Home | About | Donate

James Lovelock at 100

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/24/james-lovelock-100

"Whatever harm we have done to the Earth, we have, just in time, redeemed ourselves by acting simultaneously as parents and midwives to the cyborgs,"

  • Lovelock

Not buying it -

Actually I have ever been ambivalent about Lovelock - too clinical.

Martin Rees is a fan, but still ?

And now this - one upmanship it seems on the AI man himself - Google’s Ray Kurzweil.

Not buying Kurzweil’s Singularity either, though I admire his thoughts on AI, especially as regards how we will increasingly view cyborgs with human emotions as the cyborgs increasingly learn human emotive strategies.

I prefer the fight in the mud to Utopian fantasies of terraforming Mars or merging with cyborgs as an excuse to avoid fighting in the mud.

Just saying ~

Naturally, I could be suffering from dinosaur syndrome - if so - well, I prefer life as a human.

Come to think of it, the dinosaurs never did entirely disappear. They just made a different type of progress - and the avian world - not bad - soaring about - survivors.


Ironic to think that ‘modern’ is nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan deviation from countless societies that have for millennia intentionally constructed their technical relationship to Earth dynamics. Peoples of empire now call them “indigenous peoples”. Empire makes every effort to subsume/assimilate these societies because unlike them, the wastrel delusions of empire must ALWAYS take more and waste more.
Funny… empire always seems to be running from itself at the same time that it lies to those it ‘uses’ to remain afloat ‘to make itself great again’.

Even more ironic is that the intensity of false claims to greatness seems most intense at the height of empire, when it is consuming other societies to remain viable calling this ‘great’.

Wonders never cease.

1 Like

Hi manysummits:
Maybe the cyborgs will replace the human Empire, as a planet Umpire and things will balance out. : )

What’s that saying ~

‘Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven’

More to the point, Abe ~

‘As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master’ . This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference - is no democracy.’

Even more to the point - I have just finished Robert Bateman’s book "Thinking Like a Mountain’ (2000), and I have found perhaps an essential read (2019),

Ece Temelkuran’s new book, "How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship.

I have an article by Lovelock, wherein he thinks it wise to circle the wagons around an increasingly polyglot England.

Now I see all around me here in Calgary, franchise after franchise using ‘Temporary Foreign Workers’, and of course this appears at first, and even second glance to be an abhorrent thing - displacing Canadian workers in favor of beholden slave like refugees from other countries, every one of them feeling the heat, desperate not to be sent back.

OK - what if this multi-cultural invasion is a good thing on third glance?

We have to admit hyper nationalism has seemingly led us to this point - this point being on the brink of collapse and extinction.

Suppose we just embraced the invasion - and let the old pass away - for surely that is what is happening?

And why is it that this woman Ece Temelkuran, from Turkey - has caught my attention?
Why is Greta Thundberg the one with courage - where are the men?

Love you, James Lovelock. Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock changed my life inside and out, long ago. When I stumbled upon them, they opened up a world of deep time, searingly relevant to my life today.

1 Like

Perfectly stated.

It is too bad, that Lovelock gets carried away with his own hubris… his originality in Earth theory, is magnificent… but, …. yeah, I do not buy into this idea we are going to save our selves, or BE SAVED… by AI… or, the “second coming” …. or renewables, or nuclear or…yeah… we might have had a slim chance to survive, if it was not for all those nuclear power plants, just waiting for their turn to under the climate change catastrophe umbrella… I will not want to be here, when these death traps begin to go by he way side… too bad we had not been smart enough to decommission them way before now… oh, wait, it is too bad we built them in the first place.

1 Like

Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis is now regarded as brilliant and insightful for two reasons–it turned out to be useful, and it was not obvious at the time he developed it. His model was slow to gain acceptance, and was even ridiculed at first by members of the scientific community, and we now see those prominent detractors as having been short-sighted and too-mired in the prevailing mindset.

Today, like James Hansen, Lovelock is an advocate for developing advanced forms of nuclear power. You call this hubris, which is excessive pride and self-confidence which leads to error (and possibly calamity) which means it needs both conditions. If his position isn’t based on pride or vanity, then even if it turns out to be mistaken, it isn’t hubris. People can be mistaken for sincere and even humble reasons. On the other hand, even if his position does stem from self-confidence, it doesn’t count as excessive self-confidence if he turns out to be right.

Hubris is also normally something we discern in retrospect. To make such an anticipatory pronouncement about Lovelock, you must be confident in your ability to see into the workings of his mind to discern his motives, and equally confident in your ability to foretell that he will turn out to be wrong. His detractors from long ago were people of learning and credentials, but it turned out they were the ones who had excessive self-confidence. In your case, your confidence must be even greater than theirs, because they didn’t have the cautionary example of the fate of prior detractors, whereas you do. So for you to think you are right while standing in the same place they stood when they turned out to be wrong, you must think your powers of discernment and foresight are greater than theirs (as well as greater than Lovelock’s). That also means that if you turn out to be wrong, then it will actually have been your hubris which was greater than theirs.

The corporate Right made a big deal of Lovelock’s support for nuclear energy. They made it sound as though he had switched to the pro-nuclear side late in life and that this apparent switch fatally discredited the antinuclear cause, and extensively bashed antinuclear activists with Lovelock’s words.

In truth, Lovelock had ALWAYS supported nuclear energy. The views he held on that at the start were the views he held at the end.