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The Four Horsemen

Imre von Soos

        The 20th century is the century of planetary overcrowding and the century of the gamma war (the "cogito ergo sum" versus "coito ergo sum"). One is the physical, the other the psychical manifestation of ignorance, of man's separation both from Nature and from his inner Self (which basically are one and the same thing); the manifestations of his complete spiritual bankruptcy. They are the consequences and proofs of the dishonesty of the political and religious leaders – and, I am sorry to say, of most of its scientists – and their incapacity to face and to solve situations with honesty. They are the evidences of the inability of the overwhelming majority of so-called humanity to think rationally – that is to collect evidence, analyze it and draw sane, intelligent conclusions – and their impotence to act on it. They are the signs of the human incapability to critically examine his own, mostly through social and religious indoctrination acquired, soi-disant "human values", and reconcile them with biological facts; to realize that conforming for its own sake is mindlessness; and to see further than their own craving for "panem (or penem) et circenses".

        That all the major systems that support life all over the Earth are systematically degraded and destroyed – not by science, technology and economy, but by man abusing science, technology and economy – was warned against by writers, scientists and philosophers right through the 20th century.

        In 1950 the human population of the world was 2515 millions. In that year Aldous Huxley wrote an essay titled "The Double Crisis", referring to two levels: an upper level of political and economic crisis, and a lower of demographic and ecological one. The first, he maintained, is discussed by the Big Fours to decide who shall bully whom, and the second, ignoring that it is the cause of the first, is left to unauthoritative delegations of inutile health and food conferences.

        "It has been fashionable from some time past to talk about poverty in the midst of plenty. – writes Huxley – The phrase implies that the planet possesses abundant resources to feed, clothe, house and provide amenities for its existing population and for any immediate foreseeable increase in the population, and that the present miseries of the human race are due entirely to faulty method of production and, above all, of distribution. Given currency reform, socialism, communism, unrestricted capitalism, distributism or what-ever the favourite remedy may be, humanity, like the prince and princess in the fairy stories, will be able to live happily ever after. Want and hunger will be transformed into abundance and the whole earth will become one vast Land of Cockayne. Such are the miracles to be achieved by political and economic planning."

        "The reality looks different: two and a half acres are needed to provide a human being with an adequate diet. The Earth's food-producing land was in the vicinity of four milliard acres in 1950. In Africa the Sahara is advancing; the habitable mountains and tablelands of the Equator are rapidly eroding; the Southern planes are overgrazed dust bowls. Central America is in process of becoming a desert. Much of South America is being washed down unterraced mountain slopes into the sea. With every drought vast areas of Australia and the United States turn into windblown dust. In Asia the story is the same.

        "The situation with the non-replaceable mineral resources is not less desperate: Industrialism is the systematic exploitation of wasting assets. In all too many cases, the thing we call progress is merely an acceleration in the rate of the exploitation. Such prosperity as we have known up to the present is the consequence of rapidly spending the planet's irreplaceable capital.

        "Man is his own Martian, at war against himself. Over-breeding and extractive agriculture are his weapons and, though he may not know it, his war aims are the ravaging of his planet, the destruction of his civilization and the degradation of his species."

        Aldous Huxley erred in his basic informations and in his presumptions, which were: "At the present time (1950) our planet supports a little less, than two and a quarter milliards of human beings." – ".. word population is rising at the rate of about two hundred millions every ten years." - ".. overall population would continue to increase until at least the end of the present century." - ".. world population is bound to rise to at least three milliards before it starts to decline."

        In actual fact the planet supported at that time already a little over two and a half milliard people, rising at a rate of not two hundred millions every ten years, but over five hundred millions until 1960 (3027 millions); six hundred and fifty millions until 1970 (3674 millions) seven hundred and seventy millions until 1980 (4450 millions); and eight hundred and twenty millions until 1990 (5271 millions). The year 2000 registered already over six milliard people. If it continues linearly, the world population in the year 2050 will be around 13 milliards. While theoretically it still would go on growing, the last number is already so absurd, that it is evident that something extremely drastic will happen before. Huxley and many scientists were seeing black while considering only half of the number reached at the turn of the millennium. But humanity goes on procreating, with his head in the sand, encouraged by its religious leaders, who need more contributors, and its political leaders who need more cannon-fodder.

The Four Horsemen - World Population - by Imre von Soos
FIGURE 6 – 1

        Figure 6-1, the graphical presentation of the population curves, demonstrates the hopelessness of the situation. The saturation level represents the one milliard and six hundred million people whom the earth can support within a harmonious ecological system, provided the human species also becomes a harmonious constituent of the natural planetary life. This number has been passed in 1905, without the second being satisfied by any, except by the dying out small natural tribes. Above it the darker area means hunger, devastation, disequilibrium.

        Change of ownership of land – as Huxley points out – "will not change its quantity or quality. The equitable distribution of too little may satisfy man's desire for justice; it will not stay their hunger. .. there is spreading and deepening human poverty in the midst of spreading and deepening natural poverty." There is no point in hoping that the scientists will extract more food from the sea. The poisons and the non-biodegradable materials discarded into the rivers and oceans by household and industry, have polluted the waters of the planet – up to the polar regions – to such extent that Jaques Cousteau found no sea-life without being already infected by it, and warned humanity that if it continues, the oceans will be dead very shortly.

        Oceanographer John Todd, writing about the communication of marine animals says: "Their signals can be jammed or disrupted by extremely low levels of pollutants, and this could have a catastrophic effect on their social behaviour. What I am saying is that insidious levels of pollution can alter social behaviour in such a way as to prevent there even being a next generation."

        There is more carbon dioxide discharged into the air by industry, heating and automobiles, than can be absorbed by plants – the quantity of which is also diminishing – and by the oceans, that slowly changes the composition of the atmosphere. This results in the warming up of the earth's temperature, causing in turn the melting of the polar ice. The various air-pollution also reduces the ozone-layer, that protects against excessive ultraviolet radiation, greatly endangering life and altering the ecological balance.

        A report for the Club of Rome's projection on the predicament of mankind in 1972 was based on the investigation of five major interconnected trends of global concern: 1. rapid population growth; 2. widespread malnutrition; 3. accelerating industrialization and the consequent pollution; 4. depletion of non-renewable resources; and 5. a deteriorating environment.

        Some of the many run and presented models included even unlimited resources, unhoped for technological innovations and "perfect birth control", allowing for time delays between causes and their ultimate effects. Most models foresee a general collapse for the first half of the 21st century, although their estimate of population growth was much below the actual one (see figure 6-1), and their starting of the innovations and controls were set for 1972. Here are some excerpts from the report:

        "The hopes of the technological optimists centre on the ability of technology to remove or extend the limits of growth of population and capital. We have shown that in the world model the application of technology to apparent problems of resource depletion or pollution or food shortage has no impact on the essential problem, which is exponential growth in a finite and complex system. Our attempts to use even the most optimistic estimates of the benefits of technology in the model did not prevent the ultimate decline of population and industry, and in fact did not in any case postpone the collapse beyond the year 2100."

        "Although we have many reservations about the approximations and simplifications in the present world model, it has led us to one conclusion that appears to be justified under all the assumptions we have tested so far. The basic behaviour mode of the world system is exponential growth of population and capital, followed by collapse. As we have shown in the model runs presented here, this behaviour mode occurs if we assume no change in the present system or if we assume any number of technological changes in the system."

        "For the past several decades, people who have looked at the world with a global, long-term perspective have reached similar conclusions. Nevertheless, the vast majority of policy makers seems to be actively pursuing goals that are inconsistent with these results."

        My personal experience with man's attitude towards the environmental problems are not more encouraging. In the early '70-s I have participated in a discussion about deforestation in Germany, and the consequent diminution of the means of oxygen production through photosynthesis, where a German engineer boldly declared: "But we still have got the forests of the Amazon."

        The Brazilians, however, do not intend to live up to the deep trust invested in them by their fellow creatures, and with the war-cry "if you can cut your own throat so can we", already started proving that they belong to the first world at least as far as the destroying of the environment is concerned. They have reduced the forests in the State of Parana to two percent of its original extent, and in the State of Sao Paulo to four. The yearly loss of humus layer is one centimeter, a thickness that takes 400 years to build. The eroded earth carried by the great rivers will silt up the reservoir of Itaipu completely within 20-30 years, the pride of the nation, the largest hydroelectric scheme in the world, with an installed capacity of 12600 MW and an artificial lake of 1460 km2. Tucurui, the fourth largest scheme in the world, on the Tocantins river in the heart of the Amazon, with installed capacity of 7800 MW has flooded 2900 km2 of the jungle. While insane deforestation goes on everywhere else, the trees are not being removed from these enormous lakes, ensuring that, due to anaerobic decomposition of the dead and rotting vegetation, no life, except bacteria, will survive in them. It will supply with power Carajas, which is becoming the world's largest open-cut mine-complex, carved out of the jungle, ad majorem gloriam homini. About 100 km from Manaus and the Amazon river, another inundation stands as a witness to progress: the Balbina project floods 1800 km2 for obtaining the measly firm capacity of 75 MW (installed 250 MW). The yearly variation of water-level of five meters causes a surface-variation of 600 km2, and that much exposed, rotting jungle vegetation. Thus the primary product of the scheme will be methane-gas, mosquitoes, malaria, encephalitis, death. Alternative solutions of hydro-energy supply would have been cheaper, much more abundant, and definitely much more environment-friendly, but would have glorified – as if that would be of any importance – the governor of another state and not of this one.

        In the early eighties I presented a paper at a symposium over soil erosion and pollution in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Being actual not only there and then but in any corner of the globe, and even more now than then, I reproduce here a fraction of it:

        " Overpopulation, Pollution and Erosion are pseudonyms of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Famine. The other three: Plague, War and Death follow naturally in his path. . . Ignoring warnings, this super-predatory subspecies called Homo sapiens lives in the self-generated illusion that he is the crown of creation, and this planet and its other living beings are there, by divine decree, for his pleasure, exploitation and abuse. . . Factual evidence has mounted up beyond ignoring; it has become a problem we must solve, but cannot do so with our present culture's tools and ways of organizing reality.

        "The idea is not to conserve nature in its original state: creation is a continuous evolutionary process; it is still going on. An inspired reorganisation of the landscape as directed by necessity – be it for opening land for agriculture or grazing, for urbanization, roads, or for creating a reservoir – is part of it as long as the ecological equilibrium is maintained or a new one established. Yes, creation is still going on, and so is the gaining or loosing of Paradise, which our planet is, if only humanity makes itself fit to inhabit it. Checking erosion, preserving the fertility of the soil, increasing the food-production, re-establishing or preserving the old or establishing new ecosystems are within the scope and responsibility of the engineers, architects, geologists, geo-technicians and agronomists. Yet, under political or economic pressure, many of these men become tools in the abuse of natural resources and exploiting management, or passively accept 'what is and cannot be changed', or ignore it with the attitude of 'après moi le déluge', hoping – at best – for a 'Deus ex machina'. But those who hope in the "Miracle Scenario" should keep in mind, that although the whole Creation is a great and wonderful miracle, every of its steps were the results of conscious and intense efforts. To build any hope on the innovations coming from science and technology might be a nice dream, but an irrational one. Science with its materialistic world-view, that became quasi a compulsion, is helping more towards moral degradation, separation and general somatotonism and viscerotonism, than its greatest breakthroughs and inventions could ever counterbalance.

        "Ecological impact studies are not in the program of a project, or are not being taken seriously. Engineers, architects, geologists, geotechnikers and agronomists who could and want to attend to the problems, do not even enter into the picture: they are simply not asked. The co-ordination is insufficient, the control inadequate. There were immense human blunders, where extraordinary weather or the failure of the soil or other materials were blamed; then everybody pulled the wool back over each other's eyes and went back to sleep.

        "I know two types of engineers: the technical-creative-productive men, and the commercial, profit oriented speculators. The technical men are responsible for and identify themselves with their work. Commercialism is not only the basest existing motivating force, but also a criminal act if an engineer's activities are motivated by it.

        "A need cannot be solved by giving it inadequate fulfillment. Our reorganizing of reality will have to be radical: it is the basis of effectiveness of our biological survival."

        The paper presented above in extracts was by an engineer to other engineers on a symposium that was planned for this and no other purpose, and has its value in this context in giving a general idea of the wall that all creative individuals are up against, the wall that renders these presentations quasi futile. The young in spirit receive it with enthusiasm, but those ‘old ones', who decide, let it pass their ears, and go on without even reacting. For them the symposia are not there to discuss and solve problems but to 'confraternize', and show that all of us are working diligently in the greater interest of humanity.

        The amount of "Skinner's Rats" – disguised as respectable leading members of an affluent society, and 'honoured experts' in the field of engineering and architecture – I have encountered at conference tables, meetings and symposia – national and international – each and every ardently pushing away on the levers producing their particular 'food pellets', regardless if these levers produced also the technically or morally correct answers, would have made the proper B.F.Skinner green with envy. I highly recommend for scientists pursuing knowledge on "the behaviour of organisms", to enter these "Skinner Boxes" for humans. They will find those the most effective means for the study of conditioned responses.

        In 1981 I was the chief project engineer of the feasibility study of the Juquia Project that involved the water-supply of Greater Sao Paulo for the next seventy years, the solution of the sanitation and recuperation of the polluted head-waters, rivers, lakes and estuaries. The project included the construction of thirteen reservoirs, seven pumping stations, a 4000MW reversible power-station with 760m head, some water-treatment plants, involved an already planned and partially executed sewage treatment system of 60m3/sec capacity, and influenced directly an area of 22000 km2 and over 22 million people. Ecological and sociological considerations were not to enter into this over 3 milliard dollar (1981!) project according to the highest political and economical potentates of that State, who were the bosses and clients, interested in personal gains only and whose instruction was to disregard quality, produce cheep and invoice high. After a year of struggle, during which I have diligently ignored their negative instructions, I was called to a meeting of the 'highests', that passed off essentially in the following way: "We do not want any more any collection of data, we do not want any optimisation, we do not want a well worked-out plan. We want a high cost estimate based on any kind of drawings and descriptions thrown unto plenty of paper, to be able to borrow on it quickly from outside with the guaranty of the State. Remember the Trans-Amazonian Highway, which might be already impassible in many parts, but has made many people rich." – I just shook my head: "Não comigo. – Not with me." – I was already prevented to go back to my office and in five minutes I was on the street. There existed not one engineering firm that would have employed me after that.

        In less than a year the scandal broke out: my ex-clients and the engineering firms conspiring with them did not get a penny, some small fry were fired, some degraded and some unimportant political careers broken. The big dogs, the ring-leaders, the main responsibles I had to deal with, like always and everywhere, stayed untouched to invent later another Panama-project trying to make their pile.

        While this story is from Brazil, the producing a pseudo-end with the purpose to provide the means to be exploited for political and commercial interests can be applied to a more or less extent to practically any other part of the world, with the exception of only a very few and ever fewer corners, where the Leviathan still tries to preserve his sanity.

        Aldous Huxley's warnings and the Club of Rome’s Report were more generalized but, as far as its results are concerned, just as futile. And so were those of his brother, the biologist Sir Julian Huxley, who wrote a treatise in the mid sixties on "The Age of Overbreed".

        "Unless he chooses to mend his reproductive ways, man is heading for the greatest disaster in his history." – he starts, quoting figures of population and resources. But what is their value if the greatest part of humanity is incapable to process information rationally at this level, and the few who could, will think hundred times before sticking their necks out on such dangerous subjects as birth-control to equilibrate death-control, and global population policy; or admit the cognitive, intellectual, cultural and general genetic disparity between one social group and another, and the adversely growing numerical disproportion between the various levels of congruence; or advocate eugenics, the procreation of the fit, and the restriction of the birth-rate of the unfit – as Francis Galton, J.B.S.Haldane and Aldous and Julian Huxley dared –; or even suggest that the greatest part of humanity is incapable to process information rationally, but only on a level bordering the physiological, and is, consequently, in grave need of firm guidance.

        The underdevelopment of a country can only refer to mental underdevelopment, that is expressed, exactly in these countries, by population explosion, which, in a vicious circle, is the consequence of increasing underdevelopment and even further deviation from the Natural Order.

        "It is a grave scandal – Sir Julian writes in the above named treatise – that the World Health Organization has twice been prevented by Roman Catholic pressure – aided, I regret to say, by Anglo-Saxon apathy – from even considering population as a factor in world health." While "the United Nations' ostrich-like refusal to admit the existence of population as a problem" is decreasing, "the clause empowering the UN to give technical assistance for programs of population control on request from governments was rejected through the negative votes of most Catholic countries, and the abstention of the Communist block (as well as the U.S. and Canada) (1962)." . . "at the moment, a sense of urgency that is most essential – and pressure to overcome the deliberate counter-pressures of Roman Catholicism and Russian Marxism, of competitive profit-hungry business and competitive power-hungry nationalism, and the non-deliberate but equally powerful resistance of tradition and vested interest, of ignorance and stupidity."

        Eleven years after the Club of Rome Report, "in 1983 the United Nations appointed an international commission to propose strategies for "sustainable development" – ways to improve human well-being in the short term without threatening the local and global environment in the long term." The Commission was chaired by Norwegian Prime-Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, and it's report "Our Common Future", published in 1987 [in another four years!] was widely known as "The Brundtland Report".

        "The 'environment' is where we all live, and 'development' is what we all do in attempting to improve our lot within that abode." – states the report incredibly astutely – "The apparent conflict between the interests of economic development and the interests of environment has created problems all round the world." – Note the man-environment duality, placing two 'conflicting interests' – those of economic development and those of the environment – as the two equally responsibles for 'creating problems all round the world'; and note also the utter ignorance of the human population explosion in a limited and very intricately equilibrated ecosystem, in the attitudes both of the United Nations and of the Brundtland Report! "Over the course of the 20th century the relationship between the human world and the planet that sustains it has undergone a profound change [what incredible perspicacity!] ....... major, unintended changes are occurring in the atmosphere, in soils, in waters, among plants and animals, and in the relationships among all of these [for which, being 'unintended', no human being can be made responsible]. The rate of change is outstripping the ability of scientific disciplines and our current capabilities to assess and advise. It is frustrating the attempts of political and economic institutions, which evolved in a different, more fragmented world, to adapt and cope." – The 'magician's disciples' admit ignorance and impotence, and wash their hands of any positive action.

        "This landmark report – do I read – helped trigger a wide range of actions, including the UN "Earth Summits" in 1992 and 2002*, the International Climate Change Convention and worldwide "Agenda 21" programmes." – All of which contain in fact not the least of practical actions, only a great deal of further self-important and self-existence-justifying inconsequential imperatives generation.

        "A new framework", that works, and "at the same time addresses the present system", that does not work, is a fundamental contradiction, and its "invention" would lead only to another socio-cultural cripple, with which humanity’s past and present history is filled to the brim. Changing capitalism into marxism, or marxism into capitalism, or both into neither, has also nothing to do with the solution of the planetary predicament. Both are the products of the aberrant way of thinking of a runted species, which itself needs changing.

        And in the meantime the predictions speed towards their fulfilments, as according to the 2003 State of the World report by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, the human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself. "The longer that no remedial action is taken, the greater the degree of misery and biological impoverishment that humankind must be prepared to accept," the Institute says in its 20th annual report. Various other reports, like that of the Pentagon and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change foresee world-catastrophic conditions already for the second decade of this greatly celebrated millennium.

        A few decades have passed since the first powerful warnings, and all that has happened was a population increase of another more than three billion people, producing an even greater rate of famine and plague, and an aggravated danger of war and death. And the population-explosion is more a taboo subject at the UN than it ever was, due to Roman Catholic pressure and outright human stupidity, and the Greens still do not consider it the greatest ecological aggression, and fight it as they fight all the minor ones. In Europe the intelligent countries keep their numbers naturally, but have to protect themselves from the very dangerous overflow of low and very low mental quality from those countries that don’t. The Chinese took to a drastic, but the only intelligent measure to check their numbers, with the result of a fast growing general well-being.

        Through the genius of his greats (which emphatically excludes the political and religious leaders – past and present), whose work represent his spiritual and cultural heritage, Homo sapiens acquired the potentiality to promote or destroy life on a planetary level and scale. Through the impotence and ignorance of his overwhelming and dispersonalized masses (and here is where the political and religious leaders enter) he has chosen destruction, and is on the way to consummate it. Destruction is his fitting choice, because he can do it all by little himself, as a separate growth. Promotion of life is only possible in harmony, in active relationship with it, and with all that it pervades.

        Duality, separateness, division are from the particular pet-credo and tendency of the naked ape: it is his unique ground on which to justify the Daisy Syndrome, and the mindless overpopulation and godless devastation of this beautiful planet.

        An entity (object, complex, system, organism, community) is alive as a holon, if it has the potentiality to metabolize, grow, evolve, reproduce, sense, act and react as an individual and as an integral member of a higher complex, and if it can generate its own energy to do so. If these properties exhibit the general tendency of increasing, the entity is developing, evolving, healthy. Healthy it remains while the general tendency levels out, all in accordance with the general life-cycle of the entity, while maintaining the harmony within. Should it fall below that line, that is, the natural output cannot hold step with the natural demand, and the reserves of its resources are getting exhausted, the entity is diseased, it is in disharmony. This condition, if it continues, leads to the death of the entity.

        There are many ways to kill an entity; the easiest and most profitable – and probably the most dishonourable – is to get disguised as a natural constituent, be received as a brother, and then get unto the energy-supplies, which are free and plentiful – until the bitter end, of course, which, many believe, is "après moi".

        There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the natural life-cycles of the major communities of this planet, and that of the planet itself, should not be in the ascent without man's interference. There is every reason to believe that it is in a sharp decline with it. Man, as the constituent of these entities, carries all the properties of the element possessed by Negation (and denominated as parasite, cancer, pholon), including the property that makes him unable to recognize this condition when looking at himself. Do not judge humanity by the excellence of its infinitesimal minority: the human race, as a whole, is deteriorating with explosive rapidity – a fact it has not the intelligence to recognize – but continues exercising its power, by the will not its own, and, striving to avoid the obvious, expands the parasitic stratification within itself. And the patient earth continues supporting him the best he can, until the bitter end. Or will he?

        And so the Four Horsemen ride on in ever increasing pace.

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