Reality Blind - Vol. 1

do all the hard work of industrial society. They grant you lives that are richer than the kings and queens of your history, filling the classic role of slaves or beasts of burden, yet until now you may not have thought much about them. Like actual slaves, they do real physical work, making human jobs a trivial side- cost to your whims. Like actual slaves, they’re forced to do as they’re told. Like well -trained slaves, you keep them always ready on a moment’s notice. They carry you rapidly wherever you wish to g o without touching your feet to the ground. And unfortunately, like real slaves, they breathe because their metabolism is anything BUT imaginary. Their hot breath of exhaled CO 2 is roughly proportionate to the huge number of heat calories generated by hundreds of billions of living slaves. Yet there would be no way to feed that many human slaves on this planet. Over only a few generations, the industrialized societies of Earth have learned to treat the entire basis of their physical economies as one more inconsequential commodity generated by human demand. Your fossil energy slaves have no actual faces, so you perceive them as invisible. But in terms of energy and metabolism, they are as real as you are, and a heck of a lot larger. Humans have some major blind spots, and your fossil slaves are one of the biggest. **You might wonder why the authors decided to highlight Buckminster Fuller’s term “fossil slaves 115 ” rather than fossil zombies, fossil servants, fossil helpers, fossil genies, or some other term with fewer historical and emotional overtones. There was human slavery in the USA until 150 years ago, and human slavery has never entirely disappeared from the world. It’s an abhorrent humanitarian disaster in whatever guise it appears, and the USA is still dealing with moral and ethical problems created through its existence. In contrast, using “fossil slaves” may on its surface seem to be victimless, even if such slaves do much the same thing as human slaves might otherwise do. However, it is very much our point that the use of fossil carbon is anything but victimless, and presents real corollaries and connections to human slavery, with important implications. It was fossil exosomatic energy which broke the link between human and animal labor and economi c productivity; and in the future there will be an obligate reversion back to steady-state energy flows in which human and animal labor will again be primary. It’s important to bear this “energy” lens in mind, because the same economic pressures which made human slavery attractive in past centuries will eventually arise again. Moreover, the “victims” of fossil slavery are quite human; they are simply offset in time to the near future, an oppressed majority enslaved by progressive scarcity. The future costs of current fossil slave employment are becoming increasingly easy to see: a future of relative human privation with low energy and low physical wealth compared with the last century


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