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The human element

The human element

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 11 Sep 2016, 19:20:12

I would just like to broach this subject of Human overshoot from the angle of humanities vulnerabilities. Ibon has pointed out that Human ecosystems are more fragile than natural ones. That our social structures including political and economic seem to even now be fraying. Well, now add to this this quote from Ibon "where self reliance is being surrendered over to a deep cyber dependency". So most humans at present are not prepared for the discontinuity and chaos which will transpire. They are cut off from Nature aesthetically and also in knowing survival methods out in Nature. Thus, so many now seem like sitting ducks with consequences being poised to shoot them all down. How will society at large react collectively? Can we rely on others to take care of us? It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this. Some here are more prepared. So while the vicissitudes of this situation pose unpredictable elements, people are divided into the many seemingly at the mercy of the protecting State and those fewer preferring to avail themselves of their own wits and capabilities. Can or will the State try to reign in lone wolfs? If not will the situation allow for people to in mass live off the grid and be self sufficient? I think not. I think the resources simply will not be there for this to happen on a mass scale. I also think that the State and maintaining some sort of functioning civilization will be the only hope for many in the years to come. Perhaps we can transfer this thread to the Human Overshoot/Carrying capacity thread.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 11 Sep 2016, 19:40:47

IMHO it will start out, has started out, with the state trying to mitigate the effects without doing anything about the problem. As the event unfolds more and more states will be unable to cope and will fall into chaos. Read Tropic of Chaos for a more detailed description.

In the end it will each for themselves. When ever that is.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 07:10:23

onlooker wrote: It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this.


Before the internet and the digitization of all our transactions, whether banking or phone calls or video or whatever, the world was a largely unregulated place. I can well remember the way I ran our business back in the 80's and compare that to today in the way digital transparency has squeezed out all of the gray area.

This is something that we do not discuss much but is formidable in affecting the quality of our lives.

The power of the government to regulate, tax and have full transparency of all your daily transactions is not some paranoid idea but has slowly through the last decade become part of our lives.

As time moves forward, as constraints start to squeeze, as the government will be forced to further regulate our lives in order to attempt to keep chaos in check, how will they harness all the digital tools at their disposal to further regulate the way we live?

We ain't seen nothing yet.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby regardingpo » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 07:19:46

onlooker wrote:It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this.

Agree with this. I am all alone and completely unprepared for living in a collapsed world. I am prepared to die, though XD

Edit: I quoted the same part as the person above me by complete accident.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby ennui2 » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 09:03:04

Ibon wrote:
onlooker wrote: It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this.


Before the internet and the digitization of all our transactions, whether banking or phone calls or video or whatever, the world was a largely unregulated place. I can well remember the way I ran our business back in the 80's and compare that to today in the way digital transparency has squeezed out all of the gray area.

This is something that we do not discuss much but is formidable in affecting the quality of our lives.

The power of the government to regulate, tax and have full transparency of all your daily transactions is not some paranoid idea but has slowly through the last decade become part of our lives.

As time moves forward, as constraints start to squeeze, as the government will be forced to further regulate our lives in order to attempt to keep chaos in check, how will they harness all the digital tools at their disposal to further regulate the way we live?

We ain't seen nothing yet.



Regulation ain't such a bad thing. A little more regulation would have prevented the credit crisis, for instance.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 09:05:48

I'll just point out again that I have a problem with the metaphor 'human ecosystem' especially when it is used as some kind of independent, equal, and parallel entity to the actual ecosystem.

Humans are part of the ecosystem, one species within it, to be precise. So the claim that "Human ecosystems are more fragile than natural ones" doesn't really make any clear sense. It's like saying that my blood is more frail than my body.

The fact of the matter is that the ecosystem is in freefall, already deep in the Sixth Mass Extinction Event with much more coming as GW really kicks into high gear, consumption rates (esp. meat eating and flying, but much else as well) keep soaring, and human population gets up to 9 or 10 billion, if not higher.

We are certainly losing languages (and the distinct cultures they represent) at an alarming rate, though.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 09:11:12

en, there should indeed be much more regulation and incarceration (not to mention decapitation and defenestration! :) ) at the top and generally less regulation and incarceration at the bottom.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby ennui2 » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 09:16:32

dohboi wrote:en, there should indeed be much more regulation and incarceration (not to mention decapitation and defenestration! :) ) at the top and generally less regulation and incarceration at the bottom.


I could get behind that platform.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 10:09:57

dohboi wrote:
Humans are part of the ecosystem, one species within it, to be precise. So the claim that "Human ecosystems are more fragile than natural ones" doesn't really make any clear sense. It's like saying that my blood is more frail than my body.


It makes a lot of sense. We replaced natural ecosystems with our own living arrangements. Just look at any satellite image if you have a doubt about this. There is very little in the way of food that we extract directly from natural ecosystems. 99% of our food is homo grown. Marine fisheries is the last significant food we derive from natural ecosystems. Our shelters are today mainly built from concrete and wood harvested from tree farms, a man made mono culture crop.

So I just addressed food and shelter, the two most important elements that an ecosystem provides for any organism.

Let's move on to another major component to any natural ecosystem. Predator and prey dynamics. Every organism in any ecosystem is prey or predator. Even a keystone predator like a lion suffers pathogens. Humans? Well, we disrupted the natural predators (albeit temporarily) , disease and famine, starting around 200 years ago and have created our own human made equation regarding this fundamental component of any normal natural ecosystem.

So food shelter and predator and prey dynamics all under the umbrella of a human created ecosystem.

Let's move on to sanitation. A bear poops in the river or forest. A vast biodiversity of arthropods and micro organism immediately go to work. Humans? Well, the vast majority of humans shit in toilets, a huge energy intensive sanitation system processes all that crap in a thoroughly man made system where the waste is piled sky high in dumps. We have created our very own sanitation eco system. How many of you have taken a shit in the woods lately and watched those first flies arrive before you pulled up your pants?

Food, shelter, predator and prey, sanitation. What remains?

How can you claim that we haven't created our own man made ecosystem?

Where I think you are coming from though is that if we pull the lens back far enough we are ultimately part of our biosphere and will not be able to exist independently of our biosphere's fundamental healthy functioning, right?

That is the point I am also actually making. The biosphere's hiccups that are coming our way will disproportionately affect human ecosystems far more than natural ecosystems.
A vast mono culture of humans in their own self made ecosystem, relying mainly on a few mono culture crops to feed us, in a race to stay ahead of pathogens, with still enough energy to manage our sanitation. How will this vast human ecosystem manage climate change disruptions compared to say the community of rich biodiversity we find in a typical cloud forest habitat.

Here is a recent blog entry from Mount Totumas.

http://blog.mounttotumas.com/?p=2711

Scroll down and take a look at the biodiversity of Lepidoptera that can be found in this single one location on the planet. Now imagine climate change disruptions creating havoc in the stasis of these forests. Consider that among these thousands of species here many are specialists, many are opportunists and generalists in the host plants that the larvae of these species feed on. This ecosystem is not as vulnerable to disruptions when it can pull from an immense treasure trove of bio diversity to adapt to abrupt changes. Humans on the other hand, this vast mono culture, has comparatively, very poor resilience in this regard. Where is the human treasure trove of biodiversity when we not only depend on very few crops to feed ourselves but even within these few crops the genetic diversity has been reduced to a few widely distributed and often genetically modified hybrids.

We are the most vulnerable species on the planet to climate change disruptions. And our man made ecosystem is far more vulnerable then natural ecosystems to these disruptions.

There is something about this truth that disturbs you so that you continually argue against it. Is it the fact that we have been so destructive and arrogant on how we manage ourselves that to then say we are the most vulnerable, after the hubris of our actions, is somehow incompatible. Vulnerability and hubris are actually quite closely related in my world view.

From an environmental activist point of view, using the strategy of pointing out human vulnerability would seem to be a good strategy in convincing the world to take action. Aren't we human centric after all?
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Re: The human element

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 10:39:13

I think the principal fallacy and Achilles heel of the human race has been precisely this stark distinction between the human ecosystems and the national ecosystems. Our way of life is conflict with the natural world rather than seamlessly integrated with it. As such, our collective footprint is creating great disruptions and harm to the life support systems that allow for higher life forms to exist. We have relied on our intelligence to overcome natural limitations. However, this has now produced too profound a disruption to the biosphere and too much vulnerability in the human species to avoid natural mechanisms culling our species
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Re: The human element

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 12:53:40

Ibon, we've gone over this before. My main beef is with equating (in an evaluative sense) subparts of one species' (our) behavior with all other species on the planet and the systems that support them. This is part of our disease. (If you just want to use 'ecosystem' as a metaphor, be my guest. But I get the impression you are doing something more here and in the past.)

But I don't want to hijack onlookers thread further with this disagreement/misunderstanding between us. And besides, I don't have time right now to hash it out with you. Maybe later and on another thread. Till then, be well :) :) .
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Re: The human element

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 14:52:38

I'm not sure where these shit piles to the sky are? Most places the freshwater nutrients find their way to the saltwater environment, where they are not just useless, but seriously toxic to that environment. Often they get there via freshwater streams, totally overloading these with nutrients en route. If we had piled the shit to the sky, this would be a very useful stockpile at some point.

As to ours being the most vulnerable species to CC, I don't get that either, honestly.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 12 Sep 2016, 15:02:21

Ibon, without disagreeing with anything you said, I just want to point out that humans are also the only species with both extreme intellect (by the standards that include all animal species) and a high technological accomplishments. You should know that, you have brought technology to Mount Totumas.

The fate of a cybernetic animal species will be different than that of other animals. I think we are evolving rapidly and are becoming a hive organism connected by the web. We are diverging from normal primate behaviors and acquiring some of the characteristics of some of the less attractive hive mammals such as the African mole rats:
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Re: The human element

Unread postby jjhman » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 12:02:12

"It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this. "

I have to laugh at the whole idea of any individual human able to survive very long without the support of a community. Imagine all of these "survivalists" without their guns. The guns depend on a whole raft of technologies that would be gone in a flash without mining of iron, copper, lead and the chemicals needed to make powder. No individual could do all of that alone in one lifetime, much less be able to learn the skills to use the damned thing once he made it.

There is a more accurate vocabulary for individuals who take from society without contributing. They are called either thieves or parasites.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 12:03:09

SeaGypsy wrote:
As to ours being the most vulnerable species to CC, I don't get that either, honestly.


Beside actually believing this I do bring this up again and again to point out how vulnerable we are which seems contradictory to how much damage we cause. The major differences to natural ecosystems is that the biodiversity that makes up natural ecosystems can suffer corrections from disruptions, extinctions will rise, some species gain, some lose, natural selection forces starting to change the genome of many species adapting to new climate, precipitation etc. There is not a special member of natural ecosystems except keystone species none of which play a role anywhere near as important as humans in their own created ecosystems. With humans we are the king pin in our man made landscapes, our species is highly dependent on the specialization of industrial civilization which is both what caused the vulnerability and what can possibly mitigate it. We are all highly dependent on our own created ecosystem which has elements of resiliency and vulnerability, rigid and pliable at the same time.

The degree to which we are dependent on a very small number of crops for our food that have been hybridized to perform only with the inputs of petro chemicals and herbicides and pesticides, whose genome has been modified down to very little variety, should really give pause. This is one of those areas we never discuss much but which I consider one of the most vulnerable aspects of our civilization to climate change disruptions.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 12:05:34

jjhman wrote:There is a more accurate vocabulary for individuals who take from society without contributing. They are called either thieves or parasites.


You forgot cowards.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 13:07:25

jjhman wrote:"It does seem that those who preach individualism and libertarian views may need to evaluate this in light of the forces of chaos to be unleashed and how woefully unprepared many are for this. "

I have to laugh at the whole idea of any individual human able to survive very long without the support of a community. Imagine all of these "survivalists" without their guns. The guns depend on a whole raft of technologies that would be gone in a flash without mining of iron, copper, lead and the chemicals needed to make powder. No individual could do all of that alone in one lifetime, much less be able to learn the skills to use the damned thing once he made it.

There is a more accurate vocabulary for individuals who take from society without contributing. They are called either thieves or parasites.


That is a complete misunderstanding of Libertarian ethos. Because a person should take car of themselves to the best of their ability does not preclude people from working together to build a just society for all. Only a rabid statist would believe the social structure is the ultimate arbitrator of right and wrong.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby ennui2 » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 13:23:00

FYI: 'Statist' is a manufactured epithet oozing with negative overtones. It has no meaning to anyone other than rabid libertarians.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 13:48:28

ennui2 wrote:FYI: 'Statist' is a manufactured epithet oozing with negative overtones. It has no meaning to anyone other than rabid libertarians.


Thus proving my belief that you know nothing but say much.
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Re: The human element

Unread postby jjhman » Tue 13 Sep 2016, 19:34:55

I actually thought, and still think, that "Libertarian" and "survivalist" are two quite separate terms.

Survivalists are delusional because they imagine that they can live their lives independently from society and will be able to continue to do so after the, soon to arrive, end of modern society.

Libertarians, in my humble view, imagine that in a world of increasing crowding and decreasing resources they should be put in charge so that they could solve all of the world's problems by simply ignoring them. And they read too much Ayn Rand.

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