Reality Blind - Vol. 1

TaaL: So how much exosomatic energy does a human actually need? Not much: enough for cooking, sanitation, and, in extreme climates, relief from cold, which has gotten you by for tens of thousands of years. Most of the benefits of energy beyond that lie in the first hundred watts per person – one small carbon fossil slave apiece - beyond which there are rapidly- declining returns. But you don’t personally experience the declining returns, so have considered it a good idea to create and throw away things as fast as humanly possible, designing them to break quickly or be culturally shunned as lower status after a brief march of days. Were I a hominid, I think I might want my grandchildren, and theirs, to have the basics plus 100 watts of exosomatic luxury. For some reason, this sort of thought seldom passes through the heads of most humans: the notion that you using it rapidly NOW means they will have to do without it THEN. To me, it’s reminiscent of an insect laying its eggs under a rock and then wandering off to leave them to fend for themselves. So perhaps what I’m observing is some sort of human conversion to ecological r -selection in the making. Either way, I guess “the future” - like energy - is something humans have a problem with. Of course, with the temperature set to rise, “relief from cold” will be less of a problem in the future, but “relief from heat” will become problematic, as air conditioners one day will be nonfunctional antique relics of carbon-pulse energy ubiquity. Should this series of notes survive for 100 years, as it well may, your descendants who find it may have strong opinions about the 400 daily big hamburgers worth of energy their forebears gorged on back in the day. You’ve come a long way from using fire to burn a forest to harvest a deer and cook it. The descendants of naked apes can now scale (and build) tall buildings, fly to the moon, and easily subdue the natural world with the wave of your exosomatic wands. There were built-in feedbacks limiting


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