Enlightenment Eradicates False Beliefs

People enjoying the swimming hole at Bell Smith Springs Recreational Area

One thing in particular that is extremely important (in my opinion) is for people to think things through from a critical perspective in an effort to see the entire picture of the set of predicaments we face. So, if I can bring topics to the forefront that I think are important and ask questions which might trigger curiosity, just maybe I might get a few minutes of one's time and focus. All too frequently, when I mention the fact that civilization is unsustainable, or that climate change is irreversible, or that EVs will never replace the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars in use today, or that we will not be having colonies on Mars, I get a lot of pushback from people who mean well but who haven't really done their homework. It is very difficult to explain the reasons for my statements and claims to a person who doesn't understand ecological overshoot, which is precisely why I often attach the link to my article about what it is. 

The same situation is true with people who promote technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines, or EVs and batteries, or nuclear energy, AI (Artificial Intelligence) or ANY type of electrical or electronic technology (which includes any technology which electrical or electronic technology is a part of). When I point out that technology (use) in general is precisely the CAUSE of the predicaments we face, I'm often labeled "Malthusian" or that "I want to live like a cave man" or any number of other criticisms which have little if anything to do with my statements and are nothing more than an attempt to criticize the messenger rather than the message. I'm not criticizing people personally. I'm criticizing the promotion of technology because technology is the CAUSE of ecological overshoot, and not something that will reduce it. Reduced technology use in combination with degrowth and the abandonment of the system of civilization is the only way to reduce ecological overshoot in an ethical manner. Obviously, there are other ways to reduce ecological overshoot, (in unethical ways) such as producing and deploying biological weapons, or producing a nuclear winter. But doing things in this type of manner often has devastating unforeseen consequences that cannot be undone. No differently than climate change being irreversible, many other ideas cannot be undone (in a timescale relevant to humans) once started. 

Here's a rather popular quote I've seen quite a few times and is the topic for this article:

"Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretence. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true."

― Adyashanti

Herein is where so many people discover the truth behind predicaments. Once they lift the fog of living in denial, anger, bargaining, and depression and understand that there is no real solution is when the thin veneer of civilization comes off and they see the ugly truth underneath. So frequently I hear about technology and human ingenuity as a "reason for hope" and I have to laugh, as this completely ignores the fact that it was technology and human ingenuity that got us into this mess to begin with. More of the same unfortunately won't solve it and can only continue the same destruction that has brought us here. I have done a considerable amount of research into the historical roots of our species and the real fact is that the only times we were ever sustainable in how we lived was after we successfully wiped out the flora and fauna we depended upon first. Back then, there were pristine lands we could migrate to in order to start over. There are unfortunately no pristine lands to run to now. Habitat is required for life to be sustained. We are now systematically wiping out habitat everywhere with our existence, fragmentation, pollution, and chemicals, among other things. There's now nowhere for us to go as we continue wiping out the very species we rely on. Every solar panel we build, every road we build, and every house we build means less habitat for wild species, and eventually, for us as well. 

With regards to false beliefs, one needs to look at the cultural programming we all have as to the who and what we actually are, both individually and as a species, to comprehend the truth about ourselves. When a person says "I believe [fill in the blank]," what that person is most often really saying is that he or she doesn't actually know the facts. Occasionally what he or she is saying is what he or she thinks the truth is, a much more truthful manner of speaking. This is part of the indoctrination; part of our collective wetiko, that a broad majority of society suffers from today. To understand this more comprehensively, check out this video of John Trudell. There are few people who understand this better than most Indigenous people, and I frequently post this article of Russell Means' interview in 1980 to describe what wetiko is. So, not only is a comprehensive knowledge of what ecological overshoot is, absolutely necessary, an understanding of what wetiko is as well. Also needed is an understanding of historical knowledge, which can help dispel many common myths about our current lifestyles. One important part of this puzzle is politics, and this is where this video with Patrick Ophuls can help. 

Ultimately, wiping out false beliefs can be a cause for some deep grief. One of my last articles was pretty heavy-hitting, as it brought forth the lack of agency our species actually has with regard to the situation we find ourselves in. As always, seeking spiritual help is essential, so please remember this when you feel overwhelmed. One article that brought a smile of inspiration to my face as I read it reminded me of a similar article a while back I posted about high school kids giving up their smartphones and replacing them with flip phones. These are positive signs in my mind. However, once I got to the end of the article about his giving up electricity for 8 months, I was left asking where the rest of the article was (describing specific details about the actual amounts of energy saved). A quick scan of the comments underneath confirmed that I wasn't the only one thinking critically about this article and what is left out - some of the most important details.

First of all, electricity currently supplies only about 20% of global energy use, meaning that even if we could replace ALL electricity with electricity produced by means other than fossil fuels, we would still have to figure out how to resolve the other 80% of energy use powered almost exclusively by fossil fuels. Secondly, doing away with electricity usage because it is unsustainable is a noble goal, but not one that is realistically feasible. Go around and ask people if they would be willing to give up their car or electricity. Some may give a positive answer to giving up the car, but very few will be willing to give up electricity. Just think, this is something that didn't exist for most ALL of our entire existence of the last 10,000 generations - only the last 7 generations have had electricity, and there are still several Indigenous tribes today who have rejected civilization, including electricity. So, we have proved that living sustainably is possible provided we reject most technology use - but therein lay the issue - very few will be willing to give it up and most people are content to supercharge technology use through computerized, automatic, robotic systems requiring evermore energy and resource throughput as part of their lifecycle. 

Likewise, in an article discussing DeepMind, the subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, several red flags present themselves right off the bat. One quote is clearly way off-base:

"Now DeepMind is applying similar machine-learning techniques to the puzzle of nuclear fusion, hoping it helps yield an abundant source of cheap, zero-carbon energy that could wean the global economy off fossil fuels at a critical juncture in the climate crisis."

The first error is zero-carbon energy, which is nothing more than fantasy. No such energy exists. ALL energy that might be transmitted through nuclear fusion will have a huge up-front carbon investment just for the infrastructure, making it definitely NOT carbon-free. But a more important concern is what more energy might generate as a result. It guarantees more ecological overshoot, for one fact, taking climate change the wrong way and increasing it rather than decreasing it. It would also guarantee more loss of biodiversity as well as more pollution loading. As has been shown in study after study (see here, and here, and here, and here), fossil fuel use doesn't decrease as a result of alternative energy deployment, so weaning the global economy off fossil fuels through this idea is a non-starter.

As is common in today's world with people not considering the implications of problems versus predicaments; once again, predicaments don't have solutions, so setting computers (regardless of how powerful they are) on a mission to solve what is not a problem is a huge waste of electrical power, quote:

"Hassabis says these efforts are just the beginning. He and his colleagues have been working toward a much grander ambition: creating artificial general intelligence, or AGI, by building machines that can think, learn, and be set to solve humanity’s toughest problems. Today’s AI is narrow, brittle, and often not very intelligent at all. But AGI, Hassabis believes, will be an “epoch-defining” technology—like the harnessing of electricity—that will change the very fabric of human life."

Sadly, this is what a broad portion of society is busy doing: working on coming up with "solutions" which just don't exist. Once again, one cannot "solve" a predicament no matter how long you work on it, no matter how powerful a computer one chooses to deploy onto the matter, and no matter how much energy is wasted doing it. So these two quotes represent the trouble with so much of society today - the hubris of human arrogance and anthropocentric, siloed, reductionist thinking at its finest. The last two paragraphs are quite poignant, although I disagree with the statement regarding political will. The writer is choosing to ignore our lack of agency. If the politicians told us that we would have to get by without electricity, for instance, how long would they stay in power? So, this isn't something that politics can actually solve. In fact, as collapse deepens, most political systems currently in place today will disappear once the energy required to keep them functioning disappears.

These are people who are otherwise highly intelligent but who cannot see the bars which imprison them. Attempting to use technology to solve the predicaments technology use has caused is the huge blind spot so many suffer from today because of what amounts to faith in technology. They are completely ignoring the damage technology use causes (ecological overshoot) because they can only see the good aspects. If one doesn't look at the negative aspects, do the negative aspects disappear? Of course not. So all of it put together amounts to nothing more than bargaining to maintain civilization.

As far as maintaining civilization goes, one article sums it up rather well. I've mentioned oceanic thermal inertia before in several articles. Known as OHU (Ocean Heat Uptake), one study (among many) is provided in my article Denial of Reality. In one article, Robert Hunziker does an excellent job highlighting just why this is so insidious. I really like articles which tidy things up into one compilation, so here is yet another article from Dave Pollard which also points out how maintaining civilization is becoming more and more difficult day by day. Some people think we might travel to other planets and live there, but this article points out that this is nothing more than mere fantasy and why we'll never be able to live on another planet. One more article I've posted before (quite a few times) describes how unlikely going to Mars is.

Some ideas are thought out better than others on what to do about these predicaments. I call them ideas because in reality, none of them are actual solutions and all of them require major participation from society at large and few to none of them have it at this time. I've posted the ideas from Drawdown.org before, so I won't discuss the ideas from there which were covered in my three-article post starting with So, What Should We Do?. I do, however, like some of the proposals from Max Wilbert and Elisabeth Robson on the Protect Thacker Pass site. I think they covered most things quite well and my only criticism would be the "One Possible Future" where they highlighted the conditional terms here, quote:

"There’s a lot to describe about a long term vision—we could write a book about such a vision. So we highlight just some of the ways we see our solution unfolding if humanity could come together to make it happen."

IF humanity could come together...which is the subject I wrote about 2 years ago here. Darn it...that part keeps coming back to haunt us regularly, doesn't it? This same scenario constantly bothers me too. Perhaps that is the crux of it all - that while there are many of us who understand comprehensively the facts which I highlight here, there are still many more who are sleepwalking into disaster all while thinking that nothing is essentially wrong or that any problems just need solutions applied in order for the problems to "go away." Still, far more people realize that there is a huge issue but don't really want to make the changes necessary to reduce ecological overshoot. Even IF (there it is again!) people do want to make these changes, how can we overcome civilizational inertia and gain enough political traction to dismantle civilization (or even just the military industrial and intelligence complex!)? I see more discussion in this arena now than I have in the past, which does foster some good feelings about such a possibility; however, I also realize that things are still fairly abundant right now making such a push politically untenable (most people wouldn't vote for someone wanting to do the right things ecologically because those things would go against most people's immediate self-interest [at least from their understanding]). Very few really want to have their life inconvenienced at this point in an effort to promote a livable planet for future generations. Many people will say that they want to "fight" climate change or "take action" against these predicaments until you tell them what would be involved to actually make a difference. What most people really want is to be able to buy something to solve these issues or have a positive effect without changing personal behavior. While personal behavior is definitely key, the very systems we all currently rely on for day to day living are unsustainable and either must be dismantled or nature will dismantle them for us. Personal behavior can help, but must be done in tandem with system change. At this point, while it is still a good effort to make personal change, the likelihood that several million people making personal changes will have an effect on ecological overshoot is nil because the rest of the world's population will gladly undo that progress by continuing to consume and/or consuming more. I have NEVER flown in ANY aircraft, but did that stop you or anyone else I know from flying? Nope. 

So, while most reading this already know all of this, I share it just to "put it out in the ether." Once one can see through the haze of hype, distraction, and propaganda to the truth of what is going on right now, how we got to this point, and why and how; he or she is much more immune to the continuous drone of marketing of all types being flung at us every single day. Live Now!


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