Folding the World: Infinite growth on a finite planet Prof. Dr. Anders Levermann Institut für Klimafolgenforschung, Potsdam We are at the end of an age – the age of expansion – and we need a new narrative for the next step. The limitations of our physical Earth collide with the necessity of rapid societal development. Accepting the harsh reality of both, we face a dilemma. The desperate call for renunciation and recession is understandable but counterproductive, because it does not resolve the dilemma. Where economists struggle, physicists know the answer: there is infinite opportunity in finite space. Therefore the mathematical concept of folding could provide a solution, because it allows for infinite motion in a finite world – through growth into diversity. Not growth into more, but into different – and not theoretically or esoterically but in a practical, applicable manner.
Thus solving the climate problem yields an opportunity for a new social narrative that is based on the theory of the dynamics of complex systems. There will be equations and there will be physics. Nothing new, but perhaps a new way of looking at the known.