Citizen Action Monitor

Individual humans may not be evil, but our actions en masse can have evil outcomes – Nate Hagens (36)

Given different cultural and environmental cues, our reduced consumption will be good for the planet.

No 2318 Posted by fw, June 27, 2018

To access links to all other posts in this series, click on the Tab titled “Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens” in the top left margin.

“Humans are not evil … However, at 8 billion strong, pursuing surplus correlated with finite source and sink capacity, our actions have ‘evil outcomes’. It is important to not conflate our collective impact with who we are as individual life forms. What is happening is no one’s fault, but we are all complicit.”Resilience.org 

In this post, Pt. 36, continuum 35, the final post in the “Our Culture” category, Dr. Hagens asserts that humans are not evil, even though our actions en masse can result in evil environmental outcomes, a by-product of endless global economic growth. Given different cultural and environmental cues, we could be almost as happy, just as productive, and enjoy meaningful lives by using less stuff and having less environmental damage.

Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 36, continuum 35, runs from 46:51 to 47:39.

Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by Resilience.org, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.

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Where are we going? by Nate Hagens, Resilience.org, May 8, 2018

TRANSCRIPT (from 46:51 to 47:39)

[OUR CULTURE] –

46:51[Continuum 35: Good vs Evil] – Humans are not evil. Some of my students, when they first learn about the environmental impacts that we’re having, they’re like – “Humans are just evil.” No we’re not. We wake up every day and we try to get the same neurotransmitters that our ancestors got. And, collectively, 7½ billion strong, we are having an adverse impact on the oceans. The ocean, I forgot to say, has lost 2% of its oxygen since 1970.

47:17 – We don’t want that to happen. It’s a by-product of this global growth system. I think this is really good news because, given different cultural and environmental cues, we’re going to be almost as happy and just as productive and [have just as] meaningful lives using less stuff and having less environmental damage.

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[Resilience.org Supplement]Good vs Evil – Humans are not evil, not any more than wolves or wildebeest. However, at 8 billion strong, pursuing surplus correlated with finite source and sink capacity, our actions have ‘evil outcomes’. It is important to not conflate our collective impact with who we are as individual life forms. What is happening is no one’s fault, but we are all complicit.

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About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.

Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.

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