CO2 can be a problem

[ 30/December/22 Betty Lim posted “CO2 is not a problem”]

It’s like water.

Essential for life, yet too much and you drown.

Anything can be a problem, in an inappropriate concentration in an inappropriate context.

Oversimplifying things is a problem, if survival is the desired outcome.

CO2 will not destroy all life, but it may drown all coastal cities and infrastructure, given enough time. Just one of many things in this very complex reality we exist in that need to be managed within survivable limits.

[followed by “If we see each problem—be it water shortages, climate change, or poverty—as separate, and approach each separately, the solutions we come up with will be short-term, often opportunistic, “quick fixes” that do nothing to address deeper imbalances.”]

Yeah – kind of – I have a lot of time for Popper, and there is definitely a kind of clock -> cloud spectrum of complexity that occurs at different scales of space and time and energy density and context.

Most people are looking for simple solutions to immediate problems – I don’t see the world that way.

I see complexity where-ever I look, have done so for 50+ years.

So it is much more complex that CO2 and climate change, it is much more deeply about seeing ourselves as integral parts of this entire system of existence we call reality.

It is about seeing the fundamental needs for cooperation and responsibility at all levels; at the same time as we acknowledge the need for individuality and freedom. And every level of freedom always has to have boundaries if it is to avoid destroying the systems that make it possible; and those boundaries can be extremely context sensitive.

So yes – we have a lot to do, to much more closely approximate closing all the open material loops in our current technological systems; and to create social systems that ensure that all individuals have access to the fundamentals of existence, and experience reasonable degrees of freedom, and accept the responsibilities that must necessarily accompany such things (and that always demands much more than simply following any level or set of rules – reality does in fact seem to allow for infinite complexity).

And while Popper was definitely onto something, he was also profoundly ignorant of the depths of complexity present in biological systems like ourselves. I have been deeply interested in biochemistry and evolutionary strategy for over 50 years, and for all that I have learned, I am deeply conscious that what I know that I don’t know is vastly larger than what I know, and I suspect that what I don’t know, and don’t know that I don’t know is near infinitely larger again.

So yeah – I work where I can, when I can, to bring about both ecological and social survival with as much freedom as is reasonably possible – and that is hard when most people are so profoundly and willfully ignorant.

And in my younger days I did quite a bit of free diving, and was able to hold my breath for 7.5 minutes, but by 8 minutes CO2 was very definitely a problem for me – it did not leave me much consciousness at all.

[followed by]

Kind of – but not really.

It’s deeper than that.

It is the incentive structures in the systems that bought evolution to this point, the point where people have this deep urge to simplify the irreducibly complex to something essentially self terminating.

It seems to me the most likely solution to the Drake equation.

When intelligence gets to this scale, the need to simplify produces what we see, and the depths of the cooperation required to sustain complexity is lost – and the system self terminates. There are ways to avoid it, and they require both cooperation and responsibility, in most non-naive way possible.

I don’t see any other survivable option, not in any class of logic I have explored.

I like the idea of surviving!

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see
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