The Trouble With Us

Humans ability to imagine a new future and shape reality in that direction is shared by no other life on earth, or so we presume. Our neural capacity and physical dexterity outdo all other animals. Imagination makes us innovative, but we waste a lot of it. Imagination also lets us deceive ourselves, making a mess of the planet, deluded that we don’t need any help from other life. We try to outsmart each other, always competing, but to what end?

Revitalizing nature excites a few of us. But environmental justice — conflict with others — excites almost everybody. And yes, our imagination, seeing what we want to see, may block us from really seeing the ecological messes we make. Many environmental actions are motivated as much by social conflict as by concern for our environmental plights.

For instance, political discussion about environmental messes often sinks into ideological tirades about capitalism vs. socialism – power arguments — who controls what; who is high or low status. However, nature cares not a whit about power politics, corporate or governmental. It responds only to what we do to it, with it, or for it. We instinctively organize in tribes, or in “silos” in technical societies. One wonders what systems of human governance might promote a common interest in revitalizing nature, and living in balance with it.  

Expansionist thinking is not exclusive to capitalism. For example, commoditization is the market form of system pressure to do more with less, exploiting more resources cheaper. Under Communism quotas led to similar outcomes, or worse. For instance, farmers pressed to maximize yield this season; consequences for soil or ecology be damned. Critics of capitalism point out  that favored private ownership is propped up by taxpayer-funded subsidies. These fairness squabbles distract from seeing that all of our activities, whoever “owns them” are propped up by excessive subsidies from nature.

Endless such argument muddies our escape from expansionist thinking. Fertile imaginations ever seek another angle from which to argue for the status quo — or status quo ante. Therefore Compression Thinking must overcome our biggest obstacles — our human foibles, feuds, and self-deceptions. Vigorous learning must probe well beyond the point of sale of the last item we bought. And it must probe what we must psychologically make of ourselves to survive as a human species. 

One person can never figure this out. That why we need a global “Compression Community” of people who drop that blinders and see how dire our situation is — and is committed to doing something. Dialog might help — if we can figure out how to instigate it. Better ideas await your imagination. Come, join a Compression Community to revitalize our humanity, devise how to live in balance with nature, and stimulate nature to revitalize itself.