Dialogue: Elisabeth Sahtouris
Sahtouris: Good to read your new essay first thing this morning. Bravo! Right on!!
I also finished a short piece yesterday, adapted from my "The Biology of Globalization" (most recently published in: Journal of Futures Studies, May 2001, 5(4):141-163) article for Tachi Kiuchi's newsletter and am attaching it, as it also mentions Type I to Type III ecosystems.
[Korten response: I love the Biology of Globalization. The convergence in our work and thinking is wonderful.]
Sahtouris: Smile. I believe, by the way, that not all Type I species are replaced by others -- only the ones that do not evolve themselves into a cooperative mode. This is not easy to demonstrate but should really be researched. We do know that seeds from the same plant put into different ecosystems will produce very different plants. Dandelions are a great example. They will spread everywhere they can fast on open ground, but also grow cooperatively in forests, looking very different there. I picked them to eat for a decade in Greece and noted their extreme variation, as does Craig Holdrege in a fine book: Genetics and the Manipulation of Life: The Forgotten Factor of Context.
I really like the Age of Empire to Age of Community way of framing the transition as I've long talked about the age of empire building being 8 to 10K years now, with shifts only in the rule of empire from actual emperors (kings, etc.) to nations to multinationals, and that it is only now finally at its end. Chapter 16 in EarthDance called the "Body of Humanity" is one place it occurs.
[Korten response: This discussion is helping clarify in my mind that we need to be clear that we are the species in question here and that the publicly traded corporation is not necessarily the equivalent of a species, but rather is an aberrant cultural artifact of the human species.]
Sahtouris: That's how I see it -- a product of our mechanical age, when society and all its "institutions" were modeled on machinery and expected to run like well-oiled machines--the engine of economics and all that. Chaplin's wonderful commentaries with people as the cogs in wheels, ground up by the industrial process. Fortunately scientists are beginning to come out of the anthropocentric (or mechanomorphic) view of Nature as machinery! Corps are made of people, but people plugged into a mechanism that became a destructive runaway engine with its doomed single bottom line. Our best hope is that they are made of people who, we must assume, would rather not be trapped in these runaway engines heading for a cliff. As one BP VP told me, "we know the oil economy is going to end and we want to do things right, but we can't change the whole thing overnight."
It's obvious to me that we need real global dialogue on this situation, with the economics very clearly out front. Because individual pioneers like are getting chewed up. The negotiations among competitors have to begin in a widespread way, to avoid becoming cartels while releasing each other of the bottom line pressure so creativity on building accountability to people and planet can really get somewhere. The local living economies trend is the other end of the same game, and if building them eliminates the need for multinationals, all the better!
Great work, Dave, as usual!!
Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD
Evolution Biologist, Futurist, Speaker, Consultant
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