The Elephant Under the Rug: Denial and Failed Energy Projects
Thomas R. Blakeslee, Clearlight Foundation
At the World Renewable Energy Conference in
Glasgow I recently witnessed the strange phenomenon of group denial
first hand. After a paper about hydrogen-fueled cars, some embarrassing
questions were asked about the practicalities of storing and delivering
hydrogen to the cars. The questions were dismissed and the questioners
meekly backed down. I wanted to jump in and set them straight but
keenly felt the group pressure to not ruin the party. I couldn't do it!
is a strange phenomenon resulting from our deep genetic programming as
herd animals: If our peer group is ignoring the giant lump in the
living room rug, we will naturally imitate their behavior and walk
around the elephant hidden there. We tend to be drawn into a sort of
mass hallucination where everyone conforms to an unspoken agreement to
ignore the inconvenient but obvious truth. We walk around the lump
without consciously seeing it.
Group denial can be dangerous.
The housing bubble and the dotcom bubble are recent disastrous
examples. The loan officers, realtors, journalists, investment bankers
and regulators that caused the housing bubble were all blind to the
developing problem as they rationalized and convinced themselves that
every thing was OK. It is now painfully clear that they were
unconsciously caught up in a fantasy world of denial. When you're
making lots of money, it's natural to think that you must be brilliant.
Your peer group supports you and nobody wants to spoil the party. It's
not intentional, just human nature....
Full article: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/reinsider/story?id=53467