Post-purchase dissonance is an expression psychologists use to describe the disappointment we sometimes feel on realizing that our latest consumer purchase does not fulfil the promise we bought it on. At first sight it’s a curious anomaly. On deeper reflection, it turns out to be the structural basis for the entire edifice. The engine of consumer society is discontentment. This is more than a rhetorical claim.
As societies and economies transition away from high net energy resources such as ‘conventional’ fossil fuels and towards lower net energy resources such as unconventional fossil fuels or renewables, either voluntarily (e.g. to fight climate change) or due to resource constraints, a number of researchers and analysts have argued that we might be approaching the “net energy cliff”…
During the Pleistocene evolution favored those humans who left the most descendants so our evolved instincts encourage us to procreate, seek status and consume resources. Now sustainability is an existential issue and these instincts and our invention of technology are threatening our future.
We face a wicked predicament. Global climate disruption threatens the existence of civilization as we’ve known it.