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    Ecological thinking

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    Ecological thinking

    Post by Ren's View on Fri Sep 16, 2016 2:31 pm

    Ecological thinking -- a form of thinking about the world that became my area of science-focused thought early in the 70s -- is also a science. This is meaningful because we live in an era formed by the investigative methods of science, and as such, science has become almost a sacred cow to many. But ecological thinking is seen in many circles these days as a kind of wet blanket to the other sciences that have led mankind to a kind of blind belief in its potential for achieving unlimited wealth and infinite progress. Ecology has become in my lifetime a form of exuberance-denying realism. It has been turned into a "deplorable science" because it suggests we may have to rethink the way we see the world.

    To talk in terms of ecological thinking is to move into areas of thought that involve systems. Systems thinking is the very first problem-creating and solving process I was introduced to in an introductory ecology class. It was profound to me, partly because it was so obvious, because of my own nature-related experience, yet so unusual to the way most of the people I am acquainted with think about the natural world.

    Actual systems are complex relationships with open ended feedback loops and often unpredictable consequences, though certain principles will apply in the end, like, you can't go on pretending that infinite growth is possible for a species in a finite environment of resources. Lemmings discover this over and over, but each generation repeats their DNA programmed behavior thus in the Tundra environment with limited feedback loops, like a balance of predator prey relationships, they exuberantly feed, procreate abundantly and overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment, then collapse, the predators who have grown in a similar population curve as they became abundant, collapse, the food then grows, the remnants of the population with no cultural memory of past behavior to learn from, see a new frontier before them, exuberantly feed on the resources, once again procreate abundantly, and the population curve rises dramatically again, as do the related predators.

    Scientists studying ecology see this. They write books like Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change (William R. Catton, 1980) intended to inform other humans so they can think about doing things a little differently this time around (there have been many crashes of complex societies in the effort to create civilization, for pretty much the same Overshoot reasons each time), and then what happens? Democracy? Probably not.

    No inspirational rhetoric on the part of a politician can replace the reality of environmental limitations. In the current case, both Trump and Clinton though their inspirational messages are different in content, aimed at different audiences, though neither's contents show a respecting of realistic limitations. Democracy can work in an open-potential, uncrowded environment, like the American continent's frontier was when democracy was heralded as the American Exceptionalist model for the rest of the world. As the population grows and takes over the open spaces and consumes the resources, that's when your Arrow's tic tac toe models come into play. But without an broadly understood and accepted ecological language, that cannot be translated into the media's normative-seeking language, filled with doctrinal differences, while the reality remains the same underneath. And I've watched as that ecological language first arose in the 70s, inspiring many people to begin to think ecologically, only to be turned into something to be ridiculed and reviled by the Ostriches and the Cynics who refuse to accept the reality of environmental limitations and continue to preach the gospel of unlimited growth.

    Trump promises the impossible, a return to an age of exuberance that brought about an abundance and wealth, a process that was not completely understood as an inevitable failure built on a contradiction of infinite within the finite. Meanwhile, Hilllary is part of the lie that Obama has tried to advance that their party has somehow managed to avert yet another disaster and has indeed kept that infinite growth promise alive and growing. That was the message pounded over and over in the Democratic convention in July.

    Meanwhile growing numbers of people (represented by Bernie burners perhaps?) are not getting the supposed abundance benefits -- in the U.S. as well as world-wide -- and know differently from actual experience, though they may not understand why, (many in the Trump camp there for sure) and may blame their increasing impoverishment on the oligarchs and the corruption in politics (a corruption that is also predictably inevitable as exuberance declines), not to mention the immigrants still flooding to this filling "frontier" (an image of potential that's no longer the reality) of opportunity, disrupted by a foreign policy that includes a military that costs more in actual resource products each year to maintain and deploy than all the exuberant growth paid in wages to the population from the beginning of the 20th Century to the 60s when the first signs of decline appeared.

    Invented wealth as a valuing of what is called business on Wall Street is not, by the way, abundance.

    So this is why I'm watching apocalypse.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:45 pm

    Very good ren, and the same systems [heterarchically intertwined mimicking nature or hierarchically imposed]  apply elsewhere, But I'm not, this time, gonna rant about the current clusterfrack, no I have a positive post and believe it or not it comes from Fox.  I can't post a link for 7 days as a new registry, but it's Clooney Fox 9/18 on youtube. The 8-minute interview is about a new private effort to combat corruption in Africa and other 3rd world countries prone to corruption due in part as ren mentioned, to shrinking abundance (sovereign citizens are trying to claim national parks so they can steal public property too). They are using financial forensics, and with an international coalition (guess who has proven to be  a coalition builder par excellence?).

    Technically these are the best of times with the biggest reduction in poverty worldwide, but in reality, they are the worst of times due to the abuse of all systems in touch with the corrupt, be they ecological, political, or trade due to Ayn Rand unleashed.

    I wanted to shout out to those doing the right thing and Clooney from Cincinnati, near my birth home, partnered with Pendergast, is doing just that.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by Ren's View on Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:23 pm

    dleet wrote:Very good ren, and the same systems [heterarchically intertwined mimicking nature or hierarchically imposed]  apply elsewhere, But I'm not, this time, gonna rant about the current clusterfrack, no I have a positive post and believe it or not it comes from Fox.  I can't post a link for 7 days as a new registry, but it's Clooney Fox 9/18 on youtube. The 8-minute interview is about a new private effort to combat corruption in Africa and other 3rd world countries prone to corruption due in part as ren mentioned, to shrinking abundance (sovereign citizens are trying to claim national parks so they can steal public property too). They are using financial forensics, and with an international coalition (guess who has proven to be  a coalition builder par excellence?).

    Technically these are the best of times with the biggest reduction in poverty worldwide, but in reality, they are the worst of times due to the abuse of all systems in touch with the corrupt, be they ecological, political, or trade due to Ayn Rand unleashed.

    I wanted to shout out to those doing the right thing and Clooney from Cincinnati, near my birth home, partnered with Pendergast, is doing just that.

    Here you go:

    Chris Wallace Interviews George Clooney (and John Prendergast]
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:42 am

    Another example of unexpected problems related to weather. When Ramadan falls in summer months in Sweden, their fasts are 21 hours long and go on for weeks at a time. Swedes have opened their doors but cannot control the weather, or seasons. Choosing to not eat is an act of free will, eat when hungry and the problem is solved. Just avoid those Muslims that will kill you if they see you chewing.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by Ren's View on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:49 am

    dleet wrote:Another example of unexpected problems related to weather. When Ramadan falls in summer months in Sweden, their fasts are 21 hours long and go on for weeks at a time. Swedes have opened their doors but cannot control the weather, or seasons. Choosing to not eat is an act of free will, eat when hungry and the problem is solved. Just avoid those Muslims that will kill you if they see you chewing.

    Are you suggesting that Muslims are expecting everyone else in Sweden to follow their religious practices? Didn't the Swedes put anything about protecting freedom to practice one's chosen religion in their legal system?

    Just wondering (I think I'll take the clue from you on the other board and start a whole forum with that title here), how does one go about doing a 21 hour fast for weeks at a time? How does that work, exactly?
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:48 am

    how does one go about doing a 21 hour fast for weeks at a time? How does that work, exactly
    ? I haven't a clue, but I would encourage them to think of the daylight in Mecca and fast accordingly. I had a Muslim on a plane once ask which way was Mecca so he could take a leak and not piss off Allah or Muhammed or whomever, by peeing in the direction of Mecca (He could've just sat down). Knowing they cut off the hands of thieves I imagine peeing toward Mecca might result in even more abhorrent practices.  

    Another unexpected change:  Blowback? or involuntary reaction? btw, I trust the decision makers over here much more than those across the Atlantic. Merkel's million plus refugees cost her politically, and both LBJ and Carter know the price of doing the right thing. Clinton's assault ban was good but cost him, but W gained nothing by not renewing the ban and doing the right thing would've cost him nothing.

    btw, Bertrand Russell had a student around the time he brought Predicates into the language/logic calculus. The student's name was Wittgenstein. His Form of Reality concept stated that sentences have meaning. If a statement is not true or false, it says nothing, and should  not be a sentence, or at least called such, (unless there is a set of non-binary statements that are excluded from the T/F duo?). I'm still processing it all. ie: Comey said Hillary's testimony was not misleading. Hillary thought in binary terms and stated that if A is not misleading A must be true and said so. Fox and Scarborough all said she lied because Comey did not say she told the truth, he said she didn't lie. "That's not blue, it's light blue" is about the level of US political disagreements today. Pitiful, piteous, pathetic, plaintive and poignant fit the disagreement over "I said Tartan, not plaid". Monte Python's riff on IRA and Real IRA and further honing of terms for tribes did not clarify anything except the ridiculousness of semantic disagreements (aka labels).
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by Ren's View on Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:50 am

    dleet wrote:
    how does one go about doing a 21 hour fast for weeks at a time? How does that work, exactly
    ? I haven't a clue, but I would encourage them to think of the daylight in Mecca and fast accordingly. I had a Muslim on a plane once ask which way was Mecca so he could take a leak and not piss off Allah or Muhammed or whomever, by peeing in the direction of Mecca (He could've just sat down). Knowing they cut off the hands of thieves I imagine peeing toward Mecca might result in even more abhorrent practices.  

    Another unexpected change:  Blowback? or involuntary reaction? btw, I trust the decision makers over here much more than those across the Atlantic. Merkel's million plus refugees cost her politically, and both LBJ and Carter know the price of doing the right thing. Clinton's assault ban was good but cost him, but W gained nothing by not renewing the ban and doing the right thing would've cost him nothing.

    btw, Bertrand Russell had a student around the time he brought Predicates into the language/logic calculus. The student's name  was Wittgenstein. His Form of Reality concept stated that sentences have meaning. If a statement is not true or false, it says nothing, and should  not be a sentence, or at least called such, (unless there is a set of non-binary statements that are excluded from the T/F duo?). I'm still processing it all. ie: Comey said Hillary's testimony was not misleading. Hillary thought in binary terms and stated that if A is not misleading A must be true and said so. Fox and Scarborough all said she lied because Comey did not say she told the truth, he said she didn't lie. "That's not blue, it's light blue" is about the level of US political disagreements today. Pitiful, piteous, pathetic, plaintive and poignant fit the disagreement over "I said Tartan, not plaid". Monte Python's riff on IRA and Real IRA and further honing of terms for tribes did not clarify anything except the ridiculousness of semantic disagreements (aka labels).

    Well, I don't trust decision makers anywhere, but that hardly matters to the 7.4 billion or so people in the world who mostly do.

    It's been awhile since I've visited these thoughts, but, yes, I know about Wittgenstein and Russell.  Here's a little more about it from New York Times: Books:

      What finally killed his interest in mathematics, however, as he himself acknowledged, was the impact of Ludwig Wittgenstein, which, as Russell was to write in My Philosophical Development, 'came in two waves'.

    The first wave came in the summer Of 1913, when Wittgenstein temporarily destroyed Russell's philosophical self-confidence through his devastating attack on Russell's theory of judgment. The second wave came in 1919, after Russell had to some extent rebuilt his self-confidence, when he read Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and became convinced by it that the view of logic that had motivated his own work on the philosophy of mathematics was fundamentally wrong. Up until his reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Russell took a more or less Platonist view of logic, regarding it as the study of objective and eternal truths. After reading Wittgenstein, Russell became convinced that, on the contrary, logic was purely linguistic, so-called 'logical truths' being nothing more than tautologies. Though this might sound a fairly recondite matter, it is almost impossible to exaggerate its effect on Russell's life. Russell's great work on the philosophy of mathematics was inspired by the dream of arriving at truths that were demonstrable, incorrigible and known with absolute certainty. Logic, he thought, was such a body of truth, and his ambition of proving that mathematics was but a branch of logic was driven by his desire to show that a substantial body of knowledge, namely mathematics, was impervious to sceptical doubt. If logic was not a body of truth, but merely — as Russell put it immediately after his conversion to a Wittgensteinian view — a matter of giving 'different ways of saying the same thing', then this dream vanished and with it the hope of arriving at any absolutely certain knowledge. Neither logic nor mathematics had the philosophical interest that Russell had attributed to them, and that, fundamentally, was why he abandoned the philosophy of mathematics.

    D.H. Lawrence was a writer with whom I felt a deep connection well before I'd begun to develop my own concerns about institutions.  And it was over that issue that he and Russell had their tiff, even though neither were advocates for WWI:

    From a paper: "A Prison for the Infinite": D. H. Lawrence and Bertrand Russell on the War



    The first institution for whose reconstruction Russell argues is the State. He criticises the State as "absurd" and "evil," because of its "geographical" nature (82). "It involves an entirely artificial division of mankind and our duties towards them: towards one group we are bound by the law, towards the rest only by the prudence of highwaymen" (83). The State, like all the institutions he criticises, is "based on Power," and he argues that, in the political institutions of the future "the relationship of human beings should be based on mutual liberty, with Love" (91). Lawrence's response can be summed up in his insertion after Russell's point, about the difference between the modern and the medieval periods, that one "can"t worship the State." Lawrence writes, "What can I worship?" (82), and this is the point of all his criticism of Russell. In a long passage in pencil beneath Russell's typed section, he writes:



    We proceed to create our State according to our religious belief, our philosophical conception of life. The King represents God. The Ministers subject to the King are the Archangels subject to God.

    The metaphysical belief is no longer held. Therefore our State is a falsity.

    The State must represent the deepest philosophical or religious belief. (Russell, "Philosophy" 6; LBR 83-4)

    This is the basis of Lawrence's political beliefs in his dialogue with Russell, that societies are the expression of a fundamental philosophical, ultimately religious idea.


    Lawrence takes his criticism of Russell to fiction, where I first encountered it through the caricatured figure of Sir Joshua in Women in Love.  I assure you, I had no idea at the time it was Russell I was seeing crawling out of a pond like a lizard.  But once I found out, the impression was indelible.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:04 am

    The State, like all the institutions he criticises, is "based on Power,"
    This was proven when McConnell vetoed his own damn bill as soon as Obama was for it. Ideologies be damned, control is all that is sought and if tax increases offer it, they would be for tax increases.
    Then, societies are ultimately based on religion, and as far as I'm concerned that's why so many of them fail. The Life of Brian is one of my all time favorites and makes as much sense as the institutions it mocks. "Always look on the bright side of life, (whistle, whistle x 3)"
    Russell said he kept a Bible in his bookcase, next to Voltaire. "Poison and antidote" he called his arrangement.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:26 am

    dleet wrote:
    The State, like all the institutions he criticises, is "based on Power,"
    This was proven when McConnell vetoed his own damn bill as soon as Obama was for it. Ideologies be damned, control is all that is sought and if tax increases offer it, they would be for tax increases.
    Then, societies are ultimately based on religion, and as far as I'm concerned that's why so many of them fail. The Life of Brian is one of my all time favorites and makes as much sense as the institutions it mocks. "Always look on the bright side of life, (whistle, whistle x 3)"
    Russell said he kept a Bible in his bookcase, next to Voltaire. "Poison and antidote" he called his arrangement.

    btw, my Chilean friend says all the Muslims go on Mecca time during Ramadan fast. The refugee kids though participate in Lucia ceremonies where the kids dress in brown gowns and wear crowns of candles in their hair (batteries replaced real candles) around Christmas time. I see very little conflict over assimilation but guns are not required nor promoted. We are in the top ten gun possession countries, but not for conflict resolution, kind of an evolution issue. Advanced civilizations learn killing is not a true resolution, just an ill-advised tactic often due to expedience. Americans are always in a hurry. "Drop the gun" "bang" in the last 2 seconds of Tamir Rice's life. My closest bodega is owned and run by Iranians so they speak Farsi and Swedish. My barber is from another Muslim country and I learned to not tip him, it's an insult I guess. He even made sure I got the elderly discount he offers.
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by dleet on Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:32 am

    http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/30/as_earth_reaches_frightening_co2_milestone Will these issues get some attention now that donald's sleeping habits have been addressed? ( I could put just wondering, but there seems very little happening these days that does not cause me to wonder)
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    Re: Ecological thinking

    Post by Ren's View on Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:04 am

    Thanks. I didn't know Donald's sleeping habits were an impediment to talking about the now steady and inevitably still climbing 400 ppm CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere. But, anyway, I really don't know how much of an impediment that was; after all, I didn't even know about it.  Maybe there's something else as an impediment?  Who knows...  Please, somebody (who knows) step forward and tell us!

    What else can we do but wonder?

    And anyway, I'm not real sure metaphorizing the creation of the problem that's now confronting us (thanks to all our efforts to create it in the first place) as a war appeals to me very much.  No offense Bill, I do appreciate all your efforts through 350.org, and thanks for all the emails.  Thankfully I do have scuba gear to deal with the flood.  Oh yeah, that flood too.  I live only about 40 ft above sea level.  I think.  I've never done the measurements.

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