Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum
[Image: excerpt, 1901 article, "Beautiful Redondo, The Seaside Resort Par Excellence", Los Angeles Saturday Post]
Whereas what is essential is food, fresh water and meaning, this project seeks to:
[Image: Google Earth screenshot of project area with markup indicating overview of the project]
Statement of Condition and Situation:
The situation is cultures at this project site come and go. The current culture occupying the place is now in the process of collapse. Traditionally, when a culture here collapsed, the people living here were able to obtain food, water and meaning from the abundant original natural resources because the previous cultures, when they collapsed, happen to leave the natural resources intact. Leaving the natural resources complete, in effect, enabled another culture to evolve and complete its own cycle. Individuals within a particular previous culture may not have exactly thought of the nature of things this way, but this is the big picture we now know.
The original natural resources at this site provided food, water and meaning for multiple cultures of people for several thousands of years. For about eight thousand years we can determine from the evidence remaining of the previous cultures - the evidence which has not been destroyed by the current culture.
The original natural resources at this site is the reason for the existence of the current culture of people occupying the place. This same culture has, however, obviously, systematically and thoroughly ravaged the original natural resources and meaning of the place. The name of the current culture of people occupying the place is Corporate. The previous culture here was American. The dominant ideology of the people here now is corporatism and this ideology is rigidly held. Corporatism is nihilistic and destructive.
1901 was the year the culture at Redondo Beach (the current name of the place) transitioned from American to Corporate. It is then when, for instance, the Old Salt Lake site may have experienced ecological collapse, the salt works closed, the original fresh water aquifer was about to be depleted due to over pumping and the sea water began intruding into the land.
To deal with the destruction of the natural resources the corporatists created extensive corporate and governmental infrastructure. This infrastructure is by its very nature fragile and non-sustainable - and, of course, requires corporatists to maintain it. The actual problem is when the Corporate Culture here collapses, no other culture will be able to evolve here - without the corporatists themselves providing extensive intervention to restore the original natural resources (at least trying to) prior to the total collapse. This task requires the current culture to undo what they have done to the natural resources, which maybe quite an impossible task to accomplish on a number of levels, the least of which is the actual physical condition of the place. But, in terms of the big picture, it would be nice to think another culture of people could thrive here and be able to exploit the resources as easily as the current one did.
There are a number of corporations and institutions in existence today who have benefited greatly for over 100 years by originally exploiting the natural resources of Redondo Beach. The two largest of these are namely, Standard Oil (now Chevron) and Henry Huntington (now The Huntington Library).
This project seeks to restore a new old baseline of natural resources by politely requesting that the people, corporations and institutions who have previously profited from the destruction the original world-famous natural resources help restore the place to its original state as much as it is humanly possible to do so by, 1) enabling the growing of food, storing fresh water at the Old Salt Lake site, and, 2) create meaning by developing a Waterfront Interpretive Center to explore the actual history of the place, and, 3) doing so in a non-corporatist manner - without extensive fragile corporate and governmental infrastructure.
Brief Supplemental Analysis:
Definition of corporatism is it is a political, social and economic construct where individuals, associations, institutions, etc., are thought of as "stakeholders" and are required to negotiate with each other for their own interests. It is with empirical and mathematical certainty that corporatism will result in devastation because of the law of diminishing marginal rate of return on investment.
Key techniques corporatists use to manage the diminishing returns effect is to shift the baseline and spend ever increasing amounts of resources on marketing campaigns to try and convince people of their legitimacy despite the fact they are spending ever increasing amounts of resources to manage the complexity. Corporatists manage complexity by growing the complexity.
How the complexity is grown is interesting. What happens is most people believe the level of complexity of the culture they are born into is normal because the purpose of the education system is to produce workers and managers of the complexity with the goal to increase the complexity. So, with each generation of people, the level of complexity increases and with it the corresponding decrease in natural resources and increase in overall pollution, which then each succeeding generation of people believe to be normal. Those that do happen to question the corporatist system and its effects are told that technology will solve the problem, world-class historical irony not withstanding. One classic example of this being the desalination project at the Old Salt Lake site [this project ended 2015]. The energy returned on energy invested never really works out. Ultimately, what happens is whatever "improvement" project the corporatist executes will only make things worse. This is the point in the cultural lifecycle we are at now and have been for a while.
Also, shifting the baseline is an analytical technique which frames a problem/solution matrix as originating with a level of complexity which pre-legitimizes the agenda of the sponsor of the analysis and enables the individuals doing the analysis, past and present, to avoid liability. This use of the technique creates even more polution in the form of data noise.