ALTERNATIVE FUTURES *** WE MAY ENCOUNTER

INTRODUCTION

I prefer to imagine (and work to make manifest) positive futures, which I label by Up2Met for UPLIFT to Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis.  Here I will sketch some dystopian or negative futures that I believe may well happen; not only if Up2Met isn’t created, but may be encountered along with Up2Met if we wait too long. There are many such forecasts, both fiction and non-fiction. Some of those I present here, I haven’t heard of (they may be out there) and these insights may have resulted in the context of my rationales for Up2Met. I don’t have competencies (lacking sensory imagery) to compose interesting narratives for these alt-futures; so I welcome anyone to take some of these themes and compose stories on them.

First, a brief introduction to an important distinction I am proposing, which I explicate in a bit more detail in the last section of this essay: Human vs Material Realities/Systems.

Although distinct, these two types of systems interact and co-evolve/emerge.

Material systems include human biological systems: organisms, cells, brains, and their molecular subsystems – in the context of both quantum and classical explanatory systems. The complex infrastructures of human social and societal systems are material systems, as would be descriptions of movement behavior. The intent of behavior would not be included as part of the material system. Obviously, the cosmological universe and the bodies in our solar system are material systems. Evolution is a process primarily within material systemw.

Human systems explicitly refer to the dynamically organizational patterns of humans in relation to their constructed infrastructures and the perceivable messages in their communications and semiotic structures and archives (e.g.: texts and libraries). I call these “semfields”. Although the semfields are part of material reality, their perception, interpretation and creation involves very complex processes with neural-molecular system of body/brains and what we have labeled “minds”. As some have proposed (Penrose and Hameroff), this may involve quantum-like processes and weirdness not present in material reality. Early forms of this type of system may be found in other animals.

Up2Met is an emergent proposal for a humankind-to-humanity transition within human systems/realities.  These changes will be influenced by changes in material systems and will, in turn, effect such changes. However, we can imagine humankind engaging the Up2Met proposal relatively independent of what transpires in the material systems – such as the speed by which climate change alters our material environment. Currently, humankind is driven by such material changes, although adding its own unique twist, often to negative effect. Humankind does have the option to be more creative and with OLLO, uplift their collective competencies to “better direct their influence” on their material systems.

The “futures” outlined below are descriptions of possible material systems and environments for a future humankind. Radically different cultural/societal systems might inhabit such settings. Consideration of human system change, whether by Up2Met or other modes will influence how humankind is impacted by any of these material futures.

I am definitely not calling for any reduction of effort to slow and reverse global heating – which I believe we can technologically achieve, especially with Up2Met, when the whole of humankind eventually becomes an exponentially rising  population of knowledgeable/competent participants working towards our collective survival/thrival. This will not happen immediately and global heating, with consequential disasters, will continue to accelerate. The scenarios I present attempt to provide hope that, even if we fail to immediately slow global heating and life gets very difficult on land, there are options for human survival for centuries – during which Up2Met could bring about a recovery of Gaia and humankind.

What blocks us today are our outmoded societal systems (and consequentially dysfunctional human systems), and a grossly under-developed & incompetent population – who are unable to apply even what we already know what to do; let alone mobilize-this-population (uplifting) in innovative R&D to meet our survival/thrival needs.  The best of our governments, corporations, and other societal institutions are grossly inadequate to this task and show no trend in changing to be more relevant, effective and efficient (let alone more enjoyable and elegant – reeee).

We don’t have accurate estimates of the rate different regions of Earth will become uninhabitable. It could be much sooner than we think, or we might have more decades (in some regions). We shouldn’t bet on best case scenarios nor panic over worst case scenarios.  Humankind will be in deep crisis sometime in the future, even if we could quickly stop greenhouse gases going into our atmosphere and oceans. Those of us who believe this threat is real need to treat it as real, and not be diverted arguing with deniers. We can’t wait until we have converted the deniers. Indeed, we are already in a deep Crisis-of Crises, which is accelerating; not only diverse environmental crises but also personal, social, societal, and cultural crises.

Although I won’t discuss it further here, I sincerely am concerned that our populations will continue to fragment into strongly combative “forces” engaged in variations of civil wars – or be tyrannically ruled by dictatorial systems (to keep the “peace”). Thus, there is also a human system challenge along with the surviving global heating challenge addressed in this essay. That madness in some quarters might result in nuclear holocaust is always a possibility – but it can’t distract us from what we can do. Nuclear Disarmament, much desired, is impossible at this time.

COLONIZING
THE ANTARCTIC AND DEEP OCEANS
AS A STOPGAP

Although the air temperature may get so hot that humans can’t live on land, the large ice cap in the Antarctic will maintain the temperature of freezing or below – until it all melts – which may be a long time.  I actually lived from November 1960 to January 1962 at Old Byrd Station (80 degree S latitude), in buildings 40 feet below the glacier surface, connected by tunnels – where the tunnel temp was well below freezing. Our hottest day saw the surface temp reach 31 degrees F, not yet to melting temp. A considerable large population of humans could live for centuries inside the glacier should the land become uninhabitable. But, we must prepare for this before we are no longer able to live on land.

Those who forecast rapid extinction of humankind due to runaway global heating/warming neglect this option for survival even after most of the landmass is uninhabitable – as least for a while. Others should calculate/estimate how long for the Antarctic Glacier to melt away – but we might have centuries – if not more. The glacier is 2 miles thick in places. There will be many technological issues, but humankind has all the requisite competencies to make the Antarctic inhabitable for centuries into the future. How humankind might organize to accomplish this and how persons would be chosen to migrate is a human system issue, not to be discussed here.

FLOATING ARCHIPELAGOES –
AS HUMANS MIGRATE
TO THE OCEAN.

Another alternative for survival are within or on our bodies of water, large lakes and oceans. Again, the phase changes of physics insure that the water won’t get above boiling – and even if the surface boils (which it won’t) the temperature will get cooler the deeper one goes. The oceans nearer the poles will remain cooler. Again, humankind today has the requisite technological knowledge to learn how we might migrate to live within or on the ocean.

Much of Earth land surfaces needs healing, after many tens of thousands of years of exploitation by a growing humankind. This includes the flora and fauna, all life forms – including the soils.

Humans appear to strongly prefer to live in human constructed artificial settings and environments. We like our lawns and gardens, our pets and zoos, our air conditioning and heating. We like views, and some like “camping in nature”, but with the best equipment.  Very few chose to live as early humans might have done when trekking.  Tribal peoples lived in temporary camps or villages.

Why must we locate our habitats (cities) on the best land for our fellow Gaians? This was essential when we had to live near our food supply. Might we help most of the land to recover, and migrate humanity to live primarily in systems on and in the oceans. This might be a goal even when we succeed in dodging the climate change bullet.

Humankind now has the technology to research how human communities could live within glaciers and under water. The area of the oceans is actually larger than the land mass. One might imagine the whole of humankind, all 10 billion of us, migrating to the ice and water. I hope we might soon initiate humane population reduction programs – for whatever our future might be.

START RESEARCH NOW

Recommendation: Research projects for these two alternative should begin today. They should not become dependent on funding from established organizations, governments, or corporations – but not refuse help – without strings. Initially, this will be a purely conceptual project/enterprise – to design the R&D needed – and won’t be expensive. Indeed, it could be conducted via social media. Actual experimental systems can be done on local glaciers and lakes.

The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008. “Seasteaders are a diverse global team of marine biologists, nautical engineers, aquaculture farmers, maritime attorneys, medical researchers, security personnel, investors, environmentalists, and artists. We plan to build seasteads to host profitable aquaculture farms, floating healthcare, medical research islands, and sustainable energy powerhouses. Our goal is to maximize entrepreneurial freedom to create blue jobs to welcome anyone to the Next New World.”

In analogy with The Apollo Program, where we didn’t immediately try to launch rockets to the moon. Nor should we immediately try to live in the Antarctic or Oceans. We need a range of forecasts as how the much the Antarctic glacier and the oceans will change as global heating accelerates.

Although, again – not a topic for this essay,  how humans might organize for this, relatively independent of established systems, should be explored. This will not succeed if done within a “capitalist” paradigm. My Up2Met has some experimental proposals.

ACCELERATING DISASTERS GLOBALLY,
BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO RECOVER.

Today a wildfire is ravaging grassland south of Tucson. I haven’t seen the statistics about the increase in frequency and intensity of “natural” disasters over the past decade. Is this censored? Droughts, floods, winds, fires, ice storms, landslides, tsunamis, and rising tides devastate regions and populations, globally. A major tsunami is long overdue to devastate the coastal regions of the NW USA. In 2016 much of the of the USA (and other regions of Earth) experienced many destructive storm systems; this may become a regular pattern. The atmospheric circulation patterns are shifting and where & when storms occur will be changing, as will how long they will last and their intensity. Critics of Climate Change propose that our best estimates of rate and intensity may be over-estimated, and that we should be more conservative in our preparations – as they will harm our economy. Yet, what if we are under-estimating the rate and intensity? Is it wise to take the risk?

I have long wondered about how strong winds might become, as climate change increases. Might we begin to have hurricane force winds in regions not actually experiencing hurricanes or tornados? Can scientists determine how strong winds have been in our geological past. I read that the planet Venus has continuous very, very strong winds. Do we really know what our weather will be like in our future: 5, 10, 25 years ahead?

Nor have I seen statistics about the extent of recovery for such regions. I suspect that New Orleans and Haiti are but a drop in the bucket of regions that have never adequately recovered. SCIENCE journal reported that the region in Nepal destroyed by an earthquake (2015) shouldn’t be “recovered” as more and stronger quakes are expected.

How well are we able to forecast disasters, and prepare for them. A major tsunami is long overdue to devastate the coastal regions of the NW USA; and there is some preparation. Will it be adequate or is it only window-dressing? What are coastal areas really doing in preparation for rising sea levels – with the great variability as how rapid they will rise.

Changes in some regions may not develop as forecast. Who would have expected more cold and snow accompanying global heating?  If the ocean currents warming Europe are diverted, they may actually experience considerable cooling – for awhile.  Meanwhile, our sun may be entering a special cooling period, which might moderate global warming. For some strange reason, those solar scientists forecasting less heat from the sun, deny global heating from greenhouse gases and warn of a coming Ice Age. If the sun does cool, it might give humankind a grace period. However, the methane currently being released in the Arctic bodes possible runaway heating much sooner than has been forecast.

I invented a cliche: If your region could experience a disaster, expect a disaster one of these years. If you can have floods, expect a flood. If your home is in a forest or grassland, expect a forest or grass fire. If you are in tornado land, expect a tornado.  Every region may not experience a disaster or not recover, but their frequency and severity will most likely increase. What are the various forecasts? Why are the trends not reported?

I also expect a rapid cut back on recovery efforts, and possibly even rescue efforts.  This costs, and “powers that be”, everywhere appear to be sucking up money for themselves. The reaction of effected populations may become more and more difficult to control, requiring greater police/military involvement. Some have predicted that accelerating disasters will eventually lead to a collapse of civilization, or at least in countries with “democratic” governments. A catastrophic drought in Syria set the stage for the current civil war. The wealthy will recover and consume most of the resources for recovery.

I present these potential futures, not to be negative. To face potential danger realistically is a positive act. My vision of Up2Met may have to emerge within a very tragic societal environment. Indeed, after OLLO emergence among those most competent to comprehend and participate – the next populations to OLLO might be refugees (including refugees from disasters).

Decades ago, when Up2Met was still an infant insight, I used the metaphor of Wagon Trains West over a high Mountain Divide in Winter – to the rich lands of California – for the challenges we will encounter. But, we need not suffer on this expedition. As a boy scout in Pennsylvania, I enjoyed long winter tent camping in the snow. Once we actually started out hiking in a blizzard. Our troop was so good at bad weather camping, that we won awards for our campsite at a Jamboree, because it rained most of the time – and we were prepared to enjoy it.

I was cold only one time during my 15 months in the Antarctic. We knew the conditions and always dressed for it. The one time I was cold, was when we sat for two hours riding in a snowcat, even with the heater on. Because we weren’t moving our bodies, our circulation was insufficient to prevent frostbite. Yet, I nearly “froze to death”, two days after leaving the Antarctic. I had run down a beach in New Zealand in my swimming suit when a squall suddenly hit.

VERY LARGE “SPACE STATIONS”
ON EARTH’S SURFACE.

Many quality SciFi novels have humans forced to leave Earth and constructing and living in colonies of space stations, initially orbiting Earth.  Neal Stephenson’s  Seveneves was the latest I read. He even included, what I had imagined very long ago, that humans could live in colonies of space stations – as a primary habitat – and not necessarily be moving somewhere. What disappointed me, and for most SciFi, is that humans don’t significantly change, even during millennia living in radically different environments. We can expect humanity to be radically different from contemporary humankind, should we succeed with Up2Met.

Why go to all the bother sending materials and people into space. Why not simply construct space stations and space colonies on the Earth’s surface. (In Seveneves, our Moon had exploded and the fragment were to bombard Earth, making it inhabitable.) Maybe in glaciers or inside oceans, but also on land. Some SciFi has featured domed cities, with wastelands between. The wasteland are usually populated by the scrum of humankind (with a few rebels); but the wasteland could be totally uninhabitable, yet still could be traveled through in suitable vehicles.

Theoretically, humans could live on an Earth totally devoid of its natural life. Over millennia, humans could re-seed Earth with life forms we are preserving in our DNA banks. This NOT the future I desire, nor expect.

As much as I have long been interested in space exploration; and once imagined myself as an astronaut (the Antarctic was preparation), I have come to believe our R&D for space should be postponed until we have learned to survive/thrive here on Earth.  IF we would gain new technologies as spinoff from further space exploration, as we did from what we have already done, some might be continued.  I recommend that we shift our efforts for Mars and The Moon to systems we can live within here on Earth as the climate worsens. This includes new food production system that are not subject to outside weather/climate variations.

Dystopian Alternative.  Some intelligent, creative, yet warped elites may already be planning hitech domed cities with destitute lands between. This has long been a theme of dystopian science fiction. This may be their “solution” to catastrophic climate change. I speculate that a sudden drop in human population would significantly slow the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and oceans. With robotics and automation, elites don’t require many consumers, servants, or soldiers – if they chose not to war. Might a program of significant population reduction be already underway?

HUMAN vs MATERIAL
REALITIES/SYSTEMS.

My comprehension of  human systems and how they relate to all other systems has been emergent for five decades and continues to rapidly emerge. Much of this resulting from my continuing survey of many discoveries by others. However, I seem to have “organized” this expanding information in ways I have yet to read about by others. In analogy, I evaluate my emergent system of insights as equivalent to the emergence of quantum physics from classical physics – but contrasting material and human sci/tech. I state this not to inflate my ego, but to alert others of the challenge they will face attempting to comprehend my conceptual schemes and many insights. Two long articles attempt to describe parts of Up2Met.

THE STORY
UPLIFTING HUMANKIND TO CREATE HUMANITY
VIA SOCIETAL METAMORPHOSIS

&

Bootstrap Uplift Scaffolding
BUS

Very recently the distinction between human and material realities/systems has clarified and has become very useful.

To some, this distinction may appear “wrong headed”, as they are dedicated to a reunion of humans with Gaia/nature – and believe most of our difficulties are due to the separation that has characterized civilized humankind.  The distinction I propose is quite different from this dangerous human/nature distinction. The distinction I propose may assist in healing the fissure between humankind and Gaia as it exists today.

To some, this new distinction may be analog to the material vs consciousness/spiritual distinction, which they may support. It is related, but different.

To illustrate. Imagine a setting of many humans on and in the Antarctic glacier. We might first describe the material setting: energy, water, food, architecture, transportation.  Independent of this, we may describe how they live, in families or communes, in autocratic or democratic governance, with free market capitalism or commons-based community economic systems, at relative peace or constant conflict. Yet, in my model, these are also materialistic descriptions, although revealing the interaction between the human and material.

Human Systems are comprised of the flow patterns of perception and communication between persons, and between persons and their “semfields” (all the texts, data, audio and video sequences, diagrams, paintings, etc. in all are archives). These flow patterns are both constrained & enabled by technological infrastructures (material), but these are also the product of prior flow patterns. Coupled with this are all the patterns of brain activity of all persons.

These information flows and the brain/mind receiver/processor/composer related processes occur on/within material systems (as substrates), but are not themselves “material”. Old language habits get in the way here; and we have more to work out to render this more comprehensible.

Consider a musical composition being performed by an orchestra. The vibrations of instruments and air are material. Is the temporal pattern, “the composition” material or only imposed on the material? The symbols on this page are material, but the meaning you experience is not material, even if there are corresponding patterns of neural-molecular activity in your brain.

Two points are important here:

(1) The Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis I refer to (resulting from Up2Met) is only of this human system. The material, infrastructure systems can only be transformed, not morphed.

(2) Very significant and radical change in human systems can occur without depending on major, prior changes in the material systems. Human systems morphic changes requires far less material resources (energy & matter) than transforming material systems.

 Until recently, with computerized digital technologies and an exploding semfield, material and human change were strongly coupled.  Living within materials systems more indoctrinated human systems than human systems intentionally reformed the material systems.

We might explain the current behavior of humankind (The Trump Phenomenon) as a disintegration of human system patterns seafed by the new digital technology. This could be positive (in rhe long run), in that new human system patterns (via Up2Met) might be “easier” to emerge from the chaos (not disorder), that any attempts to reform established human system patterns. The Trump Phenomenon has stripped the King of his Clothes – all political news is fake, or propaganda.

Jacques Ellul, in his book, PROPAGANDA, emphasized that propaganda was primarily information by ruling elites to mold popular perspectives in support of their programs.  [ Chomsky’s  Manufacturing Consent ]  Calling the pronouncements and publications of rebels, in opposition to elites, “propaganda”, is a powerful tactic to mask the primary propaganda of elites.  Americans have been subject to extensive propaganda from WWII (and before). So have the populations of all other nations.

Since it is logically valid to rank multi-dimensional entities ONLY ONE DIMENSION AT A TIME, we cannot rank nations (other than as to one attribute at a time). We cannot, scientifically and logically, rank America and North Korea, objectively as one being “holistically” better than the other!

I initially imagined Up2Met emerging within an established and ordered, old humankind, which had powers to resist – which Up2Met could, eventually, manipulate and overcome/replace. In THIS GREAT DAY, I describe one way Up2Met will replace established humankind.

This is changing. Autocrats speak about control, but they are far from having full control of their populations at this time. The most they can do is prohibit some behaviors, not enable better behaviors. Our more immediate future (globally) may witness a consolidation of autocratic oligarchies or a continuing fragmentation with increasing disorder and chaos (the play of new order, emergent) or a mix.

Up2Met must be designed to emerge, no matter what humankind trends to do. Up2Met must also consider the different material futures mentioned here, and be prepared to engage whatever happens. Up2Met may play a significant part if humans must migrate to ice or water. Critically, Up2Met must prepare for sharp reductions in ready access to computer/communication technologies.  Such access is essential to the creation of a viable, sustainable global humanity.

WHAT TO DO
IF YOU AGREE WITH
The Up2Met Proposal?

Simply,
contact me, Larry/nuet
and arrange to participate in
OLLO
to learn more about Up2Met.

Those doing this, will
learn-to-learn to design/implement
the Up2Met process.

comment to this blog post

read more of the urls linked to this post,
read more of the posts in this blog,
study to comprehend,
query me and others,
OLLO

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.

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