By Anis H. Bajrektarevic
No Breakthrough at the Rio+20 Summit
From Rio to Rio with Kyoto, Copenhagen and Durban in between, the conclusion remains the same: we fundamentally disagree on realities of this planet and the ways we can address them.
A decisive breakthrough would necessitate both wider contexts and a larger participatory base as to identify problems, to formulate policies, to broaden and synchronize our actions. Luminaries from the world of science, philosophy, religion, culture and sports are invited too. But, they - as usual - will stuff side-events panels, while only politics will make decisions.
Who in politics is sincerely motivated for the long-range policies?
This does not pay off politically as such policies are often too complex and too time-consuming to survive the frequency and span of national elections as well as the taste or comprehension of the median voter. Our crisis is not environmental, financial or politico-economic. Deep and structural, this is a crisis of thought, of courage, of our ideas, all which runs us into a deep moral recession.Therefore, very little headway will be made at the Rio Summit.
Between the fear that the inevitable will happen and the lame hope that it still wouldn't we have lived... That what can be and doesn't have to be, at the end, surrenders to something that meant to be...
Is Greece (or Spain) lagging 20 years behind the rest of the EU or is Greece today well ahead of the rest of Europe which will face a similar fate in two decades from now? Beyond the usual political rhetoric, this is the question that intellectual circles in Europe and elsewhere are discreetly, but thoroughly discussing. In a larger context, the intriguing intellectual debates are heating up. Issues are fundamental: Why has science turned into religion? (Practiced economy is based on the over 200-years old liberal theory of Adam Smith and over 300-years old philosophy of Hobbes and Locke- basically, frozen and rigidly canonized into a dogmatic exegesis. Scientific debate has been replaced by a blind obedience.)
Why has religion been turned into confrontational political ideology (religious texts are misinterpreted and ideologically misused in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas and Africa)? Why have (secular or theological) ethics been turned from bio-centric comprehension into anthropocentric environmental egotism and ignorance (treating nature as a property, not as a coherent system that contextualizes our very life)? Why despite all our research studies, our institutions and instruments, the inequalities and exclusions are widening? Why has freedom been reduced to a lame choice to consume? Why does the achieved degree of our economic development and stage of our technological advancement not enable society for self-realization (to the contrary, our democracies are in retreat, our visions are exhausted and self-confidence depleted, while the socio-cultural and political participatory base is thinning)? After all, is Rio ahead of itself 20 years later?
The resonance of these vital debates is gradually reaching the public. No one can yet predict the range and scope of their responses, internally and externally. One is certain though; the larger audience understands that the simple mechanical transmission of global (economic) integration cannot be a substitute for any viable post-industrial, knowledge-based development strategy, scientific advancement or cultural endorsement, even less for any social cohesion and the cross-generational contract, environmental needs (including the biocapacity and biodiversity), as well as general public mental and physical health.
(Tao) Creek, not only Greek
By roughly summing up the data provided by the World Bank and OECD, the world's gross annual output is somewhere between €85 and 95 thousand billions. Servicing of different loans and related interest rates to public and private debts, per annum, cumulatively costs this planet some € 195 to 210 thousand billions. In simple terms, it means we produce 1, but owe 2 to the different credit institutions. (Some 20 years ago, the value of overall global financial transactions was 12 times the entire world's gross annual product. By the end of 2011, it was nearly 70 times as big.) How comes that year after year we work harder and harder, but are still becoming socio-economically poorer and poorer, and culturally pauperized? Is our environmental situation any better? By applying the same data's ratios on the so-called ecological footprint, mankind annually extracts from the ecosystem the biomatter and minerals for 1, out of which only 10% end up as a final product, but at the same time we pollute waters, land, air and near outer space with non-degradable or/and toxic, solid or aerosol, particles and noise for 2. Despite all the purifiers, cleaners, separators, distillations, silencers and filters, our surrounding is becoming filthier and filthier. Does this earn the right to be called 'development' at all? Over centuries and especially in the last decades, we indeed intensified, rationalized and optimized our economic activities as well as related technologies and information flows, but could it be that despite our push with the right intensity, the overall direction (of that push) is wrong?
To answer this question of a simple wording but of sensitive and complex (selfhood) meanings, we definitely have to enlarge the context. For that sake, let's return to Greece.
First, a few words about a term in a frequent common use: cosmos. The expression cosmos itself is of Greek origins (κόσμος) and means: a harmony, perfect order, and is opposite to the Greek word khaos/chaos (χάος), which means: confusion, disorder, asynchrony (also an unordered and formless primordial mass or even nothingness). The fascinating ancient Greek mythology thoroughly describes the creation of the world - as an event marked by the final victory of the forces of cosmos over the forces of chaos. It is a thrilling ancient text, marvelous in its beauty and symbolism.
"You Are the Sunshine of My Life..."
In the modern scientific and philosophical (or astronomic, esoteric and theological) sense, the word cosmos should describe everything (of the manifested, comprehensible and visible universe as well as the non-comprehensible potentiality and invisible universes/multiverse) that nature and/or God has created. As everything that has been, is and will ever be conceived as a time-space, matter-energy (with all the properties and all their conceivable aggregate states/stages, elevations and degrees), particle - wave-function (consciousness-information), cosmos is a nature or/and God itself. It is all that starts (from), lasts (with/in) and ends in (returns to) the quantum field.
Contemporary astrophysics claims that the known or comprehensible universe is expanding, and is still being powered by the quantum event generally referred in literature as the big-bang. Up to now, there is no general consensus of the scientific community on what is the property (nature) of the invisible, inter-stellar and inter-galactic space (dark matter). However, it is certain that the visible stellar universe is mainly composed by two elements only: helium and hydrogen. Thus, stars - this backbone of the universe - are predominantly (to 99%) made of these two elements. Tantalizingly enough, the colony of progressing biped primates, while spreading over this planet, has developed a strong technological, civilizational and physiological culture of addiction to a completely other element: carbon.
Earth is practically bathing in immense spectrums of sun-rays. This solar radiation that our star supplies above us is essentially an infinite source of energy. The core of our mother planet is still kinetically and thermally very active, meaning that humans in fact sit on the top of inexhaustible energy provided by seismic events and the enormous residual geothermal heat of Earth.
How did we - an advanced civilization - miss to realize this? Residing between two infinite energy aggregators, how did we end up with hydrocarbons - the carbonized remains of passed life? How did we end up tapping just a thin upper lithosphere and keep obsessively digging and drilling it for fossil fuels? How did we develop this necrophilic obsession? How did we manage to focus our human and economic development on carbons and steadily develop the so-called technologies that apparently take us right into collision with the universe and with everything that surrounds our biosphere? And how keep mankind enveloped in an exhausting competition and dangerous confrontation over a tiny and very finite portion of fossilized carbons situated beneath the surface of our habitat? Finally, do we live cosmos or chaos?!
How did things go wrong in the first place? Well, the 2 million evolutionary years of hunters-gatherers exposed to stark scarcities, rival gangs of humans' and other predators, permanent seasonal oscillations, harsh climatic and topographic conditions, constituting an integral part of the natural food-chain, has taught us to observe things sequentially, horizontally, territorially, linear - not cognitive. That's how we (through the primordial mechanical solidarity of our endangered and insecure herd) learned to prolong our existence on expenses of other living creatures, even those turned into what we call fuel hundred million years ago.
"Get your kicks on Route 66..."
Admittedly, the way we are developingand deploying the anthropotechiques indicates that we did not manage to significantly depart from the central pre-cognitive challenge which we humans do share with all other planetary forms of life - survival. Our central cognitive question, a quest that should largely distinguish us from all other living forms: What I am doing here?, or How can I bridge my past, my presence, with my future? - remains largely unanswered. Our 'developmental' palliatives are corrosive, autistic, particularized, aggressive, egotistic, reactive, incoherent and harming for this planet and its life. We are still captured by the horizontalities of our insecure existence which formed our lower laying brain foundations throughout the 2 million years long hominid history.
Anthropology usually differentiates the homo sapiens (as an early, primitive hominine/homo) from homo sapiens sapiens (advanced, modern man). By relating our species to its ability to extract and consume calories with the help of different anthropotechniques (presently called technologies), we may roughly divide the hominid's evolution in the following way:
(i) 2 million years/100.000/50.000 - 10.000 years ago: a low energy consumption (conservative-solar techniques) driven human race;
(ii) 10.000 - 200 years ago: a medium energy consumption (hydraulic-agrarian, advanced-solar techniques) driven human race;
(iii) 200 years ago (the event of the so-called industrial revolution) - nowadays: high energy consumption (hydrocarbon techniques) driven human race.
Nevertheless, by observing the dynamics within the human culture and ability of such a race to maintain a natural equilibrium with the organic and inorganic surroundings, we can make the following classification of history:
a) barbarians without technology (early humans) - no-to-moderate disturbance, and then;
b) 'mobilized/progressed' barbarians with interfering 'technology' (the so-called modern men) - excessive disturbance.
Irrespectively of the fact that the irreversible extraction of crude we call 'production' of 'black gold', it is simply a fallacy of myopic, lethal addiction. The anthropotechnique which is exclusively fixated on tapping the tiny portion of lithosphere in a search for the fossil remains - and combusting these remains to convert them into our prime energy source with the loads of collateral waste, is a barbarism per se, and can only be marked as 'technology'.
Yet, the scope, depth and endurance of our anti-intellectual limbic ignorance and reptilian greed are so fascinating, as it is our fixation with the locality, with the territorial animal inside of us. Homo lupus ergo sum. Our cerebral cortex (big, upper brain) is still a hostage of the reptilian (lower part of our) complex, which keeps us in a disastrous and obsessive captivity of the lower brain-determined, linear, instinctive reflex to acquire ever large possessions of resources on the given territory, without ability to enlarge the perspective and to grant it relief of the coherent, consciousness-based, cognitive time-space dimension us.
Hence, no wonder that we are paying a heavy endpoint price while still singing the self-assuring lullaby: save the environment! It is simply a misstatement: environment will survive, we'll be eliminated.
"Oh, Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz..." - the Tao wisdom lost
That is how and where we set our obscure priorities: Ever perpetuated competition that keeps us in barbaric, reptilian confrontation over scarce resources, with the 'technology' which unstoppably emits greenhouse gasses, turning our earth into a planetary gas-chamber, on the way to a self-prepared global holocaust. Technology is not a state of arts (or science); technology is a state of mind! It is not a linear progression in mastering the natural science disciplines, but in acquiring a coherent cognitive and emphatic critical insight. This 'technology' will turn into actual technology when - or better say - if our conscious, self-actualizing, nonlinear, multidimensional and cluster-thinking capacitated upper brain finally takes a firm command over the reptilian, insecure, territorial, assertive, an eat-multiply-survive reflex-and instinct-induced lower brain.
Following the outbreak of the still unsettled financial crisis, there is a growing anti-neoliberal sentiment. But, do not blame economy or (the dogmatic exegesis of) the credit institutions; it is yet another anthropotechnique enveloped in the human conscripts, codes of conducts on our long, indecisive and inconclusive evolutionary march. What is wrong is our perception, or better say the observer's consideration spot, a cognitive departure point.
Why are we persistently projecting the circumstances that environmentally conditioned us 2 million years ago? Finite and depletable resources are something that our reptilian complex has gotten accustomed to in the lasting course of evolution. All our subsequent socio-economic fabrics, customs and normative orders, and politico-military constructs were emotionally charged and formed around the creation of an emotional attachment, a deep psychologization on a fearful dependency over the horizontal and finite. We are scarcity fear -obsessed culture. Social cohesion and mobilization as well as our overall comprehension of an infinite, renewable and inexhaustible, would require cognitivity which would mark an end of domination of the reptilian brain's mechanical-instinctively imposed and maintained securitization and control.
So far, control itself remained the central solidifier of our civilizational vertical in managing the unpredictable and instable human (group or individual) dynamics. Fixation on finite resources and their consummation in controlled space and controlled time are the ties that bound the human culture - a social construct of psychologized securitization we conceived as comprehensible and permissible, and therefore possible. Infinity eliminates the premium of control, and of mechanically imposed and externally induced coercive cohesion basedon ever perpetuated competition and confrontation. An antidote to anxieties and seeds of fear, infinity eventually de-psychologizes and demonopolizes the reptilian command over our cognitivity.
Ergo, the grand mistake of our evolution is not an emergence of the cerebral cortex, our central problem is that the upper brain has developed to service and aid the reptilian brain with anthropotechniques (to be enslaved by), not vice versa. Admittedly for such a new evolutionary arrivals, our civilization developed fast - as (limbic drive is possessive and) the reptilian complex is highly efficient. Though efficient, it is not a far-reaching. Thus, today in Rio, as 20 years ago at the same place, we do face similar unsolvable dilemmas and grave, ever mounting, problems. Nowadays, we seemingly understand the obstacle - limits to growth. However, our limit is not (solely) territorial, linear, it is substantively cognitive.
Consequently, the Euro-crisis or any other financial/debt crisis - for that matter - is only a construct of our mental projection as it is not founded anywhere in the deeper layers of reality. Linear insecurity- and uncertainty-focused as a solely horizontally perceiving, conflicting and interfering, scarcity securitization and control-obsessed, dependency-fixated culture cannot simply evolve into a liberating society or anything else coherent and harmonious. On the contrary, it will tend to deepen the existing and extend the projected confrontational horizontalities as it will maximize the psychologization of dependences.
Cognitive mind vs. reptilian complex! The very epilogue of the financial crisis seems to be only the redistribution of dependences and enhanced control, not at all steering up the nations to a well-being, to a self-realization. If the elected democratic governments are reluctant to be instrumented to this end, Politbureau of the non-elected apparatchiks will eagerly finalize the unfinished. Therefore, we even interpret the very word 'crisis' falsely. This term has a dual meaning: 'hardship' (fear) as well as 'opportunity' (liberation).
Opportunity per definition will always challenge established status quo, but that thought usually disfranchises, discourages and disengages us. Example? Since the reporting on the Greek/Euro sovereign debt crisis has started, how many words related to change or opportunity have your heard (e.g. solidarity, creativity, initiative, job creation, action, broader consensus, vision, rethinking, bravery, dignity, self-respect, trust, virtue), and how many words related to a paralyzing status-quo (e.g. monetization, toxic assets, fiscal discipline, austerity measures, monetary control, conditionality strengthening, general savings, concerns intensified, budget cuts, downgrading, debt instruments, social haircut, withheld guaranties, massive default, consumer confidence, record low, collapse prevention)? Period of crisis is not the time to seed a fear, to save, back off and wait, but to spend, to grant a freedom of initiative, to fully mobilize and largely engage the fresh ideas and all other human resources.
This simple wisdom has nothing to do with the so-called economy; it is merely a question of perception. Finally, freedom will only surface when/if the cognitive (coherent) mind retrieves it from the fundamental level of reality. That is why quantum physics/Buddhism matters.
Living in a limbo of our unfinished evolution and our own denial of it: We overused all life-contents around us that we plainly borrowed from the future past, and we overlook all the time what we do have (with us) in our past future. Simply, there is far more to learn from our long unrecorded chaptersof history then from the times we started to keep records.
"Tomorrow Never Dies"
In his famous speech of 1944, Max Planck spelled out something that philosophy, religion, astronomy and physics were indicating ever since the antique Greeks (or to be precise, since the ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts). It laid down the foundation, not only of quantum physics but also, of the so-called Unified Theory of Everything (TOE) as well as the (Coherent key to) Secrets of Creation. Moreover, it rejuvenated and reaffirmed many of the Buddhist Tantric perspectives especially the metaphysical visions contained with the Yogacara.
Hence, if one of the newest TOEs postulated by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow is correct - that the quantum universe, as a self-excited circuit, tends to create meaning and that the observers are part of the system - than the universe self-actualizes itself. It concludes that, as the universe evolves enabling organization to emerge our consciousness creates the universe/multiverse. If so, it leads to a self-actualization of us in universe too, as then the fundamental nature of reality should be a comprehensive self-perception.
How can the carbon-addicted culture of fragile and insecure but assertive and corrosive bipeds, whose overall dynamics are predominantly determined by the binary (fight-flight, consume-abandon) actions of the reptilian complex consciously project intelligent universe, predominantly composed of helium and hydrogen in all its immensity?
The answer is easier than it seems at the first glance. It goes back to one of the most intriguing questions of both philosophy and astronomy: Is any life out there?
Neither the very peripheral position of our solar system within the stellar cluster of the Milky Way, nor a remote place of our galaxy in the known cosmos would indicate any centrality, any exclusivity of and monopoly over conscious life to us. Ergo, if such a periphery can sustain a variety of life forms and development of cognitive brains, then the rest of the universe must simply flourish in intelligent life - this is the only logical explanation.
While being everyone and having everything, all the rest of the immense cosmic intelligence self-actualizes and projects the solar equilibrium, a coherent helium-hydrogen-manifested universe, and is waiting for us to succeed or fail in departing from the self-imposed asymmetries and imbalances created by having fossilized fuel, to return back to our pre-carbon, solar Tao future.
We'll either combust ourselves to death or finally comprehend the inevitability of the obvious - of our cosmic being, as there is no having without being, and there is no being without or against universe. This requires a resolute departure from the primordial hunter-gatherer attitude, and decisive deployment of our cognitivity. Chaos or cosmos - a simple choice.
Epilogue, not far away from Rio
"...Deep in the rainforests of the Amazon, the Achuar and the Huaorani Indians are assembled for their daily ritual. Every morning, each member of the tribe awakens before dawn, and once gathered together in that twilight hour, as the world explodes into light, they share their dreams. This is not simply an interesting pastime, an opportunity for storytelling: to the Achuar and the Huaorani, the dream is owned not by the dreamer alone, but collectively by the group, and the individual dreamer is simply the vessel the dream decided to borrow to have a conversation with the whole tribe.
The tribes view the dream as a map for their wakening hours. It is a forecaster of what is to come for all of them. In dreams they connect with their ancestors and the rest of the universe. The dream is what is real. It is their waking life that is a falsehood..."
(Quoted from Schlitz, M. (1998) On consciousness, causation, and evolution,)
Anis H. Bajrektarevic, Geopolitics of Energy Editorial Member
Chairperson for Intl. Law & Global Pol. Studies
Vienna, 13 JUN 2012
 We are even celebrating this gas-chamber: Recently released annual energy report of the IEA (International Energy Agency) has a self-telling title: Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas. Golden Age of Gas! Seriously?
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the topics that he is going to discuss with his US counterpart President Joe Biden during the upcoming summit in Geneva on June 16