Quote from above: We changed the world once. We changed the course of history. We altered the destiny of us. By thinking genuinely big. By dreaming dangerous dreams.
We did it by the accident of tapping into 100m years worth (or more) of fossilised sunshine. We didn’t change our world. Coal oil and gas changed our world.
We are a species that got lucky.
And that was it. The ‘dreams’ part is what we added ourselves to lend a fanciful aura to it all, that it was somehow our own force of will or technological achievment — -a sense of purpose if you like — -that created self determininism, that humankind, around the year 1750 should suddenly take a lurch towards democratic progress for the benefit of all.
It really was nothing of the kind.
‘We’ didn’t change at all.
‘We’ lived in, and were governed by, a system of autocracy until we got hold of the means to change that. But it didn’t ‘change’ what humankind ‘is’.
To infer that it did is dangerous nonsense for those who believe it.
Before the 1700s the usual system was that monarchs owned nations, (in the literal sense) by force of arms. Under the monarch, everyone lived to his (basically fascist) laws. on a hierarchical basis. There was no form of democracy.
In the mid eighteenth century we found out a way of harnessing fossil fuel energy. That created enough wealth to spread around the people who had access to it.
That wealth-spread delivered all the trappings of what we now understand as ‘civilised society’.
That was our ‘progress’ in very simple terms.
It gave us the steam engine, and put a man on the moon. It was the source of what we call democracy. There really was nothing else. So can we stop the dreams thing? And that ‘progressivism’ can somehow go on forever?
The era of cheap surplus fuel is over. We burned it all. Now we are trying to sustain our technology based environment on expensive scarce fuel. This is why we are ‘regressing’. It is the slide back into medieval autocracy. The rise of fascism proves that. Faltering democracy proves that.
Articles that infer that we can think our way back to a form of prosperity proves it too.
Without oil our lights go out. It’s time we faced up to that instead of fantasising.