the beginning of infinity


Deutsch, D. (2021). The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World (Reprint ed.). Penguin Books.


  • Problems are inevitable Problems are soluble. Solutions bring new problems. Society cannot reach a state of supposed perfection (or "sustainability" seen as stability)
  • Static societies fail because they eventually end up with a problem they cannot solve, by lack of knowledge (and optimism?)
  • Contrary to Easter Island, South America etc... we are not a static society (
  • The only way to sustain life on earth is to progress in science and tech (we need wealth for that) to continue solving our problems


Chapter 17 - Unsustainable


Comparison with easter Island: they deforested themselves to extinction etc.

The real question is "Why did they not get away?"

Static society

We are different! We are not like them.

Their "old culture" is portraid as bountifull and rich ... They had ample ressources but failed to use them sustainably.


Supression of change is not what humans need

Being unsustainable is what allows us to survive on this hostile planet: growing popluation thanks to medecine and agriculture, standard of living ... all of this far surpasses Easter Island at its peak

You have to live with the solution and set about solving the new problems that it creates


Problems are inevitable.

We have to make sure we have a culture that can solve the problems that arise

Progress is sustainable ... only if we are in an optimitisc and dynamic society that solves its problems, not if we are in an archaic and frozen society


Example of Lamas as an poor explanation to why south america does not dominate the world.

Culture is much better explanation


Sustainability is pessimistic!

Since every atom can be considred a ressource ... every problem we have can be considered a resource management problem! We will always haev them

We cannot predict future knowledge ... so we only see the depletion and the problems: Story of color TVs

This leads to people wanting to reduce the population