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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sandras dåp (Hunn kirke 1. mars 2015)

This christening robe is about 100 years old.

Denne dåpskjolen er 100 år gammel.

The rest of the photos are not of interest for the general public, just for friends and family.

Gi Toten og Norge til allmenningheten!

Kjære lesere av Permaliv!

Siden i høst har jeg vært aktiv på p2p-bloggen, mine bidrag der kan leses her.

Det meste er repostinger, med tida kommer jeg forhåpentligvis med mer egenprodusert stoff.

Vil særlig anbefale de mange postene av Christopher Alexander. Dessverre lever våre styresmakter og byggenæringen i en massiv Alexander-fornektelse. Dette er like alvorlig for våre bomiljø, som klimafornektelse er for klimaet. I begge tilfeller dreier det seg om en fornektelse av eksternaliteter.

Hos Kulturverk har de nå vært så vennlige å sette opp min artikkel "Design for en levende planet". Dette er en svært viktig artikkel, da vårt land er i ferd med å kveles i en altomgripende modernistisk heslighet.

Vi må bare innse at stats/markeds-duopolet ikke er i stand til å skape den ringeste anelse av skjønnhet og levende, vibrerende nabolag. Dette er det kun allmenningheten som kan!

Det største som har skjedd den siste tiden er friluftsgiganten og økosofen Nils Faarlund sin varme anbefaling av Kulturverk, denne kan leses her.

Som avdanket industriarbeider fra Toten er jeg meget stolt over å ha blitt tatt imot med åpne armer av internasjonale og nasjonale personligheter som Michel Bauwens, Nikos Salingaros og Terje Bongard. Men også mange andre kloke mennesker fra den vide verden.

Dessverre har jeg fremdeles altfor få kontakter på det lokale nivå. Er det mennesker fra Toten-regionen som deler mine visjoner om en ny arkitektur, IGD, permakultur, bygningsbiologi og allmenningene, er det hyggelig om dere tar kontakt.

Sammen kan vi endre vår region i allmenninghetens interesse. Hva som skal til er at vi splitter stats/markeds-duopolet og temmer dem til å bli tjenere av allmenningene.

Min venn Michel Bauwens kaller meg for en anti-intellektuell intellektuell. Det er den beste hedersbetegnelsen jeg noensinne har fått, og dette fra en av klodens viktigste visjonære tenkere.

Jeg ønsker i årene som kommer å ta aktivt del i Bauwens "COMMONS TRANSITION" - prosjekt. All støtte for å realisere disse visjonene på Toten og i Norges land, mottas med takk!

Til slutt en innstendig oppfordring til alle lesere av Permaliv om å sette seg inn i denne transformasjonen til et allmenninghetssentrert samfunn, hvor allmenningene er kjernen våre liv kretser rundt:


Skreia er av de stedene som er minst infisert av modernismens virus, jeg har derfor store visjoner for dette stedet. Både ifht. biofilia og organisk design, men også som et nav for nye allmenninger. Særlig viktig er det at den videre utbyggingen av Fossenfeltet bygges opp av lommenabolag og økolandsbyer!

Dessverre har kommuneadministrasjonen planer om en videre utbygging av Fossenfeltet som et suburbant helvete.

Vil oppfordre alle lokale lesere av Permaliv om å torpedere disse planene!

Ps! Fylkesveg 33 gjennom Skreia sentrum er altfor dominerende, som det framgår av bildet. Tidligere var jeg for å legge denne utenom Skreia sentrum. Dette standpunktet har jeg nå gått bort fra, da oljeøkonomien vil kollapse i løpet av et par tiår.

Å legge svartjorda på Toten under asfalt blir i dette perspektivet totalt uansvarlig!

Monday, March 2, 2015

GT about JMG

See the original comment here.
Greer is looking at agricultural societies. The farmers there could just pick up and join another agricultural society if their society collapsed, even if the existing society collapsed.

I don’t see a way we could build up enough of a network of knowledgeable people to build an agricultural society. We would need to do it without electricity, oil or other fuel sources. We don’t know how to go back that far any more. We would need to figure out how to do everything with local materials, everywhere. We would need to build local defenses of cities–moats? All of the attempts at working with wind and solar PV are a waste of time, in this regard. We would after a while even have to do without metal tools–they are just too demanding of wood. - Gail Tverberg

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life

by Silke Helfrich
The market has always been with us. What’s new about life in the last three hundred years — and especially the last thirty — is that the buying and selling of goods is the overriding goal of human civilization. The market is seen not just as an efficient way to do some things — it’s increasingly heralded as the only way to organize our society. The market has become the ruling paradigm of the world, a way of life that is wiping out efficient, equitable and sustainable commons-based practices.

Silke Helfrich — a commons activist based in Jena, Germany — explores what we lose when the market is deployed as the solution to all our problems and answer to all our dreams. In this chart, she illustrates how radically different a market-based society operates compared to a commons-based society. This is excerpted from the book The Wealth of the Commons, which she edited with David Bollier. — Jay Walljasper

Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life
Market Way of LifeCommons Way of Life
Core QuestionWhat can be bought and sold?What do we need to live?
Idea of the IndividualHumans maximize benefits for themselvesHumans are primarily cooperative social beings
Social PracticeCompetition predominates; we prevail at the expense of othersCooperation predominates; commoning connects us with others
Power RelationsCentralization & monopolyDecentralization & collaboration
Change AgentsPowerful political lobbies focus on institutionalized politics and governmentDiverse communities working as distributed networks, with solutions coming from the margins
DecisionmakingHierarchical, top-down; command & controlHorizontial, bottom-up, decentralized, self-organized
Decision PrincipleMajority rule(s)Consensus
Property RelationsExclusive private property: “I can do anything I want with what I own”Collectively used possession: “I am co-responsible for what I co-use“
Core FocusMarket exchange and economic growth (GDP) is achieved through individual initiative, innovation and “efficiency”Common weath and sustainable livelihoods is achieved through cooperation
ResourcesScarcity is maintained or created through social barriers and exclusionsThere is enough for all through sharing (of finite resources) and a sense of abundance (of limitless resources)
Results for ResourcesDepletion, exploitation, enclosureConservation, maintenance, reproduction, expansion
KnowledgeKnowledge regarded as scarce asset to be bought and soldKnowledge regarded as a plentiful asset for the common good of society
Relationships to Nature & Other HumansSeparationInterrelational
SocietyIndividual vs. collective interest >exclusionMy personal unfolding is a condition for the development of others, and vice-versa. >Emancipation through convivial connections
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dåpsforberedelser

Så var alt klart til Sandras dåp. En stor takk til alle som ønsker å gjøre dette til en stor dag! Været blir nok ikke det beste, men noe utevær kunne det jo ikke blitt uansett.

Riktig flink kone jeg har! Hun vet å holde selskap. 

Hovedpersonen selv ligger i hardtrening foran den store dagen. Hun ble ganske stor før vi fikk ordnet med dåp, så vi får tro dåpskjolen passer. Men vi fikk den på Håvard, og han var faktisk nesten like stor ved fødselen.

Sandra fikk en hard start på livet, med mye sykdom. Men hun er ved godt mot, noe som gleder oss alle.

Dåpen blir i Hunn kirke i morgen 1. mars, og prest Jens Dale trodde hun ble det eneste dåpsbarnet. Han var derfor svært glad for at Sandra skulle døpes.

Fikk også inn min artikkel "Design for en levende planet" til helga. Ja, jeg får gjøre så godt jeg kan for disse to herlige døtrene mine!

"Design for en levende planet" hos Kulturverk

Så var mitt essay publisert hos Kulturverk, dette enestående nettmagasinet som støttes av Totens store sønn og økosof-giganten Nils Faarlund fra Skreia.

Også Sigmund K. Sætreng, som omtales i essayet, har røtter fra Skreia, og hans far var i sin tid min fars lærer på gamle Stange skole.

Kulturverks redaksjon har den siste tiden begynt å gjøre seg stor flid i presentasjonen av mine essay, og også denne gang er jeg dem stor takk skyldig for godt dataverk.

Foreløpig kun limer jeg inn essayet slik det er presentert hos Kulturverk, men håper med tiden å gi det en bedre presantasjon også her på Permaliv.

Les aller helst essayet direkte hos Kulturverk her.

Design for en levende planet


Den nyutkomne boka av Nikos A. Salingaros og Michael W. Mehaffy – Design for a Living Planet –legger til grunn den nyeste vitenskapen om hva som skal til for å gjøre vår skakkjørte verden om til en levende planet. Et formidabelt oppdrag, da vår lille klode nå er så herjet at dette nærmest kan sidestilles med å etablere et økosystem på Mars.
Av Øyvind Holmstad, redaktør av bloggen Naturkonservativ
Kompleksitet vil si at noe aldri gjentar seg selv, den er steds- og tidsspesifikk. Naturen er kompleks, fordi den ikke gjentar seg selv. Det motsatte av kompleksitet er hva økosofen Sigmund K. Setreng kaller for komplikasjon. Vår sivilisasjon er derfor ikke kompleks, men komplisert, fordi den stadig gjentar seg selv.
“Jeg kjenner meg helt igjen i den eksistensielle angsten som du forteller om. Den kommer alltid krypende over meg når jeg ser 99,9 prosent av norsk arkitektur. Det er interessant at jeg ikke er den eneste som føler det slik. Det er egentlig en veldig intens følelse. Noen ganger tenker jeg at dersom folk kunne sett hvor mye fantastisk som er mulig å skape, så vil de slutte å bygge alt dette stygge og sjelløse… men som du sier må vi vel finne en mening med livet og en tilknytning til noe mer hellig, sjelfullt eller spirituelt… noe som gjør at vi strekker oss lenger enn kun det helt grunnleggende for å få livet til å så vidt gå rundt”.
corporate buildings in perspective
Når jeg er rundt i Norges land blir jeg ofte utmattet av den sjelløsheten som brer seg utover. Det være seg suburbane eneboliger, kraftgater som skjærer nådeløst gjennom skogene, vulgære hytter som har okkupert de fineste teltplassene ved et tjern, blokkleiligheter av corbusiansk ånd, stjernearkitektur ved sjøkanten i vår hovedstad eller kjøpesentre som har tappet bysentrum for liv.
All denne hesligheten er skapt av teknokratiet, profittmotivet og menneskets begjær etter å skinne. Som individ står man overfor to muligheter i møte med et slikt gjennomtrengende overgrep, tap av nasjonal integritet og tilhørighet: man kan overgi sin sjel til det mekaniske verdensbildet, eller man kan bli en drømmer. En som drømmer om en levende verden.
Vår industrielle sivilisasjon går mot sin solnedgang. Vil vi da entre en global mørketid eller kan vi fylle det post-industrielle samfunn med noe nytt? Tidligere har jeg skrevet om InnGruppe-Demokratiet (IGD) som et reelt alternativ for en bærekraftig framtid her på Kulturverk. Med IGD kan vi overskride de tre mekanismene nevnt ovenfor: teknokratiet eller staten oppløses i allmenningheten, profittmotivet opphører og menneskets ego tøyles av inngruppa. Slik ligger veien åpen for en ny design, hvor vi designer oss inn i naturen.
Tar vi ikke denne oppgaven på alvor, vil moder jord snart tippe oss av lasset og gjøre jobben selv. Derfor må vi begynne å samarbeide istedenfor å slåss mot henne. Vi trenger riktignok en helt ny økonomi og et nytt demokrati – hvor økonomi og demokrati forenes i en enhet – for å lykkes.
Skal vi designe en levende planet må den derfor formes gjennom adaptiv morfogenese, en stegvis prosess hvor man har oppgitt en rigid hovedplan. Ved organisk design vet man ikke sluttresultatet, men er prosessen eller algoritmen riktig vil man allikevel nå målet, noe man ikke kan gjennom en mekanisk prosess.
Jeremy-Miranda-6
Men selv om oppgaven kan virke uoverkommelig, er boka lett tilgjengelig. Hvert kapittel tar for seg en vitenskap, en ny designkunnskap, presentert enkelt og forståelig. De er ment som en introduksjon, en inspirasjon for å gå videre inn i tematikken gjennom egne studier, samt en oversikt  over hva som foregår innen organisk design i dag.
Teknologi betyr i sin essens kunnskapen om å gjøre. På dette området er boka til en viss grad mangelfull. Man får god kjennskap til nye funn fra vitenskapen som kan revolusjonere arkitekturen, men noen bruksanvisning om hvordan å applisere denne kunnskapen i praksis, er ikke boka. Dette kan delvis skyldes at disse funnene er nye, og ikke enda har fått mulighet til å utvikles i det virkelige liv.
Boka har lite skarp polemikk, noe tidligere lesere av Salingaros kanskje vil savne. Formålet er først og fremst å vekke nysgjerrigheten og entusiasmen, ikke å provosere. Forhåpentligvis vil mange la seg inspirere av boka til å utvikle ny designteknologi i praksis. Av temaer kan nevnes designmønstre, fraktaler, biofilia, smidig design og selvorganisering. Hele fem kapitler er viet designpioneren Christopher Alexander, den første som tok fatt i arkitektur som et vitenskapelig begrep.
Kapitlet om kompleksitet ble for meg en vekker. Kompleksitet vil si at noe aldri gjentar seg selv, den er steds- og tidsspesifikk. Naturen er kompleks, fordi den ikke gjentar seg selv. Det motsatte av kompleksitet er hva økosofenSigmund K. Setreng kaller for komplikasjon. Vår sivilisasjon er derfor ikke kompleks, men komplisert, fordi den stadig gjentar seg selv.
Skal vi designe en levende planet må den derfor formes gjennom adaptiv morfogenese, en stegvis prosess hvor man har oppgitt en rigid hovedplan. Ved organisk design vet man ikke sluttresultatet, men er prosessen eller algoritmen riktig vil man allikevel nå målet, noe man ikke kan gjennom en mekanisk prosess.
Jeg håper mange vil lese denne lettleste boka av Salingaros og Mehaffy. Kanskje har våre etterkommere om 100 år ikke internett, kanskje kan de ikke reise verden rundt, kanskje har de ikke moderne medisin? Kanskje er havene forsuret og polisen smeltet? Kanskje kan de ikke lenger spise fisk for miljøgifter? Men kanskje er de også i gang med å designe en levende planet! Boka kan kjøpes fra Sustasis Press HER, og internasjonal utgave (kommer) fra Vajra Books HER.
Fire eater

Les også Salingaros & Mehaffy sin egen introduksjon til boka:
Ten New Findings From the Sciences that Will Revolutionize Architecture

Relatert

Three Rules for Starting a Neighborhood

By Christopher Alexander. Original text here. Also here.

Consider a neighborhood, or neighborhood-to-be, which is now receiving your attention for the first time. Let us assume that a rough boundary of the area has been established. The area may be part of an existing city, in need of new life or refurbishing. It might equally well be a green field site near a town, or on the edge of an existing town or village.


Rule 1. Let us ask ourselves which place in the area dedicated to the neighborhood most inspires us by its life or potential for life, and also has the greatest capacity for becoming the spiritual and emotional center of the new neighborhood?

In order to do this, we need to walk around the place many times, with others, and alone, asking ourselves which place has the natural magnetism to pull us to go there, which makes us want to stay there, which has the power (potentially) to give us life merely from being there.

On a green field site, where a neighborhood does not exist, this feeling will most likely be generated by a view, by the form of the land which has a natural protected area, a declivity, or by a high spot which looks out. Great trees, are also capable of giving us such a place, naturally occurring water, the edge of a forest, the bottom of a cliff. It is impossible to predict with any general principles, what feature of a particular piece of land will have this character. Each piece of land is different, and will tell you, in its own way, what unique feature, on that land, is best suited to become the spiritual center of a future neighborhood built there.

On a site that is part of an existing neighborhood, or part of an existing town, the procedure is not very different, though it may turn out to be more complicated. ....


Rule 2. Let us now ask ourselves how the place we have chosen as the most natural center, may be enhanced and made profound. What we are asking here, is what kind of actions will support the essence of the place, make it convenient and natural for people to come to it, protect it from surrounding influences, so that it can have its own peacefulness and life.


Rule 3. Let us now ask ourselves how this place, which has been activated (in principle) by our response to Rule 2, may also be made beautiful and tranquil, as a work of architecture.

The way to achieve this is to spend time, gazing on the land, at the place where the building is to be, or at the space itself, as a place and as a beautiful entity in itself. Ask yourself -- standing there, and closing your eyes -- how high it is, what line will enhance the place, where you would most expect to find the front edge of the building, if it is a peaceful and gentle place.

It will not be out of place, either, to ask childish things, of your inner eye. What color is it? When you close your eyes, what color do you see? What kind of windows does it have? When you close your eyes, what shape are the windows, what figure gives them inspiration, and makes the place worth being in?

What kind of windows does it have?

Conclusion


As you see, these three rules are not rules in quite the usual sense. The rule does not tell us, magisterially, Do this! Do that!

Instead it is a rule, but the rule says to you, Ask yourself this, and this and this -- and it works this way, because the rule knows that if you follow it, the vision of your own heart will answer the question correctly, and know what to do. And it knows, too, that when several of you, do the same -- that is, do what this rule tells you, in the way of asking yourselves these questions -- then , for the most part, you will find yourselves in agreement with your fellows.

And that is where a lasting sense of unity and harmony within the neighborhood can come from: the results are not arbitrary, but found in the deepest place in your heart. It will last.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feeling Must be the Clue to Wholeness

Published at P2P-Foundation here.
Here is another example of the way feeling must be the clue to wholeness, when we seek to make something alive. I once had an interesting discussion with Sim Can der Ryn. He was arguing that feeling is not enough. In his view it was too vague, too emotional. For instance, he said: “In making a sustainable fishpond which works, you just have to concentrate on the facts about fish life, water, plants, and so on, ecological facts about a healthy pond.“

I told him: “It is true that these ecological facts are a necessary part of our knowledge, our understanding of how to make a pond. And it is true that many of us know too little about what it requires to make the world sustainable, harmonious in its biological and chemical detail, and so on. But suppose, indeed, that we are trying to build a fishpond. The facts about the ecology of the pond – no matter how detailed by themselves – will not tell us how to make that pond good. Even if we have theories and facts about sustainability, edge plants, fish, breeding, water temperature, types of weed, types of insect, and so on – even with all of this we will not succeed in making the pond have life unless we also have a clear inner feeling – a subliminal perception, and awareness, and anticipation – of what life in that pond will be like.” That means we must have a dim awareness within us, of what a pond with life is like, as a whole and in its feeling. 
Image: Rronenow
If we do have that feeling of life clear (for the fishpond), we can then use it to guide us. It will help us move towards a pond which does have life. But if we do not have such a feeling clear in us, no amount of knowledge about ecology and sustainability will get us to a pond that has life in the sense I am discussing.

We shall just be left scrambling mentally, churning about, marshaling our facts, making experiments perhaps – but still not clarified by an inner vision which tells us what to do. Building the pond, stocking it, putting weeds in it, placing bushes around it, we need to be guided by an inner vision of good life in this pond. We must have a feeling, in us, which will reliably tell us when we are going in the right direction, and when we are going in the wrong direction.

It is ultimately this inner feeling, this inner vision of feeling, which is our reliable (and necessary) guide. In short, we must be able to imagine the pond – not as a copy of another pond, or with detailed factual vision about dimension, depth, plants. We must be able to summon up, inside us, an inner sensation of the feeling of a healthy pond, which makes us remember or create the kind of feeling which a good fishpond has: the slow movement of the fish, the edge, the light on the water, the kind of things that may be present at the edge – all this, not in biological or architectural detail – but as a morphological feeling which allows me, in my inner eye, with my eyes closed, to remember, breathe, the kind of soft and subtle feeling of life which such a fishpond requires. It is that vision of feeling which, above all, must guide me. - The Process of Creating Life, by Christopher Alexander, page 375-376

BUILDING ON RELATIONSHIP


Original text here. Published at P2P-Foundation here.

A note from Christopher Alexander

Human relationship. There are two fundamentally different ways of understanding the word “relationship,” when it comes to human beings.

Image: Øyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons
One of these ways is conventional: this can describe the relationships you have with a shopkeeper, or a policeman, or a banker, or, in very sad cases, with a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter. These relationships are instrumental relationships; they are typically defined by convention – by the rules of behavior as set out by custom or by society.

The other way is personal: the essence of the relationship is that you seek, and find, a connection; you treat the other person as nearly as possible to the way you treat yourself, and you strive constantly to treat the other person more as you treat yourself. You recognize, and slowly come to feel, that you are part of the other person, and that the other person is a part of you, so that the two of you are gradually experiencing each other as an indivisible self.
This is not only something that happens with a person who is very dear to you. You can have this quality of relationship even sitting next to a person on a park bench for only a few moments, when the exchange is something real.

* * *

Oddly enough, there is a connection between the process of unfolding, the use of generative codes, and the character of the human relationships you choose.
  • If you carefully build relationship, in the second, truer sense, one by one, step by step, with each person you encounter, then gradually the process and understanding of unfolding, will emerge, almost by itself.
  • I know this to be true, just from experience. Somehow the deep understanding of how things in the world unfold, emerges from each person in a group, naturally, when there relationships are real.
  • It is, I think, because when relationship is real, each person feels able to express what is going on without fear. There is no inhibition from mental constraint; the notion of what must happen in a process of development is not clutched, fearful or uptight, but rather what seems right and natural can flow from the situation.
  • That is, of course, what happens as things unfold.
  • It arises from acceptance of reality, without imposing mental structures.
In any case I do know from experience that when people are in this kind of relationship, understanding of unfolding then slowly pervades the situation, and the more beautiful and natural structures are allowed to appear in the land. On the other hand, if the relationships that are present are formal, or institutional, relationships then acceptance of what is real is not allowed to exist, and the resulting mesh of mental constraint is so rigid, sometimes even slightly nasty, the most ordinary things are not allowed to appear.

* * *

Unfolding of life then appears of its own accord, almost automatically. Generative codes, and the unfolding which proceeds from them, then appear of their own accord, almost automatically, simply as a direct result of the personal relationships which govern people’s minds.

This is a very beautiful result.

And, sadly, vice versa. In institutional settings, governmental settings, many business settings, the reverse is true. Since the setting guarantees that people cannot feel for each in a way that allows true things to be felt and said, then the result, so often – far, far too often – is a scrambled mess. Intellect cannot solve it. Living environments can hardly ever be born.

This is a very sad result, but true.

* * *

As I get older, what has astonished me, lately, is the dramatic speed of the effect. One beats one’s head against the wall, for years, within the institutional and business context, and never quite manages to loosen it sufficiently, in human terms, to get the desired results. But if you start, without worrying about the results so much, and focus attention only on the building of these true and personal relationships, one by one, then, as if a lever in a mountain stream had unleashed a cascade of water, the process of natural and harmonious unfolding is loosened and happens as if by a miracle.

This is so strong, it is worth taking very seriously indeed, and worth putting it first.

Useless Waste is what Provides Jobs

This is one way of trying to address the issue of a whole lot of GDP being useless waste–for example, lots of marketing people flying around from meeting to meeting. The problem, of course, is that the useless waste is what provides jobs. Without the essentially wasteful jobs, we have an even larger number of people unemployed. It becomes even harder to repay debt with interest. The government tries to fix this, but in the end, it is the government/financial system that fails. - Gail Tverberg

To Share the Wealth of the Very Rich is Not Possible

The advantage of tipping most of the wealth toward the very rich is that they tend to spend very little of it. If it all were taxed away, and distributed to the poor, they would try to actually spend the wealth. The catch is that this wouldn’t actually result in the huge amount of goods needed to fill the needs of the less wealthy. There isn’t enough oil being extracted to build all of the cars and houses that the new-found wealth would buy (plus pay the wages of all of the people needed to build these things).

I am not a student of thermodynamics, but intuitively what you say this makes sense to me. These presentations are at this point are still in draft form, and the “Overview of the Networked Economy” in particular is short, so could be added to. The thermodynamics behind this change in wealth distribution would be an interesting addition. - Gail Tverberg
His wealth cannot be shared

Spend Your Savings Now, or Never!

I agree. The vast majority of the wealth of the billionaires will simply be lost. They can only eat a certain number of calories–about the same number as the rest of us. They can only sleep in one bed a night. The pixels in their bank account statements may say that they have a lot of money to spend in the future. When the time comes when they think they can spend it, it likely won’t be there. - Gail Tverberg
Now is a last window of opportunity to spend your savings. If you cannot spend them on something useful, waste them on bullshit. Tomorrow it may be to late to transform your savings into real money, as they are just pixels in computers, evaporating into thin air when not constantly sucked in oil flow.

We are Now in the Prelude to Collapse

That is a good point–the “something different” that we are already into is very low oil prices. This is the prelude to collapse, because we cannot actually pull the oil out at these prices.

You are also right about existing man-made ecosystems needing oil–namely farms and farm substitutes, and the whole transportation system for getting the things distributed to us. There are many parts to it, including processing and distribution. Solar panels don’t fix this problem. - Gail Tverberg
Enjoy the prelude. Real collapse starts soon!

The Way Subsidies Work is they Tax the Poor to Make Solar Panels and Electric Cars Available to the Rich

Thanks! People don’t realize that these so-called renewables move forward coal and natural gas use (so more is extracted and burned), and take oil use that might be used for other purposes. EROEI calculation using standard EROEI factors don’t come anywhere close to showing how much energy really goes into making and transporting them and their backup devices. People think that there is “net energy,” when really there isn’t. The way subsidies work is they tax the poor to make solar panels and electric cars available to the rich. The system makes people think there is a solution, when there isn’t. - Gail Tverberg
A taxation of the poor

Humanizing Technology

Excerpted from a post by Charles Siegel.

This recent history of architecture and urbanism is important because it involves a key issue of our time: How should we use technology for human purposes?

Among mid-century modernists, the design centered on the technology. The dogma was that the design must be an “honest expression” of modern materials and functions—in other words, an expression of modern technology. The modernists’ designs were so striking visually that they helped spread technophilia through society.

Among the serious postmodernists and the New Urbanists, design centers on the human users. They are not against modern technology, but they are selective in their use of technology. They use modern technology when it helps to create good places for people.

For example, modernists designed cities around the automobile. They had faith that this new technology would improve our lives and, in any case, would inevitably dominate our lives, because you can’t stop progress. By the 1960s, it was becoming clear that the modernists’ theories had created an ugly, environmentally destructive suburban landscape of freeways, shopping malls, and auto-dependent subdivisions.

The New Urbanists take a more reasonable view of this technology, accommodating the automobile but not letting it dominate our lives. New Urbanist design centers on creating streets and public spaces that are attractive, comfortable places for people, and it accommodates the automobile ways that further this goal. They emphasize that their traditional urbanism can accommodate any style of architecture, and they mention Tel Aviv and Miami’s South Beach as examples of cities where good traditional urbanism is combined with modernist architecture, but their goal is to create good places rather than to design an “expression” of modern technology.

Modernists also designed individual buildings around new technology: the buildings were “honest expressions” of glass, steel, and concrete. By the 1970s, it was becoming clear that these buildings were cold, sterile and overwhelming. Serious postmodernists tried to design buildings that were attractive, comfortable places for people to be.

Yet today’s avant gardists have gone back to the sterile high-tech design of the modernists with added “artistic” touches. They often create very uncomfortable places for people to be.

The use of technology is a key issue of our time, because modern technology gives us more power and more freedom of choice than ever before.

We can use the power that technology gives us well or badly. Modern technology can be immensely beneficial; an obvious example is polio vaccination. And it can be immensely destructive; an obvious example is nuclear weapons. We need to use the beneficial technology and limit the destructive technology.

We can use the freedom of choice that technology gives us well or badly. For example, traditional agricultural societies had a limited variety of foods that they grew locally, they prepared these foods in a few conventional ways, and they lived with the constant threat of hunger. Modern societies have a greater abundance and variety of foods, which gives us much more choice about what we eat. Everywhere in the world, people can choose to eat the corn that was domesticated in the Americas, the rice that was domesticated in Asia, the wheat and barley that were domesticated in the Middle East, the spices that were domesticated in the Indies, and a vast number of other foods that originated in every corner of the world. We can use this abundance to eat a more varied and healthier diet than any society in the past, or we can use it to eat a diet that is heavy on processed food and high-fructose corn syrup, the diet that has made today’s American more obese than any society in the past.

It is easy to add similar examples. Modern technology lets us choose among a huge variety of drugs, which we can use to cure diseases or which we can abuse to feed addictions.

The same reasoning applies to architecture. Modern technology lets us choose among many different ways to build. Traditional societies were limited by the local materials and the relatively simple techniques available to them; their vernacular buildings were stylistically consistent because they did not have the choice of building in any other way. Today, we have a much greater choice of materials and of building methods. We can use this choice to design buildings and cities that are more livable than ever before, or to design buildings and cities that are more sterile and overwhelming than ever before.

The architecture establishment says we should build in styles that are “of our time” and that anyone who learns from traditional architecture is “nostalgic.” They should learn from the more sensible attitude that we have toward food. The best restaurants use locally grown, fresh ingredients because they produce healthier, tastier food. Traditional societies also used locally grown, fresh ingredients, but no one says that these restaurants are “nostalgic” and that they should use canned or frozen ingredients produced for the world market because industrial agriculture is “of our time.”

No one cares about this sort of precious esthetic criticism of food because we have very clear criteria for deciding which food are good: taste and nutritional value. The best restaurants use some new technology, such as sous vide cooking, but they use them because the food tastes better—not because they are “of our time.”

These criteria are based on human nature. Our bodies evolved to need certain nutrients. Our tastes evolved to make us enjoy food that helped our ancestors survive during the period of evolutionary adaptation. Evolution has hard-wired these needs and preferences into human nature, and chefs work to accommodate them.

Has evolution also given us preferences about the buildings that we live in and use? Are there aspects of human nature that architects should work to accommodate? We will look at this question in the next chapter.

Since the 1970s, the environmental movement has shown us that we must make a deliberate choice of technologies—for example, by choosing solar and wind power rather than coal to generate our electricity—but this movement focuses on limiting the most destructive technologies that pose grave threats to health or to the natural environment, such as global warming. Architecture and urbanism could do much more. Because they design the built environment that we live in, they could help society learn how to use modern technology in ways that are in keeping with human nature.

Our avant gardists are designing the most dehumanized buildings ever built, but their approach is not inevitable. Just as mid-century-modernist architects helped spread faith in technology and progress, today’s architects could help spread the idea that we should use modern technology for human purposes.