Wednesday, 16 December 2009

"The authority of science comes from the power it gives humans over the environment" Or 'Promethean Madness'

“When the average punter sees hordes of crusties protesting in Copenhagen and calling for the collapse of capitalism, he or she is unlikely to be sympathetic. They don’t want to be told that the answer to global warming is to repastoralise society (minus the cows), and for us all to sit sneezing in yurts until the Earth cools down. They need the warning but they also want hope. They want the technological optimism that has characterised our species since the Stone Age.”

The only answer is to repastoralise society. Faith in technology and humanist ideals is the same Ricky Ray Rector saving his last piece of pecan pie for later. Technology and a growing economy is unsustainable within a limited environment with limited resources. The capitalist system that is based upon economic growth and technological ‘progress’ is doomed to crumble and fail because it relies on limited resources, but in order to be successful requires unlimited resources.

When oil runs out how will these technologies function? Oil is a fundamental resource used in the manufacture of all renewable resource technology and almost all technologies. To put faith in a future scientific wonder-breakthrough technology that will save us from all our animal natures is rather absurd, or at least exactly the same as putting faith into a God that will save us. In fact, God is a much more realistic power to put our faith in. He works without limitation. Technology will always be ruled by the limits of the natural environment. The crusties are not protesting in order to save the natural environment: that will sort itself out. What they are protecting against is the destruction of humans by putting all our faith into the destruction and reliance upon limited resources.

The only way to ensure a happy and sustainable population of humans is to choose to live sustainably, not using the limited resources faster than they can be replaced and not using resources that cannot ever be replaced (or at least not relying on them).

This means a total change in the way we live. We need to become resilient and self-sufficient.

We need to abandon our blinkered faith in technology. It will not save us it will destroy us.

However: it is not technology itself that is the problem, it is the attitudes and ethics that rest beyond it. It is possible to use technologies that do not use limited resources in order to make tasks easier and safer to perform. These technologies when applied to a society that has sustainable, self-sufficient attitudes and ethics can be wonderful and useful and these are the technologies that have been developed and used since stone age times. Technologies that are applied to a selfish and greedy society will only end up destroying that society.

The ‘hope’ that Johnson speaks of is the hope to continue extreme greed, extreme selfishness, extreme inequality. This is impossible within a system of limitation.

( is where I got the image from. )

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