Denial of Reality

 Denial of Reality

In my last written post (to clarify the difference between the files, which contain only links to outside material), I mentioned denial of reality. You might wonder what this has to do with climate change and extinction. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most powerful mental issues that affects humans. Rob Mielcarski explains the evolution of how this came to be, quote:

"The singular emergence of human intelligence, and its ability to write and read this paragraph, evolved in a gene controlled machine with an unusually powerful computer, that was created by an improbable simultaneous adaptation for an extended theory of mind with denial of reality, and whose complexity was enabled by the increased energy per gene provided by mitochondria, that resulted from an accidental endosymbiosis of two prokaryotes, powered by an unintuitive chemiosmotic proton pump, that originated in an alkaline hydrothermal vent, on 1 of 40 billion planets, in 1 of 100 billion galaxies, and that planet had an improbable store of photosynthetic and geothermal generated fossil energy, that the species leveraged to understand and appreciate, the peak of what may be possible in the universe, before it vanished, because it denied the consequences of its success."

The bottom line is that most people simply cannot look at reality and allow themselves to "see" the truth. What they will see instead is whatever conforms to their worldview - their beliefs - rather than the hard truth. Nothing drives this fact home any quicker than the fiasco we know as the coronavirus pandemic of the disease COVID-19. Most of us can look at the science of mask-wearing and social distancing and comprehend that wearing a mask is the easiest way to reduce spread of the virus, and that this is what we all should do to protect our fellow world citizens. Unfortunately, there are still many people who utilize all forms of excuses and denial to justify not wearing one. Some of them confuse who is protected by wearing a mask - it is NOT the mask wearer. The person who wears the mask is protecting those around him or her, not himself or herself. This has very little to do with freedom or constitutional rights, this has far more to do with simple consideration for others. 

Yet another form of denial is the fact that many people cannot fathom the exponential function; a point Al Bartlett drove home time and again with his presentation, Arithmetic, Population, and Energy.

Denial also has serious consequences for climate change and extinction due to the simple fact that there are still many people who deny the gravity of the situation. Most people have no clue about the lag effect or oceanic thermal inertia, which makes it easier to ignore the predicaments out of sheer ignorance. At the same time, even those who do understand the threat not only to civilization, but the survival of our own species, often don't understand precisely how we arrived at this point in time or what to do about it. Millions of folks around the planet think that "green" energy or "clean" energy or "renewable" energy or EVs will save us. Technological devices and their use are primarily what has driven energy use and therefore the very CAUSE of climate change, so yet more devices will not save us. One cannot simply switch out EVs for gasoline-powered vehicles and solve anything. That actually simply WORSENS the predicaments that already exist through additional mining (required for the minerals and resources utilized to build such vehicles), additional fossil fuel burning (required for the transport of materials and the vehicles themselves), and all the additional emissions caused by the infrastructure itself (all the roads, bridges, transmission lines and towers, substations, generation facilities, and their maintenance). Building things, regardless of what it is, requires energy use in one form or another.

To put it mildly, most people do not understand the seriousness of the issue because they have never considered just how modern civilization works and what is actually required just to keep everything running smoothly. Another post from Rob Mielcarski points out how energy and denial have brought us to this point here.  

That article was written in 2015, so things have changed somewhat since then. Most every predicament has worsened. Global temperatures now stand at around +1.3C and rising. Most people think that climate change can be "fixed" or reversed, but current science shows that climate change is irreversible on human timescales. Another article shows that this is due to ocean heat uptake (OHU). Another recent study indicates that climate change is irreversible due to permafrost thaw. Still yet another study demonstrates climate change being irreversible due to oceanic oxygen depletion. However, climate change in and of itself isn't the worst part of the overall set of predicaments. It is how climate change and ecological overshoot, its parent predicament, affects the rest of the biosphere and how life on this planet responds to those effects. If all we had to do was adapt to temperatures 2, 3, or 4 degrees Celsius more than today, we could probably accomplish such a task. However, not all plants and animals can say the same, and unfortunately, we depend on far more than just those plants and animals for our own existence; we also depend upon the ecosystem services which they provide. These two articles here and here explain the scenario, but fail to point out that we are actually in at least the 8th mass extinction event (here and here). 

I could go on and on with more science and articles, but there is far more than sufficient evidence contained in the files here (posts 2 through 27). My concern with this post is how society denies the existential nature of these predicaments. Here is a presentation that explains more about denial of reality.

It is this denial of essentially who we are as a species that confounds me. If people cannot be brought to look at the complete scenario objectively from both an individualistic and collective perspective, then the idea that there could ever be solutions which could be brought to the forefront is fantasy. 


  1. Every one wants a silver bullet that allows this insane set of living arrangements to carry on and they want a 'solution' to the predicament of keeping the unsustainable sustained.
    Cognitive dissonance has taken hold on a societal level. That's what can happen when a society isn't truly free enough for free thinking and questioning of the fabric of that society.

    1. Yes, and people think that "freedom" only refers to "laws" .... or no laws... it also refers to CULTURE.... that can be as stifling and restrictive as any law.


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