Tue 26 Aug 2008
Understanding them is simply one of the things you would expect of a highly developed civilization.
In a week or so, I’ll film and subsequently post an interview with one of the premier thinkers in the area of Ecological Network Theory. I’ve been refreshing on some of these ideas and they really… well, shed as much light on the mile-wide, inch-deep phenomenon of green as anything. Complexity is real, the science behind it is new and needs to be developed like chemistry and physics were.
Networks (like the one you’re reading on) are everywhere and they link us to everything. This is a new force in evolution, for a single species to have a global character to its selection and coming evolution. It has to do with holism, as different from reductionism or partness – something not well-understood but essential to this idea.
The nickel version (you get what you pay for) is that the problems of environmental complexity will not be solved by old methods. “Just not going to happen,” as the man said. We live in a world that selects for small problems – our scientists mostly do research only on well-defined problems. We need to develop this particular branch of science (ecology), and to develop the science, we need to develop the theory. And this, THIS, flies in the face of the nature of our can-do society right now.
Old capital must be invested in the development of new capital, for it’s own sake. When we do that – fund basic research – there are no guarantees about what we’ll find. It’s not supposed to “produce anything”, it’s supposed to learn and add increments of knowledge for its own sake. Meanwhile, we’re turning universities into vocational technical schools.
It all speaks of a course correction, in a language which puts higher order terms back into the thinking and looks at them more closely.