Bertrand Russell wrote this:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
Now, in the Peak Everything world, we think we are pretty smart. We see the decline in fossil fuel availability, ocean biomass, EROEI, the rise in CO2 levels, pollution, population, debt levels, and general strangeness in our societies, and think “Yeah, we are in for a rough ride.” Again, check the folks to the right in the blog roll to read how we are going to hell in a handbasket, in excruciating detail.
But what if we are wrong? One of the things I’ve always asked those folks is, “who is your best critic, who is someone you respect, but has opposite worldviews?” Now, a few of the folks I’ve posed this question to (Greer, McPherson) have come back with folks who share the worldview that we are in trouble, but none of them has come out with the poster child for the antithesis of the Peak Everything world of Ray Kurzweil, or those in the upper left hand portion of the Collapsnik chart.
Now, this error in judgement could be wishful thinking that “alien space bats” might come along and rescue us, but there may be a small probability (or even large), that heck, we might all be living in a simulation, so all bets are off, regarding our uncertain and wacky future. What to do in this simulation, then? Act as if it doesn’t exist, and hope for the best (a reversed Pascal’s Wager)? Given the UFO issue, discussed previously, perhaps many, many strange things are afoot. After all, as JMG has commented, when the news of the world gets as weird as an Onion story, you wonder how those folks can keep up. A plague wipes out a good chunk of humanity, and somehow (yes, lots of handwaving here) this out-of-control ecosystem softlands, and the plague smartens up the survivors by a few IQ points, or we get some sort of AI that does figure out how to get us out of this mess and put us on a path to sustainability. A few scenarios might actually happen, and stranger things have happened in the world.
Again, we prepare for what we think is going to happen, but the future is one big fat unknown. Perhaps my point here is yeah, we have a good idea of things of how things could go, but also, we could be wrong.
This week’s questions:
- Is it a waste of time to even think this way?
- Are there any “softlanding” scenarios that don’t involve alien space bats?
- How do you act towards folks who think so differently? Are you a bit smug about your Peak Everything worldview?
- When else in your life have you been completely and utterly wrong, after thinking you were completely and utterly right?