How longterm does our longterm perspective have to be? : LUSENET : Sustainable Business & Living iForum : One Thread

That post interviewing Bill Joy was well-written enough to rouse me (at least temporarily) out of my post-Y2K ennui to take fingers to keyboard and pollute the ether with a few more words.

First off, it's nice that this forum is young enough that civility still rules (The perpetually petulant adolescents of all ages haven't yet found this locus.)

Lately, every time the thought arises to lift off and post a meaningful article on some forum or other I end up taking the opposition to my initial argument. A formula for silence that. So Bill Joy is a joy to read. But I also take heed of certain of his critics who point out that trying to stop a diesel freight loco pulling a thousand cars of coal will definitely morph your physical body into a somewhat unrecognizable form.

But after enough of "on the one hand" followed by "on the other hand" here's what I've tentatively come up (tipping my hat to Dave Porter):

We humans ARE the center of the Universe, are we not? (I hear no dissents.) Which means it is PRE-ORDAINED that we will not destroy ourselves and/or our planet ... that by hook or crook we WILL find the way out of our dilemmas.

It IS very comforting to assume that since education, experience, and other tools of the trade have enabled our present culture to last these many thousands of years, it is INEVITABLE that we will EXTRAPOLATE our track record to date -- out to the edge of eternity. But even better than that, we will stretch it out PAST eternity (Everybody knows there's something on the other side of eternity, don't we?)

Now the real nice thing about the above argument is the CERTAIN knowledge that we are the only living organisms in the Universe who possess a consciousness. That's such a gratifying feeling. Helps one sleep at night too.

I see I've gone too far .... End of rant (But I will tip off fellow troublemaker, Hallyx, about this site --- he may come in for a couple licks.)


-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000


Hey Bill,

Good to see the digital "you" again.

Ah, yes. Humanity is so "conscious" these daze that surely we'll discover all solutions to our self-made dilemmas. Unfortunately, that may be on the other side of eternity if we wait too long.

Personally, I feel if we don't substantially "shift" within the next five years, we may wish to test out the other side, instead of remain in the poisoned soup of our own creation.


-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000


I like 5 years. That's a good number.


-- Anonymous, April 19, 2000

Before starting the RunningOnEmpty e-mail list (in conjunction with and parallel to Jay Hanson's [energyresources] list), the former moderator had established a Running On Empty forum right here on Lusenet. While mostly moribund since the mail-group started, it still features some informative and intriguing articles which might be of interest to those assembled, including a few contrarian viewpoints presented to stimulate thinking. And he updates it with new articles regularly.

Running On Empty--the Coming Petroleum Exhaustion and Dieoff

You would recognise the moderator as an old respected TB2K contributor. But I have been specifically asked not to reveal his real alias.

Hallyx :::Waving::: Hi, Bill

The day the world ends, no one will be there, just as no one was there when it began. This is a scandal. Such a scandal for the human race that it is indeed capable collectively, out of spite, of hastening the end of the world by all means just so it can enjoy the show.--- Jean Baudrillard, Cool Memories, chapter 5 (1987).

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000

Those are some intriguing links Hallyx. Thanks... will explore.


-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000

Bill, Bifricating answer---for the individual "live as if you would die tomorrow, farm as if you would live a thousand years"

For the species---

10,000 years, short term, 100,000 years, medium 1.5 million years, long term.

Get at this two ways. First look at the average duration of a mammalian species, then the genus level, somewhere between 200,000 years and 2 million years. This should provide a long term planning horizon, or at least put possible time in perspective.

More interesting way of figuring: How long do our waste products, (esp. bio-toxic materials) traces of our activities persist? Excluding things like glass, it seems that we have widely used chemicals like PCB's with halflives that are on the order of tens of thousands of years (unlikely to be true for PCB's, too much energy in those bonds for some enterprising bacteria to ignore, but that oragnism is not yet widespread.) More alarming are the nuclear wastes which push the time horizon out to the hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

The saving grace Nature is fecund, not frugal but very fertile---if we leave systems alone the damage will be repaired, maybe a dirty patch but a healing none-the-less.

The magic is water. Build wetlands, ponds, swamps. At least keep a birdbath, set a few 5 gallon buckets of water back in a neglected corner of your yard, wherever. Amazing what will colonize a 5 gal. bucket in a season.

peace, dave

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2000

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