How We Will Approach Rethinking Everything

Introduction to Rethinking Everything

Welcome to Rethinking Everything

I've been blogging for years, starting in 2007, under the heading "Question Everything" (QE). In that blog I raised questions about what is the reality of our world, how the world works, and more importantly, why our world works the way it seems to. My motivation was due to noting a difference between what people say and what they do. There seemed to be so many inconsistencies between, for example, what I learned in school and what I observed in the real world. Over the years I covered many different aspects of the human social system and where I thought I saw discrepancies. I covered issues as varied as energy and the economy, to societal collapse, to some deficiencies in the human psyche. This was possible to attempt because I had gained an extensive education (most of it autodidactic) in systems science, SS. With the tools of SS and systems thinking, I found I could quickly come to understand different specialized fields once I translated the terminology of that field into systems terminology. Over the years I have had professional successes in several different occupations from engineer to management to professor of computer science. This was all possible because systems principles underlie the seemingly wildly varied phenomena.

Over the years I sought answers to many of the questions. Using, again, the methods and principles of SS I was able to analyze phenomena and ferret out observations, if not outright answers. QE slowly transitioned from purely a question-asking exercise to offering some of the results of my analyses. I gradually formed a holistic view of the world and how it works. Now, I've decided to start sharing some thoughts on a variety of issues.

The pandemic was a major transformative force in making me think about what I had learned and what I should do with it. The pandemic has exposed so many of the dysfunctional aspects of today's human societies. We don't know how far this breakage goes, but if systems principles hold, we should expect a complete breakdown of most of what we have thought of as "normal." Many commentators have pivoted to talking about the "new normal," or how we need to rethink different aspects of our social system. For example, with COVID-19 forcing so many schools to close and carry on distant learning, people are now asking what kind of school system will we have post-pandemic? I suggest this is the wrong kind of question to ask.

Rather, I think we need to deeply rethink everything about us (Homo sapiens) and or existence. And by that I mean not only rethink specific subsystems (institutions) but the entire context of every subsystem. We need to rethink the whole notion of what it means to have a human social system. In light of global warming and peak fossil fuel energy this becomes an exercise of existential importance.

Whereas QE had simply become a quarterly reminder that things are bad and getting worse, Rethinking Everything (RE) will be focused on expanding some of the "answers" provided by questioning and analyses using systems science and systems thinking. For example, I will tackle the whole notion of what governance is and means for a sapient species that seeks to live in harmony with its environment. Many of these ideas will be incorporated in my new systems book in writing.

Its not that I've run out of questions. Questions are always the guiding light for trying to understand things better. I will continue to pose questions as they come up. But now I want to turn those questions around quickly to propositions about the nature of a reality that needs to be rather than the one we have clumsily constructed for ourselves, and gotten ourselves into deep trouble as a consequence. I want to see if we can derive systems wisdom from examining our evolution and history while also considering what natural systems suggest to us as ways to organize and run our societies. We are intentional beings. We make choices about what paths we wish to pursue. But we need to direct those intentions from a basis of knowledge, especially knowledge of consequences. We need to be strategic and far sighted as opposed to working to maximize short-term profits regardless of what the future brings.

These are the kinds of ideas I want to pursue in working on this blog. We'll see how it goes.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

SteveSalmony

To Giovanni Moebius with kind regards..

Dear George,

If the skyrocketing, unbridled growth of absolute global human population numbers and the "overshoot" activities (i.e., corporate overproduction and per capita overconsumption) of the human species are direct causes of the current climate emergency and a Global Ecological Predicament, perhaps it would be worthwhile to begin 2021 by using this opportunity to "Rethink Everything". If it pleases you to do so, let us carefully examine virtually irrefutable ecological scientific research of human population dynamics. By so doing, it becomes possible to understand why the human population monster is continuing to explode on the surface of Earth as well as what can be done to tame the Leviathan.

https://www.mediamonitors.net/the-root-cause-of-human-population-growth/

Thanks for your enduring willingness to Question Everything,

Steve

Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.
AWAREness Campaign on the Human Population
established 2001
Chapel Hill, NC
USA

Peter Salonius


Steve Salmony writes as if there really is a "climate emergengy".

The idea that ther is a "climate emergengy" is based on the unproven assumptions of the climate modelers that CO2 drives the global climate and that increasing atmospheric CO2 levels will cause unbearable global warming. These models have failed , based on paleoclimate evidence that show no consistent relationship between CO2 levels and global temperatures ... and recently as CO2 levels have soared without producing the climate heating that the models have projected.

The following article gives us access to the precission research by physicists William Happer and Willem van Wijngaarden showing that the current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor are “saturated" with regard to their heat trapping capabilities.

Slight, Beneficial Warming From More Carbon Dioxide! (townhall.com)

I agree, as humans --- fueled by fossil fuels ---are in 'plague expansion' and have seriously overshot the Earth's long-term carrying capacity while continuing to commandeer the living space of almost all other species //// however our concentration on the supposed danger from increasing atmospheric carbon containing greenhouse gas levels has distracted us from the problems that our exponential population growth has visited on the planet.

Peter Salonius

Eric Lee

Peter,

I agree with your assessment of humanity's 'plague phase' problematique. Your link to alternative climate change information, which I also agree the politized subject of climate change is a distraction from the drivers of anthropogenic species extinction (a measure of the pace of planetary destruction we are presiding over), and our overdevelopment, overpopulation, overconsumption, overshoot, and overdensity urban lives.

There was no hyperlink to your source, so if I may for the benefit of other readers: https://townhall.com/columnists/davidwojick/2020/11/27/slight-beneficial-warming-from-more-carbon-dioxide-n2580718

I knew nothing of the source, Townhall, so as usual I checked the source (there being millions of them): https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/townhall/

Okay, 'questionable' but that doesn't mean wrong, so next consider the article, starting with author: https://townhall.com/columnists/davidwojick/

Who has a PhD (I don't) and knows more than I do. He is 'an independent analyst working at the intersection of science and public policy... and focuses his research on unpacking the structure of complex issues.' But so am I and so do I.

That two physicists claim that CO2/H2O levels have saturated the atmosphere and that any further increase will merely benefit plants as a fertilizer (unfortunately only slightly), is news of interest. I followed all links. One was relevant: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.03098.pdf

Two academics with expertise in physics and astronomy offer 38 pages on the Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases to conclude: 'the transmission of infrared radiation through a cloud-free atmosphere from the Earth’s surface to outer space', if 'doubling the current concentrations of the greenhouse gases... increases the forcings by a few percent for cloud-free parts of the atmosphere... comparable to those [finding] found by other groups'. And yes, 'the forcings from all greenhouse gases are saturated' as they are and have been, in the outer regions of the atmosphere. So nothing to see here, folks, their findings support the findings of others upon which the consensus view is based.

But 'Doubling the CO2 concentration will cause a temperature decrease of the upper atmosphere of about 10 K', so I'm thinking I should upgrade to double or triple pane windows. At least I know fossil fuels aren't forever, so I've already invested to increasing the woodpile.

I wonder how many readers of Townhall factcheck what they read, minimally, as I always do before sharing information.

I have a list of existential threats to humanity and the biosphere and I put climate change at #12, but I did that just to annoy as it probably should be in the 6-9 range, http://www.sustainable.soltechdesigns.com/human-past.html#collapse

Happy 2020 End.

Jura

Dear George

I tried to add RE to my RSS reader but I failed. Tried adding in 3 different readers.Al claimed there is sth wrong with the feed.

"org.apache.http.client.HttpResponseException: Server returned HTTP error code 403"

Bev Courtney

George, I've been a long-time reader of QE and tried to share your winter solstice post on Facebook. It was taken down with the message that it did not support their community standards on spam !!! I believe it was because of the references to COVID. I also tried to share the first of the new blog's posts and got the same message. I think it was because the new URL still contains the old URL and that is what they are honing in on.....the old URL has been blacklisted and anything containing it will be deleted. If you don't care whether your posts are shared on Facebook that's fine, but if you do, I'd suggest a new URL, one that doesn't include the old one.

George Mobus

@Bev,
I'm locked into this url I'm afraid. Feel free to copy and paste material from this site to FB if you want. Then cite with something like: Google "rethinking everything" mobus. It comes up at top. Its an extra step but if readers are interested they probably won't mind. I'm not enamored with FB, rarely use it except to read family posts/shares.

@Jura,

I haven't use RSS in a long while so am not sure about state of the art. The subscribe to this blog feed link only produces the text and does not bring you to this site (peculiar). I recommend just bookmarking and checking from time to time to see what activity there has been. But maybe someone else reading will know how to get notifications. Sorry I can't help.

@Peter

Sort of what Eric said. I'm asking everyone who is going to make a claim, especially one that might be controversial to properly cite references and, if possible, provide links to peer-reviewed articles (news stories ok to some degree but knowing what I know about most reporters, their lack of keen discrimination and critical judgement as well as adequate schooling in the topics at hand we should all regard them with skepticism).

@Steve,

Hi my friend. So happy to see you joining in. And, of course, couldn't agree more.

George

Tracye

George,
For the RSS readers they can try going to the home page and copying the url, pasting it into your RSS search field. This is what worked for me, I have NewsBlur.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)