The Radical New Reality of Network Science
How Our Ignorance of Network Agency Led to
Climate Chaos and Ecological Catastrophe
Our Mechanistic Thinking and Obsession with Control have Created Catastrophe
Human Behaviors have Disabled the Self-Organizing Agency of Ecological and Climate Systems
Fragmentation of habitats, pollution, agriculture, and urbanization have ruptured ecological networks
- The earth is now undergoing its sixth mass extinction of animal and plant species in the geological record
- Human emissions of green house gases have forced climate systems into 'runaway change'
- Both the biosphere and relative climate stability of the last 12,000 years are rapidly collapsing
- We have forced the self-regulating actions of these systems into the chaotic dynamics of cascading failure
Our Failure to Comprehend Our Influence on Nature's Networks is Cultural
We are Blinded by Our Mechanistic World View and Its Obsession with Technological Manipulation
Human intelligence has produced astonishing powers of environmental manipulation through industrialization and technological innovation. By regarding the world as predictable thus potentially controllable events--as if it were all 'machinery'--we have imposed our will upon all planetary systems. Now, with the disruptive effects bearing down upon us, and despite scientific evidence for how we ourselves created this catastrophe, we are culturally incapable of comprehending our folly. If madness is the failure to acknowledge reality, we are collectively 'insane.
We can 'Break' Natural Systems but We cannot 'Fix' Them
The self-organizing, self-adapting agency of the biosphere's complex systems arises from nonlinear dynamics that cannot be directly specified or manipulated. Though human actions can disrupt the feedback networks that enable their self-regulation they are too dynamically complex to be 're-engineered.' Further technological efforts to mitigate impacts from abrupt climate change might have some effectiveness. But there is no 'putting back together' what we have torn asunder.
The Only Sane Response to Our Predicament is Cultural
If we are to face reality--both in terms of 'how the world actually works' and how biospheric and climate systems are collapsing--we will have to radically re-think how we think about it. Our current economies and life styles will be drastically altered regardless of what we do now. The question is: how will we conduct our selves in the coming chaos? Will we fight each other for control over remaining resources? Or will we act in service to what remains of Nature's self-creating, self-adapting networks? What will the "culture of climate chaos" be?