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Normalization

In this sense, the real miracle of human evolution is that cars, computers, and cities appear so normal to us, even sometimes “boring” and monotonous! Our perception of the extraordinary, rapid changes in human societies in the past two centuries—even the past half-century—is deadened by virtue of what is our greatest evolutionary acquirement, namely normalization , an adaptive survival strategy fundamental to human success over the millennia. The ability to accept, analyze, and adapt to often fluctuating circumstances is our great strength as a species. But at this point in human history it is also a grave weakness, what, in the language of Greek tragedy might be called a “fatal flaw.”

To offer an analogy, for many centuries slavery appeared normal to most people across the world—until the late eighteenth century, when a handful of humanitarian activists in Britain began the long and difficult process of de-normalizing human bondage in the eyes of their compatriots. The task of sustainability ethics is analogous, and no less difficult, in that it lays out the argument for wholesale and disruptive attitude adjustment and behavior change in the general population. Given the long-term adaptation of the human species to the imperatives of hunter-gathering, our decision-making priorities and consumption drives still tend toward the simple necessities, based on the presumption of relative and seasonal scarcity, and with little emotional or social reward for restraint in the face of plenty, for viewing our choices in global terms, or for measuring their impacts on future generations.

A working distinction between the historical evolution of human society and human culture is useful to understanding the social and psychological obstacles to achieving sustainability. As both individuals and societies, we work hard to insulate ourselves from unpleasant surprises, shocks, and disorder. We crave “security,” and our legal and economic institutions accordingly have evolved over the millennia to form a buffer against what Shakespeare’s Hamlet called “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” For instance, the law protects us from violent physical harm (ideally), while insurance policies safeguard us from financial ruin in the event of an unexpected calamity.

In one sense, this security priority has determined the basic evolution of human societies, particularly the decisive transition 10,000 years ago from the variable and risky life of nomadic hunter communities to sedentary farming based on an anticipated stability of seasonal yields. Of course, the shift to agriculture only partially satisfied the human desire for security as farming communities remained vulnerable to changing climatic conditions and territorial warfare. Global industrialization, however, while it has rendered vast populations marginal and vulnerable, has offered its beneficiaries the most secure insulation yet enjoyed by humans against “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” This success has been a double-edged sword, however, not least because the industrialized cocoon of our modern consumer lifestyles relentlessly promotes the notion that we have transcended our dependence on the earth’s basic resources. As it stands, we look at our highly complex, industrialized world, and adapt our expectations and desires to its rewards. It is never our first instinct to ask whether the system of rewards itself might be unsustainable and collapse at some future time as a result of our eager participation.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
How can I make nanorobot?
Lily
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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