There is a Culture War, but not what the right imagines. When the limits of Earth were passed due to unlimited population, ecological constraints began to exacerbate a tension which had previously been submerged. We co-evolved with memeplexes since our ancestors used language. Information entities took new form with the invention of corporations. The reproductive tendencies of our nonbiological symbionts always had some costs, but these were mitigated by their benefits in organizing and motivating groups. But the growth mandate inherent in fundamentalist religious memeplexes and in corporations as presently constructed now put them indirect conflict with human survival.
In the context of an overpopulated climate-destabilizing planet, some of our nonbiological symbionts have morphed into a lethal infection. They're parasites. The culture war isn't between conservative and liberal, it's between growth-dependent nonbiological entities and human beings. It's a final battle which we are already losing, in part, because we fail to comprehend it.
It's no accident that in the US, fundamentalist religion allied with corporate interest. Both responded to a selective pressure, greater reproductive capacity in the niche of total control of human culture. That their drive to reproduce endangers civilization itself isn't relevant, because at bottom they respond with as much intelligence as biological viruses which kill their hosts. Richard Brodie likened corporations to power memeplexes. Memeplexes don't plan ahead, even though they control human hosts. As mind viruses they only reproduce or not, expand their "market share" or go out of business. They're informational entities evolving in their own spheres, where human beings are merely hosts, merely substrates.
A transition to sustainability requires balancing reproduction with available resources. Corporations need "growth" to survive and fundamentalist religions mandate human reproduction. Alternatives exist, but they can't compete in an economic or memetic "free market". Moderate religions have adapted to limited family size. Corporations can operate without sacrificing all other values to profit. We humans could control of the "forces" sacrificing our planet. First we have to recognize their existence.
Excellent, Ruth, I certainly agree. You hit on my main thesis of Mirror Reversal. Humans have to break out of the chains of the Prime Directive and continue to evolve after a lengthy period of futile stasis. Technology has certainly advanced, but as humans Nero’s words of give them “panis et circesen,” (bread and circuses) is as true now as the time of the Romans. As a species we haven’t evolved very far spiritually.
I just wrote the following in “Ten Reasons Not To Believe” last week! Reason #7 contains the following, in anticipation of this important discussion. Please check out the disturbing photo of the Vale mine of Brazil. It’s by far the largest mine in the world, right in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest. Corporate thinking would rather have people buying new cars every couple of years, than keeping the planet and thousands of species alive. It’s an iron mine and it’s a trade-off broads of directors gladly make.
The world’s religions are meme complexes that make victims care more about a world that doesn’t exist than about the real world. Carriers of the Christianity memeplex care more about a Virgin Mother made of wood or plastic, and throw garbage and chemicals in Tethys, the real mother of life.
Tethys is the Titan goddess of the sea, daughter of Uranus the sky god and the Earth goddess, Gaia.
By “bull-shit woo woo sounding predictions about the apocalypse”, I assume you mean, fallacious adumbrations about nature’s retribution for wanton abuse and plunder. I could rattle off dozens of areas where human greed is causing irreparable damage. In fact, there’s not one area on the Earth that doesn’t show signs of human depravity and greed. Even the tiny polyps of the Great Barrier Reef are being blanched, killed by acid, after millions of years of slow, slow growth, millimeter by millimeter.
It can’t go on forever, that’s for sure. Humans can’t continue to reproduce multiplicatively.
Richard, I applaud your concern for the damage we’re causing to the Earth. I don’t understand your reasons for ignoring systemic forces which push people to be greedy. Blaming individuals for vices such as greed is similar to the religious moral perspective. I find it more helpful to examine the context in which individuals operate, identifying feedbacks that reward greedy behavior and punish generous behavior.
Did you perceive anthropomorphization in my discussion? “...nature’s retribution for wanton abuse and plunder...” Retribution implies moral agency. “Mother Nature” is a figure of speech I didn’t use. I see physics and chemistry at work, cause and effect. I try to avoid using our hyperactive agency detector in such discussions.
Yes, I am concerned about apocalypse. This doesn't come from woo woo, but science. See
Ruth, thanks for the informative website on global warming. Very alarming and enlightening.
By nature’s retribution I simply meant negative feedback or backlash without any moralistic connotations. Just negative results as when fisherpersons strip a lake of all the fish and an algal bloom results.
I find it more helpful to examine the context in which individuals operate, identifying feedbacks that reward greedy behavior and punish generous behavior.
Being we both have a Darwinian outlook, I surmise the context in which we operate is based on natural selection and genetic motivations. In nature, generous behavior is rarely beneficial. Animals fight off competitors for food and territory, even of the same species. Non-kinship based altruism is rare.
So I believe the problem lies in the fact that humans obey the dictates of their genes (and memes) which is not for the individual. Sardines tighten into a ball when sharks approach. Genes motivate humans to make babies no matter how overcrowded the territory. Memeplexes motivate infected carriers to “spread the word” no matter how devastating to the environment.
In short, it’s my belief we have to break out of the confines of the Prime Directive. Reason has to enter the equation. We’re just not there yet. It looks like Global Warming will cause some catastrophe before corporate plutocrats even acknowledge it exists.
Yes, I agree, we have to break out of the confines of the Prime Directive. We must develop and implement universally a social system that replaces evolution for human reproductive choices. I think we're smart enough to design something that's fair, just, and tuned to utilize our instincts cleverly. It's just that nobody is even imagining we need to do this.
Are you into Terence McKenna? I used to listen to him on the old Art Bell radio show early in the morning. A great man, taken by a brain tumor very young. Here's a video I'm fond of, saying similar to what we are here. Notice the reference to meme processers.
Thank you for the video, Richard. I'd never heard of Terence McKenna before. Like many, he's insightful about what's wrong but vague on constructive alternatives. Art is a useful approach to embrace alternatives to the reality we experience and communicate them. So is fiction, your specialty.
As I see it, Terence McKenna is only right insofar as he refers to Dominator Culture (which is what we have now, but is not the only possibility). When he speaks of standing on each other's shoulders and kicking each other in the teeth, that's Dominator hierarchy to a T. Riane Eiser describes the alternative, Partnership Culture, in The Chalice & the Blade.
I'm dead certain that we'll need to invent a contemporary version of Partnership to organize globally for sustainability. Exploitation of the Earth is as built in to Dominator Culture as is exploitation of women, children, and men of lesser status.
Eisler is visionary about cultural basics, but her implementation has been a great disappointment to me. For example, I see her initiative for Caring Economicsas far too narrow, too shallow, too female role traditional. I think a new Partnership economic model has to face up to the urgency of our economic/political corruption/climate destabilization crisis.
As I see it it's no accident that we don't "have enough money" to develop alternative energy while the super rich hide $32 trillion. We need this level of analysis to define the economic underpinnings of our crisis, not just admiration for Norway.
Two Brazilian physicists have shown that wealth concentration invariably stems from a particular type of market exchange rules -- where agents cannot receive more income than their own capital. The authors concluded that maximum inequalities ensue from free markets, which are governed by such seemingly fair rules.
They found that over time, all the available wealth is concentrated among only a few agents.
As a result, the free market is stalled with no subsequent possible exchanges of wealth, even if wealth were distributed evenly from the start.
I know who Art Bell is Richard. I have listened to his show before.
Love the website link to Global Warming