on ignorance, real and chosen

There are two types of ignorance. The real one, where the processor has a few less wires than average, and the other one, where the processor is just fine, but chooses not to be informed. The law doesn’t see that one as an excuse, and neither do I. When folk choose to defend their way of life – even if their choice disallows others  to have the same right – you have to question why. Denial, delusion, straight-out selfishness, you’d think….  The more likely one is ‘cognitive dissonance’.

I have been thinking about it this last week – watching the media miss the point, and as I stumbled on another local wordpress site. The person who runs it is probably thinks of themselves as an honest, well-meaning, upright citizen. Except that if their way of life goes on chewing into finite resources for much longer, my kids won’t see out their natural spans. That means that I don’t quite see people like that in the same way they do. In this instance, I smell a time-warp, in that it reminds me of a book my mum or my aunt would have gotten, perhaps as a prize from East Otago High, back in the ‘fifties. It was called ‘Sun at Noon’, by one Jean O’hill, and it hasn’t come to mind since I read it at Grannies in the old Waikouaiti schoolhouse, in the mid ‘sixties. Nobody then knew any different. Now we do. Below is the other side of the argument, from folk who have thought their way down the logic-path, and worked out where it all ends….

I don’t understand the evangelical zeal with which many seem to want to spread the gospel of peak oil. Resource depletion is real, it follows a skewed distribution similar to what Hubbert described, and it’s implications for human society and for the biosphere are profound. But why the urgency to convert the skeptic to this reality? The reality of the situation can’t be change. Forwarned or blindsided, the outcome is the same. Population collapse is inevitable. If people want to wallow in denial, or are just too plain stupid to see the obvious, why is it anyone else’s business to attempt to convince them? Why not hold on to whatever competitive advantage awareness may convey over unawareness?

That off  ‘ the oil drum’  tonight.

And the writer may have a point. Maybe I’m wasting my time trying to forewarn those who don’t want to know. It’s just that if they are clever enough to be literate, and confident enough to offer opinions, they have no excuse for being uninformed. Which, as we said at the beginning, is being ignorant.

Watching these people, is like watching the stateroom-clingers on the Titanic – “this can’t be happening, I’ll just go back into the warm……..”   For those who think economic, population and consumption growth can continue unabated on a finite planet, show me one species, one algal bloom, which continued a process of exponential multiplication. Just one.

We only had one stored-energy chance at this, and if we don’t get to a sustainable population and a sustainable resource-use rate, before we slide very far down the backside of the Hubbert Curve, we’re done. There isn’t another store to kick-start another crack at civilisation. This is it. When will these folk realise that their way of life is a temporary one that has just lasted 200, really only 100, years. If the life of the planet was a year, mankind only arrived on the scene at 1/4 to 12 on new year’s eve. Our way of consumption would represent seconds only. With only seconds left until over-population and per-head demand, trash what’s left.

Me, I’m just that way inclined. I’ll keep trying to educate, even though we are really too late…..


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