Fatherof4 wrote:However, in order to maintain this order and complexity, a continuous flow of cheap energy (actually an ever increasing amount due to energy loss as "waste") must continually be pumped into the system.
Without oil, we will not be able to fight entropy. Chaos will ensue until we reach some new state of equilibrium where we can meet our needs for order and complexity with the non-oil energy sources. To reach this new equilibrium, we will have to abandon the energy intensive activities with define our way of life and learn to be satisfied with lives that are governed by renewable energy resources. 7 billion people cannot survive on this planet under those conditions.
I agree with this. You have put it better than I could. I'd like to add Oil has allowed us to create a system over the last 150 years that is structurally harmful to the future. We do not have 150 years to transform it into something else as the energy source that caused the transformation will be unavailable. (Also politically impossible)
While I am crisscrossing North America, I look at all activites see in terms of how oil allows the activity to occur. I then take oil out of the equation and see how the activity can be acomplished. Usually the activity cannot be done. For example there is a tremendous amount of maintenance done every year to the transportation network. Roads are repaired/rebuilt and new ones built (adding more maintenance work in the future). In the north they are plowed every time it snows, In the south they are mowed all the time. Maintenance will always increase, the more complex the system gets. Once we start the change over to a new equilibrium, I am convinced that current infrastructure will be in the wrong places and be a serious impediment to a new order. On the other hand I do like seeing the older technologies like canals and locks as they can still function 100 years after they were built. ( though in time they become more difficult to repair as the resources needed to repair them come from farther away)
Going back to MontQuest's original Question, At some time in the past man thought he had escaped of the physical laws that binds the the planet and all life on it. It probably started when the idea of ownership of property was entrenched into society, as thats when control over resources and hence control over ones own destiny became possible.