How do we get people's heads out of "Flatland" and onto "Planetedge"? : LUSENET : Sustainable Business & Living iForum : One Thread

Most people, most of the time, live and act as if the world was flat.

Its in the language, the behavior, the mistaken perceptions---all these show that humans have failed to accomodate their cosmologies, theologies, philosophies, and technologies to the reality of living on a Planetary Edge.

This is in keeping with the profound and widespread ignorance of the most fundamental discoveries that have been made about the nature of the world. Is it any wonder the oceans are sewers when humans remain blithly ignorant of and ignore the conservation laws of mass and energy? (Matter and Energy are neither created nor destroyed by "normal" chemical/physical methods, Mass and Energy balance on both sides of a transformation.)

Until there is a substantial shift in the framework within which we construct our realities we will continue to behave in ways that ultimately do not work. Externalized costs; a commons from which resorces can be extracted and wastes dumped into; indifference to biota that have no immediate economic value; indifference to sustainable stocks of biota that do have economic value; a total failure to assess and develop energy sources that do not destroy the future, all result from man's indiffernce to clear thinking.

Spaceship Earth did not work as a metaphor. People could not, did not, relate to it.

Does "747-Earth" work better? Those in first class think that they fly on different engines than the peons, in tourist class the peons are busy cutting up the carpet, some are drilling holes in the windows, a few have built fires, etc., the plane seems to be on auto-pilot, its not clear whether the captain and crew are onboard or have bailed, no one knows where the flight is going but all are in a hurry, etc. etc. Does this make the insanity any more clear?

Until we live on Planetedge in our minds as well as our bodies we will continue to foul the nest, destroy the fabric, and miss the point of the trip. Worse, we will invent and deploy techologies and behaviors that don't work in an appropriate geologic time frame. Earth is not a resource to be either depreciated nor expensed! When we manufacture poisons that have half-lives in the 10's of thousands of years and inject them into the food-chains we demonstrate an ignorance of time as well as biochemistry.

One might argue that the Chinese civilization extends back 4000 years with relative continuity, most civilizations don't last that long. The liners in our hazardous waste landfills are rated at 30 years yet we pretend they will safely contain materials for eternity (1000, 10,000 years) Nuclear waste pushes the time horizon out to the 100,000 year range......"what fools these mortals be".

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000


Beautifully put, David.

If we could arrange for one blinding global epiphany for mankind, it might help.

In the absence of that, I suppose relying on the changing weather patterns and increasing natural disasters to make the point... slowly. The media... i.e. Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw, et. al., have been focusing on Global Warming lately.

See also the PBS special Whats Up With The Weather?

When I revert back to my teacher training (as a High School English teacher year ago) I knew then that people often need to see and experience something first-hand to get it. The same assumptions carried over in the computer software development arena. You could sell more if you developed an attract mode Demo of the real thing.

Education changes attitudes. Experience often teaches.

Wish we knew what The Answer was, but my gut says its in the education and demonstration of the problem/solution. Still remember an old truism, that a Lockheed boss once told my father... Bring me solutions... not problems. Dad passed that along to me.

Its what works.


-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000

Allegories, myths, stories, legends, memes, metaphors can communicate and educate in a way that no mere scientific understanding can---as Dave Porter shows us above. The crux of Daniel Quinn's message is that we're telling/living the wrong stories. My friend, Richard Reese understands this as well, as demonstrated in his talk Only the Poets Can Save Us Now.

I was talking with a friend, recently, about how Pantheism (especially the Scientific Humanism variety)is a fine philosphy or worldview for adults who have the capacity to assimilate a more or less objective view of reality. But it's difficult to inculcate children with this philosophy because of its dearth of myths and stories. It has no fairy tales. And it is the children who can benefit most from the lesson; we're too far gone.

Some friends and I have begun a small list on Egroups, one of whose topics is precisely this issue. Anyone who may be interested in contributing to this idea is welcomed, indeed encoraged, to contact me.


"A myth is a container for reality that is too big to be held by a simple truth." ---Roy Underhill

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000

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