No 2321 Posted by fw, June 29, 2018
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“We have become accustomed to large wastes of time. We spend considerable time pondering esoteric theories or distracted by gadgets without learning or understanding physical skills. As our fossil slaves cease to be woken, we will increasingly have to resubstitute human labor for carbon – and it would behoove each of us to learn a physical skill. Or three.” —Resilience.org
In the previous post, Pt. 38, continuum 37, Dr. Hagens claimed that, for most of us – excluding the poor — having less – as long as everyone else had less – would actually be healthy and a good thing. Less, in this case, means less physical stuff; it doesn’t mean less of the things that really matter in our lives.
In this post, Pt. 39, continuum 38, Hagens makes the case that fossil slaves have freed up a lot of time for people in developed regions to waste. In the process, we have lost essential physical skills from a bygone era. However, given the world we’re heading towards, our very survival may depend on relearning those skills.
Unfortunately, neither Hagens nor Resilience.org provide examples of the physical skills humans would have to resubstitute for carbon “as our fossil slaves cease to be woken”. Consequently, I struggled with my interpretation of both Hagens and Resilience’s comments on Thinking versus Doing, which led me to take the liberty of using contextual clues to create a meaning that made sense to me.
Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 39, continuum 38, runs from 50:47 to 52:06.
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.
TRANSCRIPT (from 50:47 to 52:06)
[THE INDIVIDUAL] –
50:47 — [Continuum 38: Thinking vs Doing] Thinking versus Doing. This gets at the question of words, and thinking in your head, and reading books and not actually doing something. I’ve been thinking about this presentation for the last 10 days. My girlfriend: “Honey, remember, we have 15 roosters that you need to kill.” “Okay, yes, I’ll get to it.” Meanwhile, I was working on this presentation and other things.
51:16 – The point of the story is – Three days ago she trapped 3 of the roosters in the chicken coup and “Go out and kill them.” Okay. So, I went out there and I got dive-bombed. One of them hit me in the face. I still have a little bloody thing here [on my face]. The other two flew out and as I was walking back calling my mother-in-law to ask her “What the heck do I do about these chickens,” my girlfriend trotted out this little pellet gun-sight [a cardboard box] with a chicken [drawn] on it so I could sight [the bird] in my pellet gun.
51:42 — The point is that I spend a lot of my time thinking about doing better things in the future, and I’ve lost basic skills of how to live on a farm. And this is a microcosm for what the world we’re heads towards [will be like]. We need to think. We need to think about these things, and then we need to do. You need to have physical skills on all sorts of things in your life.
[Resilience.org Supplement] — Thinking vs Doing – In a world of inexpensive do-overs, we have become accustomed to large wastes of time. We spend considerable time pondering esoteric theories or distracted by gadgets without learning or understanding physical skills. As our fossil slaves cease to be woken, we will increasingly have to resubstitute human labor for carbon – and it would behoove each of us to learn a physical skill. Or three.
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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