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Fw: [America2Point0] Cultural Memes and Magical Thinking: Civilized humans are separate from Nature?

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  • Denis Frith
    This article provides sound insight into the problems created by memes. However, it ends with
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 20, 2014
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      This article provides sound insight into the problems created by memes. However, it ends with
      < My guess is that most scientists don’t give much thought to cultural memes. Not many social scientists do, either. But memes are a powerful force in any society, and anyone who is interested in affecting human behaviors (including reproductive behaviors) would do well to educate themselves about how culture influences individual and group behavior. This is not the study of a day, and may fall outside one’s deepest interests. But the drift of this op-ed piece, which so goes against your own best instincts, should help demonstrate to you that physics and mathematics alone will never get you where you want to go. You really need to understand the culture and worldview that shapes and directs every one of our lives—and now will likely determine the fate of the world.>
      That view is typically anthropocentric and misleading. The stark reality is that Gaia will slowly recover after the inevitable demise in a century or so of the structure of destructive industrial civilization (Tityas). The future decisions, good and bad, made by the human residents of Tityas will only moderate the senescence of this aging beast.


       

      Denis Frith

      M.Sc.ENG., B.E.

      Melbourne

      Australia

      Technology has provided civilization with the means to irreversibly use up limited natural material resources, produce irretrievable material wastes and degrade the environment. That is an unsustainable process that society will have to cope with by powering down. 

      growthandsenescence ofcivilization.blogspot.com

      "Senescence Of Civilization" <senescence-of-civilization@...

      ebook  “Gaia and Tityas: what Homo sapiens have done”

       

       

       

      ----- Original Message -----

      From: Lawrence Rupp

      Sent: 01/21/14 05:20 AM

      To: Lawrence Rupp

      Subject: [America2Point0] Cultural Memes and Magical Thinking: Civilized humans are separate from Nature?

       
       
       
       
      http://tpb.torrentproxy.nl/torrent/6029336/The_Century_of_the_Self__(BBC_-_Complete_Series)
       
       
       Dave wrote:
      Here is a quote from my new book
       
       
       
       
       

      WIKIPEDIA

       

       

      Edward Louis Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995) was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as "the father of public relations".He combined the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud. He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' …. Bernays was the originator of modern public relations, and was named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life magazine.

       

       

       

       

       

      I will comment here on two interrelated parts of the problem leading to an American—and for that matter world  incomprehension of the fact that our society is presently on a non-sustainable ecological course; one religious and the other psychological. They both have to do with an inability of humanity to see reality as it is.

       

       

      But first a word on the caption in this part of the chapter: At the turn of the twentieth century a psychologist arrived in the United States from Great Britain. Advertising, public relations—and politics, would never be the same. He said that if we can be made to believe a lie to be a truth, for us the lie will become truth. His name was Edward Louis Bernays and he was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. The media obfuscation we now see is the product of his work. He was the father of Public Relations and Advertising. He was the first psychologist to advise a US President. Looking back, one can make the case that his influence on the thought process of Americans today was equal to that of Christianity. Americans spend more hours in front of TV sets being exposed to ads (many political) than in places of worship!

       

       

       
       
       
      In a message dated 1/20/2014 5:53:49 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, rlawrenc@... writes:
      Maybe Sigmund Freud can contribute to this discussion?
       
      BBC Documentary series "Century of the Self" - Freud-based analysis of political control (2002)
       
      The Century of the Self is an award-winning British television documentary series by Adam Curtis, released in 2002. It focuses on how the work of Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and Edward Bernays influenced the way corporations and governments have analyzed,‭ dealt with, and controlled people.
       
       

      Finding a Better Message on The Risks of Climate Change - To overcome polarization on the issue of climate change, Yale professor Dan Kahan says in an interview with e360, scientists and the media need to frame the science in ways that will resonate with the public. A message that makes people feel threatened, he says, simply will not be effective.

      Posted: 14 Sep 2013 07:28 AM PDT

      Source: Yale Environment 360. To overcome polarization on the issue of climate change, Yale professor Dan Kahan says scientists and the media need to frame the science in ways that will resonate with the public. A message that makes people feel threatened, he says, simply will not be effective. “Are there ways to combine the science with meanings that would be affirming rather than threatening to people?” he said.
       
       
       
       
      Cultural Memes and Magical Thinking
           Today’s New York Times op-ed piece (Sep 14, 2013)  on why the human population is not a problem can be seen, at least by some of us, as purely magical thinking. The author leads with the statement that: “Many scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us.” He then goes on to declare this rather obvious fact of life to be nonsense. “The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been.” Not natural and never have been? The author, Earle C. Ellis, is an associate professor of geography and environmental systems, and would seem to be an authority on this issue. By appearing in the New York Times--after having passed the editorial requirements of this rather prestigious rag—this piece would seem to carry some weight of credibility. But isn’t something horribly amiss when such oversold snake oil can garner this much institutional validation? Yes, and that something is absolutely relevant to every population activist—and, in fact, to every living being on this planet.   
           What Ellis has done here is take a particular cultural meme of ours and carry it to its utmost extreme. That meme says that we civilized humans are separate from, and above, Nature; that everything on planet Earth belongs to very special, exceptional, sapient, us. When Ellis baldly states that “There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity,” he is simply working the “exceptional” meme to its perversely self-referential conclusion. We stand apart; we stand alone; we make our own rules. And of course he is correct, if humanity is a closed system, and has no interactions with the other systems and species of the Earth. But I’m afraid that is a bigger if than can be accounted for by any of the facts we know. Ellis calls himself an ecologist, but seems oblivious to the first principles of ecology, and most especially that everything is connected to (and dependent upon) everything else, and that all flourishing is mutual. We have all been trained to be anthropocentric—and we’ve gotten to be pretty good at it-- but our professor of environmental systems has taken human narcissism and hubris into realm of self-worship. According to him, the conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been, because we have used technology and altered our environments; and the corollary, I suppose, is that whatever we change we can change again, using our special cleverness, and in this way make the ruin of Earth all our very own. And, as a note of (techno)-optimism: “Who knows what will be possible with the technologies of the future?” Surely, not even the sky (whose chemistry we may alter at our whim) will prove a limit to our will and ingenuity.
           My guess is that most scientists don’t give much thought to cultural memes. Not many social scientists do, either. But memes are a powerful force in any society, and anyone who is interested in affecting human behaviors (including reproductive behaviors) would do well to educate themselves about how culture influences individual and group behavior. This is not the study of a day, and may fall outside one’s deepest interests. But the drift of this op-ed piece, which so goes against your own best instincts, should help demonstrate to you that physics and mathematics alone will never get you where you want to go. You really need to understand the culture and worldview that shapes and directs every one of our lives—and now will likely determine the fate of the world.
          Culture is the context of population activism, and context counts.
      =

       

      --
      “Genocide is as human as art or prayer.” – John Gray
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