- The roles and values of wild foods in agricultural systems
- Wild Weather
- Ecology and Political Upheaval
- Survival of the Richest
One of the ways of thinking about modern society is that our lives are becoming more like membership in a wild ecosystem. Our common CAS is becoming more like the ecosystems that existed before humans had such a profound impact on nature.
For many centuries, societies have reflected some set of values and outcomes derived from the effort by elites to make society gratify elite needs. But the shift toward a more ecosystem-like CAS is gradually undermining this hierarchical control, and like an ecosystem, it is becoming more difficult for any individual to organize their own future. Hence, the willingness of Tech tycoons to consider going to another planet in order to preserve their privilege (see linked article above).
Although we think of power as something that an individual has, power is gifted to a person or group by a larger community (human, financial, religious, etc.). It can be and is taken away when the community no longer sees that the person or group contributes to its purpose. While an “apex predator” makes a convenient political metaphor for power and control, in a real ecosystem, the predators die off if the actual ecological basis of their supposed “power” disintegrates.
Our society is becoming more like other evolutionary systems, and there is no guarantee that such a process shift will favor humans (or our disability community), or for that matter anything that now exists. Evolutionary systems favor continuing evolution, not any of the “parts” of the CAS. The continuation of evolutionary change depends on the generation of variation as evolution’s hedge against the uncertainty of the future. That future uncertainty clouds all efforts to control the future and spawns a dodgy business opportunity for anyone willing to claim they can predict the future.
We humans tried to work around that reality by isolating and organizing our exploitation of nature to buffer our goals against the relentlessly increasing complexity of unintended consequences. We are losing that long-standing effort for the same reason that all short-term advantage gives way to the “revenge” of long term biological processes.
My point is, as it is elsewhere, that traditional control behavior is becoming less and less effective and more and more expensive every second of every day.