Sunday, March 30, 2008

No limits

We used to say "Over the limits" as a greeting ritual every time we meet with my friend Davy. But I won't any more, sorry Davy... I just can't stand any more the overall philosophy from which this concept comes from !
Here is why, which is a follow up on the previous post:

"If capitalism has one pervasive untruth, it is the delusion that business is an open, linear system: that through resource extraction and technology, growth is always possible, given sufficient capital and will. In other words, there are no inherent limits to further expansion, and those who wish to impose them have a political agenda. This cornucopian paradigm asserts that the limits before us are irrelevant, that finiteness is a Malthusian misconception, and that economic growth can be extended indefinitely into the future. Such a position would be analogous to the reindeer on St. Matthew Island having a leader who proclaimed, when the population hit 4,600, "We've proved the ecologists and doomsayers wrong: We've doubled the estimates given by the limits to growth crowd and are continuing to grow."
This counter myth of "no limits" is so powerful that it appears ironically to be gaining ground, in a reflexive, psychological reaction of denial, even as knowledge of the carrying capacity of the earth becomes more evident. Ever-expanding abundance is not a theory based on science, or history, or nature. It is based solely on self-interest. Whether willfully ignorant or unabashedly hypocritical, at some point we must ask business to look candidly at the real world and see the skull-and-crossbones posted alongside ecological pathways, so that we can begin to create real solutions instead of illusory techniques of evasion."

Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce. A Declaration of Sustainability.
(Chapter "The death of birth").


Daniel said...

over the limits anyway !

meanwhile, if you want to go over the limits you must imagine another way than always more... or the limits are not really limits, just current position !

Davy said...

why not, but I still feel that I ideally would like to overpass my own limits to make the best from my life, including having a positive ecological impact. Maybe we should say "over the right limits" ;-)

Cedric said...

I think the wise man is he who understands his own limits and those of the world in which he lives, and manages to live happily within them.
Which does not mean that we should not try to do better all the time, with the talents we have received and the teachings of our heart, but without asking the impossible to ourselves, otherwise we cannot be happy.
So we should say "reach the best within the limits" !

Daniel said...

I disagree

Why should we accept the idea that we have limits ?

What in human history demonstrate that there are limits we cannot pass ?

Ok there are limited ressources on earth. But it is given our current technology and knowledge level

Remember that one century ago the amount of maths operation you are doing for your research work were considered as unreachable...

Accepting limits is accepting fear. This leads to dark side of the force !

Cedric said...

Luke, you are my limited son !...

Granted, limits are not fixed boundaries, but evolve with time and technology. So if we can extend our limits, let's do it ! But there will still always be limits, specific to a particular time in history. Believing that there are no limits is a childish conception. And since one cannot forecast precisely how far one can push the limits further in the future, one should design a system that works within the present limits, and let it evolve as the limits are pushed out. But designing a system that cannot fit within present limits and saying everything is OK because the limits are always going to be pushed far enough is foolish !