Shifting Baselines

The world at our current scale doesn’t allow things, specifically big complex socially ingrained things, to simply disappear (other than our waste). They fade away. For example, change in social tolerance for people and ways of living different from the dominant one(s) happens gradually. It can be sparked by pivotal phenomena but the changes to society happen bit by bit (one funeral at a time they say) with varying degrees of violent death throws and silent evaporation. I see our current miserable state, as exemplified by the material and behavioral world we have created, taking quite a while to change. How many generations will it take here in Lisjan / the SF East Bay for quotidian human travel to be something human in scale, say less than 3000 lbs and 175hp traveling more than 30 miles per day?


In terms of technology and the life it shapes, we seem to forget what changed. Our being in the world is utterly derived from what is possible through that technology. Most people in this land don’t know there were and are other worlds such as life without a car, a phone, supermarkets, the internet, movies, paved roads, airplanes, electricity, literacy, nations, war. 

The shifting baseline syndrome is the situation in which over time knowledge is lost about the state of the natural world, because people don’t perceive changes that are actually taking place. In this way, people’s perceptions of change are out of kilter with the actual changes taking place in the environment.


Why aren’t our baselines more aligned with how we have existed, our being in the world, for millennia instead of decades?


Baseline =

Some other baselines: