A matter of choice

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The red pill

What I’m about to write here is no easy stuff. After pondering over a year about this topic (why and how did we get here?) this has became the primary reason to start this blog. In my introduction I wrote: “I’ve accidentally took the red pill, but Morpheus was nowhere to warn me…” so here is my warning to you before you take yours:

The “if everyone…” fallacy

As a child I recall my Mom always telling me: “Don’t throw that rubbish away; if everyone would be doing that the street would be full of it!”. It made me wonder: who is everyone, and why everyone is throwing trash in the can? It made me think “everyone” must have the same idea about rubbish — so everyone should think about it the same way as we do. It is so obvious, isn’t it? Trash belongs to the bin, and the streets are much better without them.

Hyperobjects

These topics are hard to explain, even harder to understand and almost impossible to see all the implications they bring with themselves. These things are really complex — so much so that it is almost impossible to hold them in one’s head. That was reason #2 to start this blog: I had to record my thoughts somewhere to make space in my head. Reason #3 was to make an attempt at explaining them despite their complexity—I can’t help but try.

Tribes

Humans are social animals living in small groups. We used to call these groups tribes — now we call them workplace, circle of friends, nations. As all tribal animals we crave for status and acceptance within the group. In my view it is the strongest force regulating our behavior, stronger than laws, and certainly stronger than rationale… and the circle closes here: why matter with hyperobjects, when the most important thing for me (after being fed and feel safe) is to be accepted by others? When your friends don’t give a damn about the future (stubbornly believing that everything is going to look like today just better), then why risk becoming an outcast by advocating a low energy, low carbon life? This is the reason why taking care of the future has been degraded to virtue signalling, green-washing and magical thinking. You can stay safe and preserve your status in your group just by switching to an electric vehicle, or buying one clothing item made from recycled plastic bottles. Guilt gone, status saved, problem solved. Experts will take care of the rest.

Actors on a stage

After reading all this what do you think about our choices? Does the future depend — still — on our choices? What if there is — and there was — no choice in the question of saving the planet at all?

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Choices we have

Do we have a choice then in deciding to save the planet? If you are in power you will be fired if you really try to. Don’t tell me that the recent greening of British Petrol (turning them into a renewable energy company) or the net zero craze around the word is solely because of the desires and best interests of our leaders to save the planet. They are not stupid: just by looking at the proven reserves and the rate of production decline per an average well or mine they’ve figured out what is in store for them. In short: nothing good. Oil companies have lost profitability years ago and the outlook is even more dire. They are no longer the strong lions capable of denying science for decades, funding lobbyist and PR campaigns to deceive the public. They are now a toothless bag of bones. All this green-wash is a last effort to save their hides and keep their investors from going bankrupt.

Image source: Our Finite World — Gail Tverberg 2021

What to do then?

We have seen — as it was illustrated in the previous chapter — that not even the big and powerful have real choices. If they were to make a choice with a real impact (and not a cosmetic reaction to an existing problem) they would find themselves out of their offices soon with the next corporate psychopath standing in the long queue filling in their place in a second. Have you ever pondered on the real case behind pre-elections…?

“Fate is shaping history when what happens to us was intended by no one and was the summary outcome of innumerable small decisions about other matters by innumerable people.”

By C. Wright Mills

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A critic of modern times - offering ideas for honest contemplation.