The curse of free energy…..
As many of you might know, the world has been abuzz for a long time, in a maddeningly repeated cycle, about the imminent arrival of Free Energy! Since we are (or rather have been for about 4 decades), in a constant energy crisis and also given the fact that most wars in the last Century have been fought over energy (specifically oil) and drugs (different kind of energy and a separate topic for another day, but wanted to say it since it is a huge factor); it would seem that free energy is the panacea we’ve all been waiting for.
Give me free energy and I will be free.
Give you free energy and you will be a slave of pleasure, probably mostly of the mind, your body having swollen to some grotesque, atrophied obesity, kept alive by the same free energy.
Sounds harsh and illogical, but let me tell you three tales of free energy, so you get my drift.
America, the land of virtually free energy. With their culture destroying military’s boot on the neck of a better part of the world (1,500 international bases? Some wild number like that), the US has enjoyed cheap, virtually free energy at the expense of the rest of the world and look what it has done to Americans.
Un-earned anything will make you soft. Soft as a person, soft as a nation. While innocent boys were sent to far away places to die, at-home Americans enjoyed a cheap petrol fueled boom, massive urbanization, even more massive sub-urbanization, increasing hours spent in cars and on chairs, or just sitting….sitting…watching cheap TV, drinking cheap beer, getting cheap thrills (it’s all fractal you know) …they’ve been getting weaker and fatter and sicker.
Make your own connection, for there is a strong one to be made, here is a shocking number, whatever your belief on Autism…
CBS anchor Katie Couric recently reported that, “Twenty years ago, one child in 2,000 suffered Autism; today, it’s one child in 110 births.”
Free energy made America an indulgent nation. Self-indulgent and deeply indignant at any suggestion that there may be something fundamentally wrong with the situation. Bigger cars, bigger homes, bigger bodies, bigger expectations, bigger appetites…after all in an Energy driven world, if energy is free, you can have it all.
Till you can’t.
Japan…. living a Perpetual Nuclear Sunrise in the aftermath of WWII. Supplied on the cheap by it’s master, nuclear energy meant the lights could stay on 24/7. The factories could produce 24/7. You could build bridges to nowhere for decades, 24/7. You could party 24/7.
Machines, even giant, electricity sucking robots on giant assembly lines, could run 24/7. Driving it to it’s current export behemoth position.
Power 24/7 ruined Japan. It became a mechanized and mechanistic nation. They exist like automatons. Hive-mind at it’s zenith. Always living in 50/60 Hz. 24/7.
Japan could choose to be in-efficient (on the big picture) and still out-sell their competition on price. Their power was virtually free. Cost is a monetary expression of embedded energy. Viola!
But Japanese people are like Machines. Except for carefully crafted social etiquette, they have no concept of spontaneous combustion. They live in their free-energy produced gadgetry and other consumer oriented wizardry, purposeless. It’s a really sad sight, especially for someone like me, who has studied and learned much from Old Japan (Zen and Budo especially). It’s gone except in an over maintained facade… Just like Japan.
India (and China), riding into the Industrial Success Sunset on the backs of it’s cheap labour. Free energy from underpaid humans. Overburdened, exploited humans.
Now that really beats the other two eh? Free energy that is sentient. Value-adding free energy.
Of course the host kills the symbiotic free energy source and chooses his next source from a huge pool. Sentient free energy, sounds like Capitalism’s wet-dream and it is. No other way, India, such a capitally inefficient (as in an inefficient user of capital) nation, could be one of the darlings of the growth story. There is no power to drive this engine except cheap (free) human power. Electricity is a joke here. And of course, being exploitative, this Free Energy system creates all manners of imbalance and tension in the social fabric. The effects are clear to see. India is in awful shape. It’s de-sensitized, TV addled populace is being worked into the ground.
So much for free energy eh?
The closest parallel I can think of is the Story of King Midas.
A cautionary tale indeed, careful what you wish for….you just might… get it.
A paraphrased quote from Dune, via the Sisterhood:
“Find freedom and become slave to your desires. Find your discipline and be free.”
If you’d like to help make us more efficient, as people, as users, as nations…. participate here: