Don't believe the hype
Death is a scary thing and most of us don’t want it.
We dislike it so much that we added science and technology to the list on “Saviors against death”, where religions have occupied the top places for a long time.
Technology has been given magical power and through it we hoped to turn earth into a garden of Eden. However earth can never be the garden of Eden and human beings cannot be angels. Both earth and we human beings have limits.
Earth is finite and we are dissipative structures, consuming resources and leaving waste to survive. The economy, made up by us human, is in the same way a dissipative structure, something that we have seen was forgotten by many of us and still is, as many humans look for technology to help us from something that humans and technology has caused.
Our belief in technologies magical power are touted for example to able solve our emissions of carbon dioxide but since it hasn’t the magical power to do away with our own or our economy’s physical structure it can never be the solution to our current environmental problems including the climate crises.
The carbon dioxide emissions are released when we and our economy consume resources and looking at our economy and at evidence at hand technology hasn’t really helped in bringing down our resource use, quite the opposite, as the curve bends upwards. To say the least a worrying trend for the technical optimists and the human kind inhabiting a finite earth where it is impossible to create energy and nearly impossible to create matter.
A shift in value of the idea of technology is needed. It is not magical. Technology is built on an unequal exchange of potential energy (exergy) concealed by the idea of money and prices. This inequality can be seen looking at a map of the world at night. Where it is lit is where resources ended up and where it is dark is where it was taken from.
Besides being built on a unequal foundation as much as there is to applaud human invention and its manifestation in technology, there are really as much to boo. The combustion engine helped us create travel faster and further than before and building bigger and faster but it also emptied our resources and filled our carbon dioxide sinks faster.
So how can we understand how to use technology?
First of all be careful, it might be a devil in disguise, and secondly change the goal for technology. Don’t let the goal be the creative destruction helping our economic system to grow but use it to reach our goal to flourish within limits. Here technology can for example help us being more efficient in our use of resources, mindful of the rebound effect, it can free us from Keynes economic problem and it can maybe find what Georgescu-Roegen called a Promethean recipe, a way to make renewable energy make more renewable energy!
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