Our new book is called Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens lost touch with reality while transforming the world. I think we are on the mark but would hope that the way people responded in this election campaign is a sign that our message was heeded before it got out. I am always glad when the bad predictions my reasoning forces me to make are at least partially wrong. Let me give you the jacket blurb to explain what I mean:
Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the WorldIf you understand what we are saying at all you know why I welcome any sign that we begin to wake from our long sleep. Read on below and I'll say a bit more.
The Global Economy that sustains the civilized world is destroying the biosphere. As a result, civilization, like the Titanic, it is on a collision course with disaster. But changing course via the body politic appears to be well nigh impossible, given that much of the populace lives in denial. Why is that? And how did we get into such a fix?
In this essay, biologists James Coffman and Donald Mikulecky argue that the reductionist model of the world developed by Western civilization misrepresents life, undermining our ability to regulate and adapt to the accelerating anthropogenic transformation of the world entrained by that very model. An alternative worldview is presented that better accounts for both the relational nature of living systems and the developmental phenomenology that constrains their evolution. Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct.
This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization.
I have been at this since 1960. My path has been a very unusual one and that is why I have the chutzpah to think that I understand a little bit after all that time. I have been able to stand on the shoulders of many giants and am greatful for that. More important is the fact that if it were not for public education all the way up to the post doctoral level, none of this would be possible.
The short statement above can not do justice to what has led us to say it. We have been into science and led in many of the areas we now question so strongly. I can not fill you in here but trust me that we now part of a wave. One of the most familiar to folks here is George Lakoff but we think we have gone well beyond his argument and woven it into a much bigger and deeper one.
So my question in this diary is, assuming we are at least partially correct, is this election a turning point? Are we ready to confront destructive, insane ignorance head on? This is really not an option. It is a necessity if we are to separate ourselves from the greed and disregard for future generations we all have been part of. If this strikes a chord please read our book. Let us hope we can now begin to do what we must. We really do not need a weatherman to tell us which way the wind is blowing