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Re: <nettime> Franco Berardi & Geert Lovink: A call to the Army of Love
John Hopkins on Sun, 16 Oct 2011 06:07:48 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Franco Berardi & Geert Lovink: A call to the Army of Love and t...

Ei Morlock!

Perhaps I as not clear enough. I was pointing to the lack of projections, not to diagnosis.

The future will likely mean (more) stupid humans: then less overall humans who are still (and increasingly) stupid.

I'd suggest turning to people like Pimentel(1), Georgescu-Roegen (2), Odum (3), Price (4), and Wallace (5) (et al!), to see some very explicit and clear projections into the hydrocarbon&energy-poor future. It is not pleasant -- unless you are free of the hubris of human 'exceptionalism" as a form of life on the planet. If you can shed that feeling of superiority over everything else in the cosmos, you might realize that species come and go, fluctuating in total biomass in relation to available energy (re)sources that they are capable of consuming.

A 'machinic' future relies completely on the availability of massively excessive energy (re)sources. We, having been born into a global situation near the peak of availability of the only known such (re)source, cannot imagine another kind of regime as we have been accustomed to using tremendous doses of that energy 'invisibly' in every moment of our lives. This is largely because of the imposition of a layer of abstracted instrumentation called 'money' which effectively removes us from the direct experience of energy movement within and around the techno-social system. By focusing on the abstract, nothing, literally, is accomplished. This is why bodies (embodied energy) on the street is, in some ways, a positive sign. But the bodies in the street don't mean much when you can get an equivalent amount of work energy of one body for 5000 hours from a barrel of oil... (6)

In a system where demands are rapidly increasing for a declining stock of available energy, the order of sophistication and complexity of the system will, on average, decrease. This is evidenced by a quick perusal of the state of general infrastructure in the developed world. While there are localized variations, the general state is lower than it was, say, a decade ago. This is no coincidence! Order and energy availability go hand-in-hand. Even the persistence of information/knowledge into the future is directly dependent on energy (re)sources to maintain it.

For example, the US could not, even if it had to, rebuild the entire infrastructure of the "Defense Interstate Highway System" which was constructed between 1950 - 1975 -- it does not have the energy/(re)sources available now to do so. If you could subtract China from the global picture, the US might have enough (hegemonic) control over world energy (re)sources to do so. But otherwise, forget it! And such infrastructures 1) are necessary to continue life as it has been, and 2) have a limited life-span before complete re-building is necessary.

Imagine calculating the true energy cost involved in having this trans-global communications forum here, nettime. It's impossible to parse from the sheer intertwinedness of all techno-social flows, but it is clear that it is not sustainable -- and saying that something is unsustainable means that it will cease to be at some point in the future.

These thermodynamic principles trump altruistic re-cycling mentalities, alternative tech energy-development schemes, social/organizational engineering, and ever-remarkable human adaptability.

Projections anyone?

(1) - http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/archives/2329

(2) - http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/archives/750

(3) - http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/archives/44561

(4) - http://dieoff.org/page137.htm

(5) - http://www.pnas.org/content/107/suppl.2/8947.full

(6) - for example - http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4315


John Hopkins
Watching the Tao rather than watching the Dow!

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