Reference: Psychological Roots of Over-Consumption

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The psychological roots of resource over-consumption

Nate Hagens, 11 May 2011

Chapter from Fleeing Vesuvius

Humans have an innate need for status and for novelty in their lives. Unfortunately, the modern world has adopted very energy- and resource-intensive ways of meeting those needs. Other ways are going to have to be found as part of the move to a more sustainable world.

Phi Beta Iota: Buckminster Fuller understood the centrality of time/energy, but he did not grasp the psychological roots of collective self-destruction.  This is an extraordinary article in every possible way.  Strategic Analytics & Smart Nations are a solution.

See Also:

YouTube: Steele to Scowcroft at WW Center

Psychology of Human Incompetence: New Metrics

Advanced Cyber/IO, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Commercial Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Ethics, History, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), International Aid, IO Sense-Making, Key Players, Methods & Process, Policies, Policy, Politics of Science & Science of Politics, Strategy, Technologies, Threats, Waste (materials, food, etc)
John Steiner

“Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing. That’s my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat.”

—George Eliot
We’re losing!  Here’s a playbook, see especially the focus on new metrics that have more meaning.

Posted by nate hagens on May 11, 2011 – 10:50am
Topic: Demand/Consumption
Tags: evolutionary psychology, human psychology, overconsumption [list all tags]

The essay below is an updated and edited version of a post I wrote here a few years ago, I’m Human, I’m American and I’m Addicted to Oil. Richard Douthwaite, Irish economist and activist, (and a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute), invited me to contribute it as a chapter in the just released book Fleeing Vesuvius, which is a collection of articles generally addressing “how can we bring the world out of the mess it finds itself in”? My article dealt with the evolutionary underpinnings of our aggregate behavior – neural habituation to increasingly available stimuli, and our evolved penchant to compete for status given the environmental cues of our day. And how, after we make it through the likely upcoming currency/claims bottleneck, we would be wise to adhere to an evolutionary perspective in considering a future (more) sustainable society.

Click here for the table of contents from Fleeing Vesuvius, followed by my article.

Phi Beta Iota: Will and Ariel Durant, in Lessons of History, state that the only real revolution is in the mind of man.  We strongly believe that strategic analytics is the next revolution, and that strategic analytics will make possible transparency, truth, and truth leading to compassionate non-zero evolution–a world that works for all.
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Engineers of India-Afghanistan vs China-Pakistan

02 China, 03 India, 04 Inter-State Conflict, 08 Wild Cards, 12 Water, Advanced Cyber/IO, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Government, IO Mapping, IO Multinational, IO Sense-Making, Methods & Process, Military, Peace Intelligence, Strategy

India-China-Pakistan: Indian intelligence agencies say they have credible evidence that several hundred Chinese working in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are People’s Liberation Army engineers, the Times of India reported 12 May.

According to the report, Indian intelligence agencies are verifying that the engineers are engaged with military construction projects, such as bunkers, and said the presence of military engineers in civilian construction activities carried out by China in other countries is “unusual,” an intelligence source said. The information about the engineers was part of an assessment presented by the Indian Army to the Indian prime minister, defense minister and other senior officials weeks ago.

Comment: This is the first press report of Chinese military engineers in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir. Chinese engineers are working on road construction in far northern Pakistan which borders China, but no engineering agreements are known that cover Pakistani Kashmir.

India has committed about $1.5 billion to Afghanistan for developmental assistance and plans to commit another $500 million over the next five years, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on 12 May. Priority areas for the aid will be social programs, agriculture and infrastructure, according to Singh

India strongly supports Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Afghan President Hamid Karzai during Singh’s two-day visit to Kabul. Singh told Karzai and senior Afghan officials that New Delhi is Kabul’s “neighbor and partner in development.” He expressed support for Afghanistan’s “unity, integrity and prosperity

Comment: The two news stores above help explain Pakistan’s dogged support for the Taliban and other anti-Kabul movements and its anxiety about India. India supported the Northern Alliance of Uzbek and Tajik tribes against the Pashtun Taliban when Karzai still was working for the Taliban, before he switched sides.

The presence of Indian advisors and influence west of Pakistan confronts Pakistani strategists with the prospect of fighting on two fronts in a putative future war, with no strategic depth because Pakistan is so narrow. More importantly, the Indian Border Roads Organization (BRO) has thousands of workers and Indian Army engineers working on the “infrastructure” projects in Afghanistan about which Prime Minister Singh spoke. BRO seems to concentrate on improving the roads in Afghan provinces that border Pakistan.

Indian motives in helping Afghanistan are far from altruistic, just as are those of Iran. Both states have provided aid to the Northern Alliance and the Afghan government, based on their strategic calculations to restrain Pakistan and especially prevent it from annexing the Pashtun regions of Afghanistan.


Continue reading “Engineers of India-Afghanistan vs China-Pakistan”

Iran–and the USA–Blew Arab Spring, Both Irrelevant

02 Diplomacy, 05 Iran, 08 Wild Cards, Cultural Intelligence, Government, IO Impotency

Iran-Arab Spring: For the record. The head of the parliamentary Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy said on 12 May that the Iranian government was not dynamic in supporting regional uprisings. Alaeddin Boroujerdi said Iran’s diplomatic system was not active enough initially but that the activity has started and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has begun his regional visits. Although the government’s steps to aid regional uprisings were delayed, Boroujerdi said it is good that such measures have started.

Comment: Iran was caught by surprise by the Arab cell-phone uprisings so much so that it was unable to support Shiite risings in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia as well as in Bahrain. Boroujerdi primarily was referring to these two regions, implying that Iran missed an opportunity to spread the dominion of Shia Islam to the western banks of the Persian Gulf.

The statement is an admission of an intelligence failure in Iran, coupled with hubris. No secular Arab uprisings, including in Syria, have looked to Iran for guidance.  Even the Alawite Baathists of Syria have little use for the wisdom of Persian ayatollahs.


Continue reading “Iran–and the USA–Blew Arab Spring, Both Irrelevant”

Cooperation Is Pledged By Nations Of the Arctic

06 Russia, 08 Wild Cards, Advanced Cyber/IO, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Collective Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Earth Intelligence, Ethics, History, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), Journalism/Free-Press/Censorship, Maps, Methods & Process, Open Government, Policies, Policy, Politics of Science & Science of Politics, Real Time, Reform, Research resources, Serious Games, Standards, Strategy, Technologies, Threats, Tools
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Cooperation Is Pledged By Nations Of the Arctic


New York Times, May 12, 2011

NUUK, Greenland — The eight Arctic nations pledged Thursday to create international protocols to prevent and clean up offshore oil spills in areas of the region that are becoming increasingly accessible to exploration because of a changing climate.

The Arctic Council — the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden — said the protocols would be modeled on a separate agreement signed here in Nuuk on Thursday to coordinate search-and-rescue operations over 13 million square miles of ocean.

Read more….

Phi Beta Iota: This is potentially world-changing, but pedestrian at this time.  Legal and logistics arrangements institutionalize old ways of doing things–slow, expensive, often inappropriate ways.  Much more exciting would be for the nations to agree to create an Arctic M4IS2 Centre, perhaps based in Copenhagen or in Oslo, with an emphasis on sustainable energy and climate change to begin with, but rapidly filling out to provide holistic analytics across all threats and helpful to the harmonization of spending across all policies.  Such a center could be innovative from the first day if it includes all eight tribes of intelligence in its organizational and outreach schema, creating a model for both the United Nations and for each of the continental political organizations.

Taliban on Twitter, The End Is Near!

05 Civil War, 11 Society, Advanced Cyber/IO, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Military, Non-Governmental
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The Taliban Are On Twitter

By Chris Gayomali on May 12, 2011

TechLand (Time)

Due to a strict adherence to Sharia law, the Taliban have long shunned modern technology, particularly personal televisions and computers. But in the wake of a recent offensive campaign in the Afghan city of Kandahar, the group has emerged on a new, if unlikely, modern platform: Twitter.

At the the time of writing this, the account in question (@alemarahweb) has 363 followers. Most of the messages are broadcasted in the militant sect’s native Pashto. But, as the Guardian points out, on early Thursday morning a message that read in English was sent across the Twitter-sphere. Like most of the tweets posted, the message concerned exaggerated reports of “strikes against the ‘infidel forces'” that typically feature links back to The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website, a frequently relocated Web headquarters for the splintered Taliban’s makeshift government.

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The account also follows 12 other users (at least at the time of writing this), notably @Afghantim, a “USAF Logistics Readiness Officer currently deployed as a combat advisor to the Afghan Army,” and numerous Afghani news and development groups. The Guardian surmises this to be a practice of the old axiom “keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” (More on See the 140 best Twitter feeds)

The emergence of Twitter has consistently been one of the key stories concerning the revolutions in Egypt and other uprisings. And it has proven, time and time again, pivotal to community leaders for organizing unified protests on a massive scale. The adoption of social media by a decentralized group like the Taliban is perhaps an acknowledgement of the platform’s communicative potential, whether that be for strategic or merely propaganda purposes.