While reading over another great diary by Stirling Newberry
on the Daily Kos, a comment by PLS
caught my eye. It is a good summation of what I have been trying to point out over here at GTC.
The technical civilization does depend on cheap energy, and cannot exist without it. Just like writing in the absence of agriculture, it just doesn't happen.
You see, the key is how many people have to spend most of thier time on subsistance activies in a society. Almost any hunter-gatherer group can support a few specialists - the shamin, for example. You have to have agriculture to support enough specialists for writing and reading to arrise.
The discovery and use of petro-chemicals has allowed even fewer people to be involved in subsistance activities. Basically because the energy we would normally have to put into survival activites is being put in by petro-chemicals. We all have an ton of energy slaves growing and raising our food, and then bringing it to us. Likewise our clothes. My great grandmother made her famlies clothes, and created them without benifit of patterns. Without another abundant cheap energy sourse, our way of life is impossible because all of our "advances" are based upon it.
We are arrogant, and think that we have all these things because we are smarter than those before us. Wrong, just think what Michealangelo would have done w/oil.
Looks like the Technical civilization is a one-shot deal. To bad we haven't realized how valuable the black gold really is. We squandered it mainly to avoid excersizing - imagine that!
As you can see, I can't really give up being a Cassandra.