Articles tagged with "campfire"
I've recently rewatched The Century of the Self (COTS), a four part BBC special on the birth and explosion of public relations/advertising, and it's impact on American culture. The series documents how the Freudian theory of subconscious irrational behavior was seized on and manipulated by governments and businesses in the 21st century, initially spearheaded by Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and consultant to several administrations (Coolidge, Roosevelt, Wilson per COTS). While watching, I had to agree that the 20th century WAS the century of the self, and in no small part from the cultural push/pull of advertising/media. The films creator, Adam Curtis, seemed to suggest that studying the behaviors of individuals is interesting, but that the real power to move societies lies in the ability to impact the psychology of crowds, via appealing to subconscious desires (for freedom, status, etc.)
Tonights (in absentia) Campfire questions revolve around the possibility, that the Century of Self could be followed by a Century of Self(less), or if similar machiavellian actors will continue to steer society in the years/decades to come.
Below the fold are her questions. Old-timers please help her out...;-)
Posted by nate hagens on July 12, 2009 - 10:44am in The Oil Drum: Campfire
Tags: campfire, collapse, discount rates, hoarding, intergenerational equity, original, toilet paper [list all tags]
Concern about global resource depletion, at least in certain circles, is generating individual hoarding behavior - I don't know how prevalent this is, the potential advantages it will ultimately confer, or any of the subtleties of the'must have' list. This brief Campfire essay is a (somewhat disjointed) exploration of the short term translation of financial capital into basic goods, from the perspective of long term timing and social trajectories. (I expect it will generate some good discussion, especially following Luis' piece on Sustainability)
It has been about six months since we started the Campfire series on The Oil Drum. The intent was to host an outlet for those who were reasonably convinced that peak oil and energy descent begin now. The schedule is on Wednesdays to have 'practical' guest posts from 'experts' on various aspects of human capital (skills and knowledge) that might be useful for the community to learn and discuss. The Saturday slot was for some of the larger and more difficult questions we face as a society in an overshoot situation.
The 'guest post' larder since the start of Campfire has been on the bare side (with some stellar exceptions). Tonights post is a blank slate for you to articulate what 'practical' topics you would like covered in future posts. Since peak oil likely means more localization and a move towards self-reliance, essays and expertise on food/water/energy will clearly be of interest. But information on health, psychology, leisure, etc. in a post-peak world will be equally interesting.
The genesis for tonight's Campfire topic was an argument with a close friend a few weeks back, questioning the purpose/effectiveness of time spent blogging/speaking/educating about the various systemic errors embedded in conventional energy, economic and social thinking. Her question to me, before I left for a speech at U of Wisconsin, was unexpected:
"How can you be certain that all yours and others 'outreach' efforts will only result in slowing down our consumption paradigm just enough to allow for 20 or 30 more years of pulling in resources from the periphery, thereby unintentionally causing an ultimately greater ecological disaster than the one you are efforting to avoid?
I didn't have a quick answer to that one, though I have since puzzled out a rational response. Tonight's short essay then, is about unintended consequences, our human penchant to 'mess with things', and the benefits (or drawbacks) of wider education on our looming energy crisis.
I just got the book, What Have You Changed Your Mind About - Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything. Given my cognitive overload, I have so far only managed a quick skim. But the title/content made me reflect on what I've crammed into my brain these past 6 years or so exploring issues related to resource depletion; how many times I have been wrong about things, misunderstood concepts - I've even restarted my entire understanding from scratch on three occasions. As such, I thought this book title a good segue for TOD:Campfire - an opportunity for a 'community' that has become increasingly aware of the wide boundary energy decline story to share what they've learned - any surprises, insights, or 180 degree 'a-ha' shifts in thinking...
Successful adaptation to issues surrounding resource depletion will require (at least) 1)the ability to think about the future, 2)the recognition that if nothing is done the future will be worse off than the present and 3)the ability to act now, while time and resources are still available to act. Many reading this site qualify for at least 2 of the above. My own sharing of discoveries, analysis and opinions about Peak Oil with friends, family and acquaintances over the past 5 years, has met with a wide disparity of reactions. There is a significant group of people that fall into the category of 'thanks, but I don't want to know anymore about this topic'. They don't often use those exact words, but might reply to an email about Cantarell decline rates with a picture of their son at baseball practice, e.g.
Tonight's Campfire relates to the spigot of information surrounding Peak Oil and Limits to Growth more broadly, etc. Are you happy you learned about the coming energy transition or do you long for the days of Peak Oil ignorance? If you could do a rewind would you want the Peak Oil information spigot fully open, a moderate flow, or a bare trickle?
Yesterday I posted an academic introduction to the issues surrounding an energy/sustainability transition. Since Saturday pm is The Oil Drum "Campfire" 'tough questions' slot, I thought I'd follow if with something less politically correct. (Campfire guidelines here)
10 years ago**, Jay Hanson, of www.dieoff.org notoriety, wrote an essay titled "The Society of Sloth". In it he likens our satisficing of wants (as opposed to needs), to a giant Rube Goldberg resource consumption machine. His prescription is that in order to avert future suffering, we replace our present social sin of avarice with one of 'sloth'. The essay is below the fold, as well as part of a related recent email thread, (and the usual Campfire questions).
(**I should point that in 1999 I was an oblivious playboy financial manager who had never heard of Limits to Growth or Peak Oil and had quite different notions about what sexual selection meant. IOW, Jay has been ahead of curve thinking on these issues)
This post is an open thread to discuss the implications of H1N1 (or future pandemics) on energy. Who knows how serious this flu strain will be, or the next one? What we do know is that 1) our current long run energy decisions are largely being based on the erroneous but comforting assumption that price is a valid signal of future scarcity, 2) we have 6.77 billion humans, about 50% which are connected daily through a complex just-in-time delivery system of basic needs and information, and 3) we have an economic marker system that has way overshot what it was attempting to mark. What then might happen to future energy supplies if either the perception, or the reality of a flu or other pandemic in the next few years sweeps the globe?
Tonight's guest essay from Chuck Burr, brought back memories of a similar message, (after reading Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael" many years ago), that jettisoned me from my more=better individual trajectory. Quinn's books were among the first I read suggesting our current cultural norms were not the preordained destination for our species, and caused me to read far and wide about what was happening to our planet and the general intersection of more demand/ less supply. In a related vein, Chuck Burr's essay takes a very wide boundary view of our options as a culture encountering multiple resource limits but weighed down by huge existing fixed infrastructure. I don't agree with all of it, as we may have been 'Takers' all along just with lower tribal populations, but his essay raises some interesting and important issues. We're not going 'back', but it is possible to go forward on a parallel but different path. Tonight's Campfire questions are: How WOULD we just walk away from the existing social and built infrastructure? Is it desirable? Is it possible?