|Sustainable Development and Sustainability Education?
A reflection on the eve of 150th birth of V.I.Vernadsky
Short version for VSFS Conference in Prague
University of Economic Prague
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''An evolutionary stage in the development of the biosphere when the human-nature interaction will be concously balanced, is important for sustainability education because it embodies interdisciplinary and systemic thinking approach and an optimistic vision of our future.'' (Trubetskova I.: Sustainability Education and Vladimir Vernadsky Theory of Biosphere and Noosphere, 2007)
This paper offers nothing new. It is an incomplete and small collection of integrated reflections on linguistics aspects, content of words and processes we have been using very often, especially in time of crisis, search for solutions, in strategic management also of humam resources and education. These reflections are aiming to encourage the younger generation to think clearly in a systemic and creative way, enabling them at the same time creating an optimistic image of the future in time of ever increasing uncertainty.
To create an optimistic image one needs understand the less known sides of the importance of the influence of language, psychology, creativity and the management of stress on a human as a part of the biosphere. The advocated 3E approach: ecology, efficiency and economy in thinking, speaking and acting involves also the process of human self-reflection: the ability take a break, exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about the fundamentals, purpose and essence. It's obvious that it cannot be separated from studies of the philosophy of consciousness, awarness and consciousness and the mind, to name a few.
By being able integrate science, education, business and politics within Vernadsky's concept the solving of the main physical economic challenges in the world would became realistic; it would lead to a dialog within which a quantum development in technologies and preservation of life and science driven economy would be possible. Solving the two oposing notions of individual interest, and the opposite sublime would enable design a new monetary-financial, political and social - cultural order. This could lead to the appearence of educational and management processes in which properly defined historical method(s), in which all knowledge of the past and the present, including family and public life is assimilated would take a place.
Vernadsky, biosphere, SID(I)A, 3E, individual interest, sublime.
The importance of the influence of language, psychology, creativity and the management of stress on a human being as a part of the biosphere cannot be overestimated. The mother language as the foreign language or any other form of languages, including the E-prime form influence the individual and the group thinking at every level. The more sophisticated is the understanding of the relation between language, psychology and behavior, the more one can access and implement the quantum principles and potentials in psychology, creativy, actions and last but not least the management of stress. All these are directly linked to the three main qualities: ecology, efficiency and economy in all: thinking, speaking and acting.
These integrated approached form the concepts of SID(I)A (System of Intensive Devcelopment of (Individual) Abilities) and 3E (Ecology, Efficiency and Economy).
Both concepts allow to respond creatively to the main challenge facing all modern societies and their economies: to find an optimal solution for limited resources ensuring a fair distribution.
Unfortunately the majority in both the educational and professional sectors prefers simple and easy answers, responding to the natural trends of human being: to be lazy, idealizing and lying to oneselves and be greedy and stingy.
Only a human self-reflection, meaning the ability take a break, exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about the fundamentals, purpose and essence can lead one from this cul-de-sac, which the majority of so called developed and developing countries has chosen to take. Folowing non organic reforms recommended by the developed countries and ignoring the past cannot lead to a sustainable (system) development, sustainability in education and peace as the following facts proves.
To begin with, studies involving considerations of phenomena, paradoxes and contradictions as offered for instance in Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:28), works of Ecclesiastes, Protagoras, Gianozzo Manetti (On human dignity), Shakespeare (Hamlet, II,ii, 115-117), Kant, Wittgenstein, Popper, Bohm and even CSCV (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) or Goedel's incompleteness theorems (dealing with two theorems of mathematical logic) or Darwin Vernadsky paradox (dealing with the complex hierarchical structure of ecosystems and the biosphere) should be encouraged.
At a lower level one may gain priceless experience from reflection on facts like, that:
Mozart, at the age of five was able to play a very difficult composition written by his father; Calderon began to write at the age of 13th; Haendl did compose his first piano composition at the same age; Karl Maria Weber, the founder of romantic epoche of German music presented his first opera at the age of 14th; Mayerbeer performed his first concert at the age of six, as the Czech composer Smetana did at the same age by giving a concert to academicians in Litomysl. Pascal and Byron began to work at the age of 12th ; Mirabeau did complete his collection of epic poems at the age of 11th. Tasso did write his first poem at the age of 10th, Dante did similar at the age of nine. Painters alike Rafael and Vernet did their first drawing at the age of seven.
All the above personalities did succeed at so early age becasue they were paid attention, meaning that they were made aware of their abilities, had not only the talent but also because they were loved and were trusted. Those who understand the value of these examples have been enjoying a complex process, which is directly linked to consciousness and the never answered question What is life? It should be better formulated as What stands a life for? It includes physics, mathematics, linguistics, biology and last but not least sustainable development and sustainability education, to name a few.
Sustainable development and sustainability education what does it stand for?
Firstly let's consider the linguistic aspect and the difference between being sustainable and promoting sustainability. It is obvious that the two formulations have not necessarily the same content. It seems that many of us and nearly everywhere in the westernized world are aiming to sustain themselves as if it were intrisically a good thing to be sustainable.
The sustainable development phrase is being used so frequently that it seems to imply that efforts toward self-sustenance would result naturally in sustaining the Earth and the human being good and happy. A clear, critical thinking about this leads to cause-and-effect reasoning with following result: if I would (be able) create a product or service that is sustainable in the sense of enduring for a long time or ever, it may actually harm the social and physical environment around me. Do we really wish and do we really want and need this type of development? Following few contrasting examples of usage may help to understand the importance of being aware of the usage of such words.
Sustainable initiative means the initiative can be sustained over a long period of time regardless of whether or not the initiative relates to sustainable concepts. But there is nothing like a sustainable concept. Concepts are abstract entities like mathematical formulae, which don't depend on human being or things for their existence.
Sustainability initiative means that the initiative promotes or relates to sustainability concept. Such a concept stands for a group of theories, philosophies and understanding enabling us to communicate about sustainable development. One doesn't need to be a linguist to expereince the ambiguity and know that there is not very much one can do about it. The use of the word sustainable should therefore be limited in terms of viable or maitainable, when we do talk about the ability for something to continue.
The use of the word sustainability should therefore be limited in terms of default when do we refer to holistic approach to sustainability. As everywhere also here there are exceptions. There is a class of words that sustainable can modify and still carry the holistic concept of sustainability: sustainable development, economy, society, communities. But there is nothing like sustainable thinking.
Linguistics, as one see offers enough space for creativity; it warns not to misuse language to deceive people and it invites to think clearly about what is being sustained and at whose expense and for whose benefit.
In Ludwig Witthenstein's (1889-1951) Philosophical Investigations there is an argument that if one actually looks to see how language is used, the variety of linguistic usage becomes clear. Words are like tools, and just as tools serve different functions, so linguistic expressions serve many functions. Although some propositions are used to picture facts, others are used to command, question, pray, thank, curse, and so on. This recognition of linguistic flexibility and variety led to Wittgenstein's concept of a language game and to the conclusion that people play different language games. Moreover, the meaning of a proposition must be understood in terms of its context, that is, in terms of the rules of the game of which that proposition is a part.
Having all this in mind and in this context the great Russian scientist and philosopher Vernadsky's major works like Essays on geochemistry, The biosphere, Scientific thought as a planetary phenomenon ''laid already the dinner table, but the quests are arriving late'' as Andrei V.Lapo did write in 2001. Who was Vernadsky?
Vladimir I.Vernadsky (1863-1945)
This forgotten giant was born in 1863 in St.Petersburg. His first famous, thiny book of 146 pages, The Biosphere, describing the Earth's biosphere as an integral dynamic system controlled by life, was published in 1926. The first translation of the same work into French was available in 1929; it took more than 30 years to read it in Serbo-Croatian in 1960, in German 1972. Other work followed more or less the same route. It can be said, that Vernadsky's lifetime publications in French and German were more representative and important than any in English. Although ''A plea for the establishment of a biogeochemical laboratory'' was published in English already in 1923, ''The fundamental matter-energy difference between the living and inert natural bodies of the biosphere'' and ''The biosphere and the noosphere'' were published in USA in 1944-1945.
Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan in their work What is life?, published in 1995 by Nevramont, Simon and Schuster, New York wrote: ''...remarkably, Vernadsky dismantled the rigid boundry between living organism and non/living environment, depicting life gloablly before a single satellite had returned photogrpahs of Earth from orbit. Indeed, Vernadsky did for space what Darwin had done for time: as darwin showed all life descended from a remote ancestor, so Vernadsky showed all life inhabited a materially unified place, the biosphere''.
From 1940 to 1980 in the West were several protagonists of Vernadsky's concept. George Evelyn Hutchinson (1903-1991), called also ''the father of ecology'', was probably the most illustrious of them. The Belgian ecologist Pierre Duvigneaud together with M.Tanghe (Duvigneaud & Tanghe, 1967) did publish in 1967 an important book Ecosystemes et biosphere, UNESCO organized in 1971 a long standing international program called ''Man and the biosphere''. Jacques Grinvald enhanced this process with his ''Introduction: the invisibility of the Vernadskian revolution'' published in 1998. The interest in Vernadsky's scientific heritage is increasing since all over the world. The key work, The biosphere,was published in the West four times: in Italian (1993), French (1997), Spanish (1997), English (1998). All this is complemented by the coverage in the world's first encyclopedia of the biosphere, published in Catalan in Barcelona, Spain in 1998. Despite all this, Vernadsky's work still remains inadequately known to Western scientists and especially the students including those from CIS entering universities after 1990 and these days.
In this context it is worth to remember Valencia (2000) and the 2nd Chapman Conference on the Gaia hypothesis (Lovelock, 2009). James Lovelock developed the concept of Gaia originated by James Hutton. The concept is similar to Vernadsky's concept of biosphere. The Earth is viewed as a physiological system that is, in sense, alive, at least to the extent that the climate and chemical composition of the surface are self-regulated at a state favorable for life.
During the conference one could read a graphic phrase ''life as a geological force'' of which the author was called P. Westbroek (Westbroek, 1991). This was possible, because no one of the organizators of the venue knew that Vernadsky did write this already in 1940's: ''Living matter is the most powerful geological force, growing with time.'' Another example from the same venue represents a poster by C.M.Fiorilla (Fiorilla, 2000, p.267). ''Is granite a Gaian rock?'' The author never quote Vernadsky's famous statement that ''the granitic envelope of the Earth is the area of former biospheres''.
Therefore I agree with Fred Pearce (Perace, 1998 ) statement in New Science (157:50) from 1998 that Vernadsky remains ''green from the grave'' until now. This cannot change even the small number of citations in Science citation index1. As the speed of changes within the current world system seems to increase it is appropriate to consider a few questions Vernadsky raised and idea's Vernadsky formulated during his life in different countries, situations and conditions which seem to be very similar to ours of today. An understanding of these may help better comprehend what really natural history means and how to find solutions to challenges the neo-liberal economists, short thinking politicians and not integrated approach to science, education, business and politics can never deliver: finding optimal solutions for limited (changing) resources, ensuring fair distribution.(Mihola, Vlach, Campbell, 2012).
In one of the documents of the year 1928 Vernadsky wrote: ''Был у меня молодой разговор, о котором часто приходится напомнить и чуствовать жизненную правду, мною тогда высказанную: на необитатемом острове, без надежды поведать кому-нибудь мысли и достижения, научные открытия или творческие художественные произведения, без надежды выбртаься-надо ли менять творческую работу ысли, или же надо продолжать жить, творить и работать так, как будто живешь в обществе и стремишься оставить след своей работы в максимальном ее проявлении и выражении? Я решил, что надо именно так рабоатть....Я думал и думаю, что мысл и ее выражение не пропадают, даже если никто не узнает о просходившем духовном творении на этом уединенном острове. Теперь стариком думаю, что никогда нельзя знать непреодолимости преграды уединного острова во времени.''
With these words, Vernadsky at the same age as I am now at the time of writing this paper (sixty five) described his synthesis of (understanding) life. Our Planet forms only a part of a larger island equaling to Solar system, being a part of a larger World ocean. I could confirm it for myself while studying and working with a medical doctor, scientist, academician Vlail Petrovich Kaznacheev (1924), the founder of Institute of Experimental Medicine of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. I learned to understand that evolution of species happened in geological and not historical flow of time. An evolution of species therefore preceeds the evolution of biosphere.( Kaznacheev, 2008, 2010). A human being therefore stands for an important geological power; it has an exceptional influence on the evolution of biosphere as we can observe daily. A basic knowledge of neuroscience and geology proves that the flow of geological time cannot be re-directed or reversed. So also the process of the development of human brain cannot be reversed. It is impossible to bring it back to a lower level. There is no way back...
All this seems to happen by quantum development, called also Dana cephalization. (156 J.D.Dana (1813-1895), a famous American mineralogist and biologist formulated, that the evolution of living matter is proceeding in a definite direction (Dana, 1864). Another American contemporary mineralogist of Dana, J.Le Corte (1823-1901) called this phenomena psychozoic era.2
1 Zimmer, C. 2012 New York Times: ''...A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision and an analysis of the peer review system substantiate complains about this fundamental aspect of scientific research. ''Far from filtering out junk science, peer review may be blocking the flow of innovation and corrupting public support of science.'' (Horrobin, 2001) Horrobin concludes that peer review ''is a non-validated charade whose processes generate results little better than does chance.'' ''If peer review was a drug it would never be allowed onto the market'' affirmed Drummond Rennie (Smith, 2010, p.1), deputy editor of the Journal Of the American Medical Association and who intellectually provided support for the international congresses of peer review that have been held, since 1989, every four years. If peer review was a drug, he added, it ''would not get onto the market because we have no convincing evidence of its benefits but a lot of evidence of its flows.'' (Ibid) Recently Carl Zimmer (2012) reported in the New York Time that, according to a study made by PubMed data base, the number of articles retracted from scientific journlas increased from 3 in 2000 to 180 in 2009. 6 000% of increment in 10 years! This ''Sharp Rise in Retractions Prompts Calls for Reform.'' (Ibid). But ''Peer Review is one of the sacred pillars of the scientific edifice'' (Goodstein, 2000), it is completely necessary as quality assurance for Scientific/Engineering publications, and ''Peer Review is central to the organization of modern science, why not apply scientific (and engineering) methods to the peer review process'' (Horrobin, 2001). Only 8% of the Scientific Research Society's members agreed that 'peer review works well as it is (Chubin and Hackett, 1990, p.192).
''...при разрушении России, которое мы переживаем, существование сильного и активного центра русской культуры и мирового знания, каким бывает живой уинверситет, является фактором огромной важности, помогающим восстановлению единого государства и устроению в нем порядка, организации нормальной жизни...''
(Биосфера и Ноосфера. Сборник цитат, Фонд имени Вернаского, Москва 2008, стр. 21, ISBN 978-5-8126-0032-7). The above citation has a universal validity. A Russia can be replaced with any other name of a country from the West. Only a scientific work combined with moral imperative can give the man material and energy possibilities to take from the biosphere all what we need and at the same time consciously changing the biosphere aiming to save and develop renewable resources.
It is evident, that scientific evidence does not results from a logical thinking evidence, not from a rational evidence, but from the experience and observation of and reflection on nature with its own complexity.
J.W. Goethe stands for an excellent example of non analytical personality. Goethe was able synthetize the whole nature: the biosphere in whole and biosphere in its individual representations, well before our time. His work proves between others that a scientific evidence reflects a significant amount of spiritual quality and wisdom.(Goethe, 1795) In this context it is important to mention, that there are many philosophies, religions, arts, expressions, traditions, ethical and moral norms, but there is only one science, even if today continuously ''new'' science or scientific directions envelops. They all are interlinked and form one science. And a science is always as good as it allows to make a binding prediction.
Therefore if they the ''new sciences'', including those called economic sciencies are really scientific they cannot contradict each other; they should and they would by their nature invite to cooperate and conduct a dialog. A dialog does not allow the fixing of an achieved state as such; it contradicts statements like win-win situation as it is a representation of a systemic process thinking. Human consciousness and human will(ingness) express themselves in the form of science.
In this context a grant based scientific research and cooperation as promoted these days do not quarantee the necessary scientific freedom and the promotion of cooperation and dialog between civilizations. How many of the promotors and users of grants are aware of this?
The current trends contradict one of Vernadsky's ideas defining the science and its importance as a power which is qualitatively different from philosophies, religions, arts and others and which allows due to its wholistic nature, timelessness and planetary character to unify different government and civic forms and socieites on the Planet.
It is therefore obvious that there is a need to solve this contradiction. This means to go back to fundamental and technical-engineering and human sciences, creativity on puropose, basically to go back to the nature via TIPS (Theory of inventive problem solving) (Altschuller, 1999), involving critical (meaning clear) thinking methods within the educational process and begin to think about the unthinkable. Creating an ideal concept and accept at the same time that it can never be achieved.
''...все человечество, вместе взятое, представляет ничтожную массу вещества планеты. Мощь связана не с его материей, но с его мозгом. В геологической истории биосферы перед человеком открывается огромное будущее, если он пoймет это и не будет употреблять свой разум и свой труд на самоистребление.''
(Биосфера и ноосфера. Сборник научных работ В.И.Вернадского, Москва, 2001, стр.174). An article (Carruthes, 1910) in scientific journal Nature published more than 100 years ago offers an excellent example of systemic thinking and reasoning of Vernadsky, both urgently needed these days.
The above article describes, how a british traveller Alexander Douglas Mitchell Carruters (1882 - 1962) observed the flight of a ''cloud of locusts'' between North Africa and Arabia. Locust (grasshopper) allways fly in a group, forming an image of a cloud. The whole ''cloud'' covered an area of 5967 sq km, a territory of a small state. Naturalist Carruters calculated the weight of the ''cloud'' at some 42 plus tons. It is worth to mention, that enthomologists claim, that the above ''cloud'' is not the biggest observed in the history.
Vernadsky later recalled this story, reflected on these few data, reasonded and concluded, that the locusts are made up of (consist) of the same atoms, as minerals, atmosphere and the water, only in another combination. If one imagine that all growing, moving, swiming or flying is a matter, only in different form the conlusion is logical that besides the quantitative also the qualitative parameters can be studied. And the result? A strange state of atoms independently moving within their combinations!
Such and many more reflections form the base of Vernadsky's fundamental work Biosphere published in 1926. In it he regards living matter as part of the Universe, not only of the Planet Earth. In 1928 follows his report on Species evolution and living matter.”
During conferences home and abroad Vernadsky's reflections touch the correlation between biogenic migration of atoms and evolution of species. He also suggests that organism's elemental chemical composition, radium concentration, for instance, is a species characteristic. All it is so close to the reasonings of others scientific giants like the few cited next:
Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962 ) who defined the paradox of reflection as the main paradox of consciousness once asked: How does the group of atoms know about its own existence? Erwin Schroedinger (1887 1961) in his answer to the question “What is life? which he raised in his famous lectures in February 1943 at Trinity College Dublin suggested that the protein structure is encoded in genes in aperiodic sequence of nucleotides. He defined the structure of living system as aperiodic crystal.2
Paradoxes like these appear when we formally describe (reflect) movement. Zeno paradoxes of movement (arrow or Achilles and tortoise) or semantic paradoxes, like Epimenides all Cretans are liars complement the above examples.
Life always maintains and solves these paradoxes, since living organisms possess their internal description inside them. We unconsciously understand what is non-living and what is living. Living system is a whole, which is self-moving, like our breathing or heart beat.
The reason of these movements, as mentioned earlier is the internal description of the system. The finite description of a whole (potentially infinite) phenomenon cannot be complete, thus we cannot fully predict its behavior and evolution we can only forecast by imagining it. This also applies to the psyche. And also to multidimenisonal accounting model and others.
Heraclitus defined that psyche (soul) possesses self-growing logos. It means that psyche cannot be fully determined from outside but the reason of its movement is internal. Physical matter faces external determination, life has internal cause of movement (causa sui - Spinoza, Bewegung an sich - Hegel). Living organisms have their description inside them as encoded (reflected) in genetic structures. So, the essence of life is of semiotic nature. (Barbieri, 2008)
Aristotle in De Anima (On Soul) determined life as a body's feeding, growth and decline reasoned in itself. Following his approach, the framework of modern science can be defined as: ‘Life is a self-organizing and self-generating activity of open non-equilibrium systems determined by their internal semiotic structure
From the anthropic principle the structure of the Universe includes self-reflective loop. This means that it should be observable (and in some cases include free choice). Considering fundamental constants of the physical world (finite gravitation constant G, finite velocity c, finite quantum of action ?) Einstein's fundamental question whether God had any choice in the creation of the world, is still valid. Therefore one of the main problems of today, the understanding of the complexity of human being and the Universe of which the human being is a part arises from the increase of informational content’. More about this later.
The above consideration would not be complete if (czech born?) Erwin Bauer (1890 – 1942 according to a few resources) who defined the essence of life as a steady non-equilibrium state3 and the so-called Darwin Vernadsky paradox would be ignored. It is obvious that the equilibrium system cannot be observed (reflected): observation disturbs equilibrium. This is the point of analysis of non-equilibrium state. It is different from the basic ideas of the non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Disequilibrium is generated by observation.
Non-equilibrium process always follows from self-reflective loop. Paradox of movement itself is a non-equilibrium system. Autocatalysis - a chemical model of self-reflectivity. Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) oscillatory reaction provides waves in certain media, which form spatial structures; Maillard oscillations are observed in aqueous solutions of amino acids and activated sugars; Gurwitsch reaction defines that UV-radiation of solution of amino acids results in formation of peptide that catalyzes the conversion of these amino acids. Many more examples could be offered.
Darwin Vernadsky paradox4 is connected with the complicated hierarchical structure of ecosystems and the biosphere and the more qualitative than quantitative character of Vernadsky's biogeochemical principles of the biosphere and ecosystems development law.
Although it is an old and complex issue, it is at the same time very timely. It should be offered within a basic curriculum at university level studies as any quantitative criteria to evaluate the development of multi-organismic systems need to account for energy fluxes, like EPED Energy Principle of Extensive Development; EPID – Energy Principle of Intensive Development; MUC – Main Universal (generalized) Criterion and their use in biosystems of different hierarchical levels.
The two first principles are mainly connected with the behavior (development and evolution) of multi-organismic systems, belonging to the lower levels of bio-hierarchy, population and / or community levels. The third functional principle MUC deals with the behavior of more complicated multi-organismic systems of the higher levels of bio-hierarchy, including ecosystems, biomas and the biosphere as a whole.
From such a study new diseration thesis could appear dealing for example with the Creation of artificial biospheres for human life support beyond the limits of the Earth's biosphere; or dealing with The use of artificial ecological systems offering new ideas for developing technologies for the solution of pollution problems.
Мы подходим к великому перевороту в жизни человечества, с которым не могут сравниваться все им раньше пережитые. Недалеко время, когда человек получит в свои руки атомную энергию, такой источник силы, который даст ему возможность строит свою жизнь, как он захочет. Это может случиться в ближайшие годы, может случиться через столетие. Но ясно, что это должно быть. Сымеет ли человек воспользоваться этой силой, направить ее на добро, а не на самоуничтожение? Дорос ли он до умения использовать му силу, которую неизбежно должна дать ему наука?
(О ответственности ученых. Вернадски Б.И.; Философксие мысли натуралиста. Москва, Наука 1988, стр.395) This citation does not need to be explaned in detail. It proves how farsighted was Vernadsky and what ethical and moral standards he considered within his work.
Vernadsky travelled a lot since 1927; he gave lectures, courses in Germany, France, Czech Republic and elswhere and he never forgot to stress the importance of one responsbility for own actions and the importance of culture. Therefore he refused to move abroad permanently and continued his scientific activities in Russia, being stuck to his belief that only science can save Russia. He may prove to be right again soon as the neo-colonialistic wars are becoming a routine.
The significance of the year 1812, the beginn of globalization of resources around 1860 and the significance of an epoch of wars before the First World War all these have been ignored by many in European public. But there is a need to reflect on such facts like:
The world in 1913 was a world of expensive resources. The price for coal reached its peak, the food prices increased, and even the price for traditional wheat in Russia grew up to 44%. The production of coal by USA only grew twofold in relation to 1913 thanks to new technologies. At the same time, 1913, the percentage of world trade reached 33% which was repeated only during the 1990's. This indicates that the intensity of economic activities between countries was similar to the intensity of activities during the second globalization. An analogy apllies also to the financial markets. The size of the market with shares of 1913 was repeated only at the end of 1990's. With the pair, coal and steel, grew the competition and with it also the outflow of capital from the real economy towards peripheries with cheap labour and cheap natural resources.
It all resulted in an increased competition and increased demand for natural and other resources. The globalisation in long term made all problems which it was supposed to reslove, worse.
It is all evident and clear, that the current situation in the world is very similar to the situation 100 years ago. These days the hunger for resources does not stop before very intensive capital production in hard and problematic conditions (deep sea water and simliar). The food prices in countries are reaching worrying levels by a lower quality of food products. With other words: our technological achievements brought as at a level with much higher risk than the pair coal and steel did hundred years ago.
In terms of wars the picture is similar. A chain of wars speaks for itself: Iranian war 1905 1911, Russian war 1905 - 1907, Turkisch 1908 - 1909, Sinchai 1911 - 1913... Colonial activities intensified since the division of Africa from 1884, the world seems to be divided and new wars appear: Spanish American 1898, Anglo Bursk 1899 -1901, Russian Japanese 1904 - 1905, Italian Turkish 1911 - 1912, Balkan war 1912 - 1913...It is therefore obvious that the economy based on oil and gas born all the effects and reasons which led to the First World War. England covered payment deficit by investing in colonies, France by entertaining international usury and Germany deprieved of colonies could not act in the same way and had to go the way leading to militarisation.
Current situation with all the variety of deficits known and less known to general public is similar but worse. A significant part of the world came into the same situation as Germay in the past. The German and British economies in the past and in the geopolitical situation have been replaced by economies and geopolitics of China and USA (as a departing hegemonial power priniting uncovered dollars). This is accompanied by the departure of East and Southeast Asian countries form USA umbrella to China, similar to Europe during the 60th and 70th with all it consequences for the USA. The contradictions are more complex and in larger quantity. There is no objective reason to believe that they would be resolved by applying neo-liberal and current financial policies simply because they cannot offer any binding predictions as a fundamental science can do.
As the conference is held in Prague, a City at European crossroads between East and West a few words about the geopolitics. There are talks about partnership between EU and the RF or even Eurasian Union. As a matter of fact EU is not an independent union in its foreign policy. It is under full control of NATO and USA corporations. Russian Federation these days is independent in its foreign policy despite its significant dependence from the current world financial system. Therefore it is quite improbable that a real partnership between these two can be established.
Further, the Czech political puppet show would would suffer not only from so called ''church restitutions'', pension ''reforms'' but also economically and otherwise. It cannot be called sustainable and systemic solution of crisis if every month or even hour technocrats are creating virtula richness which overall volume may be 25 times higher than the whole world national product.
World geopolitical designers and players are looking again at Romania, Ucraine, Moldavia, Karabah, Iran, moving conflicts close to CEE. A historical new ''Northen (Arctic) alliance'' against Russia has been in forming; a lot of dreams of Turkisch generals are coming true. One of the last spectacles aiming to bring together the Euratlantic civilisation against a mythical enemy has been rehearsed by representatives of an anthropological elite group, to which the majority of population does not belong and is ignorant of it. We are going to wittness a wide spread wars for resources.
Even the EU with its EURO did not learn as it seems officially anything from the history of monetary unions: The Colonial New England monetary union (till approx. 1750), the Latin Monetary Union (LMU), the Scandinavian Monetray Union (SMU), East African Currency Area and last but not the history of Prussia's Vereinsmuenze (from 1828), the Reichsmark (1875). All these speak for themselves and should be valued as present of the past. And present should never be ignored or given back.
LMU was dreamt up by the French, obsessed by their declining geopolitical fortunes and monetary prowess. Belgium adopted FF in 1830, Switzerland in 1848, Italy in 1861, Greece and Bulgary in 1867. The members established a currency union based on silver and gold standard, fixed exchange 1(silver) : 15 (gold), an exchange commission of 1,25% only. A rule which forbade the countries print more than 6 franc coins per capita, no unified money suplly policies and management and so on. Even under these conditions the LMU was not able to move further. When silver became overvalued, it was exported in violation of its rules and the silver convertability had to be suspended, leading to the humiliating gold standard. The unprecedented financing needs resulting from the smaller wars of that time, brough Greece to declare bancruptcy and leave the LMU. The financial needs resulting from First World War delivered the final coup de grace. LMU was officially dismantled in 1926 being already long before dead.
SMU was created by Sweden and Denmark in 1873; Norway joined in 1875. But when Norway became independent the irate Swedes dismantled the SMU in an act of monetray tit-for-tat and after 1924 the end of SMU was sealed.
EACA history is similar. It ended due to depreciation in late 60th and 70th of the Pound, the disintegration of Sterling Area in 1972 and last but not when the otherwise strong monetary discipline evaporated. Officialy all ended in 1977.
The Vereinsmuenze and the Reichsmark gave birth to modern monetary management, which allowed to survive two World Wars. The Reichsmark as a new currency was in effect a real new monetary union, Politically motivated inflation and devaluation as it is today happening with EURO were not possible. The Reichsmark ended not because of its systemic weaknesses but by accepting Brussesl policy and unselected bureaucrats lead by monetary and financial experts.
The German Constitutional Court express decission of Wednesday 12th September 2012 in regard to the ESM may despite its preliminarity bear a lot of surprises for the near future of Germany itself and other members of the European Union. It cannot be excluded for instance that by further weaking of German Parliament democratic proceedures and increased pressure from political and financial puppets on Members of Parliament, Germany may leave the EURO. The EURO may be better off without Germany, although it may sound paradoxical these days and Germany better off outside the EURO.
Looking back at Vernadsky who celebrated in Prague his golden wedding (50 years of marrigae) I have to name the current trend we have been experiencing in Europe. It confirms a rapid reduction already in silver wedding celebrations! In 1936 was also the 50th anniversary of the very important brotherhood (братство) of personalities of which Vernadsky was a member; in 1936 he was honored for his 50 years of scientific and pedagogical activities. Two volumes (606 and 666 pages) were prepared by his friends, students and collabotaros. Fersman (1883-1945), Shubnikow (1901-1937), Kurchatov (1903-1960), Chlopin (1897-1961), Hahn (1879-1968), Born (1882-1970 ), Slavik (1876-1957 ) and many others. How many students and participants in the conference heard, recall or know the names and the work of these scientific giants? Can we afford to ignore them in time of a deep crisis, and if only a few understand that space - time is not an abstract stationary construct or an image, but a construct in which the past, present and future forms a whole?
To understand this whole (system) requires an approach and scientific work similar to the one enjoyed by studies of matter, energy, electricity, life. Such a study would best be complemented by understanding Vernadsky's brochure published in 1934 titled ''Time problems of modern science'' the book ''History of natural waters'' and the last work called ''Some words about the noosphere'' published in 1944. All cover the most urgent topics of today; all offer a strategy for solving the challenges.
In these works Vernadsky outlined his belief and understanding of a new geological era, in which mankind would emerge as a powerful Earth-changing force. We can witness it today. A changing force creating a new form of biosphere called the noosphere (Psychozoic Era): an era in geologic time in which humanity as a whole is a powerful geologic entity able to transform the planet. The various process we can already witness as they progress.
Прогресс в искусстве, науке, мызыке, литературе кажущийся. Великие произведения мысли и искуства Греции не выше современных. Аристотель, Данте не ниже современных ученых и мыслителей-Толстого и Kельвина. Тут никакого проресса нет.
(Мысли и наброски. Сборник научных работ В.И.Вернадского. Москва: Hоосфера, 2001, стр.192)
„Я так счастливо поставлен, что могу поддерживать много людей: Зиночка, Наташа Шаховская/Шик, Дима (внучатый сын, студент В.И.Вернадского), Дон, Буткевич, Элизавета Дмитриевна Ревуцкая, теперь Мамчич, Маша и Катя Гревс. Безобразно построено призрение стариков и старух. Это больное место, которое обходят.“
How actual and timely are these citations?! Beside the beforesaid a few thoughts about a history of some 100 years related to the appearance and disappearance of service middle class as a result of democratized education in our society. It may contribute to the better understanding of this paragraph and it may give some thoughts to the young students attending this conference.
Some hundred years ago began the consideration in regard to the middle class. At the beginning of the fifties the Austrian president Karl Renner turned back to his old analytical work and formulated so called service class. Some thirty years later british sociologists expanded this terminus technicus and included into it also high civil servants and similarily educated class. This expansion did not end here; it continued in the other direction: managers of smaller companies, professionals of middle level and technicians were included into this category. Those employed in Service companies and Governments have been paid well and have been enjoying a variety of privileges, inclduing the appearnce on TV. The mass democratization of education within the unprecedented economic process of growth in Europe and USA resulted in a high quantity of persons with a high variety of diplomas from ever increasing number of private universities. This ''democratisation of education'' has been creating a mass without a mandate to exercise the power needed for any correction of politics (Keller, 2012)
As any process of growth also this one raised a number of questions similar to the key one: What actually does the middle class think and what does expect in the future?
It is obvious, that the thinking and expectations of the middle class 100 years ago cannot be the same as of the modern middle class of the post war era and of today. An indication for an answer delivers the British sociologist John Goldthorpe (1935) who refers to Marx. Freely citing it means that the modern middle class presents similar tendencies as Marx identified by the old middle class: a great interest to maintain the status quo, functioning as a barrier against radical changes thus serving the increase of the safety and power of the top ten thousands.(Campbell, 2011)
The later development within the process of growth of the modern middle class brought with it the apperance of post modern mentality with its confusion: a mix of populism and authoritarism like Regan and Thacher did with their promotion of individuality and individual performance and freedom and radical democratic social movement. Last but not least one can include also the acceptance of the disappearance of the working class.
Liberal atmosphere let disappear many tabus and appear vast number of experiments with life styles, both under the label of autonomy. Those in the 1968 and those of later and even today probably did not and still do not understand how fast autonomy was integrated into managerial textbooks, theories and practice.Lack of reflection and the ability to reflect has been leading and allowing to dream a hopeless dream of an absolute freedom, non-determination and independence, all packed in so called democracy.
Within this process and its framework many social activists began to request an emancipation of the supressed or of those in the second row, like females in senior managament positions, guy marriages, ecological demands related to the animals world and so on. Accepting such demands became a disturbing element for the governing class as it allowed over a few decades grow the middle class for the sake of their own safety and profit, granting it privileges and ''privileges.''
As the result of reflections concluded by itself and its close advisors we should understand that the governing class doesn't need a large middle class these days at all; we can observe nearly everywhere in the developed world a push towards reforms.
Reforms of education,- health,-pensions,- and social system. We should accept the sinking level of quality for the majority and allow increase of the quality for those who can and are willing pay for non-standard services, like the modern alchymists in economy and finance or lobbyists
All the mentioned non organic reforms would lead to: the cutting-to-size of the middle class to the size as some 100 years ago; the cutting-to-size and disappointment of social movements. Like the recent ecology Rio-summit and last but not least the necesssity to accept and understand that a modern know-how or innovation-based human society would require high quality educated citizens. And that an inflated education represents high and potentially not managable risk for both: the individual without the right to get a work or already without work and the society with its police and...It should be recalled that just 50 years ago, in 1962 a consortium to aid Turkey and Greece was formed before the summer holidays (June 20th ) within OECD for aid to the economies of Greece and Turkey. What reforms they introduced since? Did they consider and have they been considering today the qualitative difference between an organic and non organic reform? Did they forget and have been forgetting that economic religion in current form devalues all historical experience and traditions? Who knows about Christianity, it historical genesis, antics and modern traditions? Why do we refrain on free will from own traditions, re-write and re-define histroical facts, ignor the reasons for disappearance of traditions? The last invites to compare these with the evolving i-net culture, with the spread of Islam and Buddhism also in Europe on one side, on the other side the the growing ''individualised'' religion and anti-religion movements? (Atlas, 2012)
And what about the year 2012 and the following years? Each and everybody can count the risks for him or herself beginning with it own autonomy, entropy crisis, finance ad family disasters and closing with regional and larger wars around the corner. Crisis everywhere.
Crisis stands ususally for a non stable state, danger, trauma or systemic failure, which may lead to a total colapse, including a colapse of a society. In such a situation standard management methods and solutions don't function. In this regard political decissions have no democratic legimitacy and therefore governments are losing public confidence.
Despite this we can hear and observe that experts should be allowed to act and manage the crisis. Some experts were parachuted into position, like Monti in Italy, Draghi to head the ECB, or even decided to run for a president, like the Czech ex-minister Dlouhy. All these experts ar ex Goldmann Sachs' children. Their ambitions can be easily be valued as the biggest lie and hypocracy. The experts and their economic science with impressive mathematical models and prediction ratio equal to the level of bacteriology of the 17th century. Over the Atlantic the presidential campaign uses more or the same rhetoric as the one used in 1932 in which Roosewelt accused Hoover of lying about the real money and the finacial and economic depression of the late twenties.
Therefore Silenzio esperti should be imposed in analogy to the historical Silenzio teologi. The last lead to the separation between the state and the church and ended religious wars in Europe.
As every crisis feeds the feel of crisis, a feel of crisis can appear by using not appropriate words and language. Like in the midd-age all attention was paid to religious leaders; these days all attention has been paid to economc leaders. The promissed solutions of the past as of the present have been based on the ignorance of natural laws, physics inclusive. The current finance system ignores totally the basic natural law of preservation. How otherwise would it be possible to disappear billions and billions of currencies, like the snow under the sun? (Kucera, 2012)
Therefore the main dilema of modern democracy lies in the tension and disbalance between the charisma of individual politicians and leaders and the anonymity of the state aparatus of professional political experts, adevisors and lobbyists. To much charisma invites the identification in terms of sense of life, to much depolitized expert governance to the loss of sense of politics. Max Weber's iron cage of modernity has therefore it's own clear political dimension.(Priban, 2012) In the real life the search for the common sence of life grows proportionally with the unability of expert's thinking to solve the crisis. Biological systems prove it: they are to complex to allow an binding prediction.
Пересматривая теперь, после ряда лет, непреывно шедший ход работы моей мысли в этой области знания - в геохимии а биохимии, - я вижу, что основное всего естествознания лежат три широких и глубоких эмпирических обобщения, значение которых и взаимнные соотношения между которыми для меня тоилько постепенно выяснились. Я вижу сейчас, что эти три основных эмипирческих принципа охватывают все естествознание. Два из них были высказаны в конце XVII века, но вошли окончательно в научную мысль естествознания в конце XVIII начале XIX века, а частью входят еще и теперь. Третий принцип зародился в начале XIX столетия о хватила научную работу в серение этого века. Первым будет принцип, высказанный Ньютоном в 1687 (Philosophie Naturalis Principia Mathematica)...Вторым будет принцип Гюйгенса, высказанный им в предсмертной работе в 1695 году (Cosmotheoros)...жизнь есть не только земное, но и космическое явление....Третьим принципом будет принцип сохранения энергии, аналогичный сохранению массы Ньютона, охвативший XIX век,...Удобно назвать его принципом Карно-Майера.Nicolas L?nard Sadi Carnot (1796 1832, often called the father of thermodynamics).
With this statement, taken from a book written by Gennadij Aksenov (Aksenov, 2010) Vernadsky opens the way to the formulation of law of life preservation (закон сохранеия жизни).
How many of us today can imagine how it would be formulated and by whom? How many of us can be so creative and make the invisible visible? Visible, because it is so obvious, that it is a lot easier to see things than to imagine or even understand them. In this context a few thoughts to the modern version of interactions: visible and invisible.
Seeing clears a lot of things, as people are capable of processing incredibly complex visual contents, called also cues. This ability permits for example to communicate at high bandwith when we can use both auditory and visual means.
Some of contemporary (modern) teaching methods uses computer mediated communication. It often makes visible and explicit many aspects of social interaction that are normaly invisible or implicit. In linguistics we also consider explicity and the influence of both (implicity and explicity) on thinking, behaviour, psychology, in short on the development of stereotypes, archetypes and many more by a human being.
Considering the need to see a person within its social life context when we evaluate how one understands the context of message we have to admit that computer mediated communication (also in education) makes many and obvious issues normally visible, invisible. One may try to detect sarcasm or irony while chatting and would understand what is meant.
Danah Boyd, a senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and visiting researcher at Harvard Law School and others observed in her research on youth social networking that interaction on social networking sites is unique from more traditional forms of social interactions in four key ways, which can be understand in terms of visible / invisible framework. The first three characteristics considered by Boyd deals with visibility of online communication in ways that alter context and scope.The fourth characteristic is explicitly about the invisible and how the invisible can make interaction more visible.
1) Persistence: any social interaction is basically ephemeral. In context of online, anay mesage persist indefinitively and the history of communication become visible where it was previously not; 2) Searchability: only when something is indexable and searchable can really be visible; 3) Replicability: as social networking increases visibility of previously invisible, it can be copied, shared and archived. Replicability therefore enables virality, which magnifies visibility; 4) Invisible audience: in traditional interaction (education) the context and the audience are obvious. This promotes between others the tailoring of statements. We say different things to friends, parents, teachers; in online interaction the logic of this automatic feedback and tailoring is broken.
This represents serious challenges, risk and dangers as the members of the invisible audience cannot be controlled. Any social interaction online is therefore explicitly more visible to a wider range of people, which at the end of this logic leads to violation or destruction of expectations. Tone, body language, facial expression and other micro-signals including visual and physical parts of interpersonal interaction are invisible.
To the best of my belief and knowledge online interaction hinders the development and quality of mutual trust. Without trust, hardly an ecological, efficient and economical dialog can be conducted. These are a few of reasons, why I personally don't use social networks. These are also the reasons for recent developments of the process ''re-visiblizing'' within the computer mediated interactions, social networks.
As one of many of the proves can be mentioned the Facebook's change of logic of asynchronous online messaging. Providing the messanger with a notification that the message has been seen triggers an additional set of expecations leading inevitabily to an increase of social pressure, not easy managable stress.
And there may be antoher issues soon to be considered by high courts. They may be asked questions like: Do machines speak? If so, do they have a constitutional right to free speech?
This may be found by many as a funcifull question coming from philosophy or science fiction. But the opposite is already now true. Already in 2003 in a civil suit was brought by a firm dissatisfied with Google's search results. A Court ruled in Googel's favor in an unpublished opinion! To a non-lawyer the court's position may sound bizzare. But looking closer it has a logic! This year, as one can read in IHT (International Herald Tribune) of June 21st in an article by Tim Wu (a law professor at Columbia and the author of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires) Google commissioned Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California, to draft a much broader and more elaborate version of the same argument! These days the voices are becoming stronger accusing Google of manipulation, censorship and other strange practices.
Also here one should therefore consider first that Socrates died for his views on his own will and that a search machine will never die on its own will. And one should also ask: Who would guarantee the constitutional right for a privacy, the antitrust laws? Who would stop the elevation of machines above ourselves?
If we don't do it ourselves, nobody will do it. Therefore the concept of computer mediated interaction, including also learning process does not meet advocated 3E and SID(I)A (Campbell, Antalova, 2012) concept and it does not to meet Vernadsky's philosophy and concepts either. Those interested in more may look at the prevously mentioned infomational content.
It is non-algorithmic, and together with interaction between individually computational systems non-computably it generates phenomenon physical representation of Goedelian recursion: measuring device is embedded within the system. In this context it seems appropariate to mention also so called Complementarity principle. Complementarity follows from the paradox of movement. Moving and describing movement are complementary classes of description. In modern logic, the Goedel's incompleteness theorem claims that any sufficiently rich formal system is incomplete, it contains statements which cannot be proved inside the system, but they can be enumerated (encoded) in our representation of the system. Enumeration (encoding) is complementary to the internal statements of the system. Complementarity is represented as a possibility to describe a holistic state by different projections of this potential state. The quantum complementarity as formulated by Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg is a physical representation of the logical complementarity. It stands for a set of different projections that cannot exist simultaneously where contradictory states generate the appearance of uncertainties in the coordinate-impulse or energy-time observables. The quantum uncertainty principle claims that it is impossible to define strictly the position and the impulse of a particle simultaneously, or to fix certain energy in a very short period of time necessary for its registration. The reason of this is that the measurement process is a representation into the represented (measured, observed), thus, quantum measurement produces an infinite recursion.
''Мне делается иногда тяжело, когда подумаешь об этой жизни, в которой в значительной степени все достигается тем путем, что не остается места в жизни работе мысли; эта жизнь тяжела тем, что здесь вся цель ясна. Нет места исканию, нет места сомнению, т.е. Тому, что составляет наше счастье. Тихая семейная жизнь, простое довольство, достигаемое упорным трудом изо дня в день, отдых в семье или среди простых сердцем людей, вдали от вечных, глубоких, мучительных но прекрасных вопросов поставленных человеческой историей. Как-то не тянет меня к такой жизни и кажется она мне медленной смертью..''
Reflecting on the evolving trends in the world it seems obvious that we have been living in the period of a new geological evolutioanry change in the biosphere. And that we are entering the noosphere.
This new elemental geological process is taking place at a stormy time, in the epoch of a destructive wars of old and new types. It endangers our democratic ideals, whcih we cannot bring in tune with the elemental geological processes, with the law of nature, and with the noosphere.
As biology proves, in the real life the search for the common sence of life grows proportionally with the unability of expert's thinking and advice. A convincing example offers an ironical song Only An Expert.
Laurie Andersons sings about The Pet solution, The Hair solution, The Debt solution...but she also offers an exit for contradictory statements made by experts: only an expert can plan a rescue, only an expert can rely on it...
The song reveals the weak lingustics and profesional arguments of experts and fits nicely with famous Clinton's statement made during his presidential campain thrity years ago, in 1992: All is about economy!(Priban, 2012)...and also the mention presidential campanign of 1932.
Both, Weber's The iron cage and the politicians and economist's All is about economy results in the second expert's know-how crisis which proves that experts cannot anymore pretend that they have a legimate power and the ability to manage and govern a society. Expoerts cannot answer the key questions: What should be the nomos in a globalized world and What is life?
Any consideration of nthe above question in context of globalized world should include the specific needs of a location and within a specific time. This means the principle of heterogentity cannot be ignored even within the process of globalization.
Roland Robertson (1938) who first introduced the term globalisation claims that a globalization means at the same glocalization; a word he has taken from Japanese business language. It basically means: think globally and act locally. (Robertson, 1992)
As long as we are able to understand this and manage the process of changing from one state into another in a peacefull way we may face the future with confidence. It is all in our hands.