Who Survives and Who Does Not: Civilization Lost in a Wilderness of Mistaken Mental Models

Have you ever been lost in the woods? Or just in an unfamiliar urban neighborhood? As it turns out, getting lost is not that uncommon. However, most of the time things work out because we got lost within the familiar bounds of civilization. We can rely on others to give us some directions. Today, industrial … More Who Survives and Who Does Not: Civilization Lost in a Wilderness of Mistaken Mental Models

Freedom, Responsibility, and the Absurdity of Autocracy

Ideas can get away from us, even take control of our lives. Sometimes, a great idea can become destructive when taken to its most extreme form. Life is full of ambiguities and imperfections. If we take our great ideas out of this context, they can become dysfunctional, stupid, and even dangerous. So it is with … More Freedom, Responsibility, and the Absurdity of Autocracy

Risk On Risk Off: Likely or Unlikely, Catastrophic or Not

“Risk on” and “Risk Off” are terms heard among stock market traders, analysts, and investment advisors. They indicate whether the speaker feels that risk is high or low for investing in markets or in a particular stock. Risk is always a matter of degree, except under conditions of certainty—and when does that happen? Yet, “risk … More Risk On Risk Off: Likely or Unlikely, Catastrophic or Not

Too Late and Too Soon: Corona-Climate Crisis Consistency

It is not difficult to see the several consistencies between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Climate Emergency. You can find them in more than one dimension. Some involve the trajectories of the crises, while others reside in the human response or lack thereof. Things like acceleration and lagged effects are important for understanding crises that … More Too Late and Too Soon: Corona-Climate Crisis Consistency

Let’s Get Real: What is Sustainable in Markets, the Biosphere, and Society?

In a number of posts, I have discussed various social illusions such as the idea that the extractive industrial consumer economy could just keep growing permanently, as so many economists implicitly insist. That deeply flawed illusion rests on some equally defective assumptions. Many people also believe that as industrial materials reach a state of depletion … More Let’s Get Real: What is Sustainable in Markets, the Biosphere, and Society?

Facing a Fantastic Future: Fantasyland, Apocalypse, or Hopeful Realism?

We usually think of something as fantastic if it is so wonderful and amazing that it seems like fantasy. I suspect that is where Walt Disney got the idea for his “Fantasy Land” and the other fantastical components of Disneyland, Disneyworld, and all those animated entertainments. Much of it suggests unbounded human futures through industrial … More Facing a Fantastic Future: Fantasyland, Apocalypse, or Hopeful Realism?

What is Sustainability? Even the Experts Struggle with its Complexity

Many folks toss about the term, “sustainable” quite cavalierly these days. Like “green products” and “green consumption,” it often implies that a practice or product can continue as part of the industrial-consumer economy for a very long time. Yet the global corporate economy as presently constituted is hardly sustainable itself. Well, quite often the product … More What is Sustainability? Even the Experts Struggle with its Complexity

Renewable Energy and Sustainable Life

I deepened my carbon footprint this week by flying to Toronto for a conference at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, on “Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Theory, Practice, and Action,” (STTPA) The topic seems crucial for understanding how we must move forward to stem the tide of planetary destabilization of climate, ecosystems, and the threat of societal collapse. … More Renewable Energy and Sustainable Life

How to Control Complex Adaptive Systems to Survive

We live in increasingly complex systems, more and more of them are of our own making, though not always of our own conscious design. There are two basic kinds, natural complex adaptive systems, such as the Earth System and its many subsystems, and human-made complex adaptive systems, such as social groups and corporations. It appears … More How to Control Complex Adaptive Systems to Survive