We're on the Pequod

Life on the Pequod


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Apr 16Liked by Patrick Mazza

Thank you Patrick....it looks like we are not going to turn it around. Unless somehow we could grab the wheel and shut down the fossil fuel industry. Would that work..? I wonder?

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...thank you for your thoughtfulness...

I am also concerned that the "captains" seem more interested in spending their wealth on war rather than taking care of people or, critically, on making sure the large chunks in the broken up meteor belt that the earth passes through twice a year are removed...we have the technology to do this.

If a meteor could wipe out the dinos, how is it that we think we are immune?

It's as if, as a race (humans), we are collectively as immature as young people convinced they are invincible and will live forever.

Meanwhile, as Mary Oliver says, "the world goes on;" her poem "Wild Geese" continues to sustain me.

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Evolution endowed humans with emotions, i.e. with a biological system within our brains, which enabled us to assess (usually accurately) danger on the one hand and opportunity on the other. Those who made the wrong assessment were removed from the human gene pool. Those who correctly assessed it passed on their more finely honed observations and reactions. However, innate human emotions, as effective as they are for natural risks, were not endowed with the capacity to understand or predict the consequences of human-created entities, i.e. technology and complex social arrangements. Only science and the Enlightenment were able to provide us, via language, books and evidence, with the potential adverse effects of non=nature. That is our dilemma today: we have scientific data and evidence analyzing the consequences of our behavior, our society and the technologies we rely on. It is these, not emotions or experience, that tell us

what we are doing right or wrong. The absence of an evolutionary internal signal telling us we are nearing the precipice leaves humans open to ideology, lies, myths, fiction and just bad judgment.

Even in ancient times, myths were artistic attempts to warn us about possible negative consequences, such as those of incest or other aberrant behavior. Now we have science to provide

explanations for how things work but this is insufficient to overcome the embedded irrationality of humans, which education and knowledge have NOT erased or even mitigated. The Prometheus

myth tried to address this by warning of overreach and arrogance. Even the ancient Greeks knew that there were limits, though punishment was not climate change but something smaller and more localized. How to "privilege" knowledge, intellect and scientific evidence over innate irrationality and constructed ideologies was and is the biggest challenge. So far most humans, at least governments, have not only failed to do this but actively RESIST it. Anti intellectualism has triumphed in social governance and society large. As long as it prevails it is clear that our planet

has a very short future, or at least human civilization. No evidence exists to indicate the contrary.

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Thanks for articulating this difference. However, in apprenticeship there can be authoritarianism in order to enforce discipline and focus on the important details instead of being distracted or casual.

Think of medieval apprenticeships. Then think of the modern classroom, where discipline and focus are needed continually. People will accept this kind of discipline because most of them recognize its benefits and respect the teacher. But when leaders start making important decisions or policies based on their own ideology and ignore their constituency (i.e. elected officials), that's when trouble arises, in the lack of accountability or even defiance of public wishes. We readily delegate power to those we trust and who honestly represents. if they don't, we don't re elect them. Or the leader loses authority and status. As a music lover I point to Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger, with the respected disciplined Hans Sachs and the meistersinger organization that

is empowered to judge artistic merit. Sachs must have been a formidable character (he really existed), one of the most highly regarded in his profession as well as his wisdom. Despite the mindless hate of Wagner, this opera made the point that tradition and training are crucial in any endeavor but innovation must not be smothered. Unfortunately the focus on traditional art and culture in this opera has led many people to consider the opera as some kind of preHitler

authoritarian culture. They need to listen more closely to the music.

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Let us hope that we'll figure out a new way, a way in which there is not a hierarchy with "captains" at the helm. I have lost all faith in such hierarchy as a mode of organizing human affairs.

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In my view, when climate denialism is no longer a big problem, economic modelling that undermine the severity of climate change seem to be a major problem. I’ve translated a piece from a debate in Norway, following an author’s petition to the Norwegian government to stop exploring for new oil and gas, signed by 159 Norwegian authors, including among others Karl Ove Knausgård and me.


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