Education and Deception
Deception of Ourselves by Ourselves
Something has happened to our civilization where deception of ourselves by ourselves has replaced truth. I believe it is inherent in what and how we teach. We teach about truth and the evolution and psychology of humanity as it was conceived decades or centuries ago.
After seven years at MIT I knew no more about the nature of man than I did when I started. I did not know why religions existed or that each religion needed to prove it was the religion, when in fact I have come to believe none is the real religion. Books from a thousand years ago or more were not going to teach us about the universe, about life, about relationships or why we exist at all. Science would teach us much more, but not the final answer either for there are no final answers even though we have found the Higgs boson and detected gravity waves. But my, what stunning accomplishments for men and women for whom the truth is everything. In a sense we were born in the Grand Singulariy and now, 13.75 billion year later our minds are such that we have decoded the entire proces from an infinitely small time after it began until today. The way to approach it is to look at the time-line of the universe which you can google. But my favorite way is this video: (set your computer to full screen if you can and turn the sound on) The Universe.
Sports and computer games occupy our minds more than whether the earth will continue to exist.
So what are we going to do, let the sea rise, disease and starvation spread, temperatures become life-threating or worse, that the temperature runs away because there is no longer anything we can do.
We must throw ideologies and religion aside and pursue truth to tell us what to do. And to do it within the pincipal of reciprocity so it is fair to everyone. In a government of the people, by the people and for the people the government must do some things collectively because otherwise only the rich have resources and the rich take over the land and we have a govermment for the few. It has already happened and the ideology of low taxes places the worth of the enjoyment of the rich as more imporant than the life of a sick child, or the suffering of the many for the enjoyment of a few.
The small government, low tax attitutde is that we do not want to solve problems, even if it is to fix a bridge that is falling down, and even more important to advance our quality of life.
Science is most useful because it deals with the reality of what is and not what one wishes it to be. And when extended furhter to relationships between people it comes to reciprocity: that we are all reponsible for each other.
If climate change doesn't make you a little panicked, you haven't read enough. Go google around a bit.
The earth was a gift of stunning beauty and bounty that gave us the wherewithal to feed our families, heat our living spaces, grow food and everything else necessary for us to experience life.
In gratitude we have destroyed millions of species, strip mined, dumped garbage and poisons just about anywhere we pleased, and in general polluted the land, rivers lakes and streams, and now the entire ocean. We have done this because we have a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. And because no one taught us to appreciate the earth. Warren has shown how easy it is for Wall Street to rip us off. But even worse there is the probelem of getting it and spending trillions chasing after what seems to be a ghost. And after billions of years during which our species evolved and multiplied we have, in less than 200 years, put the planet and everything that lives here on the edge of destruction. But it has happened slowly by human standards in, despite the rivers and firestorms in the U.S. the problem remains over there.
Perhaps worst of all, knowing all that we know about heating the climate we have at this moment human beings rich beyond measure, knowing the harm they are causing, searching for and promoting the carbon fuels that are adding to the air more of the carbon dioxide that forms the blanket that is making the planet overheat.
This is the question of questions. It happens nearly everywhere. The coal mines of West Virginia, strip mines, unssafe cars. The only clue I can muster is our evolution taught us to hoard, for tomorrow may be without food. So we always have to be hunting. And once the brakes of day to day hunting for the tribe are removed there is a blindness that sets in to keep collecting. It is too common to be an accident of genes. Of course it is not just climate that humans have destroyed mindlessly. For power, religion and countless irrational reasons our leaders lead us to cause enormous harm to each other. Why is a mystery except to say it is in our nature, but perhaps in a kind of cruel justice the earth is meting out punishment to the point that one day we may all feel the pain of heat, disease, flooding, fire, drought and war as we fight for the last inhabitable scraps of land, with the tragedy that those who fought for the earth will die also.
When I look at the night sky or at photographs of stars through telescopes, my sense of awe now fails me. It has been replaced by a deep sense of dread.
We have failed as human beings to pay attention.
There are seven things that have failed or are failing: 1. climate, 2. democracy, 3. relationships, 4. science, 5. truth, 6. life, 7. hope.
Donald Trump and conservative ideologues have capitalized on our failure to understand and demand truth. The window to save the planet from climate catastrophe has gotten smaller and smaller. It may have passed us without our realizing it.
If there is hope it will be the 2020 elections which must give us an honest president and congress. Honesty here includes not just to tell the truth as we know it but to work to the limits of our capacity to find the truth. Because of its importance I will speak of climate first and then of the other items. Our last chance is the 2020 election. We need a good president (the opposite of Donald) and majorities in the house and the senate.
Then, we must launch a cleansing of our democracy and our economic system in order to provide the means to mobilize our resources to reduce our emissions and to clense the air. This will be like the mobilization after the attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor in 1941 except it will be infinitly more important and possibly many or many many times larger.
"The race we are in is against time, and we are losing. And with each passing year, it becomes clearer just how far behind we've fallen, how fast the situation is deteriorating, and how tragic the results can be.
"In the past decade alone, we've seen historic hurricanes devastate islands across the Caribbean. We've seen ‘thousand-year floods’ hit the Midwestern and Southern United States multiple times in a decade. We've seen record-breaking wildfires ravage California, and record-breaking typhoons kill thousands in the Philippines.
"This is a true crisis. If we fail to rise to the occasion, your generation, your children, and grandchildren will pay a terrible price."
"Meanwhile, the science keeps moving the possible inflection point of irreversible global warming closer and closer."
—Michael Bloomberg, MIT Commencement Address, June 2019
Although climate change has caused numerous instances of horrific impact, it is not appreciated that we have only experienced the beginning of the problem. There will be more instances with greater intensity, size and length of time. There will be continuous disruptions of life and livability of large areas and enormous strains on resources to counteract damages.
It is also not understood that delay will result in far more series consequences for later generations.
When large sums are deemed necessary, responses are that it will hurt the economy, take away from other needs and stress resources. However, it is not understood by leaders and the public that, in the absence of major efforts now, the consequences in the future will be far worse, with potentially billions of lives lost. Coastal areas, where half the world's population lives, will be under water due to sea level rise.
The argument that spending money on preparation will hurt the economy is nonsense. World War II was an exercise in making expensive machines and then trashing them. The money pump worked. The ideology that argues for low taxes is nonsense. It simply means we make the rich richer.
In a full bore attack on the climate, it will be scientific, manufacturing and construction capacity that determine success, and most of all learning what truth and reciprocity mean.
Most significantly, as Mayor Bloomberg mentioned there will soon come a time (if it has not already arrived) where temperature increase will be permantly out of control so that no effort in emission supression or negative emission will be sufficient to deal with the problem. Delay is giving time for the millions of square miles of tundra to melt and release methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. The methane result in a positive feedback loop where the rate of warming increases putting making further supression of emission incapable of stopping temperature rise.
At present scientists are stressing the great impact if we do not meet the Paris Accord target of 1.5°C. It is vertiually certain, that we will not meet this target nor even stay within 2.0°C. There are many reasons to believe that we will loose control such that any action we take will not keep the temperature from continuing to rise with unforseen death and destruction.
From the curve below, based on an extraolation of temperature through 2017, it appears that the inflection point Major Bloomberg spoke of will occur at about 2020 which is essentially now. However, to begin to control temperature within 10-20 years will require mobilization of the world's resources comparable to that of World War II. Subsequent pages will discuss the nature of this "mobilization."
What does this mean?
1. Climate change is over the president's head. He does not understand it so he will continue do the worst he can and accelerate its demise.
2. What does "demise" mean if Trump gets his way?
3. Something engineers call "thermal runaway." The planet warms enough to melt millions of square miles of tundra releasing methane.
4. Methane is over 30 times as powerful as carbon dioxide so it accelerates the warming releasing more methane.
5.The earth's temperature will run out of control and eventually it may become completely uninhabitable. At minimum disease, starvation, deadly heat, sea level rise will destroy any semblance of the life we have today
6. Is there an alternative?
7. Yes. Fully implement a practical version of the green new deal. If done soon enough and carefully enough it could return the planet to life as it was 20 years ago while increasing prosperity and coastal property values.
8. History will judge us by which direction we take.
"The president’s advisers amplify his disregard. At the meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismayed fellow diplomats by describing the rapidly warming region as a land of “opportunity and abundance” because of its untapped reserves of oil, gas, uranium, gold, fish and rare-earth minerals. The melting sea ice, he said, was opening up new shipping routes. “That is one of the most crude messages one could deliver,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who served as the NATO ambassador under George W. Bush.
"Outside the United States, climate scientists had long given up on the White House being anything but on outlier in policy. But they worry about the loss of the government as a source for reliable climate research. “It is very unfortunate and potentially even quite damaging that the Trump administration behaves this way,” said Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “There is this arrogance and disrespect for scientific advancement — this very demoralizing lack of respect for your own experts and agencies.”