Required awareness to handle climate change is impossible

by Godofredo Aravena

Seems to me that all efforts to create awareness about climate change will be useless. Any effort to make the average individual understand the problem we are facing today, will be useless. “Limits to growth” is a good example of failed efforts. The message has been there for 40 years. The required awareness, at a global scale, a necessity to handle the current situation, is something that seems to me impossible, because we are, as specie, not smart enough to handle our own power.

Based on my experience, average human has, let´s say, a six-dimensional perception of the world. Own body, family, house, job, grocery store (stores in general) and neighborhood. Anything beyond this limits, it is outside of a truly understanding (something happens out there, but nobody dares to find out what and how). Nation is a distant concept understood only because our job and family require some security provided by the concept of nation. Most people do not understand how the nation-system works. Water and electricity are there, always available. Food, at the grocery store. Job, a place to go and do something for what we receive some fiat money. Garbage, is taken by the garbage truck, to who knows where. Dirty water goes somewhere. Smoke vanishes into the air. Outside these limits, nobody knows what is really going on. Nobody knows how things happen.The mechanisms.We are unable to connect the dots. Concurrently, nobody knows their footprint and the effects of it to the rest of this world (present and future). Nobody cares.

But the world, the biosphere, mankind activity included, is a thousand times more complex (ten thousand dimensions?). Average people can handle only six …. We have not been able to model climate. We have not been able to model the behavior of the ocean (I work with it). We have not been able to make a robot like in “I robot” (the movie), that is still Sci-Fi, even though we have been trying for more than 50 years. We have not been even close to make an organic part of a human body. Our so respected medical doctors can just help to repair it. The truth is that the final repair is done by the body itself. We know that gravity exists, but we do not know what it is. And so on. There are so many things we do not know how they work. The reality of the average human is so basic.

Nature is so complex, and its understanding is so far away from our current knowledge. We are full of experts, that know little about things outside their technical knowledge boundaries. The average personal knowledge has an ultra-narrow bandwidth. I am an engineer and can see how ignorant we are even designing simple things like a ship or a car. The ignorance factor is always present, in any design (30-40% margin sometimes). Testing of models, in real conditions, is the only way to assure reliable functioning, by trial and error. The failures of the Challenger and the Columbia are good examples of our lack of knowledge of the complexities of the real world.

Our society has become a heavier load to the biosphere, and what did not matter 100 years ago, now it does matter. Our footprint as society, the result of the aggregated footprint of all individuals (including babies), is something that today matters. It has a visible effect. But is beyond average people (the 99.9% of us), to understand how their own individual actions affect somebody in the other side of the world, or 20-50 years ahead from now.

If we as society have already failed to understand the consequences to people and nature of our personal and family footprint, I see it as impossible to understand on time how we contribute to climate change, oil depletion, and all other calamities ahead, and how they will affect us. And take action on time to avoid disaster. So if we talk about climate change, a very-very complex relation between several factors, is impossible to expect that the process will be fully understood by average people, to make it a personal issue. Until it becomes something understandable because affects one of their six basic dimensions. By that time, it will be too late. The average human does not have the necessary brain capacity (and required knowledge) to handle the power we have as species. Give somebody a chainsaw, and enough fuel and food, and can spent his life chopping down trees without any question about consequences (the boss must know …).

We are just like those young sicarios (hired killers) that we see in Mexico, young boys (16-17 years old) with a gun, that can kill anybody without any remorse. Totally unaware of the consequences of their acts. Too immature. As our society today. Too much power, too immature to handle it.

Then, we have to add the trap of the system itself. We have been raised among the system, we need the system to live. The same system that we can´t handle properly. We do not understand how it really works, but we need it, and we use it (like a car). There are some people who can handle more than six dimensions, and potentially act accordingly. But even knowing, it is almost impossible to live outside the system. We are not prepared, the system does not offer alternatives.

So, total lack of understanding of the system, that implies total lack of understanding of the system footprint (us included), and total lack of understanding of the mechanism of the biosphere and environment. Plus, the fact that we are totally dependent of the system, and do not know another way of living. We have the recipe for disaster.

In conclusion, I see no way to change our current path. We are doomed. We have total failure of the system.

Godofredo Aravena is a 52-year-old ship designer who spent 15 years working in the most important shipyard in Chile to become head of the Naval Architecture Section. He worked nine years as an independent naval architect, with a small office in Concepción, Chile. He and his wife have two daughters and a granddaughter.


Thanks to ulvfugl for pointing out a technical fix to the problem of the disappearing comments: “I’m using Chrome browser. Go to top right corner, click three horizontal bars, says ‘new incognito window’, get NBL, and everything is immediately updated. Can’t advise for any other browsers, but I assume it’s something to do with cookies and being tracked, etc, because being anonymous fixes it.”

Comments 116


    QUOTE: “If one truly accepts the notion of NTE, then there is nothing left to say. Nothing. There’s no need to pen essays and create blogs about it. There’s no need to post comments to collapse blogs endlessly with daily laments. If you really believe it, if you’re really resigned to your near term extinction, then you will let go, and letting go means, as well as many other things, shutting up about your imminent extinction.

    This is so wrong on so many levels! Isn’t the whole reason we are each here on the Beach of Doom is because we are each presently filled with so very much nervous energy that we can hardly stand it? And, as human beings don’t we have a very innate need to be able to communicate that nervous energy to others who might possibly understand our discomfort? And, I mean understand in a way that no one else we know might be able to understand it. Basically, aren’t we are all here to offer aid and comfort to the soon to be dead, which unfortunately does also happen to include ourselves as this time? Anyway, just who is this loud-mouthed alleged authority in respect to believing they know just one is supposed, or not supposed to do, when faced with extinction? Me? Rather, than just quietly disappearing into the surrounding dark night, like several recent posters have so thoughtlessly suggested, I would much rather quietly talk about it to anyone who would might also be kind enough to listen. That’s why we are here!

  • @ Belle Islander

    Seems it was just a ploy by the person who called themselves Morocco Bama, Carol Newquist and a hundred other names, who suffers from some derangement and spends all his time trying to disrupt this and other blogs and forums,and getting himself banned, which is why he has to keep changing his name.

    One can only speculate, some trolls are paid to do this, some are so unhappy and unhealthy that they are compelled to inflict torment upon others by stupid negative childish games which they try to rationalize.

    Sort of desperate attention seeking, like pulling the hair of the people sitting in the row in front, in a theatre, until they get angry enough to get the manager to throw them out.

  • @ Martin
    Technical explanation: I use a cellphone to connect to the internet, but I tether it to an old computer which I write on with a keyboard and monitor. In my case writing is a somewhat selfish inspirational endeavor, since it keeps me seeking clear organization of my thoughts… Or at least sufficient legibility to comprehend their deviance from the toxic standard. But simplifying the accumulating complexity is a task better done by Sisyphus.

    @ Mac in MN
    Good work dude. We’re a despised minority in this rapacious society and we need all the friends we can gather, all the support we can create by leaning on and nurturing each other. If everyone brings their weirdest driftwood, we’ll keep the fire burning through the night, illuminating pearls of wisdom in the necklace of the goddess.

    @ Belle Islander
    Thanks. A hard rain is falling. The foreseen time of hard radioactive rain. Live anyway. The total number of seconds in life are ultimately finite, but moments can reach into infinity. The future is a path that has never been walked. For intrepid trekkers it will narrow and disappear into a vast wilderness, into an appreciated universe. Others will simply die as though they never lived at all. Gather your courage sister, keep it in your basket alongside your strangely glowing flowers glistening with tears and dew. Live softly through the hard rain. Let joy be your armor, knowledge your plow. That homewards path is offering an invitation for your footprints and laughter. Amazing views furthermore.

  • Mmm, just spotted the outburst by Mike Sosobee on Facebook.

    It’s bizarre. There are really just hints of why he appears to have altered his view of Guy. It’s a shame that he couldn’t be more constructive as that might help Guy reach more people.

  • @ Tony

    It’s a shame that he couldn’t be more constructive as that might help Guy reach more people.

    Always good for a laugh, aren’t you.

  • logspirit – Thanks for your additional thoughtful comments about the presently falling hard rain. But, I must immediately try to correct something in respect to any screen-name prompted confusion – because maybe I should have instead named myself Mr Belle Islander. Belle Isle Park is a special place located in the middle of the Detroit River, bordering Canada, which I often used to be able to visit whenever I was in need of spiritual enrichment. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get back there for several years for that sort of refreshment and it has made me feel weary. Anyway, we seemed to have dodged a big bullet here, in as much as the radiation levels didn’t seem to have soared like I half expected with the rains and the jet-stream passing directly overhead. (That is if you can still believe the radiation station monitoring reports – or if you can still believe anything at all!). For instance, I just read this report at ENEnews:

    November 18, 2013 at 10:09 am Log in to Reply

    QUOTE: An odd thing happened at the local Friday night football games. Men began to collapse during the games, including a referee, and the father of one of the players. This is east of Chicago, in northern Indiana. Anybody elsewhere have a similar event happen?

    What’s one to think? As of late I have been reading many similarly alarming health reports from other non-official sources. What I do know is that my old bones just seem to ache, and my skin almost immediately starts to tingle or lightly seemingly burn whenever I am caused to touch anything that has been weathering outside of late – and that includes my car! Thus, I’m constantly being reminded that much doesn’t seem to be right in the world anymore whether I should presently want to actually think about it or not!

    Anyway, that storm did finally finish blowing through here very earlier this morning. And, the very worst effects that I might mention was that I was also caused to lose my electric, telephone, and inter-net service for about 15 hours whilst the temperature continued to rapidly plunge to below freezing outside. Last night and this morning I sure had many occasions to be reminded just how rapidly my continuing life could be made quite impossible here without precisely those sorts of technological aids. If the whole grid were to go completely down for good in either the dead of winter, or during a very hot spell, then I can easily imagine that I would be either dead or dying within only about 3 days. Here, amidst the most urbanized areas of the world we are all just hanging on by but the very slimmest of threads in respect to our continuing survival. And, there doesn’t seem to be a hell of a lot that we might actually do about it.

  • @ Belle Islander

    I remembered that last paragraph of yours when I read this :

    To detechnologise and deurbanise the human species and return to its mythological and romanticised agrarian roots, it would be necessary for the vast majority of the human species to die in a very short period of time. Ironically enough, this may well be exactly what comes to pass if we cannot solve the existential crises which solutionism and hairshirt primitivism alike both claim to and fail to address. Over-optimised and hyper-cybernetic systems running at capacity are prone to sudden phase changes and cascading chain-reaction failures; if solutionism simply kicks that can a bit further down the road, then primitivism chooses to pretend it never drank anything that came from a can. Both positions suffer from the same terminal lack of reflexivity that eats like a cancer at the heart of contemporary political discourse: a desperate denialist refusal to consider the wider context from which these problems have emerged.

  • @ ulvfugl – Yes, in respect to the link to Paul Graham’s thoughtful ‘The Good Life Is a Fiction’ article that you had provided above; the plain land, without access to other readily convertible energy sources, would nowadays probably only be able to sustain only about 1 to 2% or less of the current USA population when you factor in how much of that land has already been irreparably ruined. And, one can highly doubt that many would be actually wanting or able to actually work that very hard for their possible sustenance. Being 60 years old and undoubtedly spoiled by a whole life-time of relative ease, I would have absolutely no interest at all in wanting to try to return to such a very primitive lifestyle. Especially, if such a reversal is also going to be regularly accompanied by 120 F or more degree days is the shade. Certainly, as I think about it, that scenario sounds precisely like the sort of coming living hell that I would at all costs much rather prefer to avoid right at the very beginning of its causation.

  • ulvfugl – Excuse me if I am troubling you again, but have I have of late been wondering if the types of metallic-particles used in often occurring chem-trail spraying around the world might also be serving to bring amounts of sky-bourne radiation down to ground level? In your surely very extensive studies have you ever read anything that might confirm that thesis?

  • @ Belle Islander

    Sorry, I can’t help much. I read the original Ed Teller proposal from years ago, and was appalled by the hubris. I only know that I don’t ever believe anything the US Gvt or DOD or Pentagon or any other official channel says about anything, and I have no doubt that there is nothing so evil or insane that they wouldn’t be willing to dabble in it.

    I’ve watched about 10 longish videos on chemtrail stuff. I think they are spraying stuff, but what they are spraying and why they are spraying, I don’t know. Some of the ‘conspiracy’ ideas just don’t make any sense at all to me, and I just leave it as an open question. It sort of made sense to me that ‘they’ wanted a reflective layer high in the atmosphere that they could use to bounce some sort of long distance radar off to get hi def 3D imagery for warfare, whatever… maybe. But i’m into so many different things, I don’t have spare brain to devote to keeping up… same goes for HAARP and aliens and a whole heap of other crazy stuff that people tell me about and ask me about.

    Some people are absolutely convinced, I know that. No offence to them, but I really don’t know.

  • @ Belle Islander
    Apologies for the gender confusion. People have done the same thing with me. But in my case it was from my writing, not my name. In some ways I may have broken through my own gender bias. At any rate, my advice is to stay as objective as you can, and try to avoid getting caught up in the pseudo-science rumor mill. Plenty of real issues to think about, even though they are far more complex, less entertaining, neglected by commercial media, and much much scarier. This isn’t a horror film that you walk away from with a sense of relief, this is a horror.

  • NBL-1119132300

    ulvfugl – You finished off by saying QUOTE: …desperate denialists refusal to consider the wider context from which these problems have emerged.

    ulvfugl, you are a very intelligently gifted person who has probably always been able to easily intellectually grasp the concept that the world is a but an ultimately finite place. But, suppose a goodly portion of presently living people are simply lacking in the basic intellectual capacity as might subsequently allow them to mentally conceive of their however imagined world as ultimately finite? Sure, you are always saying that many people seemingly cannot conceive of the science of climate-change. But, maybe the problem goes very much deeper than that in respect to some maybe whole subspecies of still caveman-like human-beings who are somehow always going to be left fundamentally unable to actually intellectually behold the world as a ultimately finite place. Surely, as we probably both know, the concept of science is still a rather new invention in respect to the overall history of man. And, that before institution of what we might nowadays call science any studies having to do with the mechanical operations of the cosmos would have be termed either far less intellectually stringent metaphysics or natural philosophy . Indeed, it seems quite apparent to me that the actual development of what we would nowadays called the sciences had to await the only very much later discovered concept that the whole of our might only be best intellectually conceived as an ultimately finite sort of place.

    Plainly, only ultimate finite sorts of things might ever be imagined – little alone then be possibly scientifically measured – amidst our kinds of potentially-thinking minds. Sure, both you and I have probably become well accustomed to the idea that what’s often been called the scientific-revolution is by now generally speaking maybe about 500 or so years old. But, couldn’t we both be presently left feeling completely flabbergasted by the idea that all of the intellectual tools that were subsequently made available to us by way of science, can still not apparently take hold amidst the minds of so very many others because of some kind of seemingly chronic inability on their part to intellectually behold the world as ultimately finite entity? Implying, that perhaps most present day instances of so-called denial-ism should maybe not be regarded as actually fixable in as much each person is going to be either born with a seemingly innate capacity to possibly view the world as a ultimately finite place – or they are not. And, there is simply nothing that we might subsequently do which can actually fix that! What’s your take? Or, am I just spinning my wheels here?

    @ logspirit – Good to hear from you again! You seem to have been unusually quiet of late. I thought of maybe changing my screen name to Mister Belle Islander but that decision is still up in the air. And, speaking of air, I do not think it’s pseudo-science to imagine that heavier metallic salts which are seeded into an otherwise radio-active atmosphere might also have some kind of magnetic effect upon at least some the otherwise radioactive elements as might also be found amidst that air. I wasn’t necessarily thinking in terms of some kind of conspiracy but only in terms of whether it was scientifically possible that such an effect could happen. Still, how can anyone not be inclined to question the real nature of what is actually going on when one sometimes sees up to a dozen such planes crisscrossing the skies at once?

  • @ Belle Islander

    Those were not my words, those were from that link.

    My personal take goes something like this. We have two brain hemispheres, which are more or less incompatible. Google Iain McGilchrist.

    So, some people are weighted more towards their left hemisphere (this is not literally true, it’s just shorthand to get the idea across) and some towards their right hemisphere.

    Left brain folk are into science and facts and hard certainty, literal truths.

    Right brain folk are into art and dreams and intuition, poetic truths.

    These two kinds of people are both totally convinced that their own way of knowing the world is correct. And they are both right, because that’s how it is for them, and they cannot understand how the other bunch of folk can’t understand.

    These two ways of knowing correlate with a division that’s been known since ancient Greece, mythos and logos. Right brain favours mythos, left brain favours logos.

    Once you get this, everything falls into place and starts to make sense.

    So, what I have done, what anyone can do, if they really wanted, is to integrate both hemispheres, so that they stop fighting and start working together. Because it’s not an ‘either/or’, it’s a ‘both’.

    Then you have moved up to a higher level of operating, so to speak.

    I think of this in taoist terminology, but that’s just for my personal convenience, and there’s plenty of other terminologies that are just as satisfactory. So I call it wu wei.

    So the way I see this :

    We are story-telling animals. We tell each other, and ourselves, stories, all the time. Our brains are story machines.

    So a left brain story goes like this :

    One plus one equals two. That’s a literal truth. Logos. Logic.

    And a right brain story goes like this :

    Once upon a time… That’s a poetic truth. Mythos. Myth.

    For wu wei, or if you like, tai chi, the Supreme Ultimate, or the many equivalent terms from other wisdom traditions, you rise up above the stories, and the mind is silent.

  • In a effort to finish what I had started…

    “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it. But when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind. It may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science,”

    – Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1824 – 1907

    I seemed to have suffered from a lot of muddled thoughts yesterday. But, this morning I unexpectedly found the above quote posted on another site and perhaps it has helped me to get back on track. Yet, what the quote neglects to say is that is only after that ‘it’ is perceived as an ultimately entity can you then attempt to comprehensively measure it. Thus, it was only after the total surface of the globe was intellectually deemed to be ultimately finite could such mathematically inspired techniques such as assigning it 360 possible degrees of both longitude and latitude be utilized so as to far more comprehensively study it. Thus, my contention, that unless people are first of all prepared to recognize that the world might only involve but an x number of trees that might be safely cut down, or but x barrels of oil that might be reasonably extracted from the ground, or but x gallons of drinkable water-resources, of but x cubic feet of potentially breathable air, or but x inches of precious top-soil, or but x tons of food resources as might be responsibly be taken from the sea; then absolutely no thinking involving science can subsequently be processed amidst those persons heads. Sure, all of the tools of science should have long ago served to warn mankind of its pending doom. Unfortunately, the analytical tools of sciences, and the idea to we might only dwell amidst a but ultimately-finite planetary-world, has seemingly never had any occasion to really that root amidst the minds of most persons presently living today. And, even now, any idea that their wholly imagined world might really involve any kind of ultimate end – must surely be seen as being in every way completely contrary to their already very long established systems of beliefs and will undoubtedly continue to be rejected by the masses right up to the very end. Which is unfortunately just another way of saying that probably no amounts of supposed science – as might have been wielded by the few – could have ever had even the slightest chance of ever turning the runaway train of seemingly inevitable global climate-collapse around. None.

    So, perhaps the best way of distinguishing a possibly reasonable thinking person from someone who might almost immediately be written off as a likely troll, is to simply ask them if they believe in the actual founding principle of all the worldly sciences? And, most of all do they really believe that they might be living amidst a but ultimately finite world? And, if not then you should probably not waste your breath trying to subsequently convince them of anything at all!

    P/S – I’ve noticed that the site is down and I have been wondering if it has again fallen victim to another attack.

  • @ Belle Islander

    Logos, left brain, gives us science, which is that which can be measured, which is wonderful, because it means we can get precision, and we can get accuracy, and we can get a grip on our knowing the material world around us which was impossible without the rigorous methodology which the scientific discipline brought.

    Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Leibniz, Newton, all those people. Or if you like go back to Aristotle and Euclid all that lot.

    It may also have been the greatest disaster, in some ways. But it happened, and here we are.

    But the people who insist that science is the be all and end all, and oppose all other ways of knowing, well, that’s an ideology, called scientism, and I find that unacceptable.

    That’s because we are human beings and most of the stuff that makes our lives worthwhile, love, beauty, compassion, liberty, etc, all that is mythos, right brain, and cannot be measured.

    So we have to have both. We cannot help having both. The whole ‘battle’ is totally unnecessary and absurd.

    It’s like having a fight over whether left legs are better than right legs or vice versa. Many humans can be very petty and stupid and so they do get involved in very stupid arguments.