Look, I’m sorry to be so blunt — II: all you need is math
[ by Charles Cameron — global warming, global curriculum ]
Bill McKibben has an article out in Rolling Stone, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, in which he says:
When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math.
Well, no you don’t.
You need something closer to global understanding. Once you’ve gathered — via that “little math” — that we’re not on a sustainable track, you’ll need to understand a few other things. Like:
- how individual minds get into and out of ruts
- how slow the turning circle of a society can be, and
- the places to intervene in a system
Look, I’m sorry to be so blunt, but… the problem isn’t understanding, it’s changing.
And I can’t speak for economy or ideology, but believe me — theology will have a role to play!
July 20th, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Adam Curtis ‘How to kill a Rational Peasant ‘ — ‘rationality’ as used here derives specifically from the game analysis of von Neumann and Morgenstern, published in ‘Theory of games and Economic Behavior‘ (1944), a work that was also enormously influential with MAD theory and related policy – – surveyed some of the ironies consequent on the adoption of mathematical approaches to counterinsurgency in the past 50 years. How much in both policy adoption and praxis is a matter of human habits of ‘story shaping;’ the various stories we tell to and about ourselves, as individuals and as groups, including the narratives of the supposed (ir)rationality of our and others past and present actions and choices.
July 20th, 2012 at 8:16 pm
Thanks for the Donella Meadows piece – just so precisely the right question, always, to ask. And yes, math has been a great seducer of youth, Ms. Meadows shows how little is needed to know, the least possible, lest we be fooled into thinking we know things we don’t know and can’t know or allow ourselves to get distracted from the things we could’ve known, the pivotal places to position a fulcrum in orde to move a moon or a mountain on a dime in next to nearly no time, if only we’d been putting our attention where it mattered ..