The 6th of January Conference

For being a small movement, EOS is characterised by a determination to move where most other organisations don’t, and to engage in a very broad variety of projects that aim to shape the future. On behalf of EOS, I want to express gratitude towards everyone who have decided to partake in the struggle to build a sustainable future for coming generations. The Biodome Project in Umea represents but the beginning of many projects which would be undertaken on the local, regional and global level to help to shift humanity towards a more sustainable future. eos_2013_1

To achieve this, we are dependent on the public. We are dependent on you.

But we are also keen to listen to your concerns and interests, and therefore invite you to partake in our forums, our facebook group, or our various meetings. If you have ideas which you want to realise in terms of sustainability and a transformation of the way in which we humans on a grand scale are dealing with our planet and our society, you are welcome to join EOS. We are not the kind of organisation where everyone is obliged to do the same thing, or where talented young people are wasted away to carry litter boxes, standing outside windy days and gather petitions or similar. We want to gather the brightest minds and most active hearts to make a qualitative change which would resonate through society.

You are very welcome to join in on our Teamviewer conference on the 6th of January 2013!

With kind regards

/Enrique

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The Third Millennium Ideology – Life, Love and Light

The ancient Mayans did believe that the 13th Baktun would end today, when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun would stand in conjunction with the Milky Way Galaxy, forming a cross on the night sky. According to the ancient Meso-American civilization, we would enter a new era today.

Sadly, we will probably not see any change be imposed on us from above. The dominant ideological, social, economic-financial and political systems will still stand entrenched, despite more and more evidence for every passing day that the current system is leading us towards an ecological and social planetary meltdown. There is a profound need for humanity to answer this challenge. The fundamental flaw is to believe that we can keep the current values unevolved, keep the current growth-based system but take away all the “bad sides” without fundamentally altering our values and our global systems.

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The dominant ideology of our age, which has largely emerged victorious against its various rivals, is Liberalism. As the name is implying, Liberalism is about stressing personal liberty. That is achieved through the rule of law, constitutionalism, human rights, electoral democracy, personal integrity and property rights and freedom of speech and conscience. The fundamental idea of Liberalism is that the individual is completely free to make her own decisions affecting her own life. To a large extent, political science and economics are largely influenced by the outlook and values of liberalism.

I would argue that most aspects of Liberalism are positive and have brought very much to the progressive development of humanity. The secularization and separation between church and state, the end of feudal power relations, legalistic equality (in theory largely), electoral democracy, independent courts, a postive attitude to science, the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution and the foundation for the greatest increase of material wealth and prosperity in the history of humanity.

Yet, Liberalism today is inherently unable to answer the new challenge, largely caused by the success of that world-view. Instead of feudal monarchies, we have seen the gradual establishment of a global corporate system with an increasingly unaccountable elite. We are still, despite that we produce more than enough food to sustain the entire world population, seeing poverty and famines spread across the planet. At the same time, the waste of food is staggering. Planned obsolence, an association of consumption with status, the spread of urban sprawls, overusage of water and arable soil, dependency on fossil fuels and an inability to stop the very behaviour we have entrenched ourselves in.

To a very large extent, an apathetic and lost citizenry is turning towards a leadership unable to address the current crisis, because they have an ideological and economic blind spot making them unable to connect the various problems we are experiencing.

What I very strongly have come to believe, is that we – the human race – is in need for a new ideology to address the global social and ecological issues of the 3d Millennium. It needs to protect the gains that Liberalism have made since the 18th century and to move farther than Liberalism in the issues of human rights, human dignity and human liberty. Yet, it also has to address the responsibility we human beings have – as a species – towards ourselves and our surroundings. Liberalism, which is mostly an individualistic ideology, is ill-suited to take a look at the wholity of the human existence.

In short, we need a holistic ideology.

Liberalism is an ideology largely connected to the idea of separation, of compartmentalising reality into various different areas. Nobody denies that everything is interconnected, but everything is divided. The labour market is treated as something independent from the financial system, which is treated as something independent from politics which is treated as something independent from ecology. What we would get from such a world-view is ultimately a situation where we can treat two mutually exclusive things as theoretically achievable (the chief example being exponential growth and ecological sustainability).

A holistic ideology would see everything as a part of a greater whole.

That does not imply that the specific, the local and the regional would be subservient to the global goal. Rather, it implies that everything is embedded in a greater context.

A single cell in your body can be studied as an entity in its own right. Yet, it is connected to your organs, which together are making up your body. You are ultimately a member of a society, which is a part of a civilization which is existing on this blue oasis in the Arm of Orion in the Milky Way Galaxy. You and everyone you love and care for are dependent – no matter what you strive for in your own lives – of the health of the larger system you are a part of.

holistic worldview

That brings the context.

It is time to discuss the values.

All values are ultimately subjective. Science is not an example of a value system, because it does not imply what is desirable. What is desirable for society to achieve is ultimately dependent on the culture and values of said society. And those values are a creation of the human mind and culture. I am not a relativist and I would claim that having for example an independent judiciary is superior to building a civilization based on human sacrifice to the Angry Volcano God. Nevertheless, values are something which we have to approach with an open discussion.

What has made Liberalism into an ideology which has survived is that it has universal values, which can be applied independent from variations in culture, religion and local/regional norms, thus transcending cultural, ethnic and religious borders. To some extent, it fails, for example in relation to tribal collectivist social systems. Yet, it has been successful because rather than discussing the long-term specific goals for the culture, it provides frames that the culture might not transcend.

The new ideology must also be broad enough to be able to transcend cultural and regional variations.

Thus, I would argue that the values of the new ideology – the Ideology of the Third Millennium – should be based around our role as the dominant species of this planet, and the responsibilities entailed in that role.

In short, the foundational value of what we should be doing should be Life.

Life is not a negation of liberty. Not a repudiation of equality. Not an attack on order.

Life is both a condition and a continuous flow of experiences.

What our future civilization should aim to achieve, is to protect, honour and uphold life on planet Earth. That should be the primary objective. From that follows two goals – to prevent the destruction of the Biosphere and to give all human beings such a high quality of life as possible. These two goals need to be balanced. As many of the liberal freedoms as possible need to be preserved within the new value system. Both positive and negative rights need to be upheld. No human being should go hungry to bed, be homeless, without access to education, healthcare or recreation. No human being should be the subject of political or religious persecution. All human beings should be given access to the means where they can thrive.

What would need to change would be our relationship to possessions, our patterns of production and our acquisition of resources. We need a new system to moderate these relationships, and that system would need to work in a circular rather than linear way, giving back what we take gradually, thus upholding a dynamic equilibrium.

The next value foundational for the new ideology, should be regulating our civilization’s way of dealing with Life, from the individual human life to the Biosphere. Ultimately, we should view life as the most valuable existence in the Universe. Life allows us to create meanings, to experience a variety of emotions and to learn and discover. Everything that is alive wants to live, that’s the foundation of life. Our civilization should love life, and treat it with reverence, respect, care and creativity. Even when we have to make hard decisions, we need to reflect the fact that we are a product of 1,5 billion years of evolution, that life is rare and that life can flourish where the conditions are the right.

Thus, Love should be our next foundational value.

The third and last value should regulate the way we access knowledge and base our decisions regarding our future civilization. It would entail the manner in which we pursue knowledge and solutions. That manner is by the scientific method, which provides information through peer review verificiation, experimentation and a non-dogmatic, open and transparent process to find available policies. New discoveries should be encouraged and science and research should flourish, but be directed towards the upholding of the values. Enlightenment.

Light.life

A short summary of the Ideology of the Third Millennium:

Everything is a part of a whole

Life is a gift

We should form our civilization

So life can thrive

Discover new paths

In diversity

In liberty

In equality

We are all

A part of the web of life

Whatever you believe

We are all co-dependent

We are all interconnected

We are all fractals

Life

Love

Light

All are one

Happy new era!

Enrique Lescure

Director of the Sequence of Relations

/The Earth Organisation for Sustainability

The rise of nationalism

All over Europe, East Asia and North America, Nationalism is growing. In Sweden, the third largest party amongst the youth are the xenophobic and formerly fascist Sweden Democrats. The Green Party and the Sweden Democrats are fighting on the national scale on who should be the third largest of Sweden’s 8 parties. While the Green Party commands a lead for the third place amongst those born in the 70’s, the Sweden Democrats are comfortably winning amongst those born in the 80’s and 90’s.

Why?viking_fan_medium

I would argue that the comparative failure for the Green Party to get on the drum in terms of youth politics is due to a failure to correspond how their policies could matter to the issues that are important to youths. In Sweden, unemployment lies around 7-8% persistently, and almost 25% of the youths are unemployed. If you are unemployed and low-educated, you will have a problem entering the labour market. Imagine that you and four-hundred other people are hunting the few low-qualified jobs that pop up then and then. It also affects your ability to get housing, especially as the population has increased with over one million since the 1990s (and most new building projects are middle class rather than working class-focused, meaning that youths moving out could stand in lines for years waiting for an affordable place to live in.

With a lack of pro-active initiatives to give people access to a working labour and housing environment, there is no surprise that those affected by the lack of policies or solutions in these areas would look for ways to reduce the population growth, even if it means tougher immigration laws.

Combine that with the stupid, self-defeating, alienating and bizarre policies undertaken by various local public officials regarding Swedish or western cultural heritage, and people become offended. This obsession with symbol issues which pervades through parts of the bureaucratic establishment for unclear reasons is slowly producing a backlash, a generation for which the most rebellious thing is to watch Astrid Lindgren films, eat Kalles Kaviar, hoisting the Swedish flag and listen to Sabaton and Raubtier. In the 1990s and early 2000s, that kind of patriotism was associated with the most backward countryside holdouts – but nowadays it seems to be mainstream, and pervade deeper into society.

The Greens do still have an edge in one area. The youths who are voting on the Greens tend to be more socially conscientous, have a higher degree of knowledge about poverty and sustainability issues and have a higher likelihood to engage in the Green Youth and later the actual Green Party. But Democracy is ultimately an exercise in numbers, not in the quality of the engagement. The recent scandals with the Sweden Democrats could actually even endear them more to the youths working for them.

I would say that the main problem why the Green Party fails to attract support is that they have been “too rational”. Triangulation is the most rational vote maximising strategy, and since 2002, the Greens have successfully employed that to move from the fringe to the mainstream. The mainstream, however, is not static, and future voters tend to identify themselves in opposition to the preceding generation. For example, the Baby Boomers identified themselves in opposition to the Greatest Generation, and brought the Civil Rights Era and Sexual Revolution. The yuppies of the 1980’s defined themselves in opposition to the hippies of the 1960’s, and the young adults of the 1990’s and 2000’s (gen x-ers) were generally more focused on social justice once again. In Sweden at least, it seems like the rebellious thing today is a form of “revolutionary conservative trolling”, marked by such communities as Flashback and news like Avpixlat. The Green Party is not considered hip, it is considered mainstream, and therefore not as “cool” for youths to identify themselves with it.

The Swedish cultural and political establishment is largely composed of Baby Boomers. Therefore, there have been a focus of rebellion against gender roles, patriarchy, christianity, hetero-normativity and traditional bourgeois national symbols such as the monarchy. What they have forgotten is that they are the establishment today, and the reaction is a weird situation where the rebellious thing is to become a christian conservative monarchist. I am certainly not saying that is any form of progressive development. I am just saying that it is the reality of the counter-identity that is formulated more and more. One of the reasons for being anti-establishment is to become something that “the adults” cannot approve of. If you draw a dick on the head of a photo of the Swedish Prime Minister, you can get an expo at a museum or arts gallery. If you draw a traditional national-romanticist painting, you evoke an uproar and become “the black sheep“. And one of the points with evoking controverse is to become the black sheep with the establishment.

To win support amongst the youths, the Green Party has to:

– Become more edgy and more hip. Youths generally mistrust establishment politicians.

And more importantly…

Access the issues of housing and employment in a believable manner.

– Communicate all of that in a “good” way.

Personally, I did actually expect that Gustaf Fridolin would help to increase the support of the Green Party above 10% and possibly up to 15%. The reason why the success of the Greens was stalled is probably that it isn’t 2002 any more and Gustaf Fridolin, who was an edgy rebel in the early 2000’s, nowadays is like any young politician. At last, he has not become Captain Obvious, like Annie Lööf. Of course, very few people care for politicians that doesn’t have any ideas on how to improve the things that matter.Lowenzahn_in_Mauerfuge

The Green Party has become a very blueish type of Green Party, which is sad. But yet, they have an orientation (internationalist, pro-sustainable) which is agreeable and should be supported. Their ideas are not bad, but they are not the best at advocating them and connecting them to the issues people feel for in everyday life. In contrast, nationalists like the Sweden Democrats have no solutions on any of the major problems today. They don’t even see those problems. That is not due to them having a bad programme, but rather a bad ideology. Nationalism, an ideology which is centred around the reveration of the nation, is probably the worst ideology you can have if you want to address global problems. Therefore, the loss of the youth to the far right – which is not only a Swedish phenomenon – represents a large and growing challenge for progressives.

Enrique Lescure,

Sequence of Relations Director,

the Earth Organisation for Sustainability

How the European project could save itself

The current Nobel Peace Prize award in Oslo is an attempt to verify the European Union as a “peace project”, comparable with Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Bono. This decision has been met with criticism both due to the fact that the EU has not always contributed positively to global peace, and as an obvious attempt to try to redefine the EU brand from being associated with a limping economy, an Euro on the verge of collapse, austerity, national governments that are radar-controlled from the ECB in Frankfurt, political ineptitude, xenophobia and the rise of poverty and far right groups.

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The enlightened, managerial establishment of Europe (of which the Norwegian Nobel Committee is a part) is using this prize as a form of therapy bear, and hopes that it would make those “unwashed rabble” who are threatened by unemployment, homelessness, a plummeting quality of life and perpetual debt to forget about their plight and come miming together to Beethoven’s Ninth. Not gonna happen. The prize does not elevate its possessor, but the possessor can elevate or denigrate the prize. Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama are inspiring human beings who have paid for their convictions by tremendous personal sacrifices. They also are likeable people who are charismatic and photogenic.

For the echo chamber, for the liberal media (of which many newspapers became either irritated at the EU peace prize reward, or stayed indifferent to the whole debacle) and for those who are invested in the EU, they thought it would increase the status of the Union. Instead, it sunk the value of the prize – again, and comes of as a desperate, Soviet-esque attempt to award oneself medals. To a very great extent, the EU has been the darling project for the managerial-bureaucratic classes in the European countries, no matter if these countries are a part of the EU or not. Norway is not a member of the EU, and only 18% of the Norwegians want to join the EU.

It remains a mystery what concrete, tangible things the European Union has done for peace. KFOR? SFOR? Peace-keeping missions? On that ground, the peace prize could have been awarded to every country or organisation that holds peace-keeping troops in other countries. What we should discuss is not so much peace-keeping as peace-building. And what we should discuss in this post is whether the EU brand forever is soiled.

I don’t think its necessarily that way.

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But “building a Pan-European identity” is so quaint today. It was perhaps progressive back in the 1930’s, when most of the world consisted of European colonies. It is true that there are a lot of youths who attach their identity to  something larger than their nation – but these youths are not very fond of the European Union and they don’t want to be Europeans. They want to be Earthlings. Earth inhabitants. Tellusians.

Terrans.

They travel to Ghana to help with ecological farming projects, are travelling to the Arctic to canoe with Polar Bears, are going down to Palestine, to Sudan, to Chiapas, to Ecuador, to Uganda and to Nepal. They certainly don’t identify themselves with Barroso, Van Rompuy or Ashton. They don’t want to build a “glorious United States of Europe”, because that dream of the interwar era has since long been superceded by a vision of a planet which knows no borders, of a sustainable planet, of a planet where humanity is unified, in the pursuit of life, of human dignity and of ecological sustainability. They are struggling for fair trade, women’s rights and indigenous rights.

If the European Union should ever become a successful project, it must engage itself whole-heartedly in the process for global justice, human well-being and sustainability, instead of being a conduit for corporate and bureaucratic interests. Otherwise, it will continue to suffer from shrinking approval rates, until the only logical conclusion is reached.

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The European Union will never succeed if it cannot evoke love and passion. And passion can only be evoked by passion.

In the 21st century, it should be passion for the Earth.

Doha

Sometimes, you hold on to a faint hope, that human beings and especially those who by all logic should have the highest wisdom and responsibility, should be able to finally reach a consensus like the responsible adults they presumably are. Evidently, they are not capable of that. This despite that the increase in world temperature seems to be greater than anticipated. There might still be hope for an – as usual – watered down agreement which would aim to unify “economic growth” with “sustainability”, which at the current conditions feels like mixing fresh water with gasoline and throwing a burning match on it all.

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I do not believe that the current world leaders are fools, but I believe that they are prisoners of an emergent system which has established itself during the last 200 years. A system characterised by financial, industrial, social and economic emergence that gradually decreases the manoeuvre space for those caught inside the system. We might – figuratively – be standing on the deck of Titanic. Given that an analogy could be made between Titanic and the world. And now the climate change issue is not the only debilitating environmental crisis in the world.

Another analogy would be that the Doha conference is a rehab meeting where everyone are addicts. But that would be too cheap. To a great extent, the climate change adjustment meetings are reminiscent of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Everybody has a motive to cheat, an agreement would lead to a loss in economic growth figures, but a disagreement would basically mean a major loss. The only difference is that it is the children’s children of the current world leaders who would live with the end result.

For a moment, imagine the relocation of the population of the Nile Valley Delta, or Bangladesh. We will be talking of over a quarter of a billion people. Most of them poor and more or less innocent to the destruction of the environment undertaken by a shortsighted and irrational system. Instead of only talking reduction of emissions, we should also discuss how to begin to relocate people, because some of the world’s most populated regions will be less habitable by 50 years.

Enrique Lescure, Relations Director, The Earth Organisation for Sustainability (EOS)

The Farthest Star

vnv_nationIt sometimes feels like this song is spot on for the situation that humanity now finds itself in. It is a truly amazing song, both strongly pessimistic and strongly optimistic, pro-humanity and pleading for the Earth, calling for us all to unite in action.

It is truly a song with a very strong message.

 

 

 

 

The Farthest Star ~ VNV Nation

The will to greatness clouds the mind
Consumes the senses, veils the signs
We each are meant to recognize.
Redeeming graces cast aside
Enduring notions, new found promise,
That the end will never come.

We live in times when all seems lost,
But time will come when we’ll look back,
Upon ourselves and on our failings.

Embrace the void even closer still,
Erase your doubts as you surrender everything:

We possess the power,
If this should start to fall apart,
To mend divides,
To change the world,
To reach the farthest star.
If we should stay silent.
If fear should win our hearts,
Our light will have long diminished,
Before it reaches the farthest star.

Wide awake in a world that sleeps
Enduring thoughts, enduring scenes.
The knowledge of what is yet to come.
From a time when all seems lost,
From a dead man to a world.
Without restraint, unafraid and free.

We possess the power,
If this should start to fall apart,
To mend divides,
To change the world,
To reach the farthest star.
If we should stay silent.
If fear should win our hearts,
Our light will have long diminished,
Before it reaches the farthest star.

If we fall and break,
All the tears in the world cannot make
us whole
Again.

We possess the power,
If this should start to fall apart,
To mend divides,
To change the world,
To reach the farthest star.
If we should stay silent.
If fear should win our hearts,
Our light will have long diminished,
Before it reaches the farthest star.

With kind regards
Enrique Lescure, EOS

A transhumanism of ethics

While still a pretty unknown tendency in Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries (where atheist humanism just recently has started to troll the consensus culture), transhumanism is a growing current in the Anglo-Saxon 628911_8a81edcac3_mworld. Rather than an outright ideology, I would claim that transhumanism is a form of zeitgeist or cultural affiliation that is having its roots in the longevity/neo-futurist movement of the 1950’s/1960’s, and the singulitarianism of Ray Kurzweil. Ultimately, transhumanism is a broad undercurrent with its ideological centre in California, the United States. There are libertarian, communist, anarchist, liberal and even fascist transhumanists.

What lies at the centre of Transhumanism, I would argue, are (as in many cases) three core beliefs. The first core belief is that the human being, rather than the pinnacle of creation and an ideal towards which everything else is judged, is a fleeting process, what Nietzsche would say is a “rope between the beast and the superman”. The second core belief is a positive belief in science similar to the techno-optimism of the late 19th and early 20th century (1870 – 1970), which is unparalleled in intensity, devotion and perhaps naivety. Technology will develop exponentially, will solve most social problems, and transform human civilisation. The third core belief is that humanity has an opportunity – even a duty – to take charge of its own evolution, in some cases even moving towards post-humanity. This can mean everything from life extension to merging with technology. There are even movements that wants to move towards antropomorfism, or “the uplifting” of animals.

What are my personal thoughts about the compability of the EOS values with transhumanism? Firstly, I would say that transhumanism – like the green ideology – doesn’t really espouse any values as much as a particular zeitgeist. Secondly, I would say that parts of transhumanism, like the movement towards for example eliminating debilitating conditions that many individuals are born with, like impaired hearing, blindness, allergies and similar through the use of specially tailored genetic medicines and technological implants, are something to be applauded. At the same time however, transhumanism to a large degree seems to suffer from a reality blindness, an overconfidence both in our current and future capabilities, a focus on hedonism, a casual to hostile disregard for the environment and an inability to understand the interests and world-views of the majority of the world’s population who aren’t academics or scientists.

To draw parallels with ancient myths, transhumanism leaps the risk of falling into the trap of human hubris, like Icarus flying too close to the sun. For example the  “Happy Morning in Hedonistia, 2050” proto-novella casually described bullying and ostracisation of children whose parents have declined to use modifications on them. Instead of being seen as an institutional problem, it is seen as a neutral matter-of-fact in that hypothetical society. Instead of presenting a bold new direction for the ethical development of humanity, mainstream transhumanism instead seems to focus on the success-oriented individualism of the latter-day consumerist western world, with the ultimate aim of overcoming death (the final until now unstoppable barrier).

One can easily imagine that such a society would see increasing class differences, between citizens that can afford body and gene modifications in order to improve their efficiency, strength, intelligence and beauty, and the zambian_womanrest of the population. It would be a socially brutal, shallow and very materialistic society. Of course, it is possible to pursue such values, but the question is how well such values contribute to a sense of general human well-being. Of course, poverty can affect unhappiness numbers, but some of the wealthiest countries on the planet are also some of the unhappiest. There is a risk that what transhumanism pursues, technology as a replacement of religious faith, cannot really achieve what many transhumanists really want – a sense of fulfillment that will evade them even if they achieve immortalism.

This essay is not intended as a damnation of transhumanism, but rather as a criticism of a few tendencies within transhumanism. As long as transhumanism cannot transcend its class basis (Californian socialités and geeks), it will be relegated as a cultural appendix to the scientific community mainly in America. The world which is growing today, will be increasingly coloured, global south-based and has entirely different interests, namely how to distribute the resources of the world in such a manner that all human beings can get a decent standard of life. That issue will become increasingly important as the ecological systems are continuing to deteriorate. Any ideology which wants to be relevant for the 21st century, must not only embrace the individual, but must embrace all of humanity. We have a global future, whether we want it or not – and the best and least painful road would be to embrace that fact. Longevity, sexbots and space exploration doesn’t matter much to the bulk of Indian or Zambian women.

Ultimately, what I believe in is that with greater power follows greater responsibility. As a species, we must make the choice how we want our civilization to develop for the next 500 or 1000 years. I believe in a transhumanism of ethics.

Such a transhumanism would be the affirmation that humanity has moved forward during the course of human history. Assyrian kings built monuments where they boasted of how many women and children they raped and skinned alive. The Romans held gladiatorial contests and used mass executions as their equivalent to Super Bowl. The entire Aztec Empire was built on the institutionalisation of human sacrifice. The Spanish Inquisition used devilish torture methods to close the human mind for new thoughts. The weaker members of society have often (and still are) preyed upon by the stronger. Women, children, the handicapped, LGBTs and ethnic minorities have historically been brutalised, repressed, deprived of their human dignity and ostracised from decision-making processes. We can not deny that there still are a lot of oppression in society, but that it generally has been moving in a direction towards greater inclusion and less violence.

Transhumanists, such as the users at the Future Timeline community, seem to sometimes view this process as an appendix to the “greater goal” of biological human enhancement. I do not agree with that deterministic view, and I am convinced if we by our inaction are causing the collapse of most ecological systems in this century, that we will see a new dark age emerge, as evidenced by the march of the forces of Darkness in Greece, Egypt, America and other places. The struggle for human dignity is an active struggle, and not one that has been fought or won by the crowd that is reading Ayn Rand.

It is not – however – only a matter of human rights. It is also a matter on how we are viewing life. Is life an end in itself, or is it a tool to achieve a “greater purpose” (or individual self-gratification)?

I view life as an end in itself. It has taken 1,5 billion years for life to flourish on this planet. It has taken 65 million years since the last mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. Is the purpose of life to maximise the economic growth during just a quarter of a millennium (1800 – 2050)? Or is the purpose of life, life in itself? Life has brought an enormous diversity of plants, animals, eco-systems and adaptions. It is a creative process involving millions of factors. It is a powerful symphony of colours, sounds and experiences. Human life arose from the biosphere. All rationalisations aside, this is ultimately only a matter of choices.

alex-grey

So, how would ethical transhumanism be like? An ethical transhumanism would affirm that with greater power follows greater responsibility. If we should become like the old gods of ancient Greece, it is my conviction that we must establish a much greater degree of responsibility towards life – all life. Instead of being elitists, we should strive to be humble in the face of the greatness that is the universe. Yet, I believe that we should strive to explore space, to walk on alien surfaces, to spread and experience all dawns.

We should become a civilisation of gardeners, who cherish at the thought of creating and spreading life throughout the Milky Way, for the sake of life itself. A transhumanism of ethics would be primarily concerned with expanding human conscience, moderation and love, rather than focusing on competition and status.

The value systems you are attaining should be consistent with your goals.

Enrique Lescure, Director of the Sequence of Relations, EOS

Automatisation and unemployment in the west

3drobos1

Since the 1990s, the Japanese economy have generally speaking stagnated. Economists have spent years analysing the reasons for the Japanese slow-down, an economy dependent on constant stimulus injections to try to save itself form the effects of a housing bust two decades ago. It was long assumed that the particular culture in Japan was not comsumption-friendly and that the Japanese people were averse towards spending and inclined towards saving – i.e their demand aggregate demand curve was very flat.

Recently, there has been headed warnings that the British economy is at risk of becoming a stagnated economy too, where growth numbers won’t increase despite whatever the British government decides to do. This is treated as an exception to the rule, but the question is whether the West has entered a sort of “GDP plateau”. Human beings do only have 24 hours at their disposal, and there is a limit on how much consumption they can engage in.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Sweden have accumulated impressive growth figures since 2008, despite the financial crisis and the great recession. A large part of this growth is however due to the fact that Sweden is a raw material exporter, mainly of metals and timber, and a lot of these are fuelled by growth in East Asia. The latest trend analysis is pointing out that the West will largely stagnate for the nearest 40 years, as domestic consumption will not increase in economies already so large (GDP/capita numbers could however improve due to a reduction of the fertility rates). The middle classes will continue their sheltered existence, largely protected from the effects of bad environmental and financial policies.

What we will see however and most likely, is an increasing competition on the labour market, not only between human beings, not only between the West and Asia and Africa on the other side, but also between machines and human beings. Even in labour-intensive China, Foxconn has announced they are going to start replacing their assembly line workers with robots, putting further stress on the Chinese economy which already is having the world’s largest net unemployment in terms of the number of people unemployed. It is not only the industrial sector that is affected, even in the service sector, simpler jobs are replaced by machines. As labour-intensive jobs are automatised or outsorced, youths, elderly and those without higher education are thrown into increasingly more unstable employments.

Sweden’s economy can today – despite the economy growing very much for a West European country in these years – not boast of a smaller unemployment than in 2006, the year when the current Alliance government was replacing the social democrats, largely on a programme of reducing unemployment. It cannot be claimed that the 7,1% unemployment today is the fault of the government, since the rest of the West is struggling with similar unemployment figures. It is hard to see what new net employment can be added as the automatisation continues. Of course, there will be a movement towards further liberalisation of the labour market, as well as salary decreases, which we already have seen the unions agree to (something that would have been unprecedented 20 to 30 years ago).

EOS believes that a humane society would look to utilise automatisation to reduce the number of work hours and create more stimulating and fun experiences in terms of meaningful activities. The current system is rather working on a social-darwinian principle of forcing human beings to struggle against one another in a race to the bottom where the entire lower middle class and the working class will lose as a whole. We cannot expect to keep a growth-oriented system, automatise and keep a welfare system. The social reasons alone would suffice for enough motivation to move towards a sustainable civilisation for all human beings.

We believe that sustainability is not a term opposed to human well-being, but a foundation for human well-being. Ultimately, we are humans, and thus the rational and empathic route would be towards establishing systems which would benefit the needs of human beings. Automatisation does not need to mean a rat race to the bottom in the society described in “The Design”, but rather an elevation of human beings. This must however be coupled with an end to any attempts to maximise consumption (either through commercials, planned obsolence or conditional programming of consumers). The current society is ultimately directing itself towards its own destruction, and the destruction of all the passengers who haven’t themselves chosen to be on this ride. Even if they for now enjoy the ride, they will suffer the day the contradictions between unlimited needs for growth and a limited planet are crashing together.

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To some extent, automatisation and unemployment can have good side effects of making people aware that a change in the institutional design of our current society is needed. Therefore, while the effects on unemployment herald social tragedies, especially for those workers who are above 50 years of age, the effects can be a refreshing wake-up call calling for an investigation of potential social alternatives. Therefore, automatisation can represent creative destruction which could help drive social development forward.

Technology is also a double-edged sword, and can also be applied by poor communities in order to increase their adaptive skills, their survival rates and their resilience. In societies with increasing unemployment, where social welfare systems are gutted, there is a rationale for communities organising themselves to produce their own needs. Open Source Ecology contains numerous examples of technologies that can be utilised in order to improve the livelihood and quality of life of ordinary people like you and me. EOS does however encourage people to organise in their communities, because it is more environmentally and economically efficient to build together and to network together with other groups than to try to make your own home self-sustaining in all regards. The Umea Biodome Project is aimed at increasing the quality of life and the food security of the people of the Umea region in northern Sweden.

EOS is supporting the UBG project, and we are willing to support your project as well, if you have anything you want to improve on in your community. Ultimately, we are all on the same boat.

Enrique Lescure, Earth Organisation for Sustainability

Overpopulation vs Overproduction

The reasoning for this post is an interesting topic which we discussed in the EOS Facebook Group recently. indian_family_22_oct_2003

When you put a dozen greens in a room, you generally get 60 differing opinions on various topics. One topic which usually makes the room go silent is the topic of population growth. There are three different reasons for population growth being a hot topic in green circles.

Firstly, this issue, when formulated as a problem, begs for political solutions – which often means intrusive measures carried out into the personal lives of people. This creates a natural cringe reaction, especially as many greens are young parents. It also leads to natural associations with various authoritarian governments, like Nazi Germany’s eugenics laws and the People’s Republic of China’s one-child policies. Even if the person claiming to want population control doesn’t specify how – or maybe exactly because of that – people’s thoughts are led to the nightmares of forced sterilisation, adoption clinics, police state measures and sex regulations. And nothing scare people as much as the thought of the state scrutinising their personal lives.

Secondly, harking from this, a lot of greens are aspiring politicians – even in smaller “deep green” parties. They are aware that if you talk about population control, people will flee your party like the cat is fleeing a cold bath. Population control is a kiss of death in western politics. The reasons for this are not irrational. Nobody (or at least a miniscule minority) are wanting intrusive measures into their own lives by the government.

For me, the most important argument against population control as the main source for combatting the ecological crisis is scientific and moral. I will discuss the scientific reasoning first, and that would make the third reason why the subject is cringe-worthy, and the reason which personally makes me tick.

The claim is that we have too little resources to sustain the current population of Earth, and that the population will constantly rise due to the “arithmetic factors” of growth. Professor Al Bartlett of the University of Colorado is claiming this in a lecture which has found its way into Youtube. He is contested by mainstream science, represented by professor Hans Rosling. While EOS has many criticisms against Rosling, it is worth noting that Malthusians like Al Bartlett are doing sustainability advocacy a huge misservice. Having listened to Bartlett’s lecture and read about his resumé, I cannot find any information which shows that he is an expert on population growth curves and trends.

Human beings are not bacteria, and do not reproduce mindlessly. The first warning sign was when he claimed there is no correlation between a “population growth reduction” and education and healthcare, but instead took wars and diseases as positive examples. All research examples are showing that when life expectancy and education are going up, population growth is dropping and eventually stabilising. While a peak of 9 billion might be a little optimistic, it stands clear that if current trends continue, human population growth will stagnate. PopulationGrowth

The main question then is if it is stabilising on a level which represents an acute threat to the planetary eco-systems. Proponents of expansion of agricultural production are usually claiming that we need to increase global production in order to sustain for all people who are starving. This is a misconception. We can feed more than ten billion people today more than adequately. The famines around the world would not exist if the system was designed to accommodate all human needs. Currently, the demand in supply’n’demand is very much designated by the demand of money, which means that if you lack money, you lack demand (and don’t presumably have any needs). The food scarcity is rather a monetary scarcity than a real scarcity at the moment.

Then what is the real problem?

If you look at the graph above, it shows that the global population was almost at  2 billion in the year 1900. Today, the world population is slightly above 7 billion. That represents around a 3,5 times increase since 1900, which is indeed something worth thinking about. That is dwarfed however, by the growth of the economy since year 1900. According to J. Bradford de Long of UC Berkeley, the global economy (GWP) has grown from 1 to 41 trillion USD (1990) between year 1900 and 2000, representing a 40 time increase, or 4000%. Economic growth is not de-attached from the physical resource economy, and the physical resource economy is co-existing in the same environment that constitutes the global biosphere.

That can explain why we are using more resources than the Earth can renew on an annual basis, the annual eco-deficit (a gradual reduction of the Earth’s bio-diversity visible in statistics). This continuous destruction of the Earth’s habitats is driven by the need of the current system to maximise growth figures, and not by people in the third world gaining access to education and healthcare. Those who claim that overpopulation is the main reason behind the ecological malaise are doing a very great disservice to the planet and to future generations. By misdiagnosing the disease, they are advocating faulty remedies which would not cure the problem.

I won’t claim that the overpopulation advocates are driven by any ulterior motives or malevolence, but the idea that overpopulation is the main road towards an ecological collapse in the latter half of the 21st century is looking very much like a shift of the blame from the wealthy parts of the world, where 80% of the world trade is traditionally conducted and where most flashy new products are made, to the poorest and least developed parts of the world, those parts which incidentally have the lowest global footprint. It is also a very real return to the discourse of the 1970s.

Saying that, I won’t omit to mention that we need to engineer social and institutional policies which are leading to a responsible human procreation and family planning. Ultimately however, according to The Design, this should be an issue determined democratically, not scientifically. Human beings must be encouraged to grow up into responsible citizens who can act as stewards of their planet. The purpose of the technate is not to babysit the population, but to ensure that the planetary resources are used in a wise manner.

Needless to say, the Facebook discussion pretty much ended with the population control advocates in disarray.

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Enrique Lescure, EOS Sequence of Relations Director, the Earth Organisation for Sustainability

Enter the EOS Horizon

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The Earth Organisation for Sustainability stands ready – having passed through many hardships, but also encountered new possibilities – to make a wide impact in year 2013.

Our forum and website will face major changes. Hopefully, we will soon see the blossoming of regional websites and communities, Scandinavian, British, German…

The most meaningful project for us however, is the Umeå Biodome Project, which is one of the most interesting environmental projects in Scandinavia right now, regarding post-peak food security, farming in sub-arctic or other adverse conditions, as well as making artificial eco-systems available to the general public. It will also mark the beginning of our first bio-community in Northern Sweden and the terraformation of the planet.

This blog exists to tell the story about our progress, our setbacks, the struggle of EOS and its scientists, activists and dreamers world-wide to save the future, as well as about the local situation in Umeå, Sweden. It also exists to tell, in easy terms, about the ideology of EOS, the reterraformation of the Earth, the end of the overexploitation of the planet and the establihment of the first true human world-wide project, the Terran Technate Consortium.

For six years, this chronicler has been active in this movement, not because he hopes to gain any benefits or wanted an identity, but because he believes that a transformation of the way humanity is handling the resources it has inherited from the last 65 million years is necessary in order to ensure a worthy existence of future generations on this planet. There is no realistic route forward which doesn’t involve us holistically caring for the systems which have granted us the opportunity to live.

Our species are gifted with so many wonderful capabilities to spread life throughout the Universe and to build a civilisation that can survive for billions of years. Yet, we have foolishly decided to pursue a course which would lead to the current civilisation driving right into the rock, and that only during this current century. We have to ask ourselves, if the purpose of 1,5 billion years of evolution on Earth is to provide a few mega-corporations and a small percentage of Earth’s current population with vastly increasing quantities of a medium of exchange, theoretically in the shape of green bills?

The world is not a video-game, and there is no reload if there is game over.We have a mission, to save the world.

 

With kind regards

Enrique Lescure, Sequence Director of Relations, the Earth Organisation for Sustainability