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such a degree that we have adapted it as the norm. Our

What is the role of technology in this process? There is no

economic and nancial systems have become tributes to

space for excessive techno-optimism. From a macro

shameless greed and social and environmental cruelty.

perspective, the industrial and digital revolutions do not

Thus we are both by nature and by norm greedy, sel sh and short-sighted. We prioritize the short term over the long term. And we hate change. When we have acquired a relative state of welfare, we try to establish the status quo as long as

appear as blessings, but as aggravating factors. They have basically been accelerators and magni ers of the problem.

While it is not sure if Goethe was foreseeing such,

possible, even if we receive alarming information that

his metaphor of the sorcerer s apprentice does

something is going to hurt us. Garrett Hardin labelled this

perfectly illustrate what has happened to us since

re ex as a built-in form of psychological denial leading to the tragedy of the commons; we could also describe it as comfort inertia or as the boiling frog syndrome. But in this way we are locked into a deadly logic towards self-destruction.

the late 18th century. Technology and medicine have brought us phenomenal increases in material well-being we now have technologies available that would look like pure magic to our ancestors

This implies that solving the ecological question

but without wise management these tools have propelled us

requires us, no less, to reformat ourselves.

into a mode of life that will soon turn into nightmare.

If indeed we don t nd a drastic but human-

In no way, therefore, should one plead for a romantic return to pre-industrial times. There is no way back. Our situation of

tailored solution for the problem we have

unlucky apprentice rather adds to the need for drastic,

created, nature will de nitely come up with

progressive intervention.

a drastically inhuman one.

however, there is no master to come in and to calm the storm.

Scientists insist that the time frame for deep change is a

Technology as such will never save us, only the way we

In contrast to Goethe s story

The only possible masters available in the room are us. matter of decades, if not years.

command it could. These circumstances only add further to the challenge of reprogramming ourselves.

Der Zauberlehrling, Ferdinand Barth, 1882

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Quitting fatal path dependency implies reprogramming ourselves (worked image on basis of an anonymous print)

www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a1931edisoninexhaust. There are some doubts on the precise wording, but the message stands. Hardin, G. (1993), Living Within Limits - Ecology, Economics and Population Taboos, Oxford University Press, p. 17 http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a1931edisoninexhaust. There are some doubts on the precise wording, but the message stands. November 2015

Social Value and Intangibles Review - November 2015  

NOVEMBER 2015: Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance journal on Social Innovation and Social Impact Analysis SUPPLEMENTS: EU Sei...

Social Value and Intangibles Review - November 2015  

NOVEMBER 2015: Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance journal on Social Innovation and Social Impact Analysis SUPPLEMENTS: EU Sei...