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Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The rampant complexity virus

Human beings believe they have been very clever in devising means of using natural resources to provide useful goods and services.  They are so carried away with their cleverness that they do not take into account the unintended consequences of their cleverness. This is a virus for which they have no remedy. Natural forces will eventually cure them during the inevitable die-off. Those that are left will learn the simpler way.

They build highways using irreplaceable materials to ease traffic congestion.  This breeds more cars in an unsustainable positive feedback loop.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Freedom to offend

Freedom to offend is a major subject round the world because Muslims are offended by what a few Westerners have been saying about their Prophet. This issue continues to divide Western and Muslim societies with little sign of moderation.

It is ironical that these two branches of society are quarreling as they continue to offend their life support system, Gaia. They misunderstand the role of all homo sapiens in the operation of eco systems.They are able to do this damaging process because Gaia is only slowly responding to the offensive devastation wrought by human society and industrial civilization in recent times. Climate change, ocean acidification, the depleting of natural resources (oil, many minerals as well as fertile soil, potable water), species (other than human) extinction together with bio-diversity and geo-diversity destruction will ensure that society belatedly respond to what it has done wrong.

It is quite likely that the Western and Muslim societies will reduce their quarreling as they try to cope with the stark reality imposed by Gaia.

Denis Frith

Thursday, September 6, 2012


A well-known investment writer had this to say.

"My theory is that this is because real-time commerce is the most overlooked force in the universe. Commerce even provides the test of the long-run merit of ideas: Ideas rooted in truth instantiate themselves in institutions and become part of history. Therefore, following the commercial thread through time means following meritorious ideas and the real ways in which people use them to live their lives. Yet because economic ignorance is so pervasive, especially in journalism and academia, few are in a position to follow this thread. They end up daydreaming about untruths for a living."

It is a common view. It is a view that has underpinned economic growth. It is a view that is leading to the collapse of economies because it is fostering an unsustainable process. The writer refers to 'the most overlooked force in the universe' which has come up with ideas. The problem with that logic is that ideas do not have substance: they are intangible. The systems of civilization are made of materials and use energy for their operation. That is the stark tangible reality.

The writer's 'force', however, has done immeasurable harm by leading to unsound decisions about making irreversible use of the limited natural material wealth.

Denis Frith

Sunday, September 2, 2012


We have a funny world! It is a dichotomy. On the one hand it is how people think the world operates. It is the anthropocentric view. On the other hand, it is what is really happening in all the operations. That is the realistic view entertained by few humans.Do you find the assertion of a dichotomy confusing? Some examples will help you to understand the difference.

You consider the car as being a convenient form of transport. You buy one if you can afford it and regularly fork out money for fuel. Insurance and maintenance are other outlays. You do this as you welcome the freedom to transport family and friends hither and thither because you have sufficient money. It is a symbol of your success. It helps you to understand the dichotomy to classify this thinking as an example of Myopia.

The other side of the coin about the car can be classified as an example of Real. The car if made of many materials that have been mined. The crustal stores of some of these minerals are running out. Replacing the car in the future will not be as easy as it is today even though some materials will be recycled. The engine of the car irreversibly burns irreplaceable fuel to provide the energy that propels it. Friction is a continuing natural force that ages the engine, the tires, other parts of the car and even the roads that it traverses.That is the reality of what is happening to the car and in its operation. You just take this for granted as you appreciate the convenience of having this convenient means of transportation, except when you are caught up in a traffic jam!

Consider another example - money. Most people work to earn money so they can buy the goods and services they need and want to enable their standard of living. Some are more successful in acquiring this filthy lucre. All have to manage their financial affairs during the booms and busts that characterize the operation of this aspect of Myopia. The powerful in society evoke fiscal and monetary policies to foster the foundation of Myopia, economic growth. Where deemed desirable, they conjure fiat money out of thin air, so degrading the hard-won savings of the masses. Those who become wealthy by fair means or foul have the intangible leverage to invest in means to make more money. This operation of Myopia has been successful for a long time but there are signs that the hallucination is coming to an end in developed countries and the developing countries will follow in due course.

Well-off people are so addicted to using money in the Myopia world that they take many of the Real operations for granted. They organize the construction, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure, from the cities down, (using up limited natural material resources) without taking into account how this infrastructure will be replaced when its time is up because natural forces are aging  it in the Real world. Ironically, people recognize their mortality, due to the way the Real world operates, but they have the hallucination that materialistic civilization can continue to operate on 'hot air'

Another example of how society views operations while having a distorted view of what is really happening is the operation of a city. The population lives in the suburbs in houses they own, are buying under a mortgage or renting. They enjoy the benefits of electricity providing lighting and powering many devices from the TV through to the micro wave although they do not like rising prices for this power and other services like the supply of water. The home is the center of family life: the refuge after a day's work and the commuting to place of employment by car or public transport.  They buy the goods and services they need at local supermarkets if possible. They rely as much as possible on the rule of law to aid social operation and on those, such as the police, who do what they can to uphold it. Schools and universities provide the forums for the formal education of the young  but they also learn much from their peers, parents and the media. The workplace may be an office using electronic equipment manipulate information or in a factory to operate machinery. Or it may be in providing educational, medical, financial or legal services. Or it may be to make the management decisions controlling the operations of a diverse range of organizations from the government cabinet through to small businesses. They do this to earn money to finance their standard of living. That summarizes the Myopic world of the population of a city.

The Real world in the operation of a city goes largely unnoticed by the population at large until something goes wrong. The sewerage system provides what is deemed to be an essential service by disposing of human wastes (containing valuable and irreplaceable nutrients), generally in nearby waters. The operation and maintenance of the systems providing this service is a part of the Real world that is taken for granted until it can no longer meet the demand. The same applies to the supply of electricity, gas, water and other essentials. The population is happy to buy their food from supermarkets, fast food outlets or restaurants without worrying about how it was produced, dealt with and transported to the outlet. Increasing prices due to crop failures brought on by climate change is Myopia's way of handling that Real world predicament for those having sufficient money. The powerful in cities glorify the facilities and buildings that grace the landscape and make policy and financial allowances for their development and maintenance while ignoring that fact that they only temporary denizens of Real.

It is ironical, is it not, that society believes in the operations of Myopia while Real continues to do what it has always done over eons and what it does in the operation of our materialistic civilization. Of course, Real will inevitably win out because it is the operation of natural forces that have been controlling what happens in materialistic operations for eons. Myopia is the hallucination Homo sapiens have believed in only for centuries It has been the basis of their decisions - wise and unwise.

Denis Frith

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Climatologists have been telling us for years that irreversible, rapid climate change is under way, primarily because of the greenhouse gases from the industrial use of fossil fuels. The message is slowly getting through to the politicians in the industrialized countries. Ironically they now seem to believe that the climate change and ocean acidification processes can be tackled by introducing policies such as a carbon tax to encourage industry to reduce the rate of emissions. The global rate of emissions is still increasing despite mitigation policies in the EU and China.

The rate of greenhouse gas emissions is no longer the sole climate change issue. Climatologists continue to warn of the acceleration of climate change by positive feedback mechanisms. These include the reduction in Arctic sea ice and the release of methane from perm-frost and clathrates.

As usual, there are specialists who understand what is happening and are sponsoring sound measures to remedy the effect of climate change. Responsible authorities in London, York and the Netherlands are implementing measures to counter the impact of rising sea level. However, these remedial measures are, as yet. insignificant and impotent.

Despite the failure of society at large, and its leaders in particular, to understand the reality described by climatologists, the prognosis is quite clear - Hell is coming. It will make a major contribution to the senescence of our civilization. Surviving future generations will ponder in the Epilogue of the ecological system the causative factors in what went wrong.

Denis Frith