Global Warming? or Global Norming?
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t. – Robert Benchley
The notion of ‘global warming’ implies a ‘norm’ for the earth’s temperature that we are experiencing an ‘upward’ departure from. In order to ‘get our facts straight’ it seems that some investigation into ‘norming’ is warranted.
There are some important ‘clues’ in the following video (New Tang Dynasty News Report of 2009-1–28 9:39) that associate with ‘permafrost’, that are explored in this APN article.
Our western culture seems to have, ingrained within it, a habit of establishing and ‘policing’ local norms based on ‘what things do’. We apply it not only to human social behaviours, but to all manner of physical phenomena (e.g. the temperature of the air in our homes).
For example, if we are on a beach and a giant tsunami comes crashing in, we say ‘this is not normal’. Likewise if we experience a very hot summer, we say ‘this is not normal’, … this is ‘abnormal’. But for mother nature, this is just her continuing business and she doesn’t have ‘normal’ in her vocabulary since she is, in her essence, ceaselessly innovating spatial-relational transformation.
Where do we get this sense of ‘normal’ which is the basis for us raising alarms when there is a departure from ‘normal’, as in ‘Global Warming’ (with or without the controversial man-made prefix)?
There is certainly some sort of personal ‘averaging’ going on since a ‘normal summer’ to a person living in ‘Vineland’ (Laborador/Newfoundland) in the time of Leif Ericson (1000 AD) would be ‘abnormally warm’ to those of us experiencing a current summer, a millenia later in 2009. So, ‘what we are used to in our lifetime’ seems to be one of the ways in which we establish a norm, but even then, if we experienced one tsunami on one day in our lifetime, we would call tsunami’s ‘abnormal’ unless they came to be a frequent occurence.. Thus ‘experience that is common in our lifetime’ might be a better definition. But then, again, if we lived inside an insane asylum, if an ‘outsider’ came and observed the goings on and her eyes opened wide, we might say; ‘oh, that’s normal behaviour for this place’, … which suggests that our ‘norming’ derives from ‘our subjective experience’ and there is a lot that goes on in the world’ that we may never experience because of our limited spatial relations.
Our western habit (‘control freaks’ that we of the western culture tend to be) is to try to ‘manage things’ on the basis of ‘keeping them close to the norm’ by ‘policing departures from the norm’. We use our technology to help us do this. For example, in our homes, instead of excepting the diurnal variations in temperature and putting warmer clothes on at night and taking some ‘layers’off in the middle of the day, we install a thermostat in our homes that activates machinery (furnace, air conditioner) that will ‘police’ against departures from the ‘established norm’ (the ‘desired condition’ that we specify).
This ‘policing against departures from the norm’ has become characteristic ‘management approach’ of the western culture. If a person is behaving ‘abnormally’ and ‘disturbing the normal conditions’, they will be pushed out of the common social environment in the manner that excess heat in the home is pushed out by the airconditioner.
“The problem of psychiatric illness and its institutions developed in our society primarily as a question of public order. It came into being as a socio-political problem, namely the defense of the healthy and working community from elements that would not conform to its modes of behaviour and rules of efficiency. Isolated care and treatment justified the segregation and internment of the ‘ill’ who were considered less for their illness than their potential as disruptive elements. This focus on abnormality and deviance, especially social disruption, meant that subjective suffering was not addressed – nor were the diverse variables giving rise to psychiatric problems. Despite decades of public concern and specific legislation opposing this approach, scientific theories, professional bodies and institutions have resisted abandoning the provision of a style of care that protects society to the detriment of those cared for.” (Ongaro Basaglia, Int. J. Soc. Psychiat., 1992, 38, p36).
So, it is in our culture to MOBILIZE OURSELVES AGAINST DEPARTURES FROM THE NORM, … which makes the establishment of ‘the norm’ a pretty important and pivotal thing.
BUT, there is a basic problem in our establishing of the norm; i.e. it is based on ‘what things do’ but there is a lot more to our natural experience and the dynamic of the nature environment we are included in than ‘what things do’ or ‘what we do’.
Consider those norms that get harder and harder to ‘ police’, as in the case of a revolution where divisions and conflict emerge as a result of the disproportionate distribution of wealth and food. One of the ‘abnormalities’ that are policed against is ‘stealing’. Since power is linked to wealth and the policing systems are controlled by those in power (be they elected or appointed or whatever), if the number of men with hungry families continues to rise and consequently the number of men stealing continues to rise in a natural attempt to alleviate the imbalance in the distribution of food, this will be interpreted as a ‘rise in crime rate’ and the response on the apart of the authorities may well be to bolster the policing system and build more holding tanks or ‘prisons’ to remove the agents that are ‘disturbing the norm’.
A ‘revolution’ is when the ‘abnormals’ and the ‘normals’ sharing a common space switch positions and the abnormals (now the ‘new normals’) police against departures from their own new norms so that the ‘old normals’ are redefined as ‘abnormals’ and are thus ‘pressured’ to change their norms or ‘suffer the consequences’. This was the sort of ‘revolution’ experienced by the natives when they were forced to share a common space with hordes of incoming European colonizers.
Norming Principle #1 We define our norm in terms of ‘what things do’ in the ‘present’.
While our western practice is to ‘manage things’ such as the social dynamic by ‘policing against departures from the norm’, this practice has evident flaws in it that derive from THE WAY WE CONCEIVE OF DYNAMICS which is relevant to the current furore and divisions that associate with the notion of ‘global warming’ (with and/or without the prefix ‘man-made’).
While ‘the working models’ of mainstream science do not acknowledge it, modern physics acknowledges that space is energy-loaded and this energy has been called ‘the energy of place’ so that when ridge-backed continents rise up out of the oceans like prehistoric animals, they rise as a result of spatial-relational ‘tension’ (compression) and when mountains slump and continents subduct, they do so as a result of spatial-relational ex-tension (decompression).
What we see is ‘things that move’ while the tensions from whence the visible movements originate, i.e. WHICH MAKE THEM MOVE are invisible. For example, the storm-cell is the result of compressions and decompressions in the flow of the atmosphere.
‘Tensions’ and ‘the release of tensions’ underlie all dynamics in nature; they are the ‘energy of place’ aspect of dynamics, the ‘silent partner’ of the energy in the movement of material things.
There is often a major ‘disconnect’ here in that we tend to focus on the ‘energy of movement’ and disregard the ‘energy of place’. For example, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette kept their eye on ‘the movement of people’ (social norms are typically based on individual and collective people-movements/behaviours), ‘movement’ which was being strongly suppressed by the police (who were charged with ‘keeping the masses in their place’ during times of shortage etc.). Meanwhile, the motivating source of the movements of the people derive from the silent, invisible ‘tensions’; e.g. in a growing gap between people’s need for nourishment and the food supply etc.
Hiring more police and increasing the severity of punishment might be successful in suppressing those movements that are judged to be ‘abnormal’ but this, in itself, does nothing to alleviate the invisible and silent tensions which are the underlying source of the movements and could in fact, intensify the tensions.
What we can ‘take away’ from these observations on how we develop ‘norms’ is that we establish them on the basis of ‘visible behaviour’, the ‘kinetic energy aspect’ even though the ‘energy-of-place’ or ‘potential energy’ aspect is their ultimate (silent and invisible) underlying source, as has been established generally, by relativity and quantum physics; i.e. ‘space’ is ‘energy-loaded’ and is the source of concentrations of energy that we call ‘matter’ as well being the source of material dynamics or ‘what things do’.
‘Permafrost’, as has become a topic of interest in regard to ‘global warming’, provides a clue to the different thinking of the Russian scientist and the ‘self-norming group’ of western scientists. Permafrost is to do with ‘energy of place’, something with enormous energy and atmospheric gas implications that accrues gradually and can serve as a ‘buffer’ that can moderate or exacerbate what goes on in the ‘present’. To cite a familiar example, if one puts a tub full of water in a root cellar it will tend to keep things from freezing when the cold spells come since when water freezes, it gives up a lot of energy into the atmosphere as it does so. It therefore ‘buffers’ the temperatures of the cold spell so that what we are currently measuring is not what it otherwise might be; i.e. it includes the buffering effects. This would also be true if one put a block of ice into a living area or storage area; i.e. when the hot spells come, the temperature rises that will be measured will be less that they would otherwise be.
This effect holds true in the case of a really big block of ice in the living area or storage area; i.e. a 30,000 year old massive block of ice called ‘permafrost’. Thus the measurements one makes ‘in the present’ include the effects of buffering ‘from a more distant past’.
Norming Principle #2 Our behaviour-based norms fail to consider tensions or ‘energies of place’ that build continuously in space and which bring influence from ‘a more distant past’ to shape the behaviours we observe in the present (the ‘avalanche’ and ‘tsunami’ are reminders that the ‘dynamics of things’ are ultimately sourced from the ‘energy of place’ that have been accumulations for a long time)
Now, there is a problem here in that ‘rational models’ and our common ‘causal model’ assumes that what we measure in the present depends only on the immediate past. This ‘rational’ or ‘causal’ model is what is implied in the ‘man-made global warming’ theory; i.e. it seeks to understand measurements taken today, with activities in the immediate past, however, what we measure today includes many influences carried forth from ‘a more distant past’. This means that the standard ‘scientific model’, the rational model that we habitually use to understand dynamical phenomena in nature, ‘doesn’t apply’ (it will give answers to be sure, but seriously flawed and misleading answers). As Henri Poincare observes;
“We recognise at the outset that the efforts of scientists have always tended to resolve the complex phenomenon given directly by our experience into a large number of elementary phenomena. And to do this in three different ways : first, with respect to time. Instead of taking into account the progressive development of a phenomenon as a whole, we simply seek to connect each moment with the one immediately preceding. We assert that the present state of the world depends only on the immediate past, without being directly influenced, so to speak, by the memory of a more distant past. Thanks to this postulate, instead of studying directly the whole succession of phenomena, we may confine ourselves to writing down “its differential equation” ; for the laws of Kepler, we substitute the laws of Newton.” — Henri Poincaré, ‘Science and Hypothesis’, Ch. ‘Hypotheses in Physics’, subsection “Origin of Mathematical Physics”
The implications of what Poincare says here unfold in the physics of ‘self-organized criticality’ or ‘chaos theory’ which are part of the field of ‘nonlinear dynamics’ which is the general case in nature (sometimes our linearized simplification as in the ‘causal model’ [the present depends on the immediate past] gives ballpark answers of some utility).
‘Nonlinear dynamics’ is not what is built into the notion of ‘man-made global warming’. The notion of ‘man-made-global warming’ derives from the simple ‘causal model’ or ‘rational model’. Nature is not ‘rational’ and neither is man. You can give a woman bad news about her husband two times, but not ten times. Like adding straws on the camels back or sandgrains on a sandpile, after a certain number of these events, something ‘nonlinear’ happens, the husband is beaten up by the wife, the camel has broken back and an avalanche has collapsed the sandpile.
The effects in the present include influence from ‘a more distant past’. This is the general case. The linear model wherein what we measure in the present depends only on the immediate past is over-simplification that we use because it is convenient, perhaps too convenient.
The rise in crime is typically viewed according to the rational model; i.e. the hungry criminal saw the freshly baked baguettes and he stole them.
The nonlinear version would be; the honest man who had been listening to the hungry children in his neighbour crying of hunger for the last ten days in succession, who walked by the boulangerie with its abundant supplies of freshly baked baguettes that the chubby bourgeois citizens had at their easy access, went postal and stole the baguettes and distributed them to the hungry children.
In the nonlinear version, what goes on in the present is influenced from ‘a more distant past’.
The western justice system manages the social dynamic according to the ‘rational model’ wherein it is assumed that what goes on in the present depends only on the immediate past. This translates into ‘all men are equal in the eyes of the law’; i.e. there is no ‘spatial-relational entanglement’ as there is in ‘real life’ where the dynamics of people are not rational but nonlinear.
The general case of ‘nonlinear dynamics’ in nature means that our present measurements are a complex blend of influences from ‘a more distant past’ and ‘permafrost’ is a huge case in point.
So, for those scientists like Marina Leibman of Russia’s Criosphere Institute, understanding present measurements must account for the influences from “a more distant past” so that we cannot use the simple model that recent human activity in the immediate past has caused the results that we are currently measuring; i.e. as she point out, the influence from this thirty thousand year old permafrost buffer (just to name of such buffering-in-from-the-past influences) is huge compared with our recent human activity.
“There is no global warming caused by human activity, first because greenhouse gases do not affect climate. They do not affect climate. That is a physical theory, it is an invented horror – it does not exist.” Leibman dismisses reports of increased thaw of permafrost as invented reports made by scientists in need of money. “– Marina Leibman, Chief Scientist, Earth Criosphere Institute, Russia (source – NTD News)
When it comes to ‘nonlinear dynamics’, we acknowledge the influence, in the present, of many energy-of-place buffers, and this is EXTREMELY COUNTER-INTUITIVE to our deeply acculturated ‘rational thinking’ with its ‘causal model’ based on ‘what things do’ as if they depend only on the immediate past, ignoring the buildups of spatial-relational tensions (energy of place).
Norming principle # 3: The behaviours of things in the present which we apply our model of ‘normal’ to are manifesting influences from the remote past.
Nonlinear dynamics are NOT what is being presented in the popular ‘man-made-global-warming view. Nonlinear dynamics run sufficiently counter to our acculturated belief in ‘rational’, ‘causal’ model (where the present is seen to depend only on the immediate past) that Edward Lorenz, MIT meteorologist who rediscovered ‘chaos theory’ in the 1960s, (nonlinear dynamics effects which were originally discovered by Henri Poincare in the 1890s) that he could convince neither his colleagues nor the Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the greater reality of these ‘nonlinear dynamics’. The notion was so counter-intuitive to the era’s scientists that NOAA was then working on a plan to multiply the number of weather ships and weather monitoring stations, believing that the accuracy of weather prediction could be indefinitely improved by improving the measuring/monitoring system (as supported by the causal mode wherein the present depended only on the immediate past thus the idea that the quality of predictions could be greatly improved by improved sampling. ). Lorenz constructed his famous ‘water-wheel’ to illustrate the physical reality, that this was not the case, that the ‘weather dynamic’ was a ‘nonlinear dynamic’ which could not be predicted by causal principles and models but only simulations of the nonlinear dynamics. (see, for example; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhOBibeW5J0 )
The vast majority of scientists use rational or causal models (‘linearized’ models) and the vast majority of scientifically educated people ‘on the street’ (whom the ‘man-made-global-warming’ argument appeals to) assume the correctness and applicability of the ‘causal’ model, and thus would be as hard to convince that this was not the case, as the Director of NOAA in the 1960s when Lorenz was faced with this challenge.
The following ‘virtual Lorenz waterwheel’ was produced by Fritz Gassmann, Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland Scherrer notes;
In the 1960s, limitation of predictability in a deterministic system was unthinkable and so, a real system was needed to demonstrate that chaos and the butterfly effect were realities and not mere mathematical artefacts (we call the three deterministic and nonlinear normal differential equations “Lorenz Equations”). W.V.R. Malkus, a mathematician at MIT, realized that the Lorenz-Equations can be transformed into the equations of motion of a waterwheel. This waterwheel was built at MIT in the 1970s and helped to convince the sceptical physicists of the reality of chaos
Click on Wheel to see Gassmann’s virtual wheel in motion, and think of the movement of the wheel as the advance or retreat of global warming that we would like to predict.
Lorenz’s waterwheel works as follows; The buckets on the water wheel (which have holes in the bottom of them so they are continually losing some of their load) pass under a ‘filling pipe’ at the very top of the wheel and depending on what speed that pass under it and thus how heavy the buckets on one side of the wheel outweigh the ones on the other side, the wheel turns in the direction of the side with the heaviest buckets. If the buckets are a lot heavier on one side, the wheel turns very quickly and in so doing, the buckets passing under the fill pipe gather very little water.
The buckets that have already been filled are influences from ‘a distant past’ which are all, at the same time, helping to influence the dynamic we see in the present (the movement of the wheel). The movement of this system is not predictable. It is a ‘complex system’ (nonlinear dynamic). The assumption that the present depends only on the immediate past, the basic requirement for ‘rational models’ or ‘causal models’ does not apply. The present behaviour, in fact, depends upon influences from ‘a more distant past’.
The philosophical implications are huge for western acculturated individuals who have implicitly assumed that the causal model applies generally. As François Lurçat, professor emeritus in physics at the University of Paris observes in ‘Le Chaos et L’Occident’ (Chaos Theory and the West);
“This dream of domination [implied by ‘determinism’] has henceforth lost all legitimacy and persists for no other reason than our ‘mental inertia’. An historical epoch has come to an end and we struggle to conjecture what is going to succeed it. Isn’t the need truly well overdue for us to draw on the lessons of the past and recognize where we now are? I would say that a problem is posed to us by allowing ourselves to remain within the framework fixed by this work: to understand the findings of 20th century science. By ‘to understand’ I intend this; not to constrain our understanding to the step-by-step reasoning of physics, but to be able to put these findings into the context of an interpretation of the world. From this point of view, it is necessary to recognize, in my opinion, that we have not understood (Not ‘we’, the specialists, but ‘we’ the educated public). ‘Chaos’ and also ‘relativity’ and ‘quantum mechanics’, for example, remain for all practical purposes impenetrable to the educated view. It is necessary, I believe, to acknowledge with Emmanuel Levinas that we are participating in the end of a certain way of understanding. Will we know how recognize this? Will we know how to discern the characteristics of an other way of understanding, larger and less constraining? Therein lies another story that is in the process of unfolding.”
What we see going on today is not the results of the immediate past, that is just a simple way of understanding things that we call ‘rationality’. Nature is not ‘rational’, rationality is something we impose. We may find it simple and convenient to say that the Taliban is the cause of turbulence in the Afghanistan region but the deeper view is that the Taliban is the result of turbulence in the Afghanistan region; i.e. What is unfolding today includes influences from a more distant past such as the political ‘strategic rivalry’ or ‘Grand Game’ between the British and Russian Empires vying for control of central Asia.
Just as it was over-simplification to think in terms of ‘defeating Saddam Hussein’ in Iraq (i.e. ‘eliminating the causal agent we hold to be responsible for ‘present unrest’), so it is to think in terms of ‘defeating the Taliban’. There are webs of spatial-relational entanglement, tensions or ‘energies of place’ that have accrued over time that bring forward direct influences from a ‘more distant past’. A more reasonable goal under such circumstances would be to put our movements in the service of cultivating, restoring and sustaining harmony in the spatial-relational dynamic, an approach that is more characteristic of a Mandela than a Bush.
With regard to ‘Global Warming? or Global Norming’, we could summarize as follows;
The popularity of the ‘man-made-global-warming’ theory derives from our belief that we can apply our view of ‘normal’ on what is happening in the present AS IF the present were dependent only on the immediate past THOUGH IN FACT the present is being directly influenced by a more distant past (e.g. by the buildup of permafrost, forests, and other such developments that allow the past to directly influence the present).
The ‘causal’ model that underlies the popular confidence in the man-made global warming theory is overly simple and inadequate to the task of prediction.
Whatever simulation-based predictions we make, there are no solid grounds for assuring their long term accuracy (in advance).
The view of Russian scientists, that the rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is the RESULT of rising temperatures rather than the CAUSE cannot be dismissed out of hand.
The view of Russian scientists such as Marina Leibman in the above video clip, that influences on climate such as permafrost, which buffer in influences from the remote past into the present dynamic, are fully credible and cannot be dismissed or ‘trumped’ by the over-simple ‘linear dynamics’ that associate with the standard causal model and with the man-made global warming theory.
Viewing ‘what things are doing in the present’ as being sourced by the continually transforming energy-of-place leads to a more comprehensive understanding than models based on local causal agents.
The interplay between this relative primacy of ‘dynamical figure’ (kinetic view) and ‘dynamical ground’ (energy-0f-place view) leads to divisions in world view. (To cite analogies; The hurricane is the result of turbulence in the flow of the atmosphere rather than the cause of it, and, as Pasteur latterly contended, ‘the proliferation of microbes is the result of imbalance/illness rather than the cause of it. In these relations between ‘dynamical figure and ‘dynamical ground’, Ernst Mach’s principle of relativity applies; “the dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat’).
What is ‘normal‘, we base on the ‘kinetic’ view and disregard the direct influences of the distant past on the dynamics of the present. That is, a better sense of ‘normality’ would point back to the terrain or ‘dynamical ground’ as the source of present dynamics rather than pointing to the sequences of action/interaction of the foreground ‘dynamical figures’. ‘Normality’ is a ‘rational construct’ (nature is decidedly NOT rational) and, being based on the movements of things, it fails to comprehend the ongoing transformation of ‘energy-of-place’ which is the deeper source of the movement of things; e.g. the relative tension across the fault-face associated with a geological fault is the source of the movement of the fault. While the tension builds continuously, the ‘normal state of affairs’ is ‘no movement’ or ‘very small movements’ so that a large (earthquake causing) movement is seen as A DEPARTURE FROM THE NORM. This situation applies also to relations between individuals and between groups of individuals and to manage these social dynamics on the basis of ‘policing departures from the [visible/kinetic] norm’ is to ignore rising tensions that lead to conflict and violence such as homicide and war.
From the point of view of Aboriginal Physics (and relativity), Pasteur is correct, ‘the terrain is everything’.
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