Though it may not seem so, this post goes with yesterday’s. I ended yesterday’s with this line:
I think the result is we’ve made humanity into a kind of mindless disease expanding like a virus on this planet.
To understand what I mean by that, it helps to enter the fabricated world of the ecologist, where the ecologist has employed systems thinking and made an attempt to understand how ecological systems work to form habitats, and how habitats manage to achieve a kind of dynamic living balance proceeding through what must be imagined as time on this planet. Balance and imbalance become interacting features of this process, and where balance occurs, a multitude of species interact. Imbalance is usually the result of at least one species getting out of hand and trying to take over the resources that make a habitat possible. The ecologist, noticing that, attempts to understand how and why that might be, not to control it, but merely to understand and appreciate.
One ecological thinker came to this understanding: Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
Revolutionary change and radicalism sort of go together in my mind. Radical has a very distinctive meaning that is often overlooked when people use the term. The first definition in my Webster’s under radical describes it as of, relating to, or proceeding from the root; so radical problem solving is thinking towards the root of a problem. When the root is systemic, consisting of interlinking rhizomes under the surface, that opens up to a whole new way of thinking about the underpinnings of the universe we take for granted while we work at the problems we face individually. Here, in a forty eight minute video easily accesible from the Internet, William Catton describes his somewhat radical realization when he was inspired to write that book about the ecological basis of revolutionary change:
If anyone studies systems thinking, something that was in vogue in the seventies during what I now see as our brief awakening to our self-created environmental dilemmas, then the relationship I see between awakening the whole human brain — with our capacities for intuition, emotion, empathy, compassion, love, feeling relationships that can transcend our cold and mechanistic logical relationships, and all sorts of other related sensitivities — will likely be more obvious, unless that individual has suppressed those capacities to the point where they can’t work at all anymore. If that’s the case with the majority of the population, then I suggest we are truly doomed.
Anyway, that is my introduction for Richard Heinberg’s August Museletter, also published in EcoWatch under the title: “Systemic Change Driven by Moral Awakening Is Our Only Hope”. EcoWatch is an environmental news site I’m almost certain will show up these days in many Republican’s environmental lexicons as a fake news site.
The second sentence in Richard’s essay contains the key ecological concept “overshoot”. Familiarization with that concept will help to make the rest of his argument easier to get through, even obvious. He’s writing what I find to be a lucid summary of everything I’ve been trying to say about the seriousness of our current predicament, along with the absurdity of believing our technological society is going to solve the problems that it’s created with the very rational and purely technological approach it used to create them.
So, in hopes of joining with another voice on what I believe is the fundamental — radical, if you will — issue of importance for humanity today, here’s Richard Heinberg: