After Progress: Reason and Religion at the End of the Industrial Age

New Society Publishers
Free sample

Progress is not just a goal in the West—it's a religion. Most people believe in its inherent value as enthusiastically and uncritically as medieval peasants believed in heaven and hell. Our faith in progress drives the popular insistence that peak oil and climate change don't actually matter—after all, our lab-coated high priests will surely bring forth yet another miracle to save us all.

Unfortunately, progress as we've known it has been entirely dependent on the breakneck exploitation of half a billion years of stored sunlight in the form of fossil fuels. As the age of this cheap, abundant energy draws to a close, progress is grinding to a halt. Unforgiving planetary limits are teaching us that our blind faith in endless exponential growth is a dangerous myth.

After Progress addresses this looming paradigm shift, exploring the shape of history from a perspective on the far side of the coming crisis. John Michael Greer's startling examination of the role our belief systems play in the evolution of our collective consciousness is required reading for anyone concerned about making sense of the future at a time when we must seek new sources of meaning, value, and hope for the era ahead.

John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history and an internationally renowned futurist whose blog, The Archdruid Report, has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the fate of industrial society. He is the author of over thirty books, including Green Wizardry and The Long Descent.

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About the author

John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history and an internationally renowned futurist whose blog, The Archdruid Report, has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the fate of industrial society. He is the author of more than 30 books including Green Wizardry and The Long Descent. As well as being a certified Master Conserver and devoted organic gardener, Greer continues to practice a myriad of skills culled from the appropriate tech movement. He has been active in contemporary nature spirituality for more than 25 years.
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Additional Information

Publisher
New Society Publishers
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Published on
Mar 30, 2015
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781550925869
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 21st Century
Political Science / Globalization
Religion / Religion & Science
Social Science / Future Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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“[John Michael] Greer’s work is nothing short of brilliant. He has the multidisciplinary smarts to deeply understand our human dilemma as we stand on the verge of the inevitable collapse of industrialism. And he wields uncommon writing skills, making his diagnosis and prescription entertaining, illuminating, and practically informative. Not to be missed.”—Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute and author of Peak Everything

“There is a great deal of conventional wisdom about our collective ecological crisis out there in books.  The enormous virtue of John Michael Greer’s work is that his wisdom is never conventional, but profound and imaginative.  There’s no one who makes me think harder, and The Ecotechnic Future pushes Greer’s vision, and our thought processes in important directions.” —Sharon Astyk, farmer, blogger, and author of Depletion and Abundance and A Nation of Farmers 

“In The Ecotechnic Future, John Michael Greer dispels our fantasies of a tidy, controlled transition from industrial society to a post-industrial milieu. The process will be ragged and rugged and will not invariably constitute an evolutionary leap for the human species. It will, however, offer myriad opportunities to create a society that bolsters complex technology which at the same time maintains a sustainable interaction with the ecosystem. Greer brilliantly inspires us to integrate the two in our thinking and to construct local communities which concretely exemplify this comprehensive vision.” —Carolyn Baker, author of Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse, and publisher/editor, Speaking Truth to Power

In response to the coming impact of peak oil, John Michael Greer helps us envision the transition from an industrial society to a sustainable ecotechnic world—not returning to the past, but creating a society that supports relatively advanced technology on a sustainable resource base.

Fusing human ecology and history, this book challenges assumptions held by mainstream and alternative thinkers about the evolution of human societies. Human societies, like ecosystems, evolve in complex and unpredictable ways, making it futile to try to impose rigid ideological forms on the patterns of evolutionary change. Instead, social change must explore many pathways over which we have no control. The troubling and exhilarating prospect of an open-ended future, he proposes, requires dissensus—a deliberate acceptance of radical diversity that widens the range of potential approaches to infinity.

Written in three parts, the book places the present crisis of the industrial world in its historical and ecological context in part one; part two explores the toolkit for the Ecotechnic Age; and part three opens a door to the complexity of future visions.

For anyone concerned about peak oil and the future of industrial society, this book provides a solid analysis of how we got to where we are and offers a practical toolkit to prepare for the future.

John Michael Greer is a certified Master Conserver, organic gardener, and scholar of ecological history. He blogs at The Archdruid Report   (www.thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com), and is the author ofThe Long Descent.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. Other animals have stronger muscles or sharper claws, but we have cleverer brains. If machine brains one day come to surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become very powerful. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on us humans than on the gorillas themselves, so the fate of our species then would come to depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed AI or otherwise to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation? To get closer to an answer to this question, we must make our way through a fascinating landscape of topics and considerations. Read the book and learn about oracles, genies, singletons; about boxing methods, tripwires, and mind crime; about humanity's cosmic endowment and differential technological development; indirect normativity, instrumental convergence, whole brain emulation and technology couplings; Malthusian economics and dystopian evolution; artificial intelligence, and biological cognitive enhancement, and collective intelligence. This profoundly ambitious and original book picks its way carefully through a vast tract of forbiddingly difficult intellectual terrain. Yet the writing is so lucid that it somehow makes it all seem easy. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostrom's work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham

“Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Visceral...I repeatedly cried…This book captures the emotions and unspooling horror of the day.” —NPR

“Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read it.” —Katie Couric

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which traced the rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the government’s definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.
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