Alt-Epistemology 101: CAN we choose between seemingly diametrically opposed alternatives?

And if so, how?

As we creep closer to the end of 2017, I find myself entertaining two radically polarized future scenarios. Not that I “be-lie-ve” either of them; but I do hold them both in mind as possibilities. And/or, of course, anything in between!

These are first, the glorious future envisioned by Clif High for 2018, which he considers the lead-up to the 2020s which, he says, will be much like the 1920s, when the business climate was extremely strong and heady and all was right with the world.

As he details this, I find myself wondering, “But what about the planet? All this new business to be drummed up in the U.S. — due in part to gutted environmental laws as well as Trump’s new tax cuts encouraging corporations to relocate back to the U.S. — will inevitably accelerate already enormous costs to the environment, polluting even further earth, water and air.

But, says my son Colin, consider that the technology to clean the environment will expand along with the rest of the expanding business climate. Well yes, maybe. Both my sons, born in the Uranus/Pluto in Virgo generation, belong to the “technology will save us” camp. Me? I’m not so sure. Or, it may be that in the end technology can “save” us, but the timing has to be just so. Otherwise the accelerating pollution will outrun the new inventions required to eliminate it.

And the other scenario is one envisioned exactly as the result of our polluting industries. As chief doomer Guy McPherson puts it, “civilization is a heat engine” — and is currently warming the planet to the point of human other species extinction. Furthermore, warns Guy, there’s nothing we can do about it. On the one hand, pollution now generates hazy skies (which keeps the heat effect down, to some extent), and on the other hand, if we stopped, right now, the planet would then heat up to the point where we would die. Either way, we’re sunk. When? Within ten years, he now claims.

Plus, somewhere else, where? I saw that he claims that the arctic and antarctic ice, as it melts, will doom human civilization, since 40% of the global population live on the world’s coasts, where the ocean will rise. And, as I recall, he claims that this will happen within two years.

For the U.S.:

Oh, and BTW, Clif High claims (where?) that what we’re facing is not global heating but its opposite, global cooling, and that this will be long term and drastic, but that at least some humans will survive it.

So, and here we are, at the end of one tumultuous year heading into another. Naturally, we are forward-thinking during these closing days of the old year, wondering what’s next, both for ourselves and for the world as a whole. And what presents itself? At least these two diametrically opposed views of what’s coming down the pike!

Both Clif High and Guy McPherson base their views on their analysis of certain “data sets.” Cliff High focuses on “predictive linguistics,” where he looks at the relative frequency and amplitude of words as they appear on the internet as an indication of what is going on in the collective unconscious, which then sets certain trends in motion, leading into the future. As “woo-woo” (his word) as this methodology sounds, I must admit that many of his predictions do come “true.” Guy McPherson, on the other hand, is much more traditionally scientific. Basing his analysis of “data sets” on increasingly runaway environmental feedback loops of certain variables, he simply sees no way out; no matter what we do or not do, our goose is cooked.

In the following video, listen to about minute 17 through 37.

Guy once spent two nights in my home during one of his lecture tours. We discussed his scientific approach. I wondered out loud how he could be so sure that he was picking the right, or enough variables; even more, how could he be so sure that the Earth doesn’t have her own agenda that will remain obscure and mysterious to us humans since there is no way whatever we choose as “data points” can fully mine the infinity that burns in every single dimensionless point in space, much less understand how any combination of factors that we have identified could possibly be complete! In short, there is no mirroring of nature that is more than a simulacrum. Thus there is no way to be sure of our predictions, given that we always choose among alternatives, most of which we are not even aware of, for our future predictions.

As the Buddhists would say: “co-dependent arising.” I.e., it all rises and falls together. What is “it”? The whole, an infinitely interwoven, continuously expanding and contracting, creation of something out of nothing, nowhere, forever and ever.

The Dalai Lama when once asked, what does he think of the Big Bang? answered, “Which one?”

So I leave you with this undecided polarity: Tremendous business opportunity and expansion and/or a ruined planet, both sooner or later. And, you don’t even have to think long and hard about it to realize that these opposite alternatives do go together, indeed that the first automatically generates the second, as it has for hundreds of years.

And will technology save us? I leave that up to you.

About Ann Kreilkamp

PhD Philosophy, 1972. Rogue philosopher ever since.
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1 Response to Alt-Epistemology 101: CAN we choose between seemingly diametrically opposed alternatives?

  1. rose day says:

    Ann, I so wish that I could get excited about Clif High’s allusions to the 2020s and comparisons to the ‘Roaring 1920s’ yet a small bell goes off when fast-forwarding in reverse to the 1929 market crash and eventual financial debacle.

    I realize that ‘old’ adages are just that . . . old . . . yet a few manage to survive for centuries which creates a credibility of sort. I am reminded of the goody that reads,
    ‘When man dismisses the lessons of ‘His-story’ he is often required to repeat those lessons’.

    That said, perhaps Clif is right and we truly are on the cusp of an era of global enlightenment that will see the end of dark, behind-the-scenes machinations and restore ‘Our-story’.

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