Sacrificing vs Being More Efficient

Whoever could make two ears of corn … grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind … than the whole race of politicians put together.
Jonathan Swift

One of the things that really gets me is the current focus on reducing. Usually it is in the context of global warming, e.g., fly less, eat less meat, hell, don’t do pretty much anything. But there was also this talk when it comes to Covid (don’t go out unless necessary) or the coming gas crisis in winter (don’t heat as much, freeze for Ukraine).

I could understand it if it was meant as not wasting energy, of being more efficient. Doing the same (or more) with less. But it is not meant that way. The tenor is reducing in the sense of making doing less, of making sacrifices. Just listen to politicians when they talk about it (here: «voluntary sacrifices»):

Tweet by «our» current health minister. Claims that Covid vaccinations are without side effects and says he’s skeptical about «voluntary sacrifices for protecting the climate».

It is usually the later. For you, that is. It never applies to politicians themselves.

But saving in sense of reducing work/energy, instead of being more efficient, is an incredibly bad approach. If we do it, we will get into a downward spiral. We do less, so we will have less available, so we have to do less, which means we will have less available, and so on. It will be a race to the bottom — into a frozen hell where nothing moves. In part because nothing will ever be enough. Esp. when everything else is dragged down as well and the whole economy tanks.

We should reject doing less and instead go for more efficient ways of doing things. Saving energy while increasing the standard of living. Finding creative (i.e. new and useful) ways to live better.

And yeah, the problem will be a new homeostasis. We do things more efficiently, the world will adapt until that level of efficiency is not good enough anymore. But then again, we can improve further.

BTW, this focus on «not doing», on «making ‹voluntary› sacrifices» affects other topics than energy as well. We had the same with Covid. Everyone «had to» make sacrifices to protect the vulnerable, instead of using focused protection to specifically protect them. People had to stay home and abstain. We could have used that crisis to focus on things people can do to live a healthy life. Being physically active, eating well, coping with stress. That would have been a more efficient way to deal with a health crisis. Instead, people reduced their activity for almost two years, which has already led to increases health problems. The same downward-spiral mindset.

Time to get that explorative-innovative-adventure-improvement mindset of humanity back:

«We have no limits! There’s no telling what our future will be.»
«Have Spacesuit, Will Travel» by Robert A. Heinlein