Only after accepting that there are hard limits has humanity a chance to change course and adopt to a drastically changing landscape. Whether we can do that, is question to be pondered…
In other words, data is no substitute for knowledge or wisdom. And knowledge and wisdom seem to be the scarcest of resources in modern Canada.
Life’s glorious triumph on Earth has been achieved, not just through increased complexity, but also increased cooperation. In fact, the two go hand in hand.
What we face is a turning point between two futures: The Great Transition and the Great Unraveling. The Great Transition describes a future in which society is comprehensively reorganized to sustain itself in dynamic equilibrium with the Earth’s systems.
In history, we see the widespread attempt to place a single human being – that is, a single brain – in charge of the activity of the state. That sometimes leads to attempts of planning for the future of the whole colony, but it often backfires creating disasters. A single human brain cannot manage the immense complexity of a human state.
A lively debate is ongoing on what should be the minimum energy return for energy invested (EROEI) in order to sustain a civilization. Clearly, one always wants the best returns for one’s investments.
People in civilizations tend to cut themselves off from the immediate experience of nature nature to a much greater extent than the uncivilized do. Does this help explain why civilizations crash and burn so reliably, leaving the barbarians to play drinking games with mead while sitting unsteadily on the smoldering ruins?
Power is nothing without control. And, usually, control seems to run out before power.