apocalyptic techno-optimism

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
vexed87
Posts: 1493
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by vexed87 »

@Kipling,
Leopold Khor wrote:Wherever something is wrong, something is too big.
This aptly applies to most systems where sustainability is a major concern.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... opold-kohr

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1457
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

vexed87 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:04 am
Have you read The Breakdown of Nations and would you recommend it?

vexed87
Posts: 1493
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by vexed87 »

Yes, its an entertaining read.

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 4898
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Ego »

Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.
Riggerjack wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:45 am
This reminds me of the sort of thing Ego would have said. It's a nice thought, not even remotely accurate, but nice.
New from Douglas Rushkoff
https://onezero.medium.com/the-privileg ... 06b4893af7
It sounds idyllic. So much so that I can’t help but wonder if the threat of infection is less the reason for his newfound embrace of virtual insulation than it is the excuse.
---
For there’s the real rub with digital isolation — the problem those billionaires identified when we were gaming out their bunker strategies. The people and things we’d be leaving behind are still out there. And the more we ask them to service our bubbles, the more oppressed and angry they’re going to get.

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1457
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

Rushkoff was on Rebel Wisdom a few months back.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=80PSGLonjUs

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by ZAFCorrection »

The funny thing about the Rushkoff articles is the billionaires have pretty much the same attitude/focus as the people here, give or take a few shock collars. The strict rules and criteria for people one is willing to associate with and the contexts when it can occur also seem to be of a piece. Not sure why this trend is occurring or if it does represent something new.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

I think we need to draw some Venn diagrams because I'd like to think that "billionaires" is just a distraction insofar that there are also normal (interquartile-income) people spending their last (marginal) dollars "building bunkers" (prepping) instead of spending them on airline tickets to Disneyland whether literally or proverbially.

The moral conflict that emerges from these very different time priorities is just as real. There might be and I hope there's sympathy for those who knew better but didn't have the resources to prepare adequately, but what about those who had the resources and should have known better? Is it wise that society allows such a wide disparity of risk-tolerance if it can't stomach the consequences? How do we feel about the "under-insured"? Because that's essentially what this issue boils down to.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

The underinsured are everyone's problem though. Generally, the more prepared society or individuals in a society are, the better any individual preparations you and I make will work. In this way I feel empty shelves at the beginning of COVID was a good thing. Insofar as a few more people woke up to the possibility that our complex society can break. Even if that only leads to a small percentage of US households now keeping a month worth of food at home, and no other lifestyle change, this dramatically changes the landscape of future crisis. Not the end game mind you, but the more slack in the system, the better for transitions. If more frequent and severe crisis continue to cause more and more shifts into ERE-esque behaviors this is good, no?

On another note, @egos post again highlights the need for interdependence. Much like many other popular thoughts/books on the collapse subject. I wonder if the social isolation understanding collapse can sort-of cause, is actually something that thwarts the goal of making this transition less painful for ourselves. In this way individualistic ERE can really only do much good. I mean, in a forum of like minded people we still can't seem to get along well enough to form a group strategy of any kind, outside of each doing our own thing to be more independent of the economy and sharing ideas. I think this is maybe why Wheaton level 7+ discussions always turn towards group oriented activities. Because functional interdependence is really the next level of progress?

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

@cL - My conclusion from participating in another collapse-oriented forum is that "levels of progress" (the starting point and chosen direction) really depends on temperament. The majority there start by trying to organize a group believing that community is much more important than personal skills or preparation. We find fully formed groups with people who are yet to try to grow a tomato plant, give up flying or car-dependence, or reduce their personal footprint much believing that any kind of change is conditioned on community. These are typically "organizer"-types, so naturally they start by bringing people together.

This results in endless meetups where people sit around and talk about "what should be done". At the end of the meeting resolve is high and everybody agrees how productive the meeting was. At the next meeting, few or none have done anything on their own. And so it goes ... on and on.

Here on this forum we're more individualist-competence types who see self-reliance for its own sake as a virtue. Here community comes much later in the levels of progress. I've tried to argue that success requires these types to come together but w/o much traction in either place. What happens in practice is that the "competence"-focused individuals upon encountering a community-oriented group see a bunch of unprepared people who are more of a liability than an asset. Here the belief is that community must be founded on skills. Finding no such community, these individualists tend to overdo it in the sense that competence building goes way far out the S-curve instead of relying on someone else.

It's a chicken and egg problem. Interdependence can be both a source of strength but also a source of weakness. It results in weakness when members become more dependent than independent of each other. IOW when the net-dependence is positive and the net-independence is negative. Another way of saying that is that interdependence by itself solves nothing---it can even be a liability insofar people expect it to solve something. And this is also what I'm seeing.

I've tried explaining this as well but for most "if all you have is a hammer ...". The two factions just kinda give up on each other. As a result you have a bunch of overprepared individuals and a bunch of underprepared communities with the former kinda hiding from the latter because they know they can't support the whole group.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

@jacob
Thanks for your insight. I certainly see your point in the frustration with a group that talks a lot, but does very little. Obviously I see the massive benefits of ERE individually. I guess my main point was that the further we go down the individual road, the more (ie greater percentage of) people that will seem like a liability. So in a way, if interdependence of some kind is the best theoretical strategy, the further we go down the rabbit hole individually, the less possibility there is for us to at some point try to make interdependence practical. Everyone else just starts to look like a liability. I wonder if this is what you mean by the S-curve of individualistic competence?

Is there some percentage that would be optimal, generally? Like, is it better to have 1% of the population 90% prepared, but unwilling to work together, or 90% of the population 1% prepared and willing? I'm not sure where the individuals sweet spot in that would be... but doubt it's at either end of the extreme.

A side note on ERE generally. I find it fascinating how the "carrot" ended up being the "end goal" to so many in the modern FIRE movement. I've been trying to participate a bit in another, more mainstream, forum again and find the disconnect astounding. These are probably the same ideas that were my intro drug to ERE, but now I can't really even communicate ideas with these folks. IOW, I'm beginning to wonder how far to go on the S-curve. Outside of this forum, which again, has very few interdependence minded people, mostly shared independence minded people, I'm not really sure where to turn.

Alphaville
Posts: 1960
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

the “third way” between the aimless community and the self-directed individual is leadership, though. that’s the missing piece of the puzzle that brings both sides together.

that’s why i can’t be a libertarian: it posits an impractical utopia. desirable maybe on paper, but impracticable in real life (same as communism)

there are people who simply need to be told what to do and to be pointed in the right direction. depending on context/circumstance, that’s most of us at some point or another. and with certain people it’s everywhere, most of the time.

e.g. “we’re going to take 15% out of your paycheck so you don’t have to die of hunger in the streets.” “you need to drive with a seatbelt to help make our roads safer.” “the blue can is for trash and the green is for recycle.” “the mask is mandatory in public.” “these are the vaccines your child needs to attend school.”

the individualists resent this, because they think they know better, and some times they might know better, but their individual solution is not scalable to a social level. also, when the individualist miscalculates we get “freedumb.”

this is why we need good government, which yes, often comes along with bad government too, but we’re social animals and there’s no way out of that condition. the best we can hope for is compromise and consensus and evidence-based problem-solving. no solution will ever please everyone, but maybe it’s a solution after all.
Last edited by Alphaville on Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:57 pm
Is there some percentage that would be optimal, generally? Like, is it better to have 1% of the population 90% prepared, but unwilling to work together, or 90% of the population 1% prepared and willing? I'm not sure where the individuals sweet spot in that would be... but doubt it's at either end of the extreme.
Seeing as I went from "raising public awareness" to "individual solutions disguised as FI", I think 1% of the population being 90% prepared is the way to go. This is also called the lifeboat strategy and it's sort of the un-official/amateur/internet approach cf. the official/academic/organized approach which prefers 90% of the population to be 1% prepared. Baby steps :-P However, I think it is easier to organize unorganized people with skill when push comes to shove than to teach the unskilled no matter how organized they are. As a metaphor, consider the national soccer or Olympic teams in sports that allow professionals. These are highly skilled players who almost never play together. Yet, they will still beat organized teams of lower skilled players in exhibition matches.

From an individual perspective, an individually skilled person would be an asset to an unskilled group. Thus the skilled individual has optionality. The group does not. Obviously, it's optimal to do both, but this is substantially harder than doing one much more so than the other. This again is harder than doing neither which is what most do.

Add: An organized unskilled group can influence the system because of size. You can probably see some of the different dynamics in terms of labor politics. Highly skilled people rarely consider organizing (in the labor sense) because they don't have to. Conversely, when skills are absent or commodified, organization is often the only lever such a person holds. This is a precarious position to be in.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:57 pm
A side note on ERE generally. I find it fascinating how the "carrot" ended up being the "end goal" to so many in the modern FIRE movement. I've been trying to participate a bit in another, more mainstream, forum again and find the disconnect astounding. These are probably the same ideas that were my intro drug to ERE, but now I can't really even communicate ideas with these folks. IOW, I'm beginning to wonder how far to go on the S-curve. Outside of this forum, which again, has very few interdependence minded people, mostly shared independence minded people, I'm not really sure where to turn.
I think this just happened naturally as FIRE went mainstream. The more popular the movement became, the more the data points in terms of income, NW, age, requirements, and lifestyle moved towards the default values, e.g. 2x average income level, age 50+, $1-2M, consumerist average-to-above average. Basically this, which I've posted multiple times before: https://meaningness.com/geeks-mops-sociopaths FIRE as it is once again known is really no different than what was generally espoused on the early-retirement forum in the 2000s or profiled in Money Magazine in 2006. The "FIRE movement" as it currently is just the late stage of the current cycle.

The difficulty in communication is the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_knowledge ... unless you specialize as a teacher/connector/seller of early levels or stop your own learning, it will eventually become hard to relate to others who have no progressed similarly. This is why the optimal solution has representatives as all Wheaton levels so people can pass through w/o encountering gaps.

tonyedgecombe
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: Oxford, UK Walkscore: 3

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by tonyedgecombe »

@Jason That reminds me of my early consulting career. I'd get involved in a project and find that out of a team of ten or twenty the majority of the work was being done by one or two people. At the other extreme you might find one or two who actually had a negative impact on the project. The middle would spend their days inflicting PowerPoint presentations on each other or exercising their political/social skills but never really contributing. As someone who likes to get their hands dirty it was immensely frustrating.

No doubt they would look at me and deride my inept handling of social and political situations but that didn't get their systems built. I guess I did find a way to hide from them in my later career.

@cl I wonder if that was the MMM forums, I recall a discussion on there about which is the best value McLaren sports car :roll:

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

@alphaville
That's a good point. (The remainder is mostly thinking "out loud" towards a solution point, so i reserve the right to change my opinions.)

However, this is only so scalable, as we have seen in the past couple of hundred years. The concept of dunbar's number come to mind. You just can't make a million people with different backgrounds, upbringing, personal preferences, etc, work well together. You either have to enact programs to make the "the same" (culturally, economically, etc) or divide up the groups and treat them differently. The later will cause friction between groups, while the former destroys individual liberties to the point that it becomes unproductive and unadaptable.

I guess what I'm hoping for is less than a grand eutopia. I'd like to start with just having enough people with similar life strategies to work with, making the whole stronger than the individual parts.

If you an I were working together in a group we'd likely ideologically butt heads. However, I'm pretty sure we could still be friends and work together on a common goal or ideal. As a matter of fact, a "spirited debate" night once a month with you sounds like cheap entertainment to me :D, i'll make the hard cider.

The problem being, the further you progress away from me in skill and independence, the less likely it is you'd ever want to work with that dumbass c_L. Unless one is willing to be the teacher and the other the student. So I wonder if that's really the answer? Teacher and teachable. Both stand to gain and it can bring people of different ability together.

Edit:
Sorry, to many quick posts there. Edited to a new post for the conversation to flow better.
Last edited by classical_Liberal on Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

I very much see my activities here (w/ ERE) as a teacher--student activity. This is because I don't yet believe that there are sufficient "individual parts" in the world to even begin to put them together into stronger wholes. I've yet to find "the best words" for this. Sometimes I explain it as creating "ingredients" as the necessary part of baking a cake. I posit I don't know the shape of the cake nor the recipe ... hence the importance of adaptive/flexible ingredients ... hence the renaissance approach.

I tried establishing a group in Chicago or even online a couple of years ago recruiting from here. That bombed ... viewtopic.php?t=10602 OTOH, the COVID lockdowns did shock quite a few people here beyond FIRE and into ERE, so maybe I should try again.

classical_Liberal
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:05 am

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

@jacob
Sorry, to many quick posts there. It seems the idea of teacher/teachable would correspond with the idea of having a mixed group of varying wheaton levels. It also requires enough of a mix of personality types though too. Like someone interested in teaching vs doing all the time.

So how do you make a group of people who have specialized in an individualistic approach to life. Who are then so highly skilled they don't need to "unionize". Work in groups nicely like highly skilled sports teams? Using that model we need a "coach" (alphaville's leadership), but also common goals to "win". The best teams also have the "team players". People who may not be the best individual performer, but brings everyone together. What else?

ZAFCorrection
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:49 pm

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by ZAFCorrection »

People do shit as a group through some belief in a higher power or abstraction. You put up with your spouse when they are being a shithead because the relationship is valuable. People die for their country. Inquisitors auto da fe for the woodies and for God.

ERE town is skeptical af by nature and design. Seems oxymoronic to have an ERE organization.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12841
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

I'd return to the three ingredients required for effective change (ERE book chapter 1). I think biggest reason why this is not happening now, whether organized unskilled or unorganized skilled, is that there's no perceived need to do anything because people already believe that they're currently doing enough, whether organizing or skilling. This is also called the tragedy of the horizon.

Typically what's required are inspiration from WL+1 along the lacking dimension. Someone people can follow by Copying. In this case it would be two or three people organizing to take ERE to the next level. This is already happening on the forum which is one level beyond reading the blog or book. What's the next step beyond the loose community of semi-anonymous people here on the forum? I suggested the Learning Tribe, a concept that was expanded in the thread. That idea was either bad or before its time.

Yet, technically, this shouldn't be harder than starting a soccer club IRL?! OTOH, the problem may lie in the 90-9-1 rule.

Add: I should also mention another concern of mine namely that the forum is "maxed out".---Meaning that the next evolution would not be built on/from the forum.

Alphaville
Posts: 1960
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:50 am
Location: Quarantined

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

@c_l

of course, opinions shouldn’t be set in stone.

i agree that unity in diversity is a difficult proposition, and i don’t claim to have a solution for that, but i believe we need to continue to work towards those solutions, especially when the history of the world is one of increasing integration and unification.

i’m not hoping for a utopia either, which by etymology means “no such place,” and in that i’m a liberal who believes strongly in individual freedoms and values diversity.

utopias end in horror: the guillotine, the gulag, and clean air for sale in plastic bottles (like we do water these days).

i don’t know that working together on a project requires the same ideology, but it requires a common goal and a common plan of organization to make use of comparative advantages and prevent butting of heads (or at least make them productive.)

the other thing is that in society we take many different roles with different levels of expertise. some times we have to lead, some times we have to sit down and shut up.

e.g., how deeply do you have to breathe when listening to the know-it-all patient who won’t let you do your job because they think they know more about your profession? how much patience do you have to muster for the person who returns again and again to the icu burning through scarce resources because they won’t quit smoking/eating candy/drinking/whatever? freedom is great, but we need rules at the breaking points when it causes harm that spills onto others/the system itself.

eta: wow a lot of new posts since i started writing this. i’m referring to... the previous page? eta, 2: no previous page, this one: the post with the hard cider
Last edited by Alphaville on Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Jean
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Jean »

I think that individualists, play the same social road as hermits used to. By setting a bar, they inspire other that are more team players to go into this direction, by showing that it is possible.
Some people will naturally take the role of communicating between the extreme individualists and the interested masses.
From what I observed around me, it works quite well naturaly, and i came to the conclusion that evolution happened at a group level long time ago, to ensure that extreme solutions will be tested, and that the succesfull ones will transfer to most people.
If people see that you are happy without consuming or working, that you manage to don't be a burden, and that your situation keeps getting better, they will follow at their own pace. It can take a generation.
The conclusion is that if "follow your true self" can sometimes be a terrible advice at an individual level, it is in the groups best interest that you do so, in order to maximize the groups success, even if your only purpose is to show what not to do.
There is no real need to worry about being too far in front of the masses.
The only concern is if because of some means humans didn't evolve with, you are not in contact with anyone that isn't very much like you. But by participating in some activities that atract a diverse bunch of people, you'll likely do your part.

add: But maybe this natural process is too slow and we require a more proactive cooperative organisation process. I don't know if and how it would be possible.

Post Reply