Friday, August 15, 2008

Complete Justice = Complete Catastrophe

Complete Justice = Complete Catastrophe: Ecophilosopher Garrett Hardin considers this equation as central to its core principles. In his 1968 essay titled "The Tragedy of the Commons," Hardin explains how every rational being will seek to maximize his or her gain in the event that everything becomes the common property of all. Some see this notion as a seething critique of communism, and in particular, the Soviet farming policies related to collectivization. One way to solve the problems stemming from common ownership is to advocate a policy of privatization whereby only a limited number of people have access to certain resources. Given that the world itself possesses only a finite body of goods, man must put into place a series of control measures with respect to the environment. For Hardin, an area in dire need of regulation is the burgeoning growth of human population. He firmly believes that the freedom to breed, as laid out in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), is an insidious concept. The primary basis for his reasoning stems from the fact that those who have many descendants are actually doing a serious disservice to society in the sense that they consume more resources in safeguarding their well-beings. Although people have characterized Hardin as being both aloof and cynical, he has certainly hit upon something important (like the Malthusian limit).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ontology vs. Technology

Ontology vs. Technology: In Martin Heidegger's essay The Question Concerning Technology (1950), he refers to nature as "The Enframing" whereby a systematic ordering of the landscape by mankind has resulted in a seemingly unrecognizable and irreversible situation that constitutes our present condition in the world. Not being able to recognize and understand the changes brought by technology to the Earth and to the Self holds drastic consequences for the future. Today, mankind can operate a high-definition television or a super-charged automobile without having to comprehend even an inkling about the physics behind their respective operations. And this is precisely where the fields of science and technology have come to supplant the most basic and primal elements of man's being-in-the-world. For example, the above picture is the Sylmar Cascades in Southern California, which serve as the Los Angeles Aqueduct's terminus. Without the Sylmar Cascades, which require vast amounts of energy to pump mass quantities of water through the Newhall Pass, more than ten million people in Los Angeles County would be facing a serious water crisis (not that they already are). And how many Angelenos truly understand the survivalist implications of such a technological apparatus?