By Nate Hagens: Energy, Money and Technology: From the Lens of the Superorganism

Nate Hagens gives the best big picture talks, hands down.

What differentiates Nate is his wide and deep understanding of the economy, energy, ecology, and human behavior that he weaves into a coherent realty based description of our predicament.

Nate also does an admirable job of illuminating positive aspects of, and constructive personal responses to, the coming much smaller and less complex world we will all experience in the not too distant future.

Here is his latest talk, a keynote give January 23, 2018, at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

This talk is a refinement of similar talks by Nate I have previously posted. In addition to being more succinct and polished, this version benefits from high quality professional recording.

I’m looking forward to reading Nate’s new book which he said here will be published and made available for free in the next month or two.

Here are some comments Nate posted on his Facebook page.

Back from Saudi Arabia -was a short and great trip – the new King Abdullah University for Science and Technology is one of the richest schools in the world (something approaching $40 billion in endowment and as of yet only 1,000 students). My first trip to Middle East reasserted my belief that people the world over are pretty much the same (duh – we come from same place) – there are crazies and assholes in every country but most people are kind, warm, and pro-social. I had great conversations with taxi drivers, students, janitors, store clerks etc. I met a guy from Tunisia at airport and we laughed about all the world problems and what a time it was to be alive. Most humans just want to spend quality time w family and friends, tell stories and listen to music, play with their dog, do meaningful interesting work, and be free. It gives me hope that despite being African, Asian, European or American, despite being Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Atheist, there is a growing group that transcends these tribal boundaries towards thinking about and working on the future transition. (another of a handful of silver linings facing some serious global storm clouds)

Below is the video of the keynote I gave – I finally condensed the relevant aspects of what we face into less than an hour, but had to speak pretty fast to do it. If you haven’t watched one of my talks for a while this would be the best one to watch (plus their technology was amazing, 5 cameras, etc.) (the 2nd talk The 40 Flawed Assumptions Underpinning Modern Civilization, was in a different venue and not filmed)



An interview with Nate was also recorded at the conference. I really like the thoughtful questions and responses, as well as it’s unhurried pace.

6 thoughts on “By Nate Hagens: Energy, Money and Technology: From the Lens of the Superorganism”

  1. I’ve watched many lectures on line and have been always struck by how small the audience numbers look. The only one I’ve been to that was packed was a lecture given by Richard Heinberg a few years ago in Albany,NY. It’s a sad commentary on how hard it is to get the message out.


      1. After having read Varki’s book, in a previous comment, I thought his theory made sense. I think it explains why there are such low turnouts at lectures that discuss these issues. Denial is a way to cope with unpleasant things, mortality just being one of them. Mortality is a fact of life, but the forces pushing us toward the cliff are our own doing. Nate Hagens talks about the inner momentum of this super organism that the world economy has become, devouring everything in its path. It can only change after it hits concrete limits. Until then, it will continue to exercise the “maximum power principle”, a principle that is shared by all living organisms. Varki’s theory doesn’t really address this issue which obviously preceded the advent of homo sapiens since all living creatures have lived by this principle.


        1. You will see in Nate’s forthcoming book that he has identified many human behaviors that contribute to overshoot. For example status seeking, novelty seeking, discounting the future, MPP, and many more.

          I agree with Nate that there are many other relevant behaviors than just denial of reality. Where we might disagree is that I think denial of reality is the most powerful and important behavior when it comes to overshoot. It’s also the behavior that made us uniquely human and which explains other oddities like belief in life after death.

          If you explain and present conclusive evidence for say MPP and climate change, and why it would be a good idea to leave some oil in the ground for future generations and shrink the economy, most people will ignore the reason and evidence because of their inherited denial of reality which blocks anything another inherited behavior tells us we should dislike.

          Denial is the keystone and should be at the top of the list of things we need to increase awareness of.

          It is of course possible (probable?) that denial will block acceptance of denial. But we should try.


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