Hemenway inspires conversation on doom-saying

Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2006 at 3:51 pm by JTE

Tip-o-the-blog to A Steep Hill for bringing this to my attention–Toby Hemenway’s recent essay on peak oil “doomers” got Brent thinking and blogging, and the coversation is interesting.

Toby Hemmenway, the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Homescale Permaculture (the best intro to permaculture that I know), just posted an essay examining the psychology of peak oil “doomers”.

His conclusion is that we (humans generally, and Americans particularly) are culturally conditioned to a myth of life, struggle, death, and rebirth. He makes a good arguement; to his explanation, I would add the fact that people tend to see things in terms of either-or extremes. In the case of peak oil and environmental threat, the obvious poles are “tomorrow will look just like yesterday” and “we’re doomed, run for the hills”. Those poles are psychological attractors.
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