Citizen Action Monitor

Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens ~ Links to All 45 Posts ~

Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens  ~ Links to All Posts ~

Below are links to my transcriptions of all 45 posts of Dr. Nate Hagens’ video-recorded talk at Kansas Wesleyan University on April 23, 2018. The talk was 60-minutes, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session.

The links are arranged in chronological order, from the opening Introduction, through each of his 43 short continuums to Hagens’ Conclusion — 45 parts in all. The continuums are grouped under 5 categories, in this order: The Economy; Human Behavior; The Environment; Our Culture; and Individual. 

To access the post of interest, just scroll down the list and click on the linked title to read the chronologically-indexed transcript and access the complete, embedded video.


Introduction — Everything’s going wild, people don’t agree on what to do, are not highly motivated to act – Nate Hagens (1/) : Hagens is going to tell us a story, a story that is complex, threatening, scary, abstract, and in the future. No 2225 Posted by fw, May 30, 2018



1/ Energy vs Everything ElseMost people don’t know that EVERY societal good and service requires an energy input – Nate Hagens (2) :   Think about it — Every good/service produced, packaged, acquired, consumed, by every person on the planet, requires energy. No 2226 Posted by fw, May 31, 2018

2/ Stocks vs FlowsThink about it — No natural resource energy stocks are renewable on human time scales – Nate Hagens (3) : But we consume these geologic stocks like they are inexhaustible energy flows such as rivers, rain, sunlight, wind. No 2227 Posted by fw, June 1, 2018

3/ Stocks vs AbstractionsRepresentations of what we think we own, including money, are created from thin air – Nate Hagens (4) : What we really own is rooted in this one-time pulse of highly concentrated ores and energies. No 2287 Posted by fw, June 2, 2018

4/ Gross vs NetRecent trends show more net energy being used to find/extract from gross energy stocks – Nate Hagens (5) : The impact will be higher costs, lower benefits, tougher choices for people and economies. No 2288 Posted by fw, June 3, 2018

5/ Joules vs Work — “We can’t go to 100% renewable energy and live like we do now.” – Nate Hagens (6) : The ability of a technology to provide ‘joules’ is different than its ability to contribute to ‘work’ for society. No 2289 Posted by fw, June 4, 2018

6/ Economy vs Economics — Fossil fuels, NOT economic theories, caused the past 150-years of rapid economic growth – Nate Hagens (7) : We’re beginning to see that the theories don’t offer much predictive reliability for a coming global economy. No 2290 Posted by fw, June 5, 2018


7/ Human vs Animal — Humans are part of the animal kingdom, of the mammal and ape lineage – Nate Hagens (8)  : Our behavioral repertoire is amazing, yet still constrained and informed by our animal heritage. No 2291 Posted by fw, June 6, 2018

8/ Proximate vs Ultimate — We routinely seek experiences that trigger the same feelings our successful ancestors had – Nate Hagens (9) : There are proximate or ‘surface’ explanations for our behavior, but there are also ‘ultimate’ explanations based on our ancestral past. No 2292 Posted by fw, June 7, 2018

9/ Beliefs vs Facts — Our beliefs are so powerful that we cling to them even in the face of undeniable facts – Nate Hagens (10) : “We evolved to be wrong. And we have a lot of blind spots about our physical world.” No 2293 Posted by fw, June 8, 2018

10/ Now vs Future — As biological creatures with finite lifespans, we care more about Now than the Future – Nate Hagens (11) : That’s a problem because most of our societal, cultural, environmental challenges are in the Future. No 2294 Posted by fw, June 9, 2018

11/ Supernormal vs Normal — How “supernormal stimuli” can cause today’s chronic problems, such as obesity and war – Nate Hagens (12) : Once-helpful, “normal” urges are being hijacked by today’s alluring temptations, from candy to porn to lethal weapons. No 2295 Posted by fw, June 10, 2018

12/ Relative vs Absolute — Once our absolute basic needs are met, we start to compare ourselves relative to others — Nate Hagens (13) : And in a culture that values income, status, and ranking, comparisons of relative success can create problems. No 2296 Posted by fw, June 11, 2018

13/ Wants vs Haves — Brain chemical makes feeling of wanting a thing much stronger than having it — Nate Hagens (14) : Anticipation of reward increases level of dopamine-driving desire, but with possession, dopamine level declines. No 2297 Posted by fw, June 12, 2018

14/ Wants vs Needs — Once our basic needs are met, wanting more things will not increase our life satisfaction — Nate Hagens (15) : Forget “shop ‘til-you-drop” — It really is the simple things in life that sustain our ongoing feelings of contentment and wellbeing. No 2298 Posted by fw, June 13, 2018

15/ Me vs Us — We really care about ourselves first, then our in-groups, and “them” least of all — Nate Hagens (16) : Me vs Us, Us vs Them — Name your global crisis, we’re already witnessing human behaviour at its most selfish. No 2299 Posted by fw, June 13, 2018

16/ Genes vs Culture — Genes vs Culture — There is strong evidence for a genetic component in human behavior – Nate Hagens (17) : A big hope for this century is our culture will move towards something more sane, more rational, more humane. No 2300 Posted by fw, June 14, 2018


17/ Internal vs External — Our current market system puts no price on harmful external socio-ecological impacts – Nate Hagens (18) : Trade-off — There’s a case to be made for pricing ecological externalities — but we’d be poorer, work harder, be less comfortable. No 2301 Posted by fw, June 14, 2018

18/ Treasure vs Riches — In our quest for ‘treasure’, our capitalist economy has plundered Earth’s ‘riches’ – Nate Hagens (19) : Only when converted into ‘treasure’ are ‘riches’ said to have ‘value’, and governments plan to continue the plunder. No 2302 Posted by fw, June 15, 2018

19/ Civilization vs Community — Human civilization has neglected our fellow animals of Earth’s wildlife community – Nate Hagens (20) : We simply don’t see the impact on them of the rapid, explosive expansion of human civilization. No 2303 Posted by fw, June 16, 2018

20/ Seen vs Unseen — Our industrial enterprise causes unseen, micro-level, socio-enviro impacts – Nate Hagens (21) : We focus on the seen  but the unseen currently tells a worrying story. No 2304 Posted by fw, June 17, 2018


21/ Game vs Plan — “Governments and institutions do whatever they can to keep access to energy growing” – Nate Hagens (22) : No institution, no government worldwide is planning for less than 2% growth in the next 50 years. Growth is the plan, the game is the plan. No 2305 Posted by fw, June 18, 2018

22/ Narrow vs Wide — Our culture asks very narrow-boundary questions when challenges are wide-boundary — Nate Hagens (23) : Our culture fails to recognize that even local, narrow-boundary concerns may be related if not rooted in serious wide-boundary issues. No 2306 Posted by fw, June 19, 2018

23/ Finance vs Ecology — Rules from finance and economics constrained 20th century aspirations – Nate Hagens (24) : Look for rules from natural sciences and ecology to play a more prominent role in this century. No 2307 Posted by fw, June 19, 2018

24/ Unlimited vs Limits — Is it time to put limits on what CEOs earn vs what lowest paid employees get? – Nate Hagens (25) : A lot of people see that with unlimited growth, things aren’t working as they used to and they’re upset. No 2308 Posted by fw, June 20, 2018

25/ Dollars vs Humanity — Today’s American culture translates what people once cared about into dollars – Nate Hagens (26) : “Our culture has a serious problem,” says Hagens, “we’ve lost some of our humanity.” No 2309 Posted by fw, June 21, 2018

26/ War vs Peace — Humans keep fighting wars to resolve conflicts – War vs Peace must be on our agenda – Nate Hagens (27) : How can the US justify more military spending, when, in a peaceful world, it could be so much more wisely spent? No 2310 Posted by fw, June 22, 2018

27/ Population vs Consumption — Global population die-off, is not the issue; consuming less on a finite planet is – Nate Hagens (28) : “The developed world, including the United States, is going to have to use less, whether we choose to or not.” No 2311 Posted by fw, June 22, 2018

28/ Intelligence vs Wisdom — American culture is far too focused on intelligence and cleverness and not wisdom – Nate Hagens (29) : We reward expertise in brainy problem-solving, but neglect the benefit of intelligence and wisdom working synergistically. No 2312 Posted by fw, June 23, 2018

29/ Trivia vs Relevance — Our Education system is becoming less relevant for the future we are facing – Nate Hagens (30) : Less specialization and more systemic understanding should be the order of the day. No 2313 Posted by fw, June 24, 2018

30/ Popular vs Realistic — A full and honest accounting of the severity of our predicament will never be popular — Nate Hagens (31) : We would much rather be entertained with fantasy stories, promised technological quick fixes, or misled by fake news of contrived solutions. No 2314 Posted by fw, June 25, 2018

31/ Should vs Will — Formidable cultural, behavioral and systemic barriers are preventing CO2 reductions – Nate Hagens (32) : A lot of things that activists say “We should do” are not grounded in the reality of individual and group behavior. No 2315 Posted by fw, June 25, 2018

32/ Left vs Right — Left vs Right waste time and energy in angry disputes over what they disagree on – Nate Hagens (33) : Will we one day soon appreciate, and hopefully engage with, the issues that most of us agree on? No 2316 Posted by fw, June 26, 2018

33/ Economy vs Environment — What’s good for the environment is likely to be bad for the economy – Nate Hagens (34) : Conversely, what’s good for the economy is likely to be bad for the environment. No 2317 Posted by fw, June 26, 2018

34/ Rights vs Right — Our documented ‘rights’ may no longer reflect what is ‘right’ – Nate Hagens (35) : “The continuum between rights and right – what is right – is open for discussion,” says Hagens. No 2317 Posted by fw, June 27, 2018

35/ Good vs Evil — 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


36/ Certainty vs Probability — Hagens says initial reaction to his narrative is either ‘denialism’ or ‘nihilism’ – Nate Hagens (37) : Both extremes have one thing in common – They obviate the need for individuals to act responsibly. No 2319 Posted by fw, June 28, 2018

37/ Less vs More — We are headed for a world of less, whether we choose it or not — Nate Hagens (38) : We don’t really want more, we just want more than our next-door neighbor. No 2320 Posted by fw, June 29, 2018

38/ Thinking vs Doing — We spend too much time thinking about doing, and not enough time doing – Nate Hagens (39) : As we cut our reliance on fossil fuels, we’ll have less time to waste, more time to sharpen up our physical skills. No 2321 Posted by fw, June 29, 2018

39/ Consumption vs Meaning — Addictive consumption has not brought happy, fulfilling lives for most Americans– Nate Hagens (40) : What’s missing from this smorgasbord of stuff is a feeling of community and a true sense of purpose. No 2322 Posted by fw, June 30, 2018

40/ Self vs Community — A common response to a story like Hagens’ is: “I better look out for myself” – Nate Hagens (41) : A caring response would be: “What can I do to make my community better, stronger, more resilient?” No 2323 Posted by fw, June 30, 2018

41/ Crazy vs Sane — If worrying about climate change, resource depletion, species extinction is crazy… – Nate Hagens (42) :… then we have temporarily confused crazy and sane, and we need a lot more crazy. No 2324 Posted by fw, July 1, 2018

42/ Hope vs Despair — 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

43/ Grief vs Joy — A little bit of grief can motivate you to take action, but be sure to take a joy break and play – Nate Hagens (44) : It’s when people don’t care that we’re really in trouble. No 2326 Posted by fw, July 2, 2018



We are the first generation of our species to know the answers to Gauguin’s three questions – Nate Hagens (45) : We know what we’re doing; what drives us; difference between wants and needs; our environmental impact; and that we don’t need all this stuff to be happy. No 2327 Posted by fw, July 2, 2018

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