Thursday, August 11, 2016

Nature, Civilization and Smart Energy

Two ideologies with vast effect on the Western civilization have been rationalism and romanticism. Rationalism and romanticism clash on many fronts, but they have one thing in common. They are both life-affirming. They see different aspects of life, and for that reason their strategies are vastly different. But both seek the well-being of humankind.

Two aspects of human existence are the world of nature, which man has not created, and the world of civilization, which man has. It is rightful to affirm both worlds. There is nothing wrong with seeking economic well-being or technological progress; there is everything wrong with providing for such things in such a manner as destroys natural treasures that man has not created and cannot conceivably recreate.

Man's economic well-being and scientific and technological progress should be embraced rather than attacked. However it needs to be done in such a manner as leaves the world a richer and not poorer place for oneself having been in it. Brainless practices such as burning the Amazonian rainforest or poisoning the oceans and the air should be done away with. This does not mean doing away with science, civilization or the economy. It means using better technologies and more brain-intensive rather than resource-intensive economic and technological practices.

In a word: True progress.

Both the people who attack the civilization and the people who have no value for nature are wrong. Both nature and civilization are essential. Until man can recreate nature, it is wrong for him to blindly destroy nature. As for science and technology, these are reasons that billions of people live till age 70 rather than age 30 and enjoy comforts and conveniences that few people in history have had. Neither deserves to be destroyed; both deserve to be maximized.

Practically, this means first and foremost moving toward smarter technologies. That is especially the case in the energy sector. I do not care for one minute whether private or public entities lead conversion to smarter energy technologies for as long as it's done.

The opposition to clean energy has been lead of course by the oil companies. These people are simply not thinking straight. Oil is a resource with a vast array of uses, including plastics, styrofoam and pharmaceuticals. These products are much more profitable than gasoline. The less oil is burned as gasoline, the more is available for these other products. The longer the oil lasts and the more money the oil companies make.

I happen to be privy to one smart energy technology with vast economic potential. It is called the Hydrogen Transmission Network ( Solar power will lead the electrolysis of ocean water, breaking it into hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen will be released into the air; hydrogen will be sent to places of consumption to create energy and water at once. Two expensive and inefficient infrastructures – the electric grid and the water delivery system – will be replaced with a single seamless network. Burden on freshwater resources will be eliminated, as will the carbon emissions and nuclear waste associated with present technologies. Vast number of engineering and manufacturing jobs will be created, putting to work the people who've had their jobs go abroad.

It is important to value both nature and civilization. Both are essential to the world as we know it, and both deserve to be in the best shape that they can be. Human intelligence makes both possible; and it is by harnessing the vast power of human intelligence that these and other problems can be solved.


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