Archdruid Report


If you’ve never read the Archdruid Report, you really have to. The motherfucker is long-winded as all fucke, but very wise and erudite. Here’s a taste of this poste:

One way to talk about the point I’m trying to make here is that the great majority of Americans have never learned how to think. I stress the word “learned” here; thinking is a learned skill, not an innate ability. The sort of mental activity that’s natural to human beings is exactly the sort of linkage of verbal noises to emotional states and vague abstractions I’ve outlined above. To get beyond that—to figure out whether the verbal noises mean anything, to recognize that an emotional state is not an objective description of the thing that triggers it, and to replace the vague abstractions with clearly defined concepts that illuminate more than they obscure—takes education.

Comments

  1. wilsim says

    “the great majority of Americans have never learned how to think”

    I wouldn’t want to be arrogant and limit it only to Americans.

    “I stress the word “learned” here; thinking is a learned skill, not an innate ability. The sort of mental activity that’s natural to human beings is exactly the sort of linkage of verbal noises to emotional states and vague abstractions I’ve outlined above. To get beyond that—to figure out whether the verbal noises mean anything, to recognize that an emotional state is not an objective description of the thing that triggers it, and to replace the vague abstractions with clearly defined concepts that illuminate more than they obscure—takes education.”

    I agree with this, but I feel fukken obligated to add that the “education” doesn’t always stick, and most pigge people never learned how to learn, much less think, for themselves.

  2. says

    Its really great to see that if someone has a religion or controversial views that they can be ignored in every situation where they open their mouths. Actually, Mike, thank you for demonstrating the sort of behavior that John talks about on his blog..

  3. cazfans says

    What’s not to like about a guy who looks at the potential decline and fall of the American empire through the lens of history? He’s thermodynamic and evolution compliant. If he ‘worships oak trees’ at least they exist.

  4. Rasmus says

    I listened to the podcast episode in which he claims that 1) peak oil happened in 2005 and 2) people who survive on meds today will die in the post peak society. Okay, let’s look into that!

    Looks at BP’s statistical review of world energy…

    Nope. Peak oil did not happen in 2005. Peak oil has not happened. There is no sign of peak oil happening in the next few years. Oil accounts for one third of the world’s energy supply, most of the other two thirds of the energy comes from coal and gas and the mining, extraction and burning of coal and gas are expanding at staggering rates.

    So resource depletion is not going to save the planet this time either. The only way to do that is through politics. Whether or not people get their meds is also governed by politics and will continue to be governed by politics for the foreseeable future.

  5. says

    Looking to BP for data and analysis of when global oil production peaks makes about as much sense as looking to creationists for data and analysis of the evolutionary relationships between human beings and great apes.

  6. Rasmus says

    Yeah the numbers could always be wrong, but you have to ask yourself if it’s in the interest of energy suppliers to lie about having more than they have or to lie about having less than they have. Which way is it?

    The IEA has another world report (link that shows similar trends. One notable thing is that according to the IEA energy supply has peaked in the OECD, which is logical in a world governed by neo-liberal ideologies where the idea is to supply energy to places with cheap labor. It’s not the world that’s declining, it’s basically just the US and the EU and a few other developed areas that are declining or stagnating.

  7. says

    Lying about how much you have left in the ground seems a better way to maintain your stock price if you are an energy company. If you actually start having trouble getting your gas to market, you can just tell the public that the government is killing your business with regulation. If the oil is going to other, less developed countries, this doens’t bode well for the U.S., which is only seeing increase after increase of its energy demands, demands which are exacerbated by the essential sprawl embodied in much of suburbia. If we are getting the dregs of the oil barrel, as it were, then the idea of developing alternatives to oil here in America is a pipe dream. We will need lots of energy to develop new forms of energy, and it doesn’t seem like it is going to arrive. Moreover, with a skyrocketing demand, even countries that have oil won’t have it for very long given the increasing needs of China and India as they continue industrializing. Decline is not uniform, and John Michael Greer has essentialy argued that it will be largely stochastic. You can see it in a micro-scale by comparing Camden, New Jersey with places like Silicon Valley, or in macro-scale by comparing the U.S. and Europe with the more energy rich nations.

  8. Rasmus says

    I know that there are blogs and web communities dedicated to the idea that the world is running out of energy, but that does not mean that the world is running out of energy.

    I don’t think it’s too late in technical and physical terms to use fossil fuels to create a new energy system based on renewables and nuclear well before we run out of fossil fuels. It might even be possible to do it without nuclear. If it’s too late, how come that Germany which has virtually no domestic oil production is able to build lots and lots of wind turbines and solar farms?

  9. says

    The average output of German wind farms hovers around 17% of their full capacity. Electric bills in Germany are the highest among European countries, and the constant variance of wind and solar means that they rely still on the fossil fuel industry to prop up their shortcomings. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9559656/Germanys-wind-power-chaos-should-be-a-warning-to-the-UK.html As far as the discussion goes, we were talking about a country having enough access to energy to develop a reliable alternative to what is now used, and Germany has utterly failed in that regard. Of course, there are plenty of people who have criticized renewables for some time as insufficient when it comes to meeting modern energy requirements. One of the more concise critics has been Tom Murphy ,an associate professor in the UCSD department of physics and a member of CASS. He has a blog where he does the hard math of figuring out how much energy sufficiency will be supplied by different alternative sources, if you want some hard science in place of soft rhetoric. http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/

  10. Rasmus says

    All I said is that there is enough fossil fuel to go around to build the alternatives that we know how to build, not that that they would be good enough to quench most of our thirst for fossil fuels…

    Don’t underestimate the ingenuity of the people who come up with new ways of extracting and refining fossil fuels. Sure, the returns will be lower, the prices will be higher and the carbon footprints will be larger, but non of those are enough to stop us. It still beats using food and muscles or any of the alternatives that we can build at present and we don’t yet have a civilized way (as opposed to being crushed by hurricanes and drowned by floods) to hold ourselves accountable for the damage that we do to the planet.

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