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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...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Smokers' rivals

Society is slowly learning the lesson that smoking often causes lung cancer. Quit campaigns are getting the message out in many sections of the global community.

Ironically, society has yet to come to grips with some much bigger problems. Smoking only affects the smokers and those nearby. It will cause the die off of quite a few due to lung cancer and associated health problems. But smoking is an isolated, personal  addiction. Society in general, particularly in developed and developing countries, is addicted to using up vast amounts of natural bounty in an unsustainable manner. This is a holistic addition with irrevocable dire consequences for most of the global population.

How many people think for a moment as their cars exhaust fumes polluting the atmosphere that they are contributing to the destruction of a hydrocarbon fuel that it took natural forces eons to produce. There is no need for society to mount a Quit campaign on this issue as natural forces will do the job in time: the crustal stock of oil is running out and the industry is finding it hard to extract what remains.

People will find it hard to cope with that problem as they are addicted to using their cars and flying in airliners. However, a bigger problem is that there are too many people around the globe. Billions are going hungry even though there is now an abundance of food as fossil fuels foster agriculture while aiding transportation and storage of food. Water supply and sanitation are also heavily dependent on the use of some of the remaining fossil fuels. Coping with the trauma of the inevitable die off will be a trauma much harder than deal with than quitting smoking.

Climate change is now causing isolated problems taxing the skills and resources of many communities around the globe. Society at large has yet to understand that it is an irreversible disruption of natural forces caused by its addiction to cheap energy by using fossil fuels. There is no feasible quitting of this process by Homo sapiens. And climate change is only one aspect of the deleterious impact of the systems of civilization. Pollution of land, sea, air and all species is creating a host of problems worse than smoking. Nature bats last in all physical processes.

Society has an insane belief in the ability of technology to overcome developing problems when, in actual fact, it is technology that has instigated these problems by making use of some natural forces to irreversibly use up limited natural resources and irrevocably produce material wastes. Society has a problem in understanding that reality as it is besotted with the illusory temporary power of money.

Technology has provided society with a wide range goods and services that are useful for a time. For example, cars are an endangered species even though very few give a moments thought to that addition. Society will find it hard to cope with the withdrawal that monstrous substitute for the facility of legs. However, an even greater problem will be the withdrawal of the recording and communication aids provided by the wide range of electronic devices from computers to iPods that have come online in recent decades. The rapid growth in the use of these devices is unsustainable as they are made of irreplaceable materials. But users of these devices are so bemused by the facility by this information revolution that they are unable to comprehend that it cannot last more than a few decades.

If you think that these are the only problems that society will have to face up to, then you are wrong.
The infrastructure of civilization, including the cities, are addicted to using some of the remaining natural resources to enable their functioning and cope with their irrevocable aging. As society can do nothing to stop this process, all they can do is try to power down. A few smart people are already fleeing from cities in emulation of some passengers taking to lifeboats as the Titanic headed for the iceberg.

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