Reply To: Something to do with Iain’s mention of a possible wind farm on Skye, sort of…

  • Peter Barus

    March 19, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    I seem to have sparked a discussion that veers rather far from Iain’s focus on what, after all, makes us tick. Windmills are a personal matter to me, having grown up next to one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere (the left?), with its carved wooden cogs and canvas sails rotting into the sand of Cape Cod; and now, looking out across the Vermont hills, they creep up the mountainside into our fabulous (and taxable) view.

    I do credit the idea of microplastics contamination, something I have followed since long before “microplastics” was a word. It is trace amounts that are more dangerous, and the vanes deteriorate quickly, as I learned working with fiberglas boats many years ago. But fossil fuels trump all that: we are very close to the end of our opportunity to mitigate the damage now.

    To tie this back into Iain’s area, our thinking is always suspect now. We must learn to check in with the wider picture with particular emphasis on several areas that seem disproportionately influential. Our artifact, the Internet, even without AI, has fragmented our culture severely, and continues the process, in relentless pursuit of profit. It’s another kind of toxic byproduct.

    Our culture may be ultimately delusional, but it worked to our benefit by virtue of its commonality; without that it ceases to qualify as a culture at all. Of course a culture that is truly integrated with the natural world of which it is part is desirable, but at least humanity can address collective problems more effectively when not actively killing each other.

    The “veneer theory” holds that humans are nasty brutes underneath a thin veneer of civilization. This is the basis for most of our delusions, if you ask me. I think it’s upside down, and it’s so-called “civilization” that has brought us to this horrible and bloody state. I have some basis for this view, having lived with and among indigenous peoples from time to time, although in modernity most of the time. In any case “civilization” would be a product of the left hemisphere, if I read Iain correctly.

    The situation variously called “metacrisis” and “polycrisis” is not amenable to solution by attacking one aspect or another. Oil, chemicals, nuclear waste, war, hunger and poverty, bad politics… fix one part and another is disrupted; but try addressing all at once, there’s nothing we can get a grip on; certainly not with the LH.

    The hope for us that I see is in the way in which a flock of birds turns on an instant, without an obvious leader. I think we have that capacity, to enter that level of awareness of both immediate and remote circumstance, laying aside our internal state, immersing in community. When birds alight, they enter a different state, feeding and breeding and avoiding predators; but in flight they operate like a very specialized supercritical network. It would not require telepathy or magick.

    We may be growing toward such an expanded capacity, and the Internet may be essential to this, but cultural selection is always at work, and we may select ourselves out. A worldview of scarcity and accounting, very much the creation of our left brain, is not a world of possibility, much less creative communal flow.

    There is a very interesting set of distinctions here, by Four Arrows, that seems to align beautifully with the LH-RH theory: