|Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy|
Bonus Joules reveals the Divine Moment.
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Chapter Four-Energy Rules! -A Higher Being joins Cabinet.
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Chapter 4 No 2 A Higher Being in Cabinet
Blog Dave McArthur published 2 June 2006
Good heavens! What’s going on here? This must be the famed serendipity I have heard tell of. Just when I was at my wits end as to how to start this very difficult message for the New Zealand Green Party and many Environmental Educators across the world, Bonus Joules arrives to help me in my moment of distress. So help me, it’s not a pretty story I have to tell.
Regular readers might prefer to skim the next few paragraphs. New readers to this blog should know that about six years ago now I developed the idea of bonusjoules. It was my attempt to eliminate some of the major flaws I perceived in the concept of negawatts that was developed about 1990 by Amory Lovens of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
At the time, about 2000, I was thoroughly confused about the nature of energy. I also knew I shared this confusion with most people these days in the so-called Developed Nations. Deep in my guts I knew there was a stupendous scam going on but I could not articulate my suspicions. I suspect they also know something pretty screwy is going down with all this feverish hoopla about “energy” and “climate”
I am not a trained “artist” and nor am I a paid “scientist”. So be assured I am not anything special. I am just a layperson and my like abounds in any street near you. One thing I am pretty strong about is the belief that every person is born an artist and a scientist and these capacities just get thumped out of us. I also believe that these two skills are born of each other. Indeed the more I learn the more I realise they are more or less the same thing. One cannot exist without the other. Enabled by these beliefs I created a cartoon symbol to personify the concept of bonusjoules and set it forth in the search of the nature of energy and the much-vaunted Knowledge Economy.
I chose a shape for Bonus Joules that characterised openness, inclusiveness, generosity, honesty collegiality all the qualities I associate with the concept. These also happen to be the qualities I associate with science. I then set it off on this journey of discovery.
After some chapters I became aware that Bonus Joules was always accompanied by a hidden presence. Eventually, as is the way of art, the presence sort of revealed itself as this complementary and counter force characterised by domineering, arrogant, greedy, short- sighted qualities. I expressed these in a cartoon shape too. I gave it the name Junk Joules because it expressed high-risk, short term vision of those driven by profit motives rather than service motives.
NOW I AM THICK as a BRICK and am very opaque. The most obvious things can stare me in the face for ages before I see them. Indeed it’s a boggling thought to imagine what’s staring me in the face that I am not seeing as I write this.
It was only after hundreds more hours of drawing both characters that one day I noticed that when Junk Joules embraced Bonus Joules they formed the profound yin-yang symbol. It was a spine tingling moment and I experienced even more voltage when I looked up the origins of the yin-yang symbol and saw its origins in the sun – or should I say science in ancient Chinese applied to solar patterns. That was a pretty clear signal to me that the cartoon journey was revealing some profound truth.
Since writing the last blog I have had a couple more of those insightful moments.
As mentioned, I have long sensed something really screwy in the way all the so-called experts and media talk about energy and how our climate works. I started looking at the issue in more depth in 2000. Within a very short period of talking to “energy experts” and climate scientists and studying our media I surmised that simply they did not know what they were saying. This insight caused me to hypothesise that there is no science underpinned their communication. So far evidence supporting that hypothesis continues to grow.
Early on I managed to identify that a range of key symbol uses were fatally flawed and each use was deliberate. The energy and power symbol uses were easy enough to identify because I had worked for two decades in the Bulk-electricity industry and had experienced the Electricity Reforms first hand. I had suffered through and worked directly with New Zealand equivalent of Enron. I refer to Arthur Andersen and Co creation here – the collapsed TransAlta-OnEnergy structure. I was well aware of how they re-engineered the energy symbol and why. I knew the motives and the deliberate intent of use. In their case it was to make a quick buck regardless of who and how many suffered in the process.
Similarly by 2001 I had worked out that the popular use of the greenhouse symbol was based on outdated Victorian values on humans (British) dominion over nature and that it locked humanity into a dank, dangerous dungeon prison. Later I realised the popular use of the climate change symbol generated similar nonsense.
However though I wrote and drew about the uses of these different symbols constantly for years it never occurred there might be a common pattern to the behaviour driving their use. I think my ability to finally identify and articulate it occurred early this year when some of the work using response Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rMRI) became more public.
Many people are very resistant to the idea our actions are, in the main, driven by primal psychological processes. We make decisions on the basis of psychological activity barely detectable by intellectual means. This resistance is despite the obvious fact that those processes have enabled our adaptation and survival for millions of years. It does take great humility to acknowledge the power of the primeval elements of our beings. Mind you, in that act of humility is great liberation.
So when I have suggested that there may be a systematic perversion of great science by the PR industry and by our own tendencies to arrogance, people have tended to immediately dismiss me as a nutter and “conspiracy-driven”. They prefer to believe they are above such personal “failings” and are immune to PR industry manipulation.
The recent advent
of fMRI research has been a boon to me. This technology reveals in
limited but graphic form our capacity to verbalise an intent which is
completely at odds with what we are actually feeling and, most
important, what we are actually doing.
Revelations this year of how the PR industry is using this new technology too have been very helpful too as it demonstrated the science behind the industry’s techniques. It was now refining with significant physical research what it had been doing brilliantly for countless generations - using gut intuition of how gut responses work.
The fMRI revelations meant I now have a tool to explain in greater complexity the rationale behind my hypothesis. It postulates people deliberately make flawed uses of symbols in order to rationalise their activities that are at odds or in dissonance with what they feel is right.
Read more about this in the Letter to the Greenpeace. In it I suggest why climate scientists (and “energy experts”) deliberately generate cognitive dissonance in the general public. I surmise it is possibly a product of their primal attempts to relieve the stress created by the inconsistencies between their knowledge of human impact on the environmental balances that sustain them and their own unsustainable activities. In other words, between what they ought and what they do.
In short, their unscientific use of key symbols reflects and attempts to relieve the tension caused by this dysfunction in their being. They know the culture that surrounds them is unsustainable and yet they must survive within it. This culture constantly attempts to deny we are mortal, that all forms are subject to constant change. It also confuses energy with the forms it takes.
This propensity to denial of our mortality can be seen in the way the media frames life as unblemished youth and in the cosmetic surgery craze. Our so-called scientists do it by choosing uses of the energy, power, greenhouse and warming/cooling symbols that deny change occurs. In as much as they admit change occurs they condemn it as bad. So even as they talk of the need for change their actions work to suppress awareness that change is the natural order. Which is sad because it is not science and without science there is little joy in existing.
Put another way, every time they make scientific use of a key symbol it resonates within and reminds them of their deep discord with the world. It reminds them that there are other ways of living ones life, of using the resources bequeathed on us. Often those ways are at odds with what our ego and our culture bids us do.
There is a fantastically optimistic side to this of course. Every time we persist in the use of scientific uses of key symbols the more opportunity there is to realise our sustainable potential. Sure it feels uncomfortable initially but I am sure that ultimately we all start having a lot more fun.
To give a wee example of this phenomenon. I am constantly lectured that I should shave my wiry eyebrows and eliminate the hairs growing off my ears and out of my nose if I am to be attractive to employers, the other sex etc. In many cases these people who tell me I should “care for my appearance” disrespect their own body by subjecting it to all sorts of drugs, extreme dietary/cosmetic practices and “makeovers” and miserable thoughts. The more I employ science in my use of symbols the more the joy of creation resonates in me and the more I accept and enjoy dignity in the knowledge that I grow old, hairy and die. In other words, I am able to embrace change and live with dignity.
So its been a great month or two as I have been able to write more freely and understand more fully why I my predictions have been so accurate. Before its launch I was able to predict the movie The Day After Tomorrow would be counterproductive, just as for years I have predicted that EECA, the Climate Change Office, the New Zealand Consumers’ Institute and more recently, Victoria University’s Climate Change and Governance Conference etc would all fail their own stated objectives, as they demonstrably have.
And now we have the large Green Party initiative in the budget where $NZ13 million dollars has been allocated to the Environmental Education industry and $NZ4.6 million of this amount is being devoted to one resource –the (quote) "excellent" Enviroschools. This resource has had a huge impact in the last decade on New Zealand and this latest funding imbeds that impact. My difficult and unenviable role is to point out that the resource works to generate a culture that is unsustainable. Or it you like evolutionary terms, maladaptive.
So as I started this blog I was wondering how I could adequately express my sympathy and support for all these dedicated and well-meaning folk in the Green Party and other so-called environmental education teachers when they realise that, on balance, their work tended to serve the interests of those driven by industrial sectors renowned for their generation of greed and violence. I know well that profound sickening wrench in the guts when one suddenly confronts the fact that years of hard work may well have been counterproductive. It requires great compassion to accept it with grace and learn from the flawed practice.
I have completely failed in this endeavour for six years now and my insights have been generally dismissed as “negative” and “unhelpful”. I am buoyed in the knowledge that now I can harness the glimmerings of light offered by fMRI now and there are more extensive ideas on my website promoting the value and need for compassion in how we communicate issues.
I also now live with greater compassion for myself and more accept my failings. I see in my failures the opportunities for everyone to learn from them and generate a better world. Or generate more bonusjoules and science if you like.
My favourite drawing of all time is a Michael Angelo of Madonna and Child. There is an immense vitality and love in it. It is an exercise in “penito” or some such name. This process involves the artist drawing and redrawing and redrawing lines one on top of the other. He or she is never concerned to realise the errors and stuffs up with each line.
Every error is perceived as a valuable lesson and the artist builds on each flawed attempt to find the truth in the subject being drawn. The “finished” drawing is the story of a journey of search. The truth and vitality of the drawing is the vitality of the search for the truth as the artist improves on each act of drawing. Each flawed line is left in place to be learned from and we experience the freedom experienced by the artist. And science. And love. And humility.
If that sounds all arty farty, I am just saying its OK to stuff up as long as we remain open to acknowledge and learn from each stuff up. That capacity is what has sustained the human species this far. It is what underpins the work of great psychologists like the Buddha, great artists like Michael Angelo and great physicists like Heisenberg (Revealer of the Uncertainty Principle).
If Environmental Educators find that reading my Green Party Alert! article on Enviroschools makes them feel like the ground is rupturing under their feet, be calm. My insights might be quite wrong. And if they are right, they may offer a greater and more sustaining vision. They could make creating a new resource for our children a more exhilarating process than ever imagined possible.
And how do I find hope and serendipity in the timing of the Bonus Joules cartoon strip? At this point in the journey a couple of years ago Bonus Joules has written to the New Zealand Minister of Energy, then Hon Pete Hodgson, asking if they could meet so Pete could explain what he understands the nature of energy is. Basically I am asking how any human could believe they can be Minister of Energy and does he believe in the Principle of the Conservation of Energy?
In one respect it is a complete coincidence that this particular cartoon panel is with this blog. Last year I started attaching blogs to the cartoon series, starting at the beginning of the previously published strip. It just some how is comforting the way that time and cartoon coincide now. The almost spooky resonance and relevance of the cartoon fills me with trust as I attempt to communicate the Green Party Alert! .
As a matter of interest, the cartoon strip stopped a couple of years ago now about the time when politicians like Hon Don Brash and Hon Deborah Coddington who dominated our Parliament began attacking people like me, calling us layabouts and bludgers, regardless of the work we might be doing. Their miserable attitude soon infected the wider community and I began to be abused left, right and centre for being on the dole. This abuse occurred despite the fact in the 1990s Treasury/Reserve bank officials and corporations wrote men of my age off as “history”, “the lost generation” and “unemployable” and had us sacked on scale. It also despite the fact I have a heart murmur and I had never been so gainfully using my talents.
The abuse culminated in Hon Steve Maharey’s New Zealand Work and Income’s hastily formed mobile squads knocking unannounced on my door, expressing their concern that I was not gainfully employed. It was shades of Labour’s mobile squads of the 1970s on Polynesians groups, only this time there was a lovely ironical shift in shades: this time the squad were Polynesian and I am of European extraction. I was kind to the guys because they were not even born when the Dawn Raids happened and missed the recent programme on TV the week before that murky episode in our history.
I will briefly comment on a few topical issues with a few questions.
One is to ask the above-mentioned Hon Don Brash, now leader of the National Party what is patriotic about actively promoting, as he and his party did in the 1980s-1990s, the massive transfer of the control and wealth of our infrastructure into the hands of Australian and other overseas bankers?
Our Parliament did this against the wishes of the majority of the population and using the most spurious of excuses. We were offered excuses for the transfer such as “the fact is the nation is nearly bankrupt and the country cannot afford to own them anymore”. I might have been tempted to believe this except I knew the immense value of these resources. I also know other people did too and I personally witnessed dozens of banks with names I had never heard of suddenly pour into the office towers that were hastily erected to fit them all in our capital city, Wellington. They were practically standing on top of each other to get a bit of the action as these national “liabilities” were divested of.
Another excuse was “We don’t have the expertise to administer the resources” and overseas people (Australians etc) know better. The tidal wave of merchant bankers into the country was testimony to the skill with which the resources were built up over the years and made a real lie of this excuse too.
Is not the resulting wealth transfer to Australia from New Zealand and subsequent high debt levels here what the Hon Dr Don B planned for and wanted? I don’t understand, Don.
Now I am not complaining about my lot under the miserable policies of the Don, Debbie and Steves. Maybe the Bonus Joules cartoon was meant to stall for few years to give me the opportunity to create my letters to Greenpeace, the Green Party etc. Who knows? That is what has happened anyway.
And news this week of the convictions of the “smartest guys in the room” at Enron begs some great questions here in New Zealand. I was amazed and heartened when the jury found the managers guilty this week. My life became hell under their New Zealand counterparts too and my profound sympathy is with the many average American people who suffer the miserable consequences of these guys’ activities.
Again I am not complaining as I see now that in bearing the brunt of their corrupt, even violent, practices here I learned so much about corruption, Spin and Greenwash. Maybe positive visions like those inherent in the bonusjoules-junkjoules concept might never have occurred to me without these experiences?
The question I now ask is when will New Zealand get journalists, media and a justice system that allows Enron equivalents here to be explored and rectified. I am not asking that anyone be condemned to prison for 185 years. What I am asking is that we begin acknowledging and remedying the shambles created by the likes of the Electricity Reforms before they damage our children too much.
And on that note I would remind you to check out the Green Party Alert! Link if you care for our children. You will read a history that no one has told you of before. You will also learn how Enviroschools could well destroy many of their remaining options. In brief it reduces science. It part of and promotes an unsustainable ethos. The resource mainly does this by what it is not and by promoting unsustainable images of the nature of energy. I am certain there are far greater and more sustaining visions we can offer our children than this Greenwash.