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BRAIN FOOD: FAREWELL DIEOFF.ORG

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  • Lou <ldallara@comcast.net>
    From jhanson2 Add Sender Sent Wednesday, January 15, 2003 9:58 pm To dieoff@yahoogroups.com Subject BRAIN FOOD: FAREWELL
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 16, 2003
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      From "jhanson2 <j@...>" <j@...> Add Sender
      Sent Wednesday, January 15, 2003 9:58 pm
      To dieoff@yahoogroups.com
      Subject BRAIN FOOD: FAREWELL DIEOFF.ORG
      FAREWELL DIEOFF.ORG
      Jay Hanson -- j@...
      01/12/03

      I am turning the dieoff website over to the moderator of
      the "energyresources" mailing list -- a fellow named Tom Robertson
      t1r@.... If you are so inclined, Tom could make use of
      any support you could give him to keep the dieoff web site going.

      I would like to bid you all farewell and present a brief synopsis of
      my work over the last ten years or so. Like everything else, it's
      all very simple when you really understand it. Unfortunately, I
      doubt that more than a few hundred people worldwide (perhaps far
      less) would be able to really understand the issues I raise in this
      paper. Probably no more than one or two who actually receive this
      mailing will really understand it -- for reasons I will attempt to
      explain...

      SYNOPSIS
      --------
      I developed an interest in "sustainability" about fifteen years ago
      when it became clear to me that our present economic system was
      totally unsustainable and self-destructive. It seemed little more
      than a well-organized method for converting natural resources into
      garbage. I studied modern economic theory on the assumption that our
      political leaders would work to change the flaws once I was able to
      point them out.

      I became aware that something was fundamentally wrong in our
      political system when I ran for public office. The more I studied
      politics, the more bizarre it looked. I finally realized it wasn't
      anything like the "democracy" it claimed to be. It turns out that
      America is actually a stealth plutocracy
      http://www.dieoff.org/page168.htm !

      Working full-time for more than a decade, I studied it all: the
      history of our so-called "democracy", the fundamentals and history
      of
      modern economics, sociology, cybernetics, system theory, biology,
      ecology, microbiology, evolution theory, physics, and so on.

      After several years of research, I concluded that little -- if any --

      of the so-called "social sciences" (including economics) taught in
      our universities had anything relevant to say about the real world.
      Instead of discovering facts and principles, most social science is
      little more than a program designed to "rationalize" (invent
      socially-
      acceptable excuses for) the current plutocracy. Moreover, I was
      astonished to find that the global economy is based upon Catholic
      religious dogma that I was able to trace back to St. Thomas
      http://www.dieoff.com/page243.htm ! Eventually I discarded social
      science altogether because it had absolutely nothing worthwhile to
      say about sustainability.

      By placing the results of my research in order of importance for
      sustainability, I can simplify over ten years' work down to two sets
      of physical "laws". These laws place harsh limits on what is
      possible for us: #1 ENERGY LAWS, and #2 BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION LAWS.
      For purposes of sustainability, nothing else matters.

      #1 ENERGY LAWS
      --------------
      Once I was able to understand Odum's "eMergy" metric (actually very
      simple, but difficult for old minds), I realized there are only
      three
      relevant principles concerning energy: the First Law of
      thermodynamics (no creation), the Second Law (always a loss), and
      the "Net eMergy" principle ("net energy" converted for "quality")
      http://www.dieoff.org/synopsis.htm .

      Once one understands the three simple principles outlined in the
      paragraph above, then one understands that the only way our society
      could actually be "sustainable" would be to continuously reduce our
      aggregate energy footprint -- less consumption AND less people --
      until the global population level is back to a couple-a-hundred-
      million people swinging through the trees. This is also Georgescu-
      Roegen's conclusion http://www.dieoff.org/page148.htm . That's the
      easy part...

      With great reluctance (because it has worked so well for me), I was
      forced to conclude that our present system of capitalism is
      incompatible with energy laws and can never be sustainable. My only
      hope was that some new form of sustainable society might be
      possible. So I began studying human nature, intending to discover
      what kinds of sustainable societies might work...

      #2 BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION LAWS
      ----------------------------
      Human nature is much more difficult to understand than energy laws
      for two main reasons: it's not taught, and we are genetically biased
      against self-knowledge. In other words, teaching human nature to
      someone is something like teaching a dog not to bark
      http://www.dieoff.com/page193.htm .

      I will reduce several years' research on human nature down to the
      essentials: A COMPUTER ANALOG, and A SOCIAL PRINCIPLE. For purposes
      of sustainability, everything else about human nature can be
      ignored -
      - it simply doesn't matter.

      a. A COMPUTER ANALOG
      -------------
      Computer software cannot function before it is enabled by the
      hardware. In other words, functioning hardware MUST precede
      functioning software.

      Human thought is analogous to computer software. Any particular
      thought (software) cannot precede the neurons, dendrites,
      neurotransmitters, etc (hardware) that make that specific thought
      possible. Like all computers, human hardware is the physical
      prerequisite to human software -- but that's where the similarity
      with everyday computers ends.

      Human brains are much different than the stored-program, digital,
      binary, single processor PCs we use every day. Instead, human
      brains
      are wired (not stored-program), analog (not digital, not binary),
      multiprocessor (not single processor) "state machines" (program
      logic
      may permanently modify itself depending upon the data). A human
      cannot have a specific thought unless it has been enabled by earlier
      brain "wiring" (e.g., pre-programmed, formal education, reflection,
      critical thinking). Moreover, older brains are much harder
      to "wire"
      than younger brains.

      Brains are mostly hardwired by age 25. By middle age, people may
      need two or three years of hard work to understand something
      completely new (grow the brain hardware required to think the
      thought).

      The human brain comes from the factory with a set of empirically
      designed pre-programs that have historically (over a billion years)
      tended to maximize "inclusive fitness". One of these pre-programs
      was specifically designed to inhibit self-knowledge with respect to
      social issues. By remaining unaware of our true motives, we are
      much
      more effective at deceiving others. We evolved this way because the
      more convincing liar has the advantage in sexual competition (e.g.,
      Bill Clinton).

      In short, people cannot think a thought unless the brain has been
      previously "wired" to think it. This is why civilization after
      civilization runs out of energy and collapses
      http://dieoff.com/page134.htm . This is also why we are presently
      running out of energy and hell-bent for collapse.

      Contrary to the received wisdom, people do not think and then act.
      They act and then rationalize. New data from the environment is
      routinely plugged into existing mental hardware (like entering a
      number into a spreadsheet), which is then followed by an appropriate
      thought. Since people have no wiring for "peak in oil and gas
      production", news of the present energy crisis cannot generate the
      appropriate thought. Only prolonged reflection can grow the
      required
      mental hardware to place this critical piece of news in
      perspective.
      Unfortunately, only a few people can invest the thousands-and-
      thousands of hours necessary to see both the energy and evolutionary
      aspects of the human condition clearly.

      b. A SOCIAL PRINCIPLE
      -----------------------
      Individuals come from the factory pre-programmed to seek inclusive
      fitness in ways that have actually worked in the past. In modern
      society, economic growth serves as a proxy for increasing fitness.
      This is why we "feel good" when we make money, buy a new SUV, and so
      on. Unfortunately, when our pre-program determines that inclusive
      fitness is best served by violating social norms, we will violate
      those norms and seek a fitness advantage. This explains the higher
      crime rates in our lower income populations and why nations go to
      war.

      Societies can remain reasonably stable as long as their economies
      continue to grow -- continue to serve inclusive fitness for the
      majority. But when economic growth becomes physically impossible --
      as it must -- societies will disintegrate into anarchy and war, as
      individuals and groups seek advantage.

      CONCLUSION
      ----------
      Once one understands the three simple energy principles outlined in
      this paper, then one understands that the only way our society could
      be actually be "sustainable", would be to continuously reduce our
      aggregate energy footprint. Put differently, energy laws will force
      us to continuously reduce our aggregate footprint whether we choose
      to or not.

      Once one understands human nature as outlined in this paper, then
      one
      also understands that continued social stability requires us to
      continuously INCREASE energy use, which we now know is impossible!
      It should not come as a surprise that we have been pre-programmed to
      overshoot and crash just like other animals
      http://www.dieoff.org/page80.htm .

      There are absolutely no humane solutions available to the ruling
      elite because it is impossible to solve the problem of human
      corruption (i.e., the genetic pre-program to violate norms and seek
      advantage). Unfortunately, the best the poor can hope for is a
      painless death.

      Since human nature is so terribly difficult to understand (I needed
      about five years), I am willing to participate in a moderated
      discussion group to explain the contents of this paper -- providing
      enough people are interested -- and someone volunteers to do the
      moderating. There will be no "political" discussions on the list.
      Go somewhere else if you want to talk politics.

      It will be a few weeks before I can get the list started. Send a
      note to me at j@... if you are interested. Be sure the
      word "farewell" is in the title of your email so I won't delete
      it as
      spam. (I use a "white list" spam filter.)

      Farewell and good luck,
      Jay
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