Paul Chefurka

Paradise Lost

Many of us who have been paying attention to the state of the world over the last half century have now begun to realize with growing horror that the progressive deterioration we have been tracking shows no signs of resolution. In fact, to some of us it looks as though there is no way to resolve this deepening crisis. The end of the track is in sight. The planetary factory […]

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The Dawn of Cybernetic Civilization

Humanity appears to be in the grip of a global system – one that we originally created, but which is now shaping our lives independently of our wishes. I’ve recently begun to suspect that humanity is at a point of endosymbiosis with our electronic communications and control technology, especially through the Internet. In a sense, we humans have incorporated ourselves as essential control elements of a planet-wide cybernetic super-organism. The […]

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How Tight is the Link Between Oil, Food and Population?

The linkage is this tight: In this graph "grain" is the world’s annual production of rice, wheat and corn, "oil" is the global production of all petroleum liquids, and people are people. I normalized the numbers so that they all start off from an index of 100 in 1985. This is a standard technique that makes the relationship between the three elements visible. It’s obvious at a glance that food, […]

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Enough!

Whenever I contemplate the spectacular mischief that we humans have wreaked on our world, I am compelled to ask how this could have possibly happened. The despoilment of our planet seems to be the exact opposite of how I would expect a thinking, feeling, caring creature to treat their home. What could have driven us to this, and what perverse qualities could have allowed us to ignore the consequences of […]

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The Global Movement that Barack Obama Isn’t Leading

A lot of people look to Barack Obama as the enlightened leader, the psychopomp who will lead the world away from the brink of catastrophe and into a new era. I see him in a somewhat different light. I see his election as the American expression of a global shift in consciousness that is already well underway. He may or may not be able to fulfill his promise of hope […]

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The Guardian Institutions of Hierarchy

One aspect of human culture that seems irresistible to the ancient status-seeking part of our brain is the development of hierarchies. The encoding of personal status and power into social structures is evident in the tribes and troops of all the great apes, but human beings have gone much further. We built an entire globe-spanning civilization on the foundation of hierarchy. One inevitable effect of social hierarchies (in fact the […]

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A 50,000-Foot View of the Global Crisis

We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so. The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. […]

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