Overheating. Understanding accelerated change.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.
The contemporary world is … too full? Too intense? Too fast? Too hot? Too unequal? Too neoliberal? Too strongly dominated by humans?
All of the above, and more. Ours is a world of high-speed modernity where exponential growth can be found in domains as different as the number of cellphones in Africa and the number of international tourist arrivals. The fossil fuel revolution two centuries ago led to the contemporary ‘overheated’ world of exponential growth. The main dilemma of this overheated world is the insight that what was the salvation for humanity for two hundred years, namely fossil fuels, has rapidly become our damnation owing to climate change. This lecture outlines the parameters of ‘overheating’ and describes the main global challenges for our century.
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