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Technology Innovation and Commercialization, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 341

Essay

In this paper I will comment on two videos, by Paul Stamets and the late Paul MacCready. MacReady reflected on how solar technology can change the world, and Stamets still talks about how mycelium fungus can save it. Insightful men, indeed brilliant ones, their two perspectives are radically different. MacCready’s was that of a hands-on mechanical engineer, one who increasingly viewed humanity’s growth as a threat to nature. Stamets has no need to make such a conversion. His hands and heart have been in nature from the start.

I was struck by a quote from MacCready: Suddenly we humans (a recently arrived species no longer subject to the checks and balances inherent in nature) . . . now wield the paintbrush. It’s frightening. What got my attention was that a book by the late urbanologist Jane Jacobs, entitled The Nature of Economies, contains exactly the opposite thesis. She wrote that “human beings exist wholly within nature as part of a natural order.” So we are still “subject to the checks and balances inherent in nature.” Here is an interestingly controversial thesis worth exploring, but it doesn’t stop with MacCready. Two quotes by Stamets are related to it: The mycelium is sentient. It knows you are there. And then:  The earth invented the computer internet for its own benefit, and now we, being the top organism on this planet, are trying to allocate sources in order to protect the biosphere. This is arguably a variation of the Gaia idea, as eloquently described by the late Lynn Margulis in her book Symbiotic Planet. And yet in that book Margulis wrote:  To me, the human move to take responsibility for the living Earth is laughable — the rhetoric of the powerless. The planet takes care of us, not we of it.

Maybe we should think of Margulis’ 1999 book, Jacobs’ 2001 book, MacCready’s 2003 lecture, and Stamets’s 2008 lecture as a virtual debate in progress. But like Stamets’ early sprouting tendrils of fungus, they were apparently unaware of each other. It’s up to us to resolve.

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