Don't Postpone Joy!


Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Morehead City, North Carolina

I have a list of posts coming which I am working on finishing, but I decided to insert one post dedicated to something I find highly frustrating and add some enlightening information about these topics, centered once again around so-called "solutions" which often don't really add up. So many people and organizations are offering educational "journeys" (also known as "manifestation mindsets" in some circles) into many different themes and in different ways in an effort to help people who are suffering with the grief, confusion, anxiety, or other troubles caused by the predicaments we face. While I applaud such efforts, the one thing that is annoying is how little attention is paid to "free" information, such as the information I provide here. How hard can it be for folks to give helpful advice without demanding money or payment of some sort (click the "like" button and subscribe to my channel!). I understand, people have bills and they need to eat and so on; but seriously, spending some time developing something truly meaningful that can be offered on a website for free is the first sign in my mind that someone is being truly authentic. 

Now, I see that some of these sites offer up some information without demanding payment, but how many of them are offering packages of some sort upon a system of barter or free of charge? One of the things my company ALWAYS offered was a free consultation. I was always willing to sit down with a bride and/or groom to find out what they were looking for in regards to their wedding, and even if I couldn't help them (which was extremely rare), I always handed out free information to help them plan their big day along with a list of recommended vendors we worked with frequently. Don't get me wrong, there are still many people who provide excellent stories and articles to those who seek this information. But the number of companies which have slick websites and complicated and/or complex wording to describe their services seems to be the new eco-greening sustaining-renewing vibes to trick people who have lots of money to spend into purchasing these services while those who don't have those financial resources are left out in the cold. I realize that this information is already out here for free, and this is why the people making these bold claims that they have solutions to these predicaments are basically lying in an effort to trick you into buying their book, their program, their class, or whatever bogus fairy tale they are offering. Most all so-called "solutions" are either nothing of the sort and can only provide a reduction of harm and/or they require a majority of society (4 billion plus individuals) to adopt such methods, something that is extremely unlikely any time within the next 7 years; the timeframe given for major tipping points to begin occurring.

The predicaments I highlight here regularly DO NOT HAVE SOLUTIONS, PERIOD. They are not problems. They have outcomes, which means that no matter what is done in an attempt to mitigate them, negative consequences WILL happen. 

OK, now that I have that out of the way, I can move on to explain that some of what people typically claim might be based on truth, but the results that are often claimed about what can be expected are where the falsities come into play. We've already heard these claims over and over about "net zero" and "zero emissions technology" and "zero carbon emissions" which all turn out to be patently false because they make incorrect assumptions (such as the electrification of everything) that don't hold up under scrutiny. But there are other ideas being tossed around which require a bit more footwork to realize where the falsehoods are. Many of these lay in our psychological roots based upon who and what we were thousands of years ago. 

Some of these ideas could actually be beneficial to society **if** they were acted upon in unison by society or if these ideas became widely accepted and practiced. However, therein lay the fault of logic with many of them. Obtaining cooperation and unity is the predicament, in and of itself, and this is where the lack of agency comes into play. Nobody controls another person and people cannot be manipulated or forced to comply to do something they don't want to do. "One can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," goes the old maxim. If everyone did practice unity or could be forced to comply to do things, then there would hypothetically be no need for multiple nations globally, multiple laws, multiple religions, multiple languages, cultures, and on and on. Assassinations would cease because compliance could always be guaranteed, making such a practice entirely unnecessary. 

Recently, I have heard claims about some of these programs (commonly referred to as some sort of "emergence") which I have openly rejected. So far, nobody has presented any empirical evidence that confirms any of these claims and I have already provided the evidence as to why (at this time) they cannot work. These claims veer into the fantasies, myths, and fairy tales category. I was told that no proof can be provided because "only people who understand how it works (based on spiritual ideas, not actual facts) can comprehend it." This amounts to a cult, and cults usually don't gain a very wide following, and most people are now wise to these types of ideas after the Jim Jones incident in Jonestown, Guyana, and the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" came mainly from this incident. Another cult which became widely known in 1997 after another mass suicide was known as Heaven's Gate. The bottom line here is that if only a few people can comprehend it, then very few people will actually buy into such an idea in the first place, and this is how the plan immediately fails. Many people buy into beliefs such as the illusion of control, and, as such, they completely ignore the reality of the Maximum Power Principle as I outlined here

So, while I can provide all the information here about why beliefs and traditions all vary across the world and why we lack agency to be able to reduce ecological overshoot by reducing technology use, promoting degrowth, and abandoning the system of civilization, there will be many people who refuse to believe for one excuse or another. Most people simply don't want to give up the creature comforts of technology use and civilization. I understand this hesitation, but there will come a time and place where we will be left with little choice in the matter because nature doesn't bargain. When the energy and resources necessary to power civilization are no longer available (keeping in mind the red queen hypothesis and the declining returns on increasing complexity [see also What Would it Take for Humanity to Experience Radical Transformation? and Why is Civilization Unsustainable?]), how will civilization continue? The basic answer here is that it can't. Technically, there might be some underground bunker establishments which may be able to continue for a while (perhaps up to a number of years), but these too, will run out of resources at some point and I have mentioned the issue of psychological consequences of living underground in terms of quality of life (is it actually "living" or is it more like "dying"?). This makes this option a possibility but one with some serious downfalls that may or may not be in the cards for everyone. Previously I have mentioned the psychological effects of those living in Antarctica (especially during the winter months), which is a somewhat good substitute for being underground. 

Still, right now, there are many people who still believe in the fairy tale of computer-driven AI, the "Internet of Things," and cryptocurrencies, not realizing what energy and resource decline dictate. Others think that AI will help fusion energy become reality or figure out a way to continue civilization. Many different organizations have spent oodles of time brainstorming on how to "develop a sustainable civilization" when in reality there is no such thing. Most all these ideas are based upon a very simple concept - they are a way to deny reality or they compel people to run headlong into optimism bias with hype. 

I recently posted this video with this introduction, quote: 

"One thing I think should be pointed out where this video points to the ecology of addiction, where a particular addiction is supported by the environmental stimuli surrounding a person, is the fact that this also ignores the Maximum Power Principle. This biological imperative exists within the confines of EVERY environment, meaning that ultimately the pressures to utilize the principle is ALWAYS within us and completely independent of any external factors. Technology use being addictive by saving us the additional work which would be required without it is about as strong a force as can be imagined. This means that breaking that addiction is not likely until the means of supporting technology use is unavailable. Solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, power inverters, and generators are prime examples of this addiction demonstrating that we are willing to do whatever it takes to continue using electricity DESPITE how damaging it is to the environment (nature) around us, including us. This is precisely what indicates proof of the MPP, our overwhelming inability to overcome our addiction to technology and technology use, the very basis of civilization which supports ALL modern technology."

But wait! There's even more where that came from in this video from Paul Mobbs about a book from 1973, Small is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher. I doubt I can add anything to the conversation that Paul didn't already say.

Here is a *huge* item to add, another post I recently made with this article (free for a limited time) regarding the topics of the last three paragraphs, quote:

"If one looks at the trajectories of energy use in almost ANY computer-driven field such as AI, cryptocurrencies, data-mining, etc., one can instantly see how unsustainable it all is and accurately guess where this will end up. This post is from a friend who has been focusing on this issue, and what appears below is his introduction to the article:

" 'OK, back to the ChatBot problem. This can be seen as a follow-up to the Timit Gebru interview that I posted last week. And this is definitely a continuation of the conversation that began long before the "Tech Won't Save Us" interview, to which I have attached it as a comment. But it is getting its own thread now that I feel like I have time to flesh it out.

I realized this evening while trying to explain how it works to Maria - and why, when I had asked the chatbot for citations, it had given me what appeared to be perfectly good citations for cases that had never occurred - that I have gotten way too far into pondering the "mechanical" workings of these systems, at the expense of keeping the context in which people around me are thinking about them in focus, and that rather than looking at their limitations, based on how they do what they do, the deeper issue that is of greater interest to people around me is how people are using them, and will be using them, and how destabilizing, both to the workplace and they political landscape they are likely to turn out to be, if we do not have tools to distinguish fact from fiction.

This "fact vs fiction" problem became sort of an obsession for me a week ago, trying to figure out the actual location of a railroad bridge that was in a photo that had gone viral on some "satire" sites, and if the bridge was really held together with chains, or if the photo had been photoshopped. The simple fact is that we do not have tools to do this - we all know that Facebook's fact checkers are pathetic - and building such tools now seems to me to be a far more important application for AI than press releases, resume creators, or term papers, but debunking bullshit is not a trillion dollar market for VC money.

For the moment, I will offer that this is a very, very interesting article.

It is about the work of Emily Bender, coauthor of 'On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots' with Timnit Gebru, the ethicist at Google, the person who speaks out in the "Tech Wont Save Us" interview.

“On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots” is not a write-up of original research. It’s a synthesis of LLM critiques that Bender and others have made: of the biases encoded in the models; the near impossibility of studying what’s in the training data, given the fact they can contain billions of words; the costs to the climate; the problems with building technology that freezes language in time and thus locks in the problems of the past. Google initially approved the paper, a requirement for publications by staff. Then it rescinded approval and told the Google co-authors to take their names off it. Several did, but Google AI ethicist Timnit Gebru refused. Her colleague (and Bender’s former student) Margaret Mitchell changed her name on the paper to Shmargaret Shmitchell, a move intended, she said, to “index an event and a group of authors who got erased.” Gebru lost her job in December 2020, Mitchell in February 2021. Both women believe this was retaliation and brought their stories to the press. The stochastic-parrot paper went viral, at least by academic standards. The phrase stochastic parrot entered the tech lexicon."

Other characters are given voices in this piece, too. Here is "her nemesis" Christopher Manning, a professor of machine learning, linguistics, and computer science at Stanford.

"Manning does not favor pumping the brakes on developing language tech, nor does he think it’s possible to do so. He makes the same argument that has drawn effective altruists to AI: If we don’t do this, someone else will do it worse “because, you know, there are other players who are more out there who feel less morally bound.”

This does not mean he believes in tech companies’ efforts to police themselves. He doesn’t. They “talk about how they’re responsible and their ethical AI efforts and all that, and really that is just a political position to try and argue we’re doing good things so you don’t have to pass any laws,” he said. He’s not for pure chaos: “I’m in favor of laws. I think they’re the only effective way to constrain human behavior.” But he knows “there’s basically no chance of sensible regulation emerging anytime soon. Actually, China is doing more in terms of regulation than the U.S. is.”

None of this is comforting. Tech destabilized democracy. Why would we trust it now? Unprompted, Manning started talking about nuclear arms: “Fundamentally, the difference is, with something like nuclear technology, you actually can bottle it up because the number of people with the knowledge” is so small and “the sort of infrastructure that you have to build is sufficiently large … It’s quite possible to bottle it up. And at least so far, that’s been fairly effective with things like gene editing as well.” But that’s just not going to happen in this case, he explained. Say you want to crank out disinformation. “You can just buy top-end gamer GPUs — graphic-processing units — the kind that are $1,000 or so each. You can string together eight of them, so that’s $8,000. And the computer to go with it is another $4,000.” That, he said, “can let you do something useful. And if you can band together with a few friends with similar amounts of technology, you’re sort of on your way.”

I will close this lead in with another excerpt, this time quoting Daniel Dennet:

"Others, like Dennett, the philosopher of mind, are even more blunt. We can’t live in a world with what he calls “counterfeit people.” “Counterfeit money has been seen as vandalism against society ever since money has existed,” he said. “Punishments included the death penalty and being drawn and quartered. Counterfeit people is at least as serious.”
Artificial people will always have less at stake than real ones, and that makes them amoral actors, he added. “Not for metaphysical reasons but for simple, physical reasons: They are sort of immortal.”

We need strict liability for the technology’s creators, Dennett argues: “They should be held accountable. They should be sued. They should be put on record that if something they make is used to make counterfeit people, they will be held responsible. They’re on the verge, if they haven’t already done it, of creating very serious weapons of destruction against the stability and security of society. They should take that as seriously as the molecular biologists have taken the prospect of biological warfare or the atomic physicists have taken nuclear war.” This is the real code red. We need to “institute new attitudes, new laws, and spread them rapidly and remove the valorization of fooling people, the anthropomorphization,” he said. “We want smart machines, not artificial colleagues.'

The article linked above also contains this article, which goes into explaining some more relevant details about situation. Several paragraphs back I pointed out the red queen hypothesis and the declining returns on increasing complexity. 

As usual, humans seemingly cannot resist the temptation of the addiction to technology. As was seen in the video about that topic, it is not much different from gambling and other addictions. We just *have* to have another dopamine hit. Wetiko also comes to mind. The ongoing search for solutions and utopia continues unabated only because those still searching for it haven't stopped believing in something that just cannot be. Even if utopia were possible, it wouldn't be desirable. More on that subject can be found here which points to these searches for solutions and utopia becoming a circling back to the cults I mentioned earlier. 

Finally, I get to the degrowth movement; one which I very much support, provided technology use reduction is stressed along with an abandonment of civilization. Two recent articles about this subject appear here and here and I also wrote a recent article myself about what degrowth is. But even here, in a way to mitigate at least some of the damage we've done, we meet back up with the magical *IF*, the mystical *WE*, and the lack of agency, once again. UGH! 

This makes the conclusion one that I have uttered time and again. That many of the debates brought up over and over again are illusory, as is the control we often think we have to institute a particular course of action. While I do see movement towards sanity (less technology and degrowth), I also see movement towards insanity (more technology and attempts at growth). As I pointed out in my last article, the only real constant here is exponential change. Since you can't stop this change, quit postponing your joy and Live Now!


  1. I recently came to think that all of this, all of our problems, predicaments, illusory thinking - all of it - is because there are more than 150 people around us. We were fine until someone noticed there was 151 people, then we started ploughing, beating people up because their hats were "wrong", raping women, hoarding stuff, wondering if whales could make nice street lighting or deform womens bodies, etc.
    We are insane and will not stop until we are back to knowing under 150 people
    Computers are simulators. Simulations are not real. People will find this out the hard way, after losing the physical and mental capacities to respond in ways that are not self-terminating.
    I really enjoy your writing.


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