Category Archives: Philosophy and Science

WHY REDUCE ENERGY USE

The reasons are these: warming of the environment; conservation of energy resources; personal economy; disregard of others; helping less advantaged people. 

1. Warming of the environment
There are several possible causes of environment warming. Anthropomorphic warming has human characteristics and is caused by or has effects on humans.  Causes of global warming cannot be attributed with certainty and are theoretical. There are many causes possible. Human causes could result from various emissions. Reduced carbon dioxide emission has been theorised to have an additional reduced warming benefit. A simpler theory is thermal emissions from human activity enter the atmosphere and oceans and warm them.
By reducing these activities, there could be less warming of the environment. Activities that could be reduced with this benefit are energy conversion, transportation, residential heating, air conditioning, combustion, fermentation, decomposition and respiration. 

2. Conservation of energy resources

Reducing use of energy resources of all kinds, fossil fuels, hydro and renewable energy could save them for use in the future, by others. Less withdrawal of solar energy by renewable energy technologies would reduce warming of the environment by their low temperature waste heat, with the Sun’s higher temperatures driving the ‘renewal’, by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

3. Personal economy

Markets are supposed to rationalise supply and demand of energy in competition with others. Monopolies of suppliers and consumers can prevent appropriate responses to emerging depletion of resources and new technologies. Reduction in energy use could be encouraged by governments. Conversely, energy suppliers encourage consumption to maintain their sales. Individuals can be free to reduce their energy consumption, but their role could seem to them small and not worthwhile until leaders espouse this cause in the public interest.

4. Disregard of others

Energy use has not been limited, except by economic and environmental costs. Users have taken as much energy as they want, like oxygen from the air. People in some countries have helped themselves to much more energy than others. Energy ends up, eventually after use, polluting the environment and oceans for others, by the 1st Law of Thermodynamics. Thus some greedy energy users cause more environment warming and more depletion of energy resources, than others, without having entitlement to do so. 

5. Helping  less advantaged people

Energy consumption has universal value and is a broad indicator of quality of lifestyle differences between nations. Distribution has depended on historical circumstances. Developing countries could reasonably be allowed more growth in their low energy use than developed countries having high energy use. Such allowance could be voluntary, with high energy-using individuals sacrificing high-energy technologies and activities of marginal value to help those less advantaged. Otherwise sharing might have to be mandated. 

Please consider these 5 reasons and reduce your energy consumption.

My book Animal Farm 2 coming shortly addresses these energy issues https://martinknox.com

THE ART OF BODY MAINTENANCE AND PERFORMANCE

I compare my novel Time is Gold (2019) with a book I love, Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), reputed to be the most popular philosophy book ever written, selling over 5 million copies.

Time is Gold is fiction with a similar philosophical underpinning.

The genre of Persig’s novel is a roman-a’-clef, in which real people or events appear with invented names, in much more than a travel story. Time is Gold is a coming-of-age epic adventure thriller.

Both books are steeped in Zen philosophy applied to adventuring. 

Robert Persig cared for his motorbike, often taking it to pieces and reassembling it, the way people care for their horses. In his book The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he demonstrates his Zen philosophy of ‘quality’ living, with care as a compromise between mechanical classicism and romantic spirituality. His son, Chris, goes with him as pillion passenger on a long journey and learns his philosophy of ‘quality’. 

In Time is Gold, Maxi is a schoolgirl with running talent whose training is taken over by a team of expert coaches from whom she learns ‘extreme flow’, a philosophy of optimal performance time. Jack Cram is a university research student who helps his girlfriend Maxi to combine, physiology, physics, psychology and neuroscience and Zen in her training. Her story is punctuated with marathon race reports in high level competition.

Maxi tunes up her body for marathon running like a complex technology, in the Zen way, with her attention on goals and processes but not outcomes. Maxi balances physical and mental demands as she approaches Zen mastery.

The protagonists’ journeys are seldom downhill. Phaedrus, Persig’s autobiographer, contends with the aftermath of an earlier nervous breakdown. Jack’s career in industry gets off to a rocky start. These experiences open them to radical experimentation to achieve their personal needs. They have successes, becoming euphoric, with some poetic descriptions.

Maxi’s racing is punctuated by coaching dialogues, whereas Persig’s protagonist Phaedrus reflects between adventures.

Readers interested in endurance and resilience in any field of performance or problem solving will be enlightened by Time is Gold. Why do athletes inspire us so much? 

Available from Amazon. Reviews at https://martinknox.com

FREEDOM FROM POSSESSIONS?

‘Freedom is nothing left to lose’ (Song: Bobby Mcghee).

Conversely, can acquisition of a product bring true freedom?

True freedom is much sought after. Giving away one’s possessions may be undertaken to achieve freedom. Is going without honourable, to people other than stoics? Some religions offer poverty as a virtue bringing salvation.

Can giving and impoverishment be a hangover cure for a binge of hedonism?

A person can give and take, at different times, without contradiction. 

Reciprocation is expected. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48)

Why is taking balanced by giving? It makes sense in economics but maybe not in ethics.

What if the person gives all they have and it is not reciprocated? Would their condition be pitiable or enviable?

Minimalism removes the distraction of excess possessions so you can focus more on those things that matter most.Adam Smith described a state of “perfect liberty”— which became known as laissez-faire capitalism, freedom to make money — as most socially desirable. Or is minimalism the selfish squandering of opportunity?

Giving can mean transfer of more than you have, by sacrifice. Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect. According to Noam Chomsky: The more opportunity you have, the more responsibility you have. An individual’s first responsibility is to himself and his family, according to Jordan Peterson and Ayn Rand.

Should a person try to balance their giving and taking, so as to stay in credit?

Philanthrocapitalists like Gates, Zuckerberg, Musk and Bevos have achieved “spectacular fortunes” in the marketplace and may feel compelled to make a bigger impact, outside the marketplace, by giving. Carnegie gifted what would amount to billions of dollars today by taking a “modest salary” and donating the rest during his life and in his death. He believed that it was not only a moral imperative, but a social responsibility of the elite to support and grow local economies for lower classes. Noblesse Oblige prescribed that with great wealth comes the responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate than oneself. Was this balance between taking and giving true freedom?

Ordinary individuals may want to balance their giving on a reduced scale.

The conundrum seems to have three dimensions: Freedom; Responsibility; Self sacrifice.

Through acquisition, giving and tolerance, independence may be possible daily.

My blog: https://martinknox.com

CLIMATE TALK RULED BY STEREOTYPES

Why do people talk passionately using theories they often don’t understand in situations that are not defined? Climate change is a sport and knowing the moves of the sides can limit dirty play. 

BELIEVERS want their majorities to rule over everyone by the consensual decrees of international forums. They don’t want further investigation because they are already sufficiently mobilised by their beliefs. Their edicts contradict and overrule scientific and democratic freedoms, which is autocracy at best and at worst hegemonic tyranny. 

DENIERS is the name Believers use to label as heretics those who challenge their monotheism with arguments they are unable to counter with reason. The heresy is claimed to be self-evidently false, dishonest, illogical and too stupid to be considered. Denying is often claimed to have motives corrupted by greed, ignorance and self-interest.  Believers sometimes call for reprisals against deniers. When they reject others’ beliefs, believers lack convincing evidence and their defence usually fails miserably. There is little evidence and beliefs are so fragile that compromise between believers and deniers is impossible. 

SCEPTICS simply don’t know and their views are less acceptable to believers than deniers, because they are a moving target of doubt, compared with deniers who have an alternative reality. Sceptics remain to be convinced that climate change is significant when there is no accepted standard for significance and there has been bias. Sceptics want climate change to be significant before launching into remedial action. They want evidence that there is a greenhouse effect and that CO2 traps more infrared, molecule for molecule, than N2 and O2, rather than the same, which is what respectable theories suggest. Most scientists would be sceptics if they had the courage.

Believer, Denier and Sceptic, like The Three Monkeys, operate with different engagement, as mankind migrates across the savannah of human understanding of climate. Believers lead the migration to better environments, creating different survivors. They are opposed by deniers who, like predators, select their prey from the ranks of the young, the old and the disabled and pursue them in arguments to exhaustion. More agile believers are advantaged by sacrifice of the weakest. Sceptics apply reality tests to believers’ progress, checking their theories for veracity by science and logic. Sceptics try to mediate between believers and deniers.  Sceptics must win, eventually, when the believers stop believing in a better climate.

My speculative fiction novel The Grass is Always Browner considers Australia 250 years in the future.

https://martinknox.wordpress.com

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