It will take nearly 9 years at this pace to replace half the vehicles.

We don't have the technology, our grid couldn't handle it if we did, and we couldn't scale up fast enough to make a considerable difference before oil becomes that much more dear.

Your friends can hold on to their beliefs, but unless they are 100% convinced that human ingenuity will solve the problem, they should "buy" some of the "insurance" that the crash course recommends.

Grover

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 3415
Beliefs Trump All

We like to think of ourselves as rational, thinking creatures with free will.  Many of our internal narratives include the idea that we are in charge of ourselves and our decisions are based on conscious elements of which we are aware.

More often than not, the truth is that we make decisions based on underlying beliefs that are hidden from our conscious minds.  These beliefs sit there, undetected, running the show.

As living organisms, we collect experiences and then fashion them into beliefs that hopefully serve us in the future.  The unfortunate reality is that quite often these beliefs serve to limit our future adaptability and therefore resilience.

I said 'organisms' because you can see the same dynamic at play in other animals.  In our family we have a habit of getting our cats from the pound.  The last one we got was only 3 months old, but something had happened to it before we got it.  It was desperately afraid of our feet (if we were standing) for all the years we had it.  My guess is that it had been kicked a few times on purpose as a youngster and fashioned that into a world view that persisted until the day it left our lives.  

It did not matter that the traumatic experience had occurred a limited number times somewhere in the very first few months of its life and never again.  That cat operated for the rest of its life with the belief that standing humans would kick it.  

I can understand how and why nature has programmed us all this way; it is a fast and quick method to learn and survive.  On this basis it serves us.

Where it goes astray, especially for humans, is when we receive what appears to be solid, confirmatory evidence for how the world works when the evidence is only temporary or coincidental or even misleading.

In the case of technology, which for everyone alive has only been a one-way progression of wonderful advancement during their entire lives, there are many inappropriate associations that have been made along the way.

Mistake #1:  Assuming that the progression will linearly continue into the future forever and ever, amen.  Maybe, maybe not.  The Romans brought incredible technology and architecture to Europe, but after they left, all of that progress was lost for centuries.  Human societies have gained and lost more understanding and technology over time than is commonly appreciated (how did they make the cement used to form some of the pyramids all those thousands of years ago?)

Mistake #2:  Living standards and technological advancement have gone hand in hand.  Part of this was coincidental in that energy extraction and use, the ultimate comfort food of any society, played a huge role in the advancement of the easy lifestyles that we all enjoy.  The error is in attaching too much significance to the role of technology is creating all that abundance.  Sure it played a big role, but there is a lot more to the story than technology alone.  

Mistake #3:  Some people, perhaps I should say many people, have drawn the misleading conclusion that somehow technology can create energy for us.  It cannot.  All it can help us do is transform energy, perhaps more efficiently and usefully and other excellent things, but it cannot create energy.  To simply look at the progression of humanity as we are headed towards 9 billion people and 3 billion of whom are headed towards middle class lifestyles by 2030, and then glance at the many hundreds of quadrillions of BTUs of energy required to support that, there is virtually nothing anywhere on the horizon that is in a position to be a source of energy to replace fossil fuels.  Nothing.  So we will continue to burn fossil fuels and they will someday run out.  And yet many people hold the belief that somehow technology will find something or fix this predicament without having the faintest idea what they are hoping for specifically. They have confused the presence of more technology and more energy as being the same thing when in fact it was the presence of surplus net energy that gave us the ability to form the brilliant new technologies, not the other way around.

The thing about such beliefs is that they can (and usually will) persist for long after it is utterly obvious that they are no longer true or even supported by current facts and realities.  Much as my cat remained in deep fear of my feet despite never being kicked or stepped on by them, many people will be utterly stumped by why our technological utopia never actually arrives.  

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1516
a mistake: "fighting the last war"

Dr Chris? Our reaction to the way things have always been is robbing us of the initiative to deal with things the way they are now.  In military tactics, I believe this is called "fighting the last war." It's why we still have a big military base in Germany, even though WWII is history.

Now let's call the battle to survive and thrive in the present, and future, a battle. (It is one, you know.)  If we are still trying fro exponential growth when that is no longer possible, we are not 'concentrating our forces' in the right location. To take the analogy further, our troops are poised where we were attacked last time. But the enemy is somewhere else, and we are gonna get clobbered.

The Powers That Be are trying to jump-start economies with tools that might have worked in an era of cheap oil. They will not work now, because the situation has changed.

I often feel like Cassandra. If you're not blinded by expectations and habit, if you're livnig in the present, and not the past, it's obvious where we are headed. Painfully obvious.

However, as you pointed out, you can learn from the past. As Mark Twain once said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." Civilizations ebb and flow. After the fall of the Roman empire, civilization had to rebuild. After the Black Plague, same thing. There was a very rich empire in Aftrica - gone. Look what happened to the Mayans. The Aztecs.

I do wonder if there is a body of scientific evidence on how to break through to unwilling subjects and get them to see painful truths. Our civilization desperately needs an intervention. Unfortunately, history shows people in denial will only change when it becomes painful enough.

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
This is an interesting

This is an interesting conversation. My wife has always said "you weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you won't die with one there either". I have always concluded that she is right. I believe this, life is a process of ebbs and flows. So many changes, so many challenges that these times we live in and the changes expected are not something either of us fear because so long as you keep moving forward, with effort, then survival will just be. It is why also that personal wealth or values of things haven't the impact on us that we have witnessed with others if lost. Our approach has always been what is mine is yours, and yours is mine. Share and share alike. There's something to this guys. All of our families are immigrant to the United States, and adversity has been a common thread as well as a work ethic. These values have been passed along now and exist with our children and their children. I imagine now that these values have been attached way before even our grand parents in the old country. Interesting...

I read somewhere that the potato famine effected that generation terribly, and that their children adapted by having a slower metabolism and thus the kids stored fat easier as a result even though they had not experienced the famine. The results were shubby kids as the parents experience triggered a response so powerful that it change the kids genetic structure was my interpretation. I'll look for that article.

Chris, if aware of this perhaps you would clarify this to me and others. More to your education than mine. 

Go Humans-Go Tigers

BOB

Goooo Tigers

BOB

ftealjr's picture
ftealjr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 19 2009
Posts: 30
Thanks Grover

Thank you for the information on what might be involved in the conversion of our vehicles to electricity. I assume the conversion to natural gas would be equally daunting. Both "solutions" also assume that the continued burning of fossil fuels would have no consequences for extreme weather and food shortages.  I think, as Chris might say, we have put ourselves into a predicament.

ftealjr's picture
ftealjr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 19 2009
Posts: 30
Appreciate your thoughts decemberlight

I am not sure that I want to rush the horizon but I am very consoled that we all have each other.  That is a great comfort.

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 453
KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 660
Gold?

Since the Banksters have screwed us on most investments what is to say they won't with Gold?  I would like to hear some solid reasons that gold will not be under threat from manipulation ala housing CDO and confiscation with a haircut (i.e. "bought" with devalued money).

Concobb2's picture
Concobb2
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 21 2010
Posts: 12
"Mistakes 4-6"

All,

As Dr Martenson highlights, there are strong counter forces suppressing our individual ability to understand, form a broad consensus, and act coherently to address new challenges, particularly when the costs are as high as they are.

Though one could likely come up with an extensive list of Mistakes, to Dr Martenson’s list, Charles Hugh Smith would likely add, Mistake #4. Namely, that of those currently holding positions of privilege, influence, and power (i.e. the "elites"), will also be the most resistant to adaptations that destabilize their position of advantage.  At present, these "elites" are largely homogeneous in their interests and they span the globe.

Additionally the mechanics of the new global economic system have converged to a single monotype, ie a central banking system built upon debt and debt-manipulation. For lack of a name, I’ll call it the “Centralized Debt Manipulation System”.   The competing economic ideas within socialism, fascism, communism, and capitalism have been distorted, subverted, and displaced. The lack of competing alternatives in the global system also has a stifling effect on broad comprehension and adaptation.  (Mistake #5)

To wrap up my thought, because the entrenched elites have power and influence they tend to minimize and broadly dismiss the data and in so doing further suppress adaptation (Mistake #6).

In my view, a shift of power and influence must occur before we, as a culture, will begin to re-align with a long-term sustainable economy.  As it is, on our current path of denial and delusion, mother nature is eventually going to impose her correction.

mobius's picture
mobius
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 152
inverted pyramids...

Though one could likely come up with an extensive list of Mistakes, to Dr Martenson’s list, Charles Hugh Smith would likely add, Mistake #4. Namely, that of those currently holding positions of privilege, influence, and power (i.e. the "elites"), will also be the most resistant to adaptations that destabilize their position of advantage.  At present, these "elites" are largely homogeneous in their interests and they span the globe.

Much agreed Concobb2.  Concentrated wealth seems to engender a concentration of power. Power is a fuzzy word but I think of it as "the belief machine" that an elite group (be it priests in Mayan civilisation, or bankers in ours) employs in order to restore glories the past.  For the Mayas, it meant more human sacrifice, for the bankers - sacrificing the purchasing power of the citizenry.

Both end up with a weakening or dilution of the very stuff that makes a society prosperous. 

In a similar way our societal wealth reflects the inverted pyramid of power. This may explain the Western obssession with democracy:  trying to convince the masses that our collective exerts some control on governance, when in fact the top 1% has the access.

In my Latin American studies, I remember hearing in my Anthropology course that the contemporary descendents of the Mayas had no idea who had built the temples and pyramids in the jungle.  So much for legacy.

Cheers, Joanne.

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 660
Re: inverted pyramids...

When "all revenue is good revenue" forget about legacy.

craig_slater_nl's picture
craig_slater_nl
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2011
Posts: 17
Gold Confiscation

Below discusses issues re gold confiscation.

As for any paper gold product. Bank on it going to zero. Get physical allocated or in your possession.

http://fofoa.blogspot.nl/2009/08/confiscation-anatomy-different-view.html

http://fofoa.blogspot.nl/2010/08/confiscation-anatomy-part-2.html

http://fofoa.blogspot.nl/2012/01/gold-must-flow.html

flrd2dth's picture
flrd2dth
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 9 2012
Posts: 1
Energy Intensity?

Chris,

Can you mention energy intensity when you talk about GDP and energy?  Energy intensity (energy / $ GDP) is not constant over time so it kind of needs to be talked about otherwise your argument makes no sense.  

The amount of known fossil fuel reserves should probably be mentioned so that people are educated about when energy resource depletion is likely to occur.  For instance, my understanding is that oil might be depleted in our lifetimes but probably not coal or natural gas.  I think we are more likely to run into your scenarios due to having to switch energy sources early to avoid climate change (assuming the climate scientists are correct).

Renewables do not suffer from the depletion over time problem you mention so more renewable energy sources in the mix will improve the situation.  Individual states are setting renewable energy targets so we seem to be making (slow) progress here.

Energy efficiency improvements tend to be the easiest for people to do since they do not have to make major lifestyle changes.  Quite frankly the US has "grown up" with cheap abundant energy sources so there is likely lots of energy efficiency improvements we can do.  We already know we can drastically improve fuel efficiency of cars, energy efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, can do an order of magnitude improvement in lighting, etc.  Lots of good stuff here which actually save people money if they can get the capital to make the improvements in the first place.

dfhamel's picture
dfhamel
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2011
Posts: 3
sit in the bad spot...

Chris,

Thank you so very much for turning that marvelous mind of yours towards what I see as the essential cause of the problems you so efficiently outline in your book and the website, that being the unconscious driving forces of our western first world culture.

After reviewing the proceeding posts (both here and in part II) the majority of the solutions tend to deal with externals; solar this, metal that and the popular geographical cure. (I attempted this many times in my 20’s and no matter where I went, there I was) The predominant narrative solution is external.

I argue for the opposite.

In my own life experience only when I looked inwards to discover the unconscious forces (stories) that were driving my life, did lasting change occur. The question then becomes how does one accomplish the inner inventory. Many tools are available. The most potent that I have discovered is to pay attention to projections that erupt from the psyche. 

A projection is present when one experiences an emotional response or even a physical affect to a person or idea. We have all had the experience of not liking someone, without even knowing them or being offended by an idea so much so that there is a heated response. That is the projection at work. A quality or aspect of ourselves that we dispise has been repressed in the psyche only to be mirrored as a projection onto some one or some thing else. (we also repress/project our postive attributes that we refuse to take responsabilty for)

Countries can also behave this way. Witness the projections between Israel and Iran right now. The tragic outcome of these psychological events is that sooner or latter they can manifest into physical nuclear projections.

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung is quoted ‘We are the great evil. It is not out there but exists in each one of us. The world hangs by a slender thread and that is the psyche of man. What if something happens to the psyche.’

As you might expect the reason this is method of retrieving projections is so unpopular is that it requires us to change; to turn the ever present judgment inward, towards ourselves. I can assure you from experience it is  entirely unappetizing. And yet this simple act of witnessing our responses begins the deconstruction of the old narrative and makes way for the new life that exists from conscious choice. One can cease living the unconscious cultural story we came in with and commence living their lives out of present moment decision making capabilities.

I sense this ‘practice’ is at the basis of the religious experience. I shudder to use the word ‘religious’ due to the enormous emotional projections that such belief systems sustain. Yet I engage the word in its original meaning, that of the Latin stem ‘regilio’, which can be translated to ‘reassemble’.

There is a need in the human psyche to tear down that which exists and to reconfigure. I suggest this must occur on a personal level before it will manifest on the collective. Our personal issues are a result of the unconscious individual, familial, cultural and era related collective projections.

One healthy psychological dividend of this emotional and psychological investment is that of com-passion. The union of the prefix ‘com’ signifying collective, present in the words community and commerce and ‘passion’ defined as suffering. Once a person has retrieved a projection the natural result is the faculty of 'com-passion'. The abilty to witness that same ‘suffering’ in others. This deepening of connection with the previous ‘other’ goes a long way in understanding the motivations of other suffering folks. Not a shabby commodity aquisition, given today’s psychic bear market.

This arrival of compassion also breaks the overwhelming mental illness du jour, which is the belief that we are all alone. That we are the source of all emotions, all out comes good or bad, are due to our individual effort. In ancient Greece one would never say ‘I am sad’. That would be seen as complete insanity. To attempt to sustain the colossal energy of an emotion ordained by the divinities is impossible. But it was possible to have a sadness visit one. Already one begins to identify, to truly personalize the woe that has visited one in that moment. Yet we feel, in this egocentric culture, that we are these emotions ourselves. The indoctrination begins quite young.

From the time we can talk we are asked what is it we want; ie. chocolate or vanilla ice cream, but we want strawberry. This early identification with the ego produces a rock hard monster of ego that is unable to attain any semblance of happiness unless all perceived aspects of fulfillment are present. Just witness the reactions in a coffee line up if one’s double, skinny, 118 degrees, nonfat, decaf, mocha-chino with sugar free, non dairy whip is discovered to be too warm. The ego entitlement of its expereince riegns supreme.

It is a case of what author Paul Levy in his book ‘Wetiko’ calls " ‘malignant egophrenia' and what Native Americans call wetiko psychosis…" a self centered madness that has become normalized in the first world.

I suggest this ‘wetiko’ can only exist in a psyche or culture that refuses to become an adult. I define an adult as one who can entertain an idea that one does not believe in. The non-adult lives in an infantile 'either-or world'. It is present all around us, on a consistent basis. Politicians say ‘you are either for us or against us’. You are either happy or sad. Republican or Democrat. Good and Evil. Right or Wrong. The extent of this polarity of thinking srtuck me with full force when I realized that on every table in North America sat a white spice container and a black soice container. It seems the majority of the western first world is set up in the never ending struggle of duality. In my experience, the only way to break this epidemic hold is to feel your own feelings within a struggle and not default to a family or cultural accepted norm. But this requires personal integrity, an integrity that more often than not, starts with the admittance of ‘not knowing’.

I suggest that we sit within the query of not knowing what to do, the bad spot and NOT fix it. Otherwise the knee jerk projected answers that we are willing to fight for or against consume the energy that is required for ‘radical’ (meaning from the roots) change to occur.

Like Jonah and the whale symbol that was chosen for this article, we need to stop denying that we as individuals and a culture have been swallowed. And sit with that. Other wise all of these external ideas, geographical cures or precious metal purchases will do nothing to free us from the grip of the ego centric consciousness that we been swallowed by.

How can we do that? Another whale myth is that of the Polynesian culture, where they have an image of a fisherman standing on a whale fishing for minnows. I sense our prime existential struggle is attempting to find the answer outside ourselves instead of within us. In the still witnessing of our projections we can tickle the whale’s mouth open and walk out or realize that we are the standing on the whale/answer ourselves.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to express my experiences.    

Cheers; Doug Hamel

 
scribe's picture
scribe
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 19 2011
Posts: 9
To Chris, a complaint

Chris, I note that you make much of the financial and energy woes we face, but nary a mention of the unfolding disaster of AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

I urge you to remedy this, even if it means alienating some of the anti-AGW brainwashed readership.

To help you focus on this issue, please review:

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts

and

PBS Frontline: Climate of Doubt

gillbilly's picture
gillbilly
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 378
Beliefs

Dear Chris, Doug, and ftealjr,

Great questions and comments. Chris, I appreciate your comments on beliefs trump all, and Doug,the  same goes on your follow up in regard to projection. I just finished reading the Crash Course, and I'm very thankful you wrote it.  I have had a good handle on the economic predicament that has been building, especially in light of the massive leveraging in the derivatives. It is nice to have the energy and environmental issues brought under the same umbrella. It is also much to clearer to me now where this is all heading and how I can prepare for it and help those around me. 

I would like to recommend another book that parallels your book. It's called "Our War on Ourselves, Rethinking Science, Technology, and the Economy" by Willem Vanderburg (University of Toronto). Similarly, he points out that the two main myths (Doug, here's the Jungian part) we currently live by are that science has become our only way of "knowing" and technology is our only way of "doing." He stresses that we are putting our faith in "technological experts" that are stuck in their disciplinary silos. To deal with the predicament that faces our world, he argues we need to move away from looking at every problem through a scientific lens, or "scientific way of knowing." Similarly, we need to reevaluate our methods of implementing technology, and take a more balanced approach to consider the potential costs to society, our culture, and the environment. The immediate benefits of efficiency, profitabilty, and productivity may often have a much higher cost to our society in the long run, but are often not recognized until much later. Then the argument of "you can't going back" is applied, and therefore new end-of-pipe solutions are implemented to the problems which only create a new set of problems or predicaments. I'm sure this is now sounding familiar. Vanderburg has a background in engineering and the social sciences. The book intuits many of the same points underlying the Crash Course, and is worth the read.

Chris, I was pleasantly surprised to find that you relocated to Montague. My family and I live in Gill. I hope our little town is as resilient as Montague. We will do our best to spread the word of your triple Es to those around us.

Best,

Greg (Gillbilly)

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
AGW

I agree, but Chris has thus far declined to discuss climate change in any significant way, although that refusal is becoming less justifiable as the evidence rolls in and the effects are ever more obvious.  Nonetheless, there is an extensive and lively and civil discussion here:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/definitive-global-climate-change-aka-global-warming-thread-general-discussion-and-questions/71

Doug

debu's picture
debu
Status: Silver Member (Online)
Joined: Aug 17 2009
Posts: 131
Unwise Tactics?

Yes, thank goodness for Mark Cochrane's stellar work on the thread referenced above but agree that the achilles heel of PP is the failure to address the implications of climate change.

It rankles a bit.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
AGW - doesn't matter in this story

scribe wrote:

I urge you to remedy this, even if it means alienating some of the anti-AGW brainwashed readership.

Ad hominem attacks don't a sound argument make, but they do get you put on ignore lists quickly.

So, let's look at the cases:

  • Global Warming?
    • Not Warming - no worries
    • Warming - is it man made (anthropogenic)?
      • No - adapt since its most likely due to volcanic/solar/other non controllable events.
      • Yes

So now what do you do about it?  Assuming it's caused by burning of fossil fuels what can be done? Nothing - there is no way to reduce the use of fossil fuels without a substantial population decrease.  Of course that may happen naturally if the Crash Course/Peak Oil is correct.  So why discuss a topic that is still questionable, and even if proven to be true, you still can't do anything to substantially alter the course?  If your worried about it then add it to your list of items to prepare for, not sure you actually will do anything different other than not live in Florida.

I'm glad Chris relegates this divisive topic to the dungeon, where it should stay.  If you want to discuss AGW theory, there are plenty of sites available, or hey, start your own.

fionnbharr's picture
fionnbharr
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 27 2012
Posts: 26
Rhare honey, didn't you know?

Rhare honey, didn't you know? Mr Martenson put Mark Cochrane's thread on Global Climate Change up from the dungeon into chapter 18!

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forums/crash-course/chapter-18-environment...

Do you think maybe Chris is doing exactly what he said he "reserved the right" to do in 2008, at the end of chapter 1 of his Crash Course?

"Remember, these are simply my beliefs right now, and I reserve the right to change them if new information suggests that they are wrong."

Now why don't you go give Scribe a big hug and tell him you're sorry kiss

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
fionnbharr wrote: Rhare

fionnbharr wrote:

Rhare honey, didn't you know? Mr Martenson put Mark Cochrane's thread on Global Climate Change up from the dungeon into chapter 18!

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forums/crash-course/chapter-18-environment...

Do you think maybe Chris is doing exactly what he said he "reserved the right" to do in 2008, at the end of chapter 1 of his Crash Course?

"Remember, these are simply my beliefs right now, and I reserve the right to change them if new information suggests that they are wrong."

Now why don't you go give Scribe a big hug and tell him you're sorry kiss

Welcome to the latest incarnation of VF.   

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
AGW - Just talk

ao wrote:

Welcome to the latest incarnation of VF. 

I wonder if the ignore list has a limit, at the rate he/she/it creates new id's there may be a problem. angry

Anyway, I still don't see Chris bringing up global warming for a reason, so scribe, if you want to discuss it I suggest going to the AGW forums on chapter 18, and you can discuss it all you want with the many reincarnations of Vanity Fair.  I still say, all it will ever be is talk since there is no way it's ever going to make a difference.  If you think it will then I would suggest learning Chinese and Hindi so you can explain to the 2.5B people that they will need to stop using fossil fuels and stop having children (FYI - I'm assuming you don't have any kids since population growth is clearly the leading cause and you wouldn't want to be contributing to the problem).

SailAway's picture
SailAway
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 11 2010
Posts: 346
Re: AGW - Just talk

I’m certainly on the AGW side and I take this opportunity to thanks Mark and all the participants for the fantastic thread. For this reason and all the other reasons we discuss on this site I have reduce my energy consumption to a minimum.

That being said, I also agree with Rhare that there is very little we can do about reducing the overall CO2 emissions. In a peak oil environment, energy used is limited by production rate not by consumption. Said another way my energy savings will be consumed by somebody else. Or my savings tend to lower the price of energy which will increase the consumption of others.  It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to reduce our consumption and be more energy efficient for all the good reasons we discuss on this site or from a moral standpoint if you believe in AGW.  But even if the whole world would agree to limit the production of fossil fuels, it seems to me that we’ll still eventually burn all the fossil fuel economically available to us, so it would just maybe delay a little bit the unavoidable.

Population growth is also a major piece in our overall environment disaster. On this topic in Tom Murphy last article When Science is a Conveyor of Bad News there was a link to this study: Current Demographics Suggest Future Energy Supplies Will Be Inadequate to Slow Human Population Growth. Worth reading I think, here is the abstract:

Influential demographic projections suggest that the global human population will stabilize at about 9–10 billion people by mid-century. These projections rest on two fundamental assumptions. The first is that the energy needed to fuel development and the associated decline in fertility will keep pace with energy demand far into the future. The second is that the demographic transition is irreversible such that once countries start down the path to lower fertility they cannot reverse to higher fertility. Both of these assumptions are problematic and may have an effect on population projections. Here we examine these assumptions explicitly. Specifically, given the theoretical and empirical relation between energy-use and population growth rates, we ask how the availability of energy is likely to affect population growth through 2050. Using a cross-country data set, we show that human population growth rates are negatively related to per-capita energy consumption, with zero growth occurring at ~13 kW, suggesting that the global human population will stop growing only if individuals have access to this amount of power. Further, we find that current projected future energy supply rates are far below the supply needed to fuel a global demographic transition to zero growth, suggesting that the predicted leveling-off of the global population by mid-century is unlikely to occur, in the absence of a transition to an alternative energy source. Direct consideration of the energetic constraints underlying the demographic transition results in a qualitatively different population projection than produced when the energetic constraints are ignored. We suggest that energetic constraints be incorporated into future population projections.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1516
global climate and the Three Es

One of the things I love about this site is how you learn and grow. Becuase I came to the 3 Es from the standpoint of the Economy, I started out a global warming sceptic and even believed that volcanoes caused more CO2 than humans. I'm big enough to admit I was wrong.

Nevertheless, rhare is correct.

Assuming it's caused by burning of fossil fuels what can be done? Nothing - there is no way to reduce the use of fossil fuels without a substantial population decrease.  Of course that may happen naturally if the Crash Course/Peak Oil is correct.  So why discuss a topic (if) ...you still can't do anything to substantially alter the course?

I would suggest learning Chinese and Hindi so you can explain to the 2.5B people that they will need to stop using fossil fuels and stop having children,

So while manmade global warming is a worthwhile thing to discuss, even a fighteningly necessary and survival-related one, what can any one person here do about it? We can do what we are already doing.

We are already advocating living simply with less CO2 emmissions. We drive less, or do not drive at all. We "buy local" to deal with rising "peak oil" shipping costs, which has the same effect as buying local to save the planet. Our members try to use less packaging, and who cares if our motivation is that we might have a SHTF situation with nowhere to throw our trash? The resulting reduction in factory-made (emmissions-producing) packaging in a landfill is the same. We try to grow our own food, raise chickens, and keep bees - without factory-made, emmsions-producing chemicals.  People who worry there will be no electricty and want to get off the grid as much as possible are making less emmisions. It's what we do.

Speaking for myself, all of the admonitions by some well-meaning people here for me to believe in climate change, stop emmiting CO2, and do what I can to save the planet from global warming are not so much falling on deaf or uncaring ears as they are really making me cranky. Very cranky.

What do you global warming advocates suggested I do differently? I quit a job that required extensive driving and work from home. I added screen windows, screen doors, a solar-powered attic fan, and Eco-foiled my attic for the warm weather, and I installed an EPA-approved airtight woodburing stove for the cold weather. I grow much of my own food and can it, and am getting chickens. I recycle religiously. I buy local. I live within my means and vote carefully to be a good environmental citizen.

It may not make much of a difference, but I try my damnedest. And it matters not a whit that my primary motivation is not a fear of global warming: it's the three E's. The results are the same.

I "get" the problem: the planet maybe dying. I "get" the amount of warming and the trends. I get the acidity of the oceans and what it means to coral reefs. I get it. I get it.

What certain people on this site do not seem to grasp is that we are all on the same side here. Reacting rationally to the realities of peak Energy, the globally frightening Economy, and limited resources like peak water will bring us to a healthier way of dealing with our Environment, naturally. As Dr Chris stated in his article, "Living standards are going to fall." "We're just going to do more things and produce less stuff." And those trends will be good for the environment, whether we like lower living standards and less stuff, or not.

AkGrannyWGrit's picture
AkGrannyWGrit
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 6 2011
Posts: 157
Global Climate Chamge

Just a thought. At some point the discussion may chamge from reducing CO2 emissions and slowing climate change to simply focusing on how to keep our species from becoming extinct. A global economic collapse might slow our march toward extinction. The subject is too scary for people to discuss or contemplate so most won't take an indepth view of the future. How about you?

Ak GrannyWGrit

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
Well said safewrite....

safewrite wrote:

So while manmade global warming is a worthwhile thing to discuss, even a fighteningly necessary and survival-related one, what can any one person here do about it? We can do what we are already doing.

...

What certain people on this site do not seem to grasp is that we are all on the same side here. Reacting rationally to the realities of peak Energy, the globally frightening Economy, and limited resources like peak water will bring us to a healthier way of dealing with our Environment, naturally. As Dr Chris stated in his article, "Living standards are going to fall." "We're just going to do more things and produce less stuff." And those trends will be good for the environment, whether we like lower living standards and less stuff, or not.

It's obvious why your a professional writer. laugh   Thank you.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
options

Aside from each of us doing what we can to reduce our own use of fossil fuels, there is a great deal that can be done.  Get political.  If the US is to join the rest of the planet's nations in accepting the science first, and reducing it's own production of CO2 and CH4 second, then there must be the political will to do so.  Right now climate change is probably more of a 3rd rail of politics than Social Security.  Have you heard either presidential candidate discuss it beyond mentioning it in passing?  Where is the press in "press"ing the candidates to state their positions and advocate courses of action?  None of that will change in the absence of public pressure to do so.

I have read of studies that show that we could essentially fix peak oil and go a long way toward reducing emissions by conservation alone.  The assertion that we are on some kind of unstoppable train toward using all economically retrievable fossil fuel is not well examined as far as I can tell.  But, even if it is true, serious conservation measures could slow emissions to the point that the build up of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere could also be slowed and perhaps reversed, perticularly in the case of CH4 as it has a much shorter half-life in the atmosphere.  Slowing climate change is progress.

I don't see this as a partisan issue as politicians of all stripes (except some of those 3rd party candidates) are avoiding the subject like the plague.  The same happens to be true of peak oil and, to a limited extent, economic sanity.  The idea that any of these predicaments can be adequately addressed without political action is naive.  If politicians are to be persuaded to change their own behaviors and rein in their global corporate running mates, we must act like responsible members of society and apply the pressure.  Constantly avoiding touchy subjects is democratic cowardice.  We need action.

Doug

decemberlight's picture
decemberlight
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 4
ACT AND YOU WILL LEAD

Thank you, safewrite.  +1 from me: eschew wandering.  I'm new here but gleaning the essence is mostly awareness on the nature of impending change and secondly, steps for self/family/community preservation.

I suspect many or most who visit/join PP live lightly.  Our lifestyle examples may be the most powerful means to press positive change.  As I suggest above, the "kickers and screamers" will only respond to pain.  We have little recourse (or time) to force their evolution.  

My first responsibility to take care of myself requires I not burden any sentient being or resource beyond that needed to sustain a simple life.  Anything beyond daily bread and a dry bed is luxury.  What cost luxury ?  Isn't the ascetic most revered even for his dispassion.   A life lived in hamony shines and light attracts.  

So when I encourage us (myself mostly) to "Rush the Horizon", I mean let's get on with it.  The PP site may be best used as a prompt to action.  Nearly everyone knows intuitively we are passengers on a slow motion train wreck.  

Get about the business of saving yourself and others will begin to follow.  Post practical actions.

The wind is from the North, now.  There's a store just a few blocks East that sells wool hats.  The rain has let up.  Time to go.

SailAway's picture
SailAway
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 11 2010
Posts: 346
Re: options

Doug wrote:

I have read of studies that show that we could essentially fix peak oil and go a long way toward reducing emissions by conservation alone.  The assertion that we are on some kind of unstoppable train toward using all economically retrievable fossil fuel is not well examined as far as I can tell.  But, even if it is true, serious conservation measures could slow emissions to the point that the build up of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere could also be slowed and perhaps reversed, perticularly in the case of CH4 as it has a

It would have to be extreme conservation measures to overcome all the forces towards more CO2/CH4 emissions:

  • Population growth comes with increasing energy demand especially in the developing countries.
  • Peak Oil effects resulting in increasing consumption of coal (more CO2 emissions) and natural gas cleaner to burn from a CO2 standpoint but possibly worse overall if you include the methane emissions when produced.
  • Decreasing EROEI meaning that we have to burn over time increasing amount energy for decreasing amount of net energy available to society.

So the idea that we could reach a worldwide political consensus for extreme conservation measures resulting in the immediate collapse of the whole system seems extremely unlikely to me.  It’s tragic I agree.

decemberlight's picture
decemberlight
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2012
Posts: 4
ALLOW ME ONE OBSCENITY

FORGET POLITICS !

Do it yourself.  Change youself.  Use the energy and time right now right where you are.

Sacrifice something.  Your neighbors will notice.  And follow.

e

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
options

Don't disagree with anything you say SailAway until the last paragraph.  Are you suggesting the frog in a pan of water approach?  All the forces you mention will just hasten the day of reckoniing if no forethought or actions are taken to ameliorate climate change.  Let's be clear.  Economic disasters happen with some frequency, people live through them and adapt.  We continue to have overpopulation problems, though they tend to be localized, not global.  Lots of people die and the survivors move on.  Fossil fuel gets expensive, we adapt somehow, hopefully with less use.  We will not run out of fossil fuels before the climate is changed, perhaps radically, certainly on a global scale.  

All of these phenomena are happening now and have time horizons measured in decades if not sooner.  Where do you put your priorities? 

This is all I will write about this subject as I'm pretty sure I'm close to some editorial line.  There are other forums made for this subject:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/definitive-global-climate-change-aka-global-warming-thread-general-discussion-and-questions/71

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/climate-change-adaptation-relocation/73394

Although, the last link is perilously close to the subject of the second half of this article. surprise

Doug

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 274
"Forget Politics" is not an obscenity!

Rather it is a way to keep a clear head about where the real and important issues lie. 

Thank you Safewrite for your take on the issue of AGW. We are indeed preaching to the choir here in that most PP regulars 'get it' and are making changes in our lives to be less energy dependent, more resilient and sustainable.

I might add though that we can also 'help' by clearly and consistently communicating our understanding of our finite world to those around us. We may be able to influence others who are dealing with the uncertainties of our changing world. 

Ripple effects are real. Not everyone has the time, inclination or resources to develop positive and appropriate responses to change. We can lead in this area both by our example of how we conduct our lives and through consistent, clear, verbal communication about our reasons for doing so.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Some Thoughts On Futility

How would the world be able to cut carbon emissions in half? Maybe if families with incomes above $10,000 per year can reduce their carbon footprints by 80% while the poor (who never had much of a foorprint anyway, and are just on the brink) keep their emissions the same. Will that happen? No.

Even if the world human population stabilized at 9 billion and started going down to 6 billion within 50 years - the carbon consumption (if oil becomes expensive, the people will turn to coal, wood, and peat) of 9 or 8 or 7 or 6 billion) people every year is still unsustainable.

Our resident climate scientist, Mark Cochrane said he once did some calculations back in the 1990s that at the then-current rates of carbon emissions, the world would have to plant and grow the equivalent of 1 new Amazon rainforest every 10 years to offset the emissions of our industrial society. It's almost 20 years now, and the rate of global carbon (and other green-house gas emissions) have increased while the size of the Amazon rainforest has decreased.

A massive pandemic might work. A massive tidal wave from a comet might work. A major super-volcano that brings 3 years of bad harvests might work. A nuclear war might work - perhaps even provide a reprieve for animals that are shorter-lived because they can reproduce faster than cancers can develop, whereas humans need close to two decades and have long gestation periods. But voluntary actions? No. It's the tragedy of the commons, like they say.

Poet

RJE's picture
RJE
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 31 2008
Posts: 1369
Mother Nature has her ways,

Mother Nature has her ways, and the ways of Man cannot undo what has already begun, and that isn't to imply that we have done anything to cause a tipping point. Look, this beautiful planet that we now grace has cycles itself, and even if we did nothing at all to harm it some celestial body could just change things in a blink of an eye as it pierces our atmosphere. This is a fate issue that frankly we will never get ahead of so by natural selection we will be trimmed to the just right population numbers. Better to enjoy life, let your conscious be your guide and live accordingly. I am a conservationist, I recycle, my carbon footprint is responsible, and I do what I can to give back all that I have taken. That's the best I can do, so in the meantime I ready for game two of the World Series hoping the game concludes before the end of times and my team wins.

Respectfully Given

BOB

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2009
Posts: 1369
Was this supposed to be cute?

Was this supposed to be cute?  Why belittle others in this manner?  Did it make you feel good?  

For someone that's new (but I'm pretty sure you're not new), not the best way to introduce yourself.

No matter what type of asshole you are, you still stink.

fionnbharr wrote:

Rhare honey, didn't you know? Mr Martenson put Mark Cochrane's thread on Global Climate Change up from the dungeon into chapter 18!

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forums/crash-course/chapter-18-environment...

Do you think maybe Chris is doing exactly what he said he "reserved the right" to do in 2008, at the end of chapter 1 of his Crash Course?

"Remember, these are simply my beliefs right now, and I reserve the right to change them if new information suggests that they are wrong."

Now why don't you go give Scribe a big hug and tell him you're sorry kiss

maxwellbach's picture
maxwellbach
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 13 2009
Posts: 29
Sitting in a bad spot

Doug Hamel & Chris,

Thank you for such rewarding comments following this original post. What a pity the conversation has to be diverted. Seems we can't sit in an uncomfortable spot for very long at all ....

treebeard's picture
treebeard
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2010
Posts: 380
Spot on, great comment

In my long history on this planet I have bounced back and forth between the inner journey and outer action.  In my younger years back in the 70's I was determined to change the world by becoming an Architect and building solar homes.  Years later, frustrated by the external world I turned to Yoga and became a certified instructor in a belief that without inner change outer rational action is impossible.  This is of course a great simplification of a long life, but the balance between inner work and outer action have always been at the core of my thoughts. I do believe the greatest impediment effective outward action is an inability to deal with the darkness within.  The projection of our evil apon the "other" may in the end get us all killed in the end as you noted.

Identification with ones emotions, country, political party, thoughts and nationality can lead one badly astray and into ineffectiveness and violence.  If ones own house is not in order, even with the best information and intentions, we will only spread the internal disorder without.  I agree with your assement that being present to  a problem without judgement is critical to develop understanding.  When we arive at an answer awareness comes to an end and the learning process stops.  Truth is a pathless land, the truth is percieved and not reasoned, if you are thinking, you are already confused.   If you see the truth, no explination is necessary, if you don't see the truth, no explanation is possible.  Despite this predicament human evolution does stumble along.  The organ of perception is misidentified and claimed by ego but continues to function non the less.

The divsion between the precieved and the perceiver is perhaps both the greatest power and downfall of western thought.  There is great violence inherent in this dualism, but this is the sea that we swim in. This site is materialistic in its focus, but the intensions speak to a greater inner awareness that is implicit rather than explicitly expressed.  Is anything else possible?  In hatha yoga we approach the control of the body because direct control of the mind is so difficult.  Is not this site a hatha yoga where the external expressions of the human predicament are worked at so balance of the heart and mind can be acheived?

John Lemieux's picture
John Lemieux
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 2 2012
Posts: 223
Positive Disintegration?

Hi Doug,

I wonder if what you are describing is something like Dabrowski's theory of Positive Disintgration. 

Here is a link, and a little clip that discusses the spirituality of George Harrison from the Beatles. J.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-synthesis/201110/you-have-change

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 2380
Creative destruction.

Those whom the Gods would destroy or create, they first make mad.

The Madness of Adam and Eve. Horrobin

How Schizophrenia Shaped Humanity.

technet's picture
technet
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2011
Posts: 16
Yawn

gas is still relatively cheap, transport is still relatively cheap, shipping and freight is still relatively cheap, it does not seem as if the problem is energy. Oil prices are down 15% in the last couple of months.

the problem is large clumsy wasteful bumbling corrupt military controlled governments pouring money down the drain

in europe (not UK) the military plays less of a part thanks to WW2 histroy, but there instead we have an almost russian model of oligarchs and political and financial elite that have been in place for decades if not centuries, that bend everything to their will. The EU constituion was rejected in referendums, so they forced it through anyway...... it was refreshing to see this being openly discussed on bloomberg tv this week... wow.... slowly slowly the house of cards is trembling....

On the eve of the US election, unless the objective of this website is just to be a publication of rhetorical opinion, not backed by anything factual, producing articles that need little research and are written largely on a whim of the day.....  and not much in touch with current events, it might have been more poignant to write an article about that, instead of yet another peak energy blurb, with the lamest graph that is not backed by any reference or data in particular.

We've had the peak firewood panic along time ago, the peak coal panic you can read about in newspapers from victorian england... technology always finds a way, and infact if you believe in some of the tesla technologies, with wireless electricity now becoming available 120 years after he is rumored to have discovered how to implement it... you have to think that there are plenty of ways of harnessing energy should we decide it's necessary...

we are after all just energy..... e=mc2, so everything is basically energy.... 

the problem is peak humanity.. not peak energy....

even if you look at today's music... it's all about how cool i am, how much i hate you, how much of a good party we are going to have etc. etc. ... even this facebook fetish of posting photos of your lunch for a thousands friends to comment on.... there is little real art or philopshy left... people are so busy with the most mindless banal entertainment, that our existence represents more of a chimpanzees tea party, than a real planet of co-ooperation and intelligence.... people are so into themselves, that they cannot help but destroy themselves......

i'd be more worried about a nuclear winter than peak oil....

tomburr001's picture
tomburr001
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 1 2012
Posts: 1
spacial fixes and energy use

I am an urban revitalization development professional who has worked extensively in the UK and now Canada. I am struck by the interest in "urbanism" in North America. The trend certainly exists in the UK, and increased city living has been the trend for a decade or more, but it was less marked because the post-WWII move to car-dependant suburban /exurban sprawl had not been so fundamentally achieved. There are older settlements in cities and compact satelite towns, where smaller homes and public transit provided a way of living that while still energy hungry (3 x One Planet resources) did not reach the heights of North America (7 x One Planet resources).

Running gas guzzling SUVs and heating / cooling 3,500 sf McMansions is the fast lane to societal oblivion. Living in 800 sf energy efficient apartments on transit lines is definitely a more sustainable way to live, and this will increasingly be reflected in household budgets, and in time, the market prices for the different homes. I am hopeful (probably an article of faith, rather than fact) that the transition will be fast over a couple of decades (with time enough for populations to get sucked back into dense urban cores), but not so immediate that populations and cities don't have time to respond. If it is the cardiac-arrest scenario referenced on this site, then there will be no time to respond, and the only option will be to head to the hills, with arms and whatever we can carry. I suspect the suburbs will be the first of our settlement forms to become defunct.

Chris - have you done any work of what the carrying capacity of US / North America might be if we become a post-urban species living in small, dispersed, self-sufficient rural communities, as seems to be advocated by this site? I am guessing it is significantly lower than the population we currently have now, or might have if we have the time to transition to energy efficient cities...

MarkBahner's picture
MarkBahner
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: May 24 2012
Posts: 58
I beg to differ :-)

In order to figure out what the economic future will look like, we need to ask the question, "What creates wealth?"

The answer is not, "A high energy return on energy invested for transportation fuels creates wealth." The answer is, "(Free) human minds create wealth."

Therefore, the only way long-term economic growth is threatened is if the supply of (free) human minds is reduced. And that is not likely to happen soon (barring global thermonuclear war or some similar catastrophe). In fact, it is much more likely that the supply of human brain equivalents will explode in the next 1-3 decades, as computers achieve capabilities comparable to the human brain (and then greatly exceed the capabilities of the human brain).

Chris states that economic growth is dependent on energy return on energy invested for oil being much greater than 1:1. But the U.S. consumes about 7 billion barrels per year of oil. At $100 a barrel, that's only $700 billion dollars...less than 5% of our GDP. It is extremely unlikely that oil will ever be above $300 a barrel for any significant time, but even if it was, that would still be less than 15% of our GDP if we consumed at a rate of 7 billion barrels per year. (And the reality is that, if oil really was $300 per barrel for any significant amout of time, U.S. consumption of oil would go way down.)

smb12321's picture
smb12321
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 19 2011
Posts: 10
But what

It's best to avoid specific pronouncements ("electricity is not a replacement for liquid fuels") since almost certain that things will change radically in the future - perhaps for the best.   I always add, "at present" when discussing Peak Prosperity and this is what bugs me the most about PP advocates - the refusal to recognize  the new world technology will bring. Beneath the surface, energy usage has plummeted as efficiency, conservation and minituarization have adopted their own version of Moore's Law.

I live and prepare for the future in a (hopefully) sustainable way while remaining confident that technology will give us viable solutions.. The myth of exponential growth is directly linked to a change in attitude about economics - from sustainable, financially respnsible lives with savings and limits to one of debt and consumption without end.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments