Citizen Action Monitor

Hope or despair? – Your reaction to what’s coming depends on your starting viewpoint – Nate Hagens (43)

For those just learning about coming existential threats, feelings of despair are likely but can be tempered by much to be hopeful about.

No 2325 Posted by fw, July 2, 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.

Nate Hagens

“If you think that 100 years from now, or in the year 2100, there will be 15 billion humans, all of them with flying cars, living like people in New York City, [and] we’ve used technology to solve climate change, we’ve resurrected the passenger pigeon and lots of other species, this story is going to be horribly depressing. If you think by the year 2100 we’re going to have 5 or 6 billion people living like Costa Ricans, [and] we’ve got 4,200 of the 5,500 mammal species still left, we’ve managed to keep climate to 1.8 degrees Celsius – that future and many others like it are still on the table.”Nate Hagens

In yesterday’s post, Pt. 42, continuum 41, the editor of Resilience.org suggested that Americans are so often seduced and misinformed by simple stories, that those warning about coming crises are likely to be dismissed as crazy. But to be warned of coming environmental catastrophes may, in fact, be the only path to sanity.

In today’s post, Pt. 43, continuum 42, Dr. Hagens believes that how you react to narratives like his – about coming environmental threats – will likely be shaped by how long you’ve been thinking about these things. If this story is new, then feelings of despair are to be expected. If you’ve been thinking about these issues for some time, you may have already found many signs of hope.

Those with a Buddhist temperament, who live in the moment, will accept whatever transpires with no expectations or attachment to outcomes. Which doesn’t mean they won’t do their utmost to bring about change.

Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 43, continuum 42, runs from 54:35 to 55:38.

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 54:35 to 55:38)

[THE INDIVIDUAL] –

54:35[Continuum 42: Hope vs Despair] When you hear a story like this, it depends on your priors [outlook]. My friend, Wes Jackson has been thinking of this stuff his whole life. To him, none of this is surprising or necessarily depressing. If you think that 100 years from now, or in the year 2100, there will be 15 billion humans, all of them with flying cars, living like people in New York City, [and] we’ve used technology to solve climate change, we’ve resurrected the passenger pigeon and lots of other species, this story is going to be horribly depressing.

55:15 – If you think by the year 2100 we’re going to have 5 or 6 billion people living like Costa Ricans, [and] we’ve got 4,200 of the 5,500 mammal species still left, we’ve managed to keep climate to 1.8 degrees Celsius, – that future and many others like it are still on the table. So the hope versus despair depends on your starting viewpoint.

[Resilience.org Supplement] — Hope vs Despair – Whether one feels hope or despair depends on one’s prior outlook.  If you expect 12 billion people living like the average American in the year 2100, with flying cars and all climate and ocean issues solved via tech fixes, then the future painted here might look on the dark side. If instead you envision 5-6 billion humans, living a low-tech society with renewable systems, we’ve only lost 1,000 of our remaining 5,500 mammalian species, climate has stabilized under 2C, and we’ve avoided nuclear wars, then there is a great deal to be hopeful about as that future and many like it are still on the table.

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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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