Anthropocene, Dystopian Nightmare or a new enlightenment.

The Jury is definitely out on this one judging by this discussion I have been taking part in.

Thanks to all the participants in this discussion I hope some others can also join the debate.
There is an element of Who's at First base in a lot of Internet Discussion But I hope we are all contributing to each others understanding of wider issues I can speak only for myself and I am certainly learning lots.

Manoj NairRicardo Galeno and 3 others like this
Paul Muller
Paul Muller • Without a doubt one of the most deeply thought provoking articles I've ever read. The "Silent Sprint" of our time.
5 days ago
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen • We are past the point of no return and have to take full charge of our earth and the solar system. Look at the Kardashev Scale:
5 days ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • The Kardashev scheme seems to be linear and I believe that progress, building on past results, should be much closer to exponential. That is the idea of von Neuman and the proponents of the Singularity.
4 days ago
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen • Neh, Kardashev is about total potential energy use. It does not say anything about how fast you can reach it. And I agree that progress is exponential, maybe even superexponential. Kurzweil, accelerating change.
By the way, Gentlemen,coming from DK, it is pleasure discussing real important issues instead of retirement age, and immigration restrictions.
4 days ago
Damodar Vinayak Bale • There is nothing like point of no return. Nature does adjust itself if corrective steps are taken. "IT IS BETTER TO BE LATE THAN NEVER".If all the living things follow the rules of nature, why not humans? Is it because they are the only,blessed with intelligence?
Then why misuse it? One has to learn to LIVE and LET LIVE..
4 days ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • I found the article very superficial. CO2 trading seems to be the best answer being pushed at the moment ( It is quite a pathetic non solution) to an undoubted pollution problem which as the article does a nice job of conceptualising on the Tar Sands quantities?
When one looks at alternative energies one finds that Oil is not actually that relevant anymore its real purpose is one of providing concentrated monopolies unprecedented and unjustified political and Economic power.
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen I am just looking at your link, I am curious to know how anyone proposes to Take Full Charge of the Solar System?, I'm assuming that it is an Ironic statement, if not perhaps you could explain.
3 days ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • The tricky point is how to adapt and keep 10 to 15 billion people at a reasonably high standard of living. I think there is no other way then to accelerate the technical progress and to run faster then the exploding population bomb.

This will undoubtedly take us to the solar system and possibly beyond. Any other proposal should include an answer to the question of what to do with the masses of people living now and in the future on Earth - I've seen only a few "green visionaries" having the guts to address this and the answers made nazi Germany look like a workers paradise.
3 days ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Malthusian solutions the pseudo science of Galton etc all have unpleasant links to Nazi Germany. The CO2 fixation also has un happy parrallels to Mr Goebels propaganda models as well.
Population Control is a must for the agenda and Yet we need leadership from Both The catholic and Islamic faiths on this issue and de we really think we are seeing that?
As for Keeping the 6 billion or so world population at a reasonable standard of living , are we talking about the same planet, The earth I am living on has un surpassed levels of plague pestulation human misery and poverty all blithely seen as an economic plus point.

Frankly talking about solar colonisation is complete rubbish we can sort things out on Earth what it needs is a break from the broken 18th century paradigm pushed by the ever more concentrated neo conservative Axis in Washington and London and their palls on Wall Street.

The sooner Economists stop pretending to be scientists and re insert the Political in front of Economy maybe we can get on with some sensible 21st Century Plain Speaking and face up to facts. Monopolists are never for upsetting the status quo. Swinging Anti Trust legislation against all corporations with Market capitalisations over 50 Billion Dolllars would be a good start.
3 days ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Lewis: "The earth I am living on has un surpassed levels of plague pestulation human misery and poverty"
Unsarpassed? You are either kidding or you are completely ignorant of history and development trends. Try reading the Economist.
2 days ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Sándor Bende Farkas .
I am intrigued? are you saying that we are at a high point in the history of mans humanity to man? If so we certainly do not agree.
As for going to the Universe and beyond with the Human races record of using this planet and its immediate earth Orbit as a dust bin I suspect that the low intelligence of the Human Race will prevent it from venturing more than a fraction of the distance into the Universe which is a good thing.
Reading the Economist is not exactly the high point in the avoidance of ignorance either, perhaps it would be an interesting experience for all of us to be open to hearing other points of view more often, I do pity you your apparent rose tinted spectacles it would seem some unpleasant shocks are coming your way if you believe all is well in the Garden.
2 days ago
Damodar Vinayak Bale • Respected Sando Bende Farkas,
Please don't get intrigued at all. Keep cool. If one makes thorough studies of difficulties,they can be surely solved. Ans mind you Nothing is Impossible.
wishing you best luck.
2 days ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Yes, I am saying that we are at a high point in the history of "mans humanity to man", whatever THAT means. No, I am not saying that all is well and I cannot imagine why you would think so.

I am more then puzzled by your statement " I suspect that the low intelligence of the Human Race will prevent it from venturing more than a fraction of the distance into the Universe which is a good thing. "

Low intelligence compared to what? Could you explain this? Why is it a "good thing" if humanity fails to reach out to the solar system and many billions die?

"Reading the Economist is not exactly the high point in the avoidance of ignorance " - it sure beats reading political pamphlets - but see, at least no one is forcing you to read it. You can stay as ignorant as you wish to.
2 days ago
Professor Humphrey Gowar
Professor Humphrey Gowar • People are too clever but not wise!!! Professor Humphrey Gowar
2 days ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Hi Sandor,
I do not think that things are well at all, and I am not sure how or in which way it can me said that we are some sort of High Point. I think that that is demonstrably not so.
My comment regarding the low intelligence of the Human race is linked simply to it's propensity to use its environment as its toilet, this is not known in most other species how it is some how a virtue that will allow us to civilise the Universe I really do not know.
On reading the Economist , I enjoy magazines for amusement and light diversion from more serious study, My preferred route of study is to go to the source material, this is something the Internet makes
Very accessible.
David Hardy for instance has an excellent course on Reading Marx's Capital, there are other course on Kant and his Critique of Pure Reason, whole libraries of research papers all at the click of a mouse.
Are you acquainted with the concept of Plurality and respect for alternative points of view in democracies we are open to listening to other points of view if you have a view to express I would invite you to express It perhaps that way we could understand each others point of view

This is an excellent series from U C C Berkeley there is another interview with Michael Mann which is very instructive on the Geo political analysis of Economic Geography, David Hardy is of course an Economic Geographer as well and very good I find on Political Economy also.

Michael Perleman is also a very good introduction to political Economy if you are interested. One discipline of Political Economy one has to learn is to consider other points of view this is also true of all peer reviewed academic endeavor. Perhaps you would consider giving a little more intellectual rigour to our discourse and maybe a worthwhile dialogue could be achieved between us, I am confident that we can, you look like a pleasant sort of fellow in your Photograph and I have no wish to cause you any offense or concern.
2 days ago
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen
Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen • We are more people, being richer, knowing more and living longer than anytime before in history. That is a "high point" for human beings.
Humanity has a bright future if we stop thinking "small": one planet thinking, and use our considerable knowledge to evolve our capacity to be even better fitted for expansion and survival.
2 days ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Karl, I am afraid that the evidence does not support your contention, There are over 2 billion people, thats over 25% of humanity, living on less that 2 dollars a day, wealth is concentrated at a higher degree than it has been over the whole of history also and with the concentration of Wealth you also get the concentration of Power. The whole problem is that we are not thinking small enough I think you mentioned Singularities earlier in the post
The Universe is very very big and our understanding of it and its wonders is very very small a lot of what we think we know exists only at a theoretical level.
2 days ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Hi Roger,
let us start with the definition of a high point. It simply means that it is ABOVE the other points - and what I say is that at present a lot more people live a lot better then any time in the history of mankind and what is more the tendency is to improve further. Just as an example - what was the frequency of famines and epidemies and the average number of people dying as a consequence in the XIXth century in India or China and what is it today? What was the child mortality in the early XXth century Europe and what is it today?

So, definitely a high point it is.

"My comment regarding the low intelligence of the Human race is linked simply to it's propensity to use its environment as its toilet, this is not known in most other species "

There is a very simple reason for that - other species can not modify their environment NOT because they are soooo intelligent but precisely because they are not. The result is that when they reach a natural limit their mortality increases - that is the weaker die - and so the equlibrum gets restored. Believe it or not we are the only species that values the life of the other members of their species - which has as a consequence that our numbers are increasing.

Would you have it otherwise? Would you prefer letting people in Africa, say, die of hunger as a demonstration of "intelligence" or, as proof of our idiocy, have food aid be sent to them? It does pollute the environment, you know.

"There are over 2 billion people, thats over 25% of humanity, living on less that 2 dollars a day,"

OMG! 200 years ago some of the things people living today on less then 2 dollars a day can do were not available even to the emperors - think of antibiotics, mobile phones etc. Again, I am NOT saying all is good and definitely the lot of most of the people will and should be improved - but the difference is enormous. In 1830-s Rotschild - the wealthiest man in Europe probably, died of a furuncule that would not threaten 95% of the world populatrion today. So, how is this NOT a high point?

And if you are so worried about that 25% - how do you think their lot can be made better if not through technological progress? Or should they die in order that we resembele more the "intelligent" animals?
1 day ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • I understand economics and life in general is about fulfilling potential and optimal use of resources. The potential to be doing rather better than we are has been squandered and is still being ignored with the current economic model predicated on a compound growth of 3%.
So 200 years ago and now has to be judged against the contemporaneous potential. Examples of progress do exist but the comparison should be with current potential not past performance.
Of course I do not think that the problems should be ignored my position is that a new Economics and politics consistent with present potential and resources should be adopted the current model is un sustainable and failing badly.

It seems to me we can perfectly well solve the problem at home on earth and we should earn our spurs doing this before we start to export our own particular brand of narcissism to the universe and beyond.
1 day ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Roger,
there is a huge problem with what you say. How do you judge "potential and optimal use of resources"? Was a primitive hunter-gatherer tribe maybe superior to our society, just because they fully realized their limited potential? Still a simple inflamed tooth could kill anyone, right?

If you feel, that we "squandered" the potential of doing better, this is because this potential has been created by technological progress in the first place. I would definitely prefer a society that realizes 10% of its potential because the potential is rapidly increasing due to technology to a chinese or soviet style stagnation where the limited potential is fully realized.

"the current model is un sustainable and failing badly." Life is a non-equilibrum process and unsustainable in a stable state - so maybe we should prefer the un-narcisstic minerals? Living organisms exported their particular brand of narcissism to every nook and cranny of the planet - why should we not do the same ?
1 day ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • A problem for you maybe Sandor, your keenness to throw out hackneyed examples of failed systems or ideologies and using them to excuse the shortcomings of another imperfect and failing system is not very imaginative. Your characterisation as China as stagnant is difficult to appreciate and whilst I agree with you that Technological advances have huge potential Capitalism is not a system that will foster the adoption of some of the best technologies as they are not easily monopolised.
The ecological costs of production need to be incorporrated into the existing pricing models of Corporations when we still labour on with the old fashioned technologies the monopolies will busily continue to suppress some of the best ideas as it is just to damaging to profitability, a new system id badly needed.
I am intrigued by a concept being developed in Brazil presently by Roy Madron called Giain democracy it uses cybernetic systems technologies based on original ideas developed By Stafford Beer who had been setting up a very promising Cybernetic computer system in Chile before the coup de tat in 1973 and the Allende assassination. These sorts of ideas are very imaginative and technology driven , This is the sort of thinking I think that will start to deliver the best potential for the greater good of the worlds population.

What's your take on Fractional reserve Banking do you think Capital ratios should be kept to less than 10% have you considered the benefits of credit based money as opposed to debt based money and the advantages of government debt being issued in a public trust rather than by private central Banks
1 day ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Imaginative is not something I really aim for. You seem to wholly miss the historical perspective with regard to China - do not be mislead by the last 20 or so years. A bureaocracy such as the soviet or the chinese is bound to lead to stagnation.

"Capitalism is not a system that will foster the adoption of some of the best technologies as they are not easily monopolised. " It all depends on the definition of "best". Luckily if there was a system that WOULD foster the best technologies it would easily surpass capitalism in its own field. I see no such alternative at the present - the experiments you cite are mere fantasies at this moment .

Are you aware of the human and material cost of such experiments? The reasom I can cite such failed systems easily is that every such experiment failed and failed dismally - with huge numbers of dead and suffering people. Just think about the economics of the "great leap forward" and the cost of 20 million extra death that it caused.

So, I would factor in the risks of any new great leap forward - and propose that the proponents try it out on themselves first :)
1 day ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Sandor, the things you describe are ideologies and political viewpoints and not what I would call Scientific or philosophical. The problem with tribal ideology is that it decays into a procrustean necessity for shoehorning the incredible and the unlikely into the perverse and the offensive.
I am surprised at your self professed lack of imagination I think the inter galactic fantasies expressed in this discussion are imaginative if Fantasy and imagination are of the same stuff so to speak.
I do not believe that a rhetorical swinging of dicks is really how I wish to conduct my own academic investigations . I do not consider that we are currently operating within a free market capitalist economy I think that the logical limit of that has been reached and we are in a monopolistic phase of the limit of what can be supported my the earth and endured by humanity at large.
1 day ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Hi Sandor heres some more food for thought on this question .
Is it coincidence that from 2007 to 2010 when the wealthiest not only recovered their wealth but increased it at a rate which matched the bubble years of 2005-07, that at the bottom of pyramid, food stamp use in the nation which saw the greatest gains for the wealthiest, America, went from 26 to 44 million people?
This is a simple cut and paste from David Malones Blog He wrote the Debt Generation and is also a very good documentary film maker. If you are into Mathematics David made a fantastic film called Dangerous Knowledge which aired on BBC 4 it is watch able
in its entirety at Google a link is on My Blog page.
regarding infinity and uncertainty Godel Turin Cantor and Boltsman

And heres David again in the Mathematics of Chaos.
18 hours ago
Sándor Bende Farkas
Sándor Bende Farkas • Roger,
I am not sure I understand what you are talking about. Food stamps in the USA have zero relevance toi this discussion. If I am wrong, please explain how this is related to the Anthropocene??

I looked at the video and it seemed about as knowlegeable as the "What the Bleep we know" was informative concerning quantum physics, namely not at all.

I feel that this kind of new age crap is a disgusting abuse of the deep thoughts of the above scientists and has zero relevance to what we are talking about here, BTW there is a very good recent biography of Kurt Godel and it nicely describes his reactions to these abusive interpretations of his theorem - pure disgust.

Coming back to the more practical discussion : you did not answer to my repetead question: what in your view should be done to keep maybe up to 15 billion people at a reasonable standard of living?
15 hours ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • The short answer to your question is it is unlikely the population will get to 15 billion
the second is that the present population is not supported adequately by the present system.
The relevance to the food stamps is that it demonstrates how the failures of the current system are compounding themselves.
Your disgust at perfectly legitimate points of view and their dogmatic dismissal says rather a lot about your admitted lack of imagination or your professed lack of interest in that side of your own intellectual development.
Sadly I do not think we are going to move our discussion any where constructive judging by your perjorative dismissal of viewpoints that do not submit to your own.

As far as the Anthropocene goes its narcissistic stupidity personified as fine an example of the arrogance that really needs addressing if the Planet is to remain a host to the human species.

Answers to all your questions are adequately covered elsewhere in my brief comments and links provided it seems we have rather different ideas about how well things are going and about the use of the undoubted achievements of man kind over the past couple of centuries. Capitalism or rather the Monopolistic bastardised version of capitalism currently practiced by the globalist corporate autocracies is both anti free market and counter to the principles of democracy. I am confident that things will change for the better eventually I just hope that the de riguer big war doesn't have to be the catalyst to an admission of yet another failure.
15 hours ago
Damodar Vinayak Bale • Humans are the only living things blessed with "intelligence". That's for sure. They all live on mother earth. So any intelligent work done by any human anywhere on the earth must
be of use to all humans,without naming who was behind the intelligent work. Time is the only constant factor which cannot be altered by humans.
So dear Sandor Bende Farkas, evaluation of the intelligent work done by humans should benefit the global human HEALTH as human body takes corrective steps provided by Nature. Invention of fully automatic machinery has put off the humans out of work. Conversion on agricultural land to non agricultural has harmed the whole globe.
11 hours ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Damodar Vinayak Bale. Time is what I consider the most valuable of all commodities to we Human Beings. It keeps cropping up and is yet another resource that the present system does not allocate wisely. The Old saying "the Devil makes work for Idle hands"
is a very sad example of how the positive aspects of Free Time are demonised when their creative potential should be embraced. Tempus Fugit.
6 hours ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • From Little Acorns.
Or : Quo plurinum posset Lex mathmatica

I thought i'd post this link as it is a blog in which I have embedded this famous Abott and Costello sketch. It reminds me very much of our Discussion Sandor.

Whether we agree or not on the anthropocene and how well things are going I think we can both probably agree that this is a very funny sketch that sums up so many discussions at crossed purposes.
4 hours ago
Roger Lewis
Roger Lewis • Just one last link its to a Christian Web site but their links page to lots of secular organisations who broadly disagree that Debt money is the best Means of exchange.
Whilst not the answer to all the worlds problems the Debt Money System is a big contributor to skewed objectives With a Credit Money System or Social Credit System there would be much more available money for Space programmes etc and other public goods, the Industrial Monetary complex is about maintaining a Status Quo that misdirects funds. I would like to See an Anthropocean epoch in which a more appropriate system of monetary exchange with an honest Money basis as with voting systems there are lots of Flavours to choose from but until this debate is public and settled there will always be the boom bust and ultimately one big bang Debt money eventually runs out of fuel the Universe should be there for co existence not to be used as Fuel.
1 second ago



  2.  Sandor, You are being deliberately obtuse. My point is that the past 100 years of Chinese history and the last 25 years which you characterise as both Stagnant and Genocidal, and I am sure at times they have been both, is not taking into account the long history that China has of federal government of one form or another spanning back over dynasties that were very sophisticated and successful even before the Roman Empire got into its stride. 
    You are quite correct my knowledge of Chinese history is not likely to gain my access to any courses on Oriental studies. This is besides the point.My point is that in your hurry to stride purposefully into the future in your shiny space ship you completely dismiss the areas in which we are still to get it right here in our home planet.Frankly it is your attitude that is coming across as something a little less than educated. 
    My views are expressed here and I am happy with them as they are expressed If you do not have anything constructive to enrich the shortcomings in our own knowledge then perhaps it is best not to descend into the rather un edifying spectacle of you spitting your dummy out.
    1 hour ago
    I removed this comment the participant that professed offence has now removed themselves from the discussion.


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