The Great Simplification #5 – Daniel Schmachtenberger “Bend Not Break (1): Energy Blindness”

| August 30, 2022 | Leave a Comment

The Great Simplification

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: January 26

Year of Publication: 2022

Publisher: The Great Simplification

Author(s): Nate Hagens

In this episode, we meet with founding member of The Consilience Project, Daniel Schmachtenberger.

In the first of a three-part series, Nate and Daniel outline the macro risks and pathways for civilization to ‘bend’ and avoid ‘breaking’ in coming decades.

In the Part 1 conversation, Schmachtenberger flips the script to interview Nate about the urgent problems his research and work on energy, money, and growth confront. Nate explains how we can come to understand energy blindness and the overlooked role of oil in consumption, production, and progress since the Industrial Revolution. The dominant narrative of human progress prioritizes capital and labor — but the omission of energy and materials leaves out a key component to understanding how the modern human ecosystem functions.

Further, Nate discusses how a growth economy will inevitably lead to increased energy production and consumption, and how new energy technologies like renewables end up creating more energy output, not less. Putting everything together, in outsourcing our decisions and planning to a market dependent on growth, we have not so metaphorically become an energy hungry superorganism.

Finally, Daniel and Nate look forward to answering: What are ways for us to prepare for a post-growth economy? How can we stay balanced in the face of existential crises? What type of policy can help shape a future that is yet to arrive, and how can we get ahead?

About Daniel Schmachtenberger

Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.

The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal.

Towards these ends, he’s had a particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.

Listen to the podcast here.

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