Archives for posts with tag: Malthus

Elliott Wave is a theory used by ‘technical analysts’ to predict the evolution of the stock market.
It works.
Robert Prechter had expanded the scope of Elliott’s ideas. He uses them to study how our societies work.

Here’s what I make out of all this.

Things, Structure, Mind.
The world, as we experience it, is the consequence of ‘things’ becoming structured enough for ‘mind’ to evolve out of the whole ‘mess’.

Art, Science, Religion.
Knowledge – everything that we know about the world, has started as ideas gleaned by ‘artists’, structured by ‘scientists’ and put together by ‘religious leaders’.

Opportunity, rules, conscience.
Each of us, individual human beings, are the consequences of the opportunities we had been able to identify. Of the manner in which we had put into practice the applicable set of rules. And the kind of conscience each of us has built for themselves.

By putting together these three sides of the evolutive mountain, we notice that ‘knowledge’ (our image about the world) is entirely ‘ours’. And that the world itself is increasingly being shaped by our actions. Actions which are shaped by us, according to our wishes. Wishes which are shaped by what we know about the world.

My point being that while until not so very long ago the world was evolving under its own steam, since we’ve become conscious – aware of our own awareness, in Humberto Maturana’s terms, our influence had grown significantly. Exponentially, in fact.
We’ve changed the geography of our planet. It’s biology, even.

And even though the planet is huge, the opportunities we’ll be able to identify are not infinite. For the very reason that the planet itself is not infinite.

Rather Malthusian, I know, but with a twist. It will be not our numbers which will be our undoing. Only our carelessness. Our infatuation. Our inability to look farther than the ends of our noses.

You know the joke about the proverbial glass.
The optimist sees it as half full, the pessimist as half empty while the ‘realist’ grabs it and ‘enjoys’ whatever is in it.

Something of the same nature happens with the whole planet. Optimists are happily careless about what’s going on, the pessimists are terrified about the future and the ‘pragmatists’ are callously using resources as if there is no tomorrow.

To me this whole situation looks like a tree house. All three kinds of people live together in it and use as sustenance the sap of the tree limb where the house was build.
Only the branch is slowly withering away. The pessimists moan about this but don’t do anything really significant, the optimists don’t care while the pragmatists have already made plans for another house on a higher branch.

There is one small problem though. As time goes by the lower branches wither away. The tree, now old, is left with very few leaves so it can no longer grow new branches nor feed its inhabitants.
At last the hungry survivors decide to climb down and search for another tree. Yeah…but they are too high in the air to jump and the branches bellow … are no longer there!

No, I’m not desperate nor Malthusian. I’m convinced that human ingenuity can solve problems far more complicated than the ones we are facing today. Only we have to start facing them instead of turning our heads the other way.
And we’d better start solving the existing problems without adding new ones. (Iatrogenics, see Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile…

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