Friday, 6 June 2014

The Morrow Project, Part 3: making things worse makes things worse

At the end of the previous post on this subject, I wrote that the next question I'd try to address would be:

"...through our relationship with the World (our home), it's natural systems, the biosphere, the atmosphere, the oceans and land, are we setting the conditions for a new 'collapse' of human society?..."

I'll front up now and confess that what I'd like to write is 'Not likely', but even if I was confident enough in my own prejudice (which I'm not especially), it would still be short changing anyone who has made the effort to come here and read this stuff.

So, let's look at the question in a bit more detail. The gist is simple: are we (collectively, Globally) screwing the Future? 

Whilst I'm inclined to avoid the more severe forms of alarm rising from any number of reports in the media of new 'crises', one advantage of being both a generalist and an external observer of Science is that my inquiries can range far and wide and aren't constrained by significant personal forces. So, what do I see?

First, clearly, evidently and without argument, both in general and in the particular, the recent impact (over the last 150 years or so, give or take) of Human activity on the Natural systems of our home (Earth) is substantially negative. Second, that negative impact has got worse progressively and unremittingly. This is not to say that all human impact is negative, or needs to be negative, but the trend is consistent, persistent and growing almost exponentially.

A lot of people will argue, though, that 'Nature' is sufficiently robust to manage and adapt to this damage, or that the Earth's systems will still be there long after we have gone, or adapted ourselves, so it doesn't matter. But such arguments fall down in a couple of ways.

Whilst large-scale ecological systems often react to external forcings, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this is a finite state; there comes a point beyond which an ecosystem simply cannot survive the damage done. This is how some deserts, dustbowls, and so forth, come into existence. So, it is reasonably to counter that, however robust any given ecosystem or biosphere happens to be, there is a limit which results in inevitable decline, or death.

The argument that Earth will Abide (apologies to George R Stewart) is arguably irrelevant. The meaning of the question implies the persistence, at the least the desirability of the persistence, of humankind into some future or other. insofar as the question of the collapse of natural systems has meaning, its meaning is defined in relation to us, its occupants and persecutors.

Much more tricksy (well, for me, at least), is the question of Societal tipping points. under what circumstances does a social entity (a community, town, nation, etc) turn from being a more or less ordered arrangement of a group or groups of people, into a lawless, incoherent and self-destroying chaos?

There is no shortage of evidence from historical examples of societies which decline and subsequently cease to exist as a coherent entity, some of them reasonably recent. At the same time, there is ample evidence of the capacity of groups of people to adapt, transform or simply re-start somewhere else, sometime later.

One thing which seems clear from these examples, though, is that a social unit is much more vulnerable to sudden, uncontrollable or overpowering external forces for which it is unprepared. In this, human social entities share characteristics with natural systems.

So; are setting the conditions for a collapse of human society? Regardless of the answer, one thing we should be aware of is that by setting the conditions for ecosystems to reach tipping points, we are absolutely increasingly the likelihood of our being overtaken by forces no longer under our control.

My provisional answer (much simplified), is that I believe we are already seeing, in miniature, the social/human consequences of our negative environmental impacts. That these effects (war, lawlessness, rebellion, tribal/gang warfare) will increase in areas of greatest vulnerability. The more worrying, more 'global' question about the collapse of civilisation depends, in part, to the extent to which this will produce knock-on effects. But even this implies that 'stronger', more 'organised' social entities are not vulnerable to upheavals except at apocalyptic scales, and this assumption is by no means certain.

To be continued...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

CLIMATE CHANGE: THE TROUBLE WITH NIGEL LAWSON


So, yesterday the once Chancellor presents his latest ‘essay’ on the familiar subject, ‘Global Warming is Good for You’.
The summary, which is presented as an Article at the GWPF, drew the Old Man’s attention, and so, helpfully, he thought to provide a little annotation or two to help the ‘Lay Reader’ traverse the words…
Date: 27/05/14 Nigel Lawson, Global Warming Policy Foundation
Climate change alarmism is a belief system, and needs to be evaluated as such.
Grains of truth and undermining. It is probable that some people who are alarmed about climate change are inclined to accept the evidence provided partly on faith, since they lack the academic tools to evaluate the science. But Climate change itself is the target here, and the implication is that there is no scientific basis on which to work, which is, of course, false. Where the old Man agrees with Lawson is that extreme views tend towards the irrational. Ore on this below.
There is something odd about the global warming debate — or the climate change debate, as we are now expected to call it, since global warming has for the time being come to a halt.
Yes, there is; first, there is no ‘debate’ about Global Warming/climate change, within science, only at the Policy end. And global warming has not come to a halt, so the last statement is a simple falsehood.
I have never shied away from controversy, nor — for example, as Chancellor — worried about being unpopular if I believed that what I was saying and doing was in the public interest.
It is actually mildly plausible that L. believes that he works in the public interest, but only insofar as we may imagine any politician does the same; of course they do, but idealism is rapidly driven out by the survival instinct in politics, and generally, we remain suspicious of politicians claiming to act from some noble altruistic motive. This is less to do with belief than with experience; we do not all forget the lessons of history…
But I have never in my life experienced the extremes of personal hostility, vituperation and vilification which I — along with other dissenters, of course — have received for my views on global warming and global warming policies.
So, now L. has, perhaps, had a small taste of the experience meted out by those whom he encourages, to those whom he opposes. Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?
For example, according to the Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, the global warming dissenters are, without exception, “wilfully ignorant” and in the view of the Prince of Wales we are “headless chickens”. Not that “dissenter” is a term they use. We are regularly referred to as “climate change deniers”, a phrase deliberately designed to echo “Holocaust denier” — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about a historical fact.
Putting aside the obvious point that these people are simply using the terminology generally in use, rather than specifically implying malignity, that final word choice is an interesting one, because in this respect there is something important to understand; many of Lawson’s detractors probably do attribute a malign intent in his words and actions, which may be wrong, and even unfair, but is not entirely incomprehensible, given the track record enjoyed by, for example, the Koch ‘people’.
The heir to the throne and the minister are senior public figures, who watch their language. The abuse I received after appearing on the BBC’s Today programme last February was far less restrained. Both the BBC and I received an orchestrated barrage of complaints to the effect that it was an outrage that I was allowed to discuss the issue on the programme at all. And even the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons shamefully joined the chorus of those who seek to suppress debate.
At the time, it seemed like most of the complaints were about ‘false balance’, and the fact that a political figure was chosen to ‘debate’ what was meant to be a scientific discussion. This is a strange reversal of history, and was not about ‘suppressing debate’, as L. suggests, but about a presenting a balanced view of the current state of scientific knowledge and the (very small) voice of dissent within that context. No – not ‘suppresses debate’, but ‘demanding honesty and fairness’…
In fact, despite having written a thoroughly documented book about global warming more than five years ago, which happily became something of a bestseller, and having founded a think tank on the subject — the Global Warming Policy Foundation — the following year, and despite frequently being invited on Today to discuss economic issues, this was the first time I had ever been asked to discuss climate change. I strongly suspect it will also be the last time.
(Let’s hope the Beeb has got it out of its system. Personally, I think it might be interesting to invite Benny Peiser to discuss ‘the global warming debate’, since the result might actually be informative)
The BBC received a well-organised deluge of complaints — some of them, inevitably, from those with a vested interest in renewable energy — accusing me, among other things, of being a geriatric retired politician and not a climate scientist, and so wholly unqualified to discuss the issue.
Another amusing reversal – and also extremely unlikely. Who does L. believe ‘orchestrated’ the deluge of complaints? Perhaps it was one of those Renewable Energy companies which despoil the planet for profit… as for that final point, it seems less of an accusing than a simple (if impolite) statement. This isn’t accusing, this is simply blunt speech.
Perhaps, in passing, I should address the frequent accusation from those who violently object to any challenge to any aspect of the prevailing climate change doctrine, that the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s non-disclosure of the names of our donors is proof that we are a thoroughly sinister organisation and a front for the fossil fuel industry.
Well, yes, there are people who say this, but they aren’t necessarily ‘those who violently object to any challenge to any aspect of the prevailing climate change doctrine’. And who are these people anyway? Do they actually exist? It seems as if L. is creating a dragon to slay, by constructing a frightening and irrational antagonist. Note also the insertion of the term ‘doctrine’, just to emphasise the primary claim of irrationality which is the supposed basis of the article.
As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided, from the outset, that it would neither solicit nor accept any money from the energy industry or from anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry. And to those who are not-regrettably-prepared to accept my word, I would point out that among our trustees are a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and a former head of the Civil Service. Anyone who imagines that we are all engaged in a conspiracy to lie is clearly in an advanced stage of paranoia.
Perhaps such a person is less paranoid than cynical. And this particular idea ‘conspiracy to lie’, appears to be a strawman. Perhaps L. should be grateful to those who, rather than presume he is, on this subject, being dishonest, are more inclined to believe him an idiot or fool, on the basis that what is, to them, self evident, is, to him, false, and vice versa. Given the choice between believing the global warming opinions of an atmospheric physicist or those of a bishop, one might be forgiven for imagining that the former is more rational.
The reason why we do not reveal the names of our donors, who are private citizens of a philanthropic disposition, is in fact pretty obvious. Were we to do so, they, too, would be likely to be subject to the vilification and abuse I mentioned earlier. And that is something which, understandably, they can do without.
This is not the place to raise the issue of personal privacy rights, and the comparative protections which exist for the ‘privileged’ and the ‘common person’. Suffice to say that ganders and geese really should share their sauce.
That said, I must admit I am strongly tempted to agree that, since I am not a climate scientist, I should from now on remain silent on the subject — on the clear understanding, of course, that everyone else plays by the same rules. No more statements by Ed Davey, or indeed any other politician, including Ed Milliband, Lord Deben and Al Gore. Nothing more from the Prince of Wales, or from Lord Stern. What bliss!
But of course this is not going to happen. Nor should it; for at bottom this is not a scientific issue. That is to say, the issue is not climate change but climate change alarmism, and the hugely damaging policies that are advocated, and in some cases put in place, in its name. And alarmism is a feature not of the physical world, which is what climate scientists study, but of human behaviour; the province, in other words, of economists, historians, sociologists, psychologists and — dare I say it — politicians.
In the same way that a ‘dissenter’ might object to the implications of using the term ‘denier’, a scientist who sees which way the cookie is crumbling and provides observations of said cookie, might object to the implication that  such observations are ‘alarmist’, ie, irrational. But of course, this is not ablout the science, because the science contradicts L. consistently and irrevocably.
And en passant, the problem for dissenting politicians, and indeed for dissenting climate scientists for that matter, who certainly exist, is that dissent can be career-threatening. The advantage of being geriatric is that my career is behind me: there is nothing left to threaten.
Indeed, one who embraces the motley is likely to be imagined a jester.
But to return: the climate changes all the time, in different and unpredictable (certainly unpredicted) ways, and indeed often in different ways in different parts of the world. It always has done and no doubt it always will. The issue is whether that is a cause for alarm — and not just moderate alarm. According to the alarmists it is the greatest threat facing humankind today: far worse than any of the manifold evils we see around the globe which stem from what Pope called “man’s inhumanity to man”.
So let’s summarise the GWPF’s world view then: global warming is just natural (ho, hum). Is it a cause for alarm? On appropriate timescales, the inevitable collapse of the WAIS might be considered to be a bit worrying, for example, but really, the number and depth of the changes wrought by GW, and the uncertainties over the speed and severity of systemic step-changes (tipping points), are simply far too numerous to list. You’ll note the clever insertion of the word ‘today’. On its own, this one word reveals the basis of the GWPF’s arguments, and the fundamental misunderstanding of why global warming is a problem. It isn’t about today, never was.  It’s about tomorrow, on which subject, the GWPF is often relatively quiet.
Climate change alarmism is a belief system, and needs to be evaluated as such.
Some types of extreme alarmism seem to function in this way, but the kind of concerns reiterated over the past 20 years (50 years?) and more about where our actions and choices are leading us are derived from scientific observation and practice and provide an evidence base so large that ignoring it does, in the end, look like wilful ignorance after all.
The Old Man’s final thoughts on this, for now?

Global Warming dissent, being less based on science, and more on personal prejudice, has many more characteristics of a belief system than its converse, but this misses the point, as the GWPF does. Forget your dislike of wind farms, Mr Lawson, and your faith in the generation of wealth to bypass any ‘problems’ which might arise. Instead, ask yourself how genuinely rational you are being.

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Morrow Project, Chapter 2: Is the World coming to an End?

Is the wrong question. It's too vague as it stands. One obvious answer is Yes, it is. That is, the World (as experienced by any individual component of it)is in a constant flux, changing by the day, hour, minute. Some of these changes are cyclical, and some linear, the difference being that cycles repeat patterns (if not exact details) and lines do not; there is no going back.

Let's try to be more precise then: Is the World as we (humans) presently experience it in the process of entering a state of change which is linear, not part of a 'natural' cycle, irreversible?  And let's be more detailed; here, we are talking about 'the World' as a shared experience of a large system or set of systems which currently persist, whether these are natural, social or commercial. Furthermore, does this imply that the World and its systems as we experience it/them are coming to an end?

According to many observers, the answer to this question is also Yes. There is no shortage of evidence that the Twenty-first Century World is different in substantial ways to what came before, and contains within itself the seeds of a transformation to yet more changes in the years to come. According to some, and within the underlying anxiety and guilt of many, these transformations will be sufficiently dramatic to mean that the World as it is to be experienced by our descendants is likely to be very different to the World we know. In this sense, quite possibly, we can say that the World that we know is coming to an end.

Are we ,  then, one of the 'last generations' of 'civilised' humankind? In terms with which some will be familiar, are we living at the 'End of Days', not necessarily in a religious or moral sense, but also perhaps in a practical one?

Well, let's be clear; every generation is the last of its kind, and the first of its kind. Certain key stages in human social development stand out - for example the Fourteenth Century, during which plague and famine possibly halved the global population (the Sixth to Eighth century is probably also, arguably, another such period). Was this the end of the World? It marks a watershed - before and after this period, the World as lived in by us changed. But the World did not, as such, come to an end. It became something new.

The Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries also stand out. The Agricultural, Industrial and Scientific revolutions combined to create a whole new set of conditions, in the residue of which we now live. Does the present period of human society stand out as such a period of radical change? Or, more extremely, are we now at a stage where we actually are threatening our collective survival, our present state of civilisation, and heading for a spectacular collapse, on a scale previously experienced in those earlier periods?

This final question, then, is probably the 'interesting' matter for us, as one generation struggling with its own expectations and responsibilites. For there is one way in which we 'modern' people differ from those which preceded us. Before the 1800s, it was clear that radical and dramatically negative large scale changes were the consequence of outside forces, the Deus ex Machina, Fate. Since then, living a a World of science, medicine and large-scale agriculture, we have been relatively immune, collectively, to these (so far). Since the 1940s, we have also lived in a World where we are uniquely conscious of a new phenomenon - our capacity to destroy ourselves and our world through our own actions and choices. And this is where the matter of responsibility comes in, for we now live lives which contain an awareness that the 'End of Days' is more likely to be in our hands than from any outside force. As such, we bear a responsibility for our decisions about how we live, and what we do, which did not previously exist on a global scale.

So, the next chapters of the Project will start addressing this last question: through our relationship with the World (our home), it's natural systems, the biosphere, the atmosphere, the oceans and land, are we setting the conditions for a new 'collapse' of human society? This is not a simple question, and will take a lot of working out. So, here's a spoiler; simple observation suggests that the World as we know it is due for another dramatic set of changes, probably stimulated by our own actions, but we still have choices about the nature of these changes...


Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Morrow Project, chapter one

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Santayana.

Which is my introduction to this morning's subject, the History of the Apocalypse. Hopefully, you can see the marker for what it is; the early parts of the Morrow project are to map out the context in which we consider the idea of impending doom, vis a vis Catastrophic Climate Change. Once we can make sense of why we might have an inclination towards apparent nihilism, it then becomes possible to place present-day concerns over the impacts of a changing climate into a space from where we can puzzle out an attitude, or approach to the future.

If you go to see (or just read the rubbish about) Russell Crowe and Noah, you're following a popular and enduring trend in human society to consider the possibility of the End of Days. It sits very deeply in the Western cultural consciousness. It is, of course, a theme in parts of the Bible and, through the thousand year social/intellectual dominance of this particular religion, informs our development consciousness as individuals, whether we are aware of it or not.

But it is also there embedded in the Viking/Nordic consciousness, as Ragnarok, in Millenialist cults from the tenth, fourteenth, eighteenth centuries, on into the modern era. From the early Twentieth century, influenced no doubt by the horrors of the global conflicts into which we were plunged, and by the Cold War and Post-Existentialist modern, it reaches us first through late-period sects (such as the Jehovah's Witnesses), through Science Fiction, in examples too numerous to mention, and in contemporary Fantasy fiction. The End of Days is a sufficiently common and enduring theme to be able to confidently claim that it exists within our cultural identity, and thus within our individuality, like a toothache.

And our attitude towards this apparent apocalypse is interesting, for it is a qualified doom, not an unequivocal one. In most versions, since neo-Platonic times, possibly since Aquinas, we, the recipients of the wisdom of the Revelation, are excluded from the ranks of the doomed - we are the chosen, the few, the blessed. In personal imaginings of the catastrophic realignment of human existence on Earth, the question of whether I will be one of the few does not arise, it is taken as a given. We are the witness to the new, the post-apocalyptic World. This is, of course, counter-rational, since by definition, if 90% or so of the World's population is to die, the odds against a personal survival is quite small..

There's probably also a link to one of the fundamental premises of Christianity (and, implicitly, in some versions of Buddhism), that the reward for suffering in the present is a better, purer 'life' in the future. The power of this particular promise is obvious - your life may be crap now, but there is always hope. But in the adult awareness of our individual inefficability, a deus ex machina, an mighty outside force, is required to bring about the transformation, at least on a timescale that signifies within the self-aware mortal frame of normal human life.

Neither is such irrational hope confined to religion - it persists in a huge proportion of the Advertising, Marketing, consumption and social human activities that constitute a significant proportion of our daily input, wherein it addresses and promises to answer our everyday existential anxieties about power, control, desire, significance, and solve these if only we buy this, bet that, own this, use that...

In a similar way, the idea of a Global Catastrophe allows us to hope, in the abstract, that the problems and worries which beset us as individuals and as a society entire, a species, on this planet, our home, are capable of a solution. This is a dramatic and exclusive solution, but we are, ipso facto, the survivors, the new wave, the pioneers of the better tomorrow... and so we come to welcome what is in rational terms an appalling holocaust.

So, we seem to exist in Developed Society as entities for whom the tendency to worry and wonder about our collective future is a mirror for our anxieties about our survival and flourishing as individuals. In this, we follow another familiar neo-Platonic meme, the doctrine of Microcosm-macrocosm (As above, so below).

Here is a suggestion, then. When we speculate about tomorrow in terms of the imminent collapse of civilization, or a sudden transition to a Brave New World, what we are doing is transferring our uncomfortable awareness of our own mortality and our wish to signify onto the larger scale. This form of abstraction allows us to separate out our terror of death from our dream of persistence, and exist in a form of hopefulness, or optimism, in which we can beat death itself. Our imagining of the Apocalypse is an imagining of our immortality.

Next time: Chapter two; Is the world coming to an end?

Be loved.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Don’t stop (thinking about tomorrow)

The outlook for the future of humanity is not great at the moment. In the several years since I started taking a serious interest in this, including extensive academic research, substantial reading and study and direct engagement in online debate and discussion, not much has improved.

We have been strongly conscious of our collective ability to shape, transform, and in particular, damage our world and our societies, for at least fifty years. For much of this time, the focus of academic attention has been on Environmental ‘issues’ and the relationship between human exploitation of resources and ecosystems’ capacity to absorb this. More recently, the focus has shifted to the questions which arise from recent observations of the global warming of the planet’s ‘system’.

Today, more than has been apparent before, we live in a time when people who think about the bigger issues and problems of society are aware that our Human world is at least partially dysfunctional. Though it is hard to place a number on this outside the realms of serious statistical (quantitative) research, and though observation bias is no doubt in play, since I tend to socialise with people who share my world-view, or at least my concerns, my best guess is that a substantial minority of Northern Europeans, and a slightly smaller but still significant minority of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Africans, Asians and Southern/Eastern Europeans, are both aware of at least some of the issues facing our species and others, and also concerned about them with respect to the future.

For some time I have been working to map out a vision of how the near future of Humanity might progress and so, given that there may be some interest, intend to present some of my guesses, along with the reasoning behind them, here over the next few posts. For my own reasons, I have named this the ‘Morrow Project’. It would be more than helpful, in this case, were some readers to offer contributions, in particular where they think my reasoning has gone astray, or where they are not clear about my meanings, so come on, folks, say your bit…


Coming up next on the blog, then, the Morrow Project, Episode 1…

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Visions and Nightmares

Over on P3, where the worthy Michael Tobis does his stuff, a lively discussion has been going on over who deserves a prize for bad science of the year. One of the candidates is a concerned ecologist by the name of McPherson, who apparently has a big social media following. I'd not heard of him, TBH. The other is the familiar Lomborg, about whom I do know, and have opinions. (h/t to MT for the link..)

What interests me is not, though, who will walk away with the dubious honour, but the complete dichotomy of future vision which these two represent. Lomborg sees a world which needs to keep committing capital to solve real and present problems, whilst largely letting tomorrow do its own thing (and is therefore marked down by many as being short-sighted, since he champions the cause of climate action inertia). McP, it appears, sees 'the end of the world as we know it', imminent and real, and has transformed his own life accordingly.

I have wavered over the past thirty years in my own imagining of the future, and have consistently struggled to create, in my mind at least, a realistic scenario for the rest of my life and beyond, of how 'the World' will unfold. It seems like a big project, but as we have understood for a while, thanks to numerous strands of human endeavour and research, a lot of the bits which make up our world are connected in sometimes surprising ways. And my wayward mind persists in chewing away at it.

One of the struggles has always been to uncover the truth about the state of the World as it is (in science terms, establish the initial conditions), to understand the forces which shape the direction of our short-term (5-10 years) future, and to distinguish between the good and bad in other people's imaginings. Hence the original interest in climate change and climate science, and the engagement in recent years, because I personally believe it is important. Hence the general support for science, truth and reason as key tools to establish something resembling 'the real world'.

Once upon a time, I would probably have thrown my cap in the ring with the McPherson's of the world, seeing all that is bad and all that is going bad lead to an inevitable and imminent decline in our global society and welfare. I can't say I've ever subscribed to the other view, that things will continue to steadily improve for us all, and we'll sort out such problems as climate as we go along. Partially this is because I lack faith in the security of the institutions on which our current 'civilization' depends, and partially because I used to be one of those who hankered after a simpler, quasi-medieval, idealised life more in harmony with natural forces and less dependent on human ones.

These days, I am more inclined towards the view that 'civilization' is unlikely to break down in one great, catastrophic meltdown, at least not in the next ten years. I don't rule out the possibility entirely, but am more aware of the sheer weight and inertia of the human systems and structures we have created, and their tendency to avoid this kind of event. On the other hand, my taste for a life less determined by these forces has not diminished, it's just that the reasons for choosing to live in a 'post-civilized' mode of being have changed some.

I'm with Tobis on feeling that extreme views founded on bad science are to be discouraged, and to some extent, I agree with him that too much 'Doom' can lead to nihilistic or fatalistic responses, which in turn produce another kind of inertia about our future and the path we all seem to be headed down, whether we like it or not. 

On the other hand, I find ostrich-behaviour particularly distasteful and unrealistic. The Titanic was not, after all, unsinkeable. People who use bad science to justify a shuttered and unrealistic world-view, such as many climate-deniers (more likely, they use anti-science, which is arguably worse), are at least equally and, to my taste, more culpable in encouraging us to imagine that we either should not, or cannot, do anything to change the direction the world is going in.

What is my vision of the future? Well, the detail will have to wait a while, it's still being compiled - but in general, I think we are moving towards an increasingly divided world, and increasingly unjust and unbalanced world, an world increasingly changed by the long-term shift in climate and climate patterns, a world divided between the urban and the rural, a world where some people who have the means and the choice will steadily opt out of the 'global-corporate' world-vision and move closer to more localised, self-sufficient and self-dependent, 'small' social groups, whilst others choose the uber-urban, hyper-modern life that would seem to be a natural development from our existing large city lives.

The Dispossessed will remain the Dispossessed, and gods damn us all for that. 

I don't have any input into who MT will give his 'award' to, though I'm inclined to generally try to support even misguided environmentalists in favour of misguided economists. But I do want to end on a cautionary note. Remember the Terminator - the future is not yet written. We MUST continue to believe that we have the means and the desire to change the direction of our future for the better; this is, whether in the personal or the collective, the basis for having a meaningful life. And without doubt, the future is better served by seeking for truth, reason and understanding.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

It's gone! Out of the park... Tamino hits a bases-loaded world series winner...

Sometimes, someone just hits the nail on the head. At which point, adding anything is just gilding the lily. Tamino has absolutely nailed one this time, and you should consider this mandatory reading for the week. It just made me feel like shouting 'Boston wins the World Series!' out loud. Hiatus my ass.