Reactions to the essay of John L. Petersen of the Arlington Institute http://www.arlingtoninstitute.org : A Strategy for the Future of Humanity
Note: This article was sent in April 2004 to the Arlington Institute, without ever receiving an answer to it.
“Alone among all creatures, the species that styles itself wise, Homo Sapiens, has an abiding interest in its distant origins, knows that its allotted time is short, worries about the future and wonders about the past.” - John Noble Wilford (1933-), Pulitzer-winning writer.
"But man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he is most assured; his glossy essence, like an angry ape, plays such foul games before high heaven, that make the angels weep." – Shakespeare
"Some of us who professionally contemplate the future are concerned. We are concerned about the fundamentals that presently support humanity and the trajectories of those trends. There are big, defining forces in place that directly and indirectly colour the lives of everyone on this planet; in one way or another they will form the architecture around which the likely future a decade or two hence will evolve. These trends are rapidly growing in significance and colliding together during the next decade in a way that the world that emerges from the convergence is likely to be a very unfriendly place to live. Furthermore, it seems that within humanity’s current modus operandi there is no significant way to resolve these problems before they become much bigger and the synergy of their interaction makes resolution far harder, if not impossible. (All quotes from A Strategy for the Future of Humanity by John L. Peterson are here blockquoted and in italics.)"
Shouldn’t the "professional contemplation of the future" be the business of all politicians, and not only some small genuine or spurious "professional" groups, acting, if they are listened to at all, as occasional advisers to them? And even more: shouldn’t the contemplation of the future before any decision influencing it be the responsibility of everyone equally, regardless if it is about waging a war, founding a family, or cutting down a tree? The negation of this, or any other personal responsibility, is one of those "fundamentals" – together with all the absurd anthropocentric, social/socialist, religious and political dogmas, beliefs and belief-systems on which human to human and human to Nature interactions are built – which represent "humanity’s current modus operandi", without the radical substitution of which "there is no significant way to resolve these problems" leading shortly to a cataclysmic conclusion. There is not the slightest hope until in the expression "the lives of everyone on this planet", "everyone" will refer to all life-manifestations, and not only to the creatures belonging to the biological species classified as Homo sapiens.
"Socio-Economic Imbalance Perhaps the most ominous global problem is the have/have-not situation."
Studying the social development of Homo sapiens, one finds, that it started with small family-groups, similar to those of many primates. They also lived in close contact with the rest of the ecosystem, and under hard conditions, in which the weak has perished before reaching sexual maturity, and the most capable has vindicated his right to lead and to reproduce. This natural elimination, the reproduction of the tribal elite, and their being an integral part of Nature, has secured their fast evolution. These kind of communities still exist, although very sporadically, and have populated the Americas, Africa, Australia and the Island world before the colonialists took over these continents and their lebensraum. Vital fact from our point of view is, that each and every male member of these groups and tribes had the capacity of independent survival, which he even had to demonstrate at his coming of age. Each one was an "individual" in his own right, and a strong and valuable constituent of his tribal community.
This gave independence to each man – the only true freedom that there is –, and removed the possibility of a restrictive hold by any would-be tyrant. Only under these conditions could coercion through force or brainwashing never be practised, neither any power-system established. It was a natural and harmonious state of co-existence with all the other life-manifestations within their ecological community, where nobody starved, for each was capable to fetch for himself his own daily needs. Poverty did not exist, for neither did mass-condition with its dupes and deceivers, exploitation and charitable organizations.
The situation has drastically changed when some nomadic tribes have set roots and settled down to agriculture, animal farming, urban life, home industry, commerce and procreation. The comparatively well-protected living conditions have reduced the intelligence level for minimum survival. This has created a new class, a sub-human subspecies, the "have-nots", living on the margins of the fortified townships, mostly from subordinate occasional work, begging, petty theft and general scavenging. Their through runtness and unhygienic conditions produced infant and general mortality was only matched by their prolific reproduction purely for their own interests (camouflaged slavery), still widely practiced in our days. Thus poverty and mass-conditions established themselves within the new system of the progressively expanding community, called the State. This development is pregnantly characterized by Nietzsche's two simple lines in his "Also Sprach Zarathustra": "Viel zu viele werden geboren: für die Überflüssigen ward der Staat erfunden!" – "Far too many are born: for the Superfluous was the State invented!" The State, produced by the masses, and the with it developed and institutionalized religions and commerce have produced the means for the exploitation of the masses.
During this process the newly developed Homo rapacious has severed himself from Nature, declared himself the master of it all, and changed its nature-spirituality for institutionalized religions in which he deified himself and anthropomorphized his "God", who confirmed him in his mastery, and in his intrinsic superiority. The thus created unnatural self-image has resulted in a perverted mentality, progressively breaking up personal, family and social relationships. Any social, religious, economical and political system emerging out of this general mentality could become only a perverted system, supported consciously or subconsciously (indoctrinated) by the mass-people, who became the overwhelming majority.
It must be realized, that poverty is not a question of possessions, but of a state of mind, a state of being. Anybody, who in a chronic state of poverty, where he is incapable to house and feed himself, undertakes the creation of a family, and produces offsprings of his kind, thus perpetuating and even expanding the misery, is not a "poor unfortunate man", but the lowest of all creatures, a like of which cannot be found between what humans arrogantly call "animals".
It is obvious, that with a perverted mentality no natural and healthy social, religious, economical and political system can be created, and neither can one be conjured up, into which humanity can wake up one sunny morning. On the other hand, to imagine, that humanity can be enlightened en mass by a "Damascene Road" experience, is quasi as naïve, as to believe, that the statement, that – "We not only remember what happened in the past, we can figure out why it happened as it did, and think of ways to improve our ability to handle such a situation in the future. We can think of things that might happen in the future, and plan to deal with the consequences." – applies to the whole, and not only to a minute fraction of this species. For this minute fraction, the inevitable is not going to come as a surprise, for they are psychically prepared for it.
"Consider the following:
The facts are well known: If the world were split evenly into a village of 100 people:
- 1 person would have college education
- Of the 67 adults in the village 37 people would be illiterate
- About one-third have access to clean, safe drinking water
- 15 people would live in adequate housing
- the other 85 people would live in huts and be hungry most of the time
- 6 people would control half of the wealth, and 3 of those 6 would be Americans
- Only 7 people of the 100 own an automobile (some of them own more than one)."
Considering, that only 15% of the world’s human population live in adequate housing, and that the other 85% lives in huts and are hungry most of the time, and that only 7% own an automobile; and making, based on this information, the rough guess, that this 15% is responsible for at least 67% of the pollution and 33% of the exploitation of the Planet’s material resources and of all its non-human life-community, upsetting, together with the other 85%, the intricate equilibrium of the planetary life; and further, that this state was in fact declared unsustainable in the limited environment that exists, already when the human population was less than half of the actual, every rational observer and thinker must come to the conclusion, that the situation is leading irreversibly into a catastrophic collapse still within this generation.
In spite of this fact, there is as little done about the exponential degradation of the situation now, as when the first stronger warnings came quite a few decades ago: the general public is left in complete ignorance, and neither the political leaders, nor the "professional futurists" of governmental and non-governmental organizations, like, for example, the UN, UNESCO and IAU do anything positive in its regard, but, faking assiduous endeavour, generate only endless imperatives at worthless international conferences and symposia.
Reading through the UNESCO-IAU website – http://www.unesco.org/iau/index.html – one will find, that without rationally defining the concept of "sustainable development", and without even attempting to outline any corrective steps to reach it, rectors and professors of leading universities in the world associated themselves with the intent to devise a new curriculum and train professors and teachers to bring it by to a new generation of students, who, on the foundation of that specially acquired knowledge, should be able to solve this most pressing world-problem, which they, the originators and formulators of the courses themselves, have no idea how to go about.
Those, who professionally contemplate the future, try to induce with imperatives the building, on the foundation of an unsustainable present, a sustainable future, which is equitable for all, for over six billion human beings irresponsibly and exponentially multiplying themselves, while the whole ecosystem, which they are supposed to be symbiotic constituents of, is being just as exponentially degraded by that act? Does any of them think? Is any of them serious? Don’t they all realize, that the task does not involve the creation of circumstances that are needed to build a homogenous ‘Homosphere’ out of an unruly conglomeration whatever that may cost to our Planet, but the creation of circumstances that are needed to reinstate our Planet into a healthy life-community with a spiritually motivated, mentally productive, ethical and equilibrated, and physically healthy and active human species as an integral part and in harmony with that life-community, whatever that may cost to an unruly conglomeration.
The degeneration of humanity has created the problems, the degenerated humans with their cockeyed worldviews are the problem, and a healthily thinking humanity is the solution. Consequently, the task of those who honestly intend to make at least an effort, must be based on the general recognition of the fact, that the Planet is suffering from the exploitive actions of an overwhelmingly parasitic species, which has lost its organismic function in its life-community, and took increasingly more and more advantage of each other and of the rest of the planetary life, disturbing its dynamic equilibrium, reducing the Planet’s life-force and reversing its evolutionary trend to the degree as to endanger its capacity to support higher life-manifestations, including Homo sapiens itself. But try to explain this to some cancer-tissue.
"The majority of the people on the planet have always been poor, but the situation now is different for three fundamental reasons: the numbers of poor are increasing exponentially (at least for the next two or three decades) – overloading the carrying capacity of the underlying social support systems; the world now has television – the poor know how the wealthy live; for the first time, the disenfranchised have access to weapons that can produce large-scale destruction. When local economies cannot supply jobs for billions of global teenagers, and governments cannot provide food and maintain public health and order, then the stage is set for a significant and rapid reorganization of the status quo. People without any hope have nothing to lose and are willing to do anything to potentially change their situation."
The poor majority representing the masses has evolved only when easier living conditions allowed the survival of those, who couldn’t have survived under healthy and natural tribal conditions, establishing thus the sickly and unnatural mass-conditions. They are not the natural ingredients of any species' social order.
Under healthy and nature-equilibrated life-conditions, there couldn't be 'billions of global teenagers', and the teenagers there would be all studying, each according to his own capacity, to become autonomous adults, each able to provide his own food and maintain his own health and create his own living conditions he is fit for, and would not fall back on the others, on whose expense the governments would satisfy his undeserved, and consequently unrightful demands.
A self-generated upstanding by the masses could be only local and destructive, and decidedly not resulting in "a significant and rapid reorganization of the status quo", especially not in a positive, evolutionary direction.
"They are also susceptible to fundamentalist political and religious leaders who prey upon the disparity between them and the rest of the world. The effectiveness of these radicals is significantly increased by the many kinds of modern communications devices that help them distribute their messages, as was shown in the former Soviet Union and Iran."
This, of course, is absolutely true, and it is the reason why all political and religious leaders were always, as they are now, in favour of the maintenance and even the further development of the mass-conditions, and are using all kinds of available communications devices that help them distribute their messages, the stuff of which can be acronymed with the name of their actually most powerful exponent.
"But, this is not just an economic issue. The new information technologies that are available in the developing world increase those societies' metabolism and efficiency . . . and the rate at which they are distancing themselves from the lesser developed world. Although on one hand technology offers the biggest hope for resolving the fundamental problems, on the other it nevertheless is exacerbating the underlying disparity. The "digital divide" is a significant reality."
This, of course, is also absolutely true, as long as the expressions "developed world" and "lesser developed world" do not refer to geographical abstractions "dedicated to the proposition that massacre is a social virtue because murder is an individual vice" (e.e.cummings), but are collective terms for intellectually, morally and culturally developed individuals, and their polar opposites respectively, regardless where they happen to be, and the "digital divide" refers to the division between the two.
Regarding technology resolving the differences between the two, and make the twain meet, Descartes comes to my mind stating that "we shall not become mathematicians, even if we know by heart all the proofs that the others have elaborated, unless we have an intellectual talent that fits us to resolve difficulties of that kind. Neither, though we have mastered all the arguments of Plato and Aristotle, if we have not the capacity for forming a solid judgement on these matters, shall we become philosophers." Paraphrased, my Cartesian parastatement – expressing a Natural Law – sounds thus: "No individual organism shall reach an evolutionary state, even if he possesses and enjoys all the material benefits characteristic to that state, that the others have conceived and elaborated, unless he has an intellectual talent that fits him to conceive and elaborate them, to resolve related difficulties and form solid judgements on these matters."
"For only the man – as Lama Govinda has put it – who has conquered, gained this world spiritually, whose consciousness has reached this stage of knowledge, is capable of using sensibly the forces derived from it without misusing their power. Only such a one is entitled to use them. This discrepancy between perfection and power of the means created from a higher dimension of knowledge and the level of consciousness of those using them, must in the end result in schizophrenic civilization in which man no longer controls these means because he no longer understands the power at his disposal. He then resembles the magician's disciple who is no longer able to hold in check the powers which he has conjured up, because he is not related to their nature, he does not really know them." Only after a complete knowledge and understanding of his actual world is an individual qualified to transcend it, proceeding to the next one.
That "The "digital divide" is a significant reality", is accepted by all; that it also refers to an evolutionary split in progress – which is a natural phenomenon in evolutionary history –, only by extremely few.
Economic and technological imbalance is clearly a political and economic issue, but at its base, the problem is a demographic one – an unprecedented increase in the number of humans on the planet. A person born in 1950 and living a 70-year life will live through a tripling of the world’s population in his or her lifetime. Nearly half of most developing countries' populations are under 15 years old. Furthermore, 90 percent of the world's under-15s will reside in developing countries in the year 2005. These poor, young billions are moving into huge, urban ghettos around the world that have no public health facilities and are a breeding ground for disease, are often ungovernable, and provide little hope for their denizens.
A United Nations report released in early November 2001, warns that the world's population could skyrocket from the current 6.2 billion to 10.9 billion people by 2050 if women in poor countries do not gain better access to education and health care. The have/have-not issue is an education problem because it has been shown that the surest way to reduce the birth-rate in poor societies is to educate girls and women."
The population-explosion was already declared officially to be an ever growing menace when the human population of the planet was still far from the three billion mark. Officially, yes, but politically, not! The biologist Sir Julian Huxley has stated in the mid sixties in his treatise The Age of Overbreed, that "It is a grave scandal 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)  . . at the moment, a sense of urgency that is most essential – and pressure to overcome the deliberate counterpressures 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."
"Class or Religious Warfare
Unresolved, the increasing disparity will manifest itself in growing violence. In its advanced stages, (potentially ignited by something like the kind of fallout that is possible from the U.S. response to the 9/11 hijackings), a long, large-scale conflict could emerge between the have-nots and the haves. This would be particularly problematic if the animosity became framed in Islamic-Christian terms. In that case, it would take an extraordinary amount of time and effort on behalf of the United States and other Western countries to convince the Islamic world that the inequity they perceive is not, in fact, based on religious prejudice."
The USA–Arab conflict is unquestionably neither a Christian–Islamic religious discord, nor a haves–have-nots struggle, about which no sane person has to be convinced. It is rather the have-plenty-and-want-even-mores' aggression against the whoever-has-still-something-usable-lefts. The perceived inequity is in the economic-political-military power. And "terrorism" – according to the dictionary – means "systematic intimidation as a method of governing or securing political or other ends". Noam Chomsky has produced quite a few interesting essays on this subject.
"Overall, this is not a sustainable situation. If effective ways are not found to provide a modicum of sustenance and opportunity for this huge, growing, volatile segment of humanity, there is a very high likelihood that there will be increasing numbers of more effective attempts by members of this group to use terrorism and other approaches to get the attention of the rest of us. We will either deal with the fundamentals of the problem or we will live with the effects."
If the living standard of the have-nots, representing 85% of humanity, would be raised, through some bizarre miracle, to the level of the have’s, the corresponding pollution would be raised more than six-fold, and the exploitation of planetary life and resources more than four-and-a-half-fold, when even half of the actual situation was already unsustainable. An utterly irrational thought. The fundamentals of the problem are multiple overpopulation, its reasons and its consequences, none of which can be dealt with, even with the most ardent efforts, before their effects become cataclysmic, the Planet resolving its problems its own way.
Financial analyst George Soros has issued a general warning that serious disruptions in the international financial markets are threatening to undermine the global economic system. Soros' central point is that it is critical to recognize that financial markets are inherently unstable. They're given to excesses, and rather than acting like a pendulum that eventually reaches some point of equilibrium, they're more accurately characterized as a wrecking ball that is difficult to control and which can and does inflict severe pain on many of the world's emerging markets. He questions how long that instability can be sustained without inflicting more general damage on the system as a whole.
Our current form of commerce is based upon an assumption of scarcity -- of limited resources – therefore necessitating competition among the actors because there is not enough of what is important to go around. That underlying notion of intrinsic shortage has, over the years, produced increasingly sophisticated and effective forms of competition that have concentrated extraordinary private resources in a small number of hands. But more significantly, the current version of capitalism primarily values only money, produced in narrowly defined processes that are not ultimately ecologically sustainable. Soros argues that the system is fundamentally flawed and therefore "naturally produces" some of the more pressing problems that humanity now faces. Evolve the system to its next, more effective version, and do it soon, he argues, before it continues to produce even more, bigger problems that can’t be resolved."
Not only the economic system is fundamentally flawed, but so are also all the social-, political-, religious- and belief-systems, the basic way of thinking, or rather non-thinking of a runted species. The economic system is but the instrument of mutual domination and exploitation, and the expression of the moral degradation.
"Buckminster Fuller has suggested that the idea of a fundamental shortage of resources is no longer valid. Starting in the 1980’s, our advanced technology, for the first time in history provides the means to theoretically supply the basic needs of all humans . . . the rest of the system (politics and economics) just need to catch up to that reality. That, we believe, is one of the central issues of our time."
The muddling Utopians and technological optimists have much over-reached themselves in their hopeful solutions for the future alimentation and accommodation of the exploded human population. Their Utopia (far outdoing Sir Thomas More, not, however, in wits) deserves a closer scrutiny, because it is typical for a single track "technological solution" that is completely impracticable, but serves well as a licence for further idleness and for further irresponsible procreation.
The average daily human population increase on the planet was in the eighties 225000 (9375 per hour, 156 per minute, 2,6 per second), and in the nineties 266000 (11093, 185, 3,1 respectively). This represents one of Buckminster Fuller's tetrahedral floating cities anchored in the open seas – 2,6 km high, each edge 3,2 km long, housing one million persons – being launched every four days, still leaving the problem of their alimentation, material- and energy-supply, work and their direct pollution of the seas unsolved. Alternatively it represents a ten thousand person capacity, entirely self-contained satellite being completed out there in space every hour – night and day –, and a jumbo capacity space-ship being launched every two minutes to populate them. And all that while the status quo for those who stay does not change, the actual numbers and the consequent misery and hunger remains unaltered. How much material, energy, and how many skilled and highly skilled man-hours do these structures represent? Where to get these highly skilled men, when only the runt multiplies? Where to get the materials, when not even for their shanties suffices now? What general and specialized education is needed to man these complexes? I suggest that only with a fraction of the necessary mental capacity to be able to receive such education, people would already refrain from irresponsible reproduction, and perceive that contraception is incomparably cheaper, because who would have to compensate eventually for these structures would be, logically, their occupants. Or do the muddling Utopians want to bill the “Governments” also for all this? To launch the self-restricting and capable into space and out of their natural level of congruity, in order to accommodate the proliferating incapable, would be hardly fair to both the capable and the planet, but admittedly congruous with (in)human mentality, which is fully responsible for the present predicament.
"Environmental Impact/Climate Change
Although significant advances have been made in cleaning up our air and water in the last half century, human activities nevertheless continue to pump huge amounts of materials into the atmosphere. Much of this comes from burning coal to produce electricity and using internal combustion engines for transportation and power. There are significant groups of scientists who now believe that human-produced additions to the atmosphere could contribute to a rapid shift – not long term global warming – in the stability of the global weather system. They draw on underlying theories of the behaviour of complex systems and how they rapidly change from one state to another when influenced by outside forces. If the Gulf Stream, for example, shifted, it would affect the average temperatures around the planet – often producing situations where traditional agriculture would not function anymore in the newly elevated or reduced temperatures."
The global negative environmental impact is exponentially growing, opposed only with empty words, not with actions.
"Revolutionary Technological Development
This is an area that has extraordinary positive potential – and some serious downsides. The solutions to a number of the big problems – education, population, environment, the economic divide – are closely coupled to technological breakthroughs. Amazing new capabilities could change the landscape rather quickly, opening up new approaches that have never before been considered. (Just remember the rapid impact of the World Wide Web has had and the things we now take for granted that did not exist eight years ago.)"
Relatively few value the WWW for the enormous access to information and sometimes interesting discussions. Most people value it for the aggressive games and the pornographic pictures it makes available. But it has not influenced the exponential human degradation, except maybe by accelerating it.
"On the other hand, technology is moving so rapidly into biotechnology and other areas (with potential high-profile implications like cloning humans, and manipulating the characteristics of life) that in a very real way we are explorers, working our way across uncharted territory that has its share of significant hazards as well as opportunities. Futurist Ray Kurzweil, for example, believes that humans will work for computers by about 2029 – they will be much smarter than we are, and we will be dependent upon them far more than we are today."
What a marvellous outlook into a Brave New World! Life is fine and dandy, as long as the “real human beings” can depend on other persons and other things, and not each one on his own force and ability, all of whom and which they can also put the blame on if things are not running to their satisfaction. Only for being exploited they cannot complain, because that they deserve: every dependent adult is an exploiter already by definition.
"No Systems Approach, No Urgency
The problem with all of these issues is that individually – and certainly in the aggregate – they represent fundamental mismatches between potential solutions and the incentives and priorities that are woven within the way humans presently operate on this planet."
"No systems approach - It is possible to visualize some solutions over time to individual issues (the education problem, for example, could be mitigated in time by some breakthrough wireless technology), but the reality is that in order to really resolve any of these issues, all have to be dealt with at the same time. We are talking here about a very complex system where all of these elements are interconnected to each other and therefore influence each other in very dynamic ways."
Absolutely true, and it is the key for even starting to resolve the Planetary Problem by using a Planetary Worldview.
The Planetary Worldview is, in fact, the General System Weltanschauung. As the Planetary Life-System is the very General System, the absolute foundation of all manifestations on this Planet, each and every man-made sub-system must be in accord with, as a precondition for its functioning, on which the survival of each sub-system depends.
General System Weltanschauung implies by definition a Planeto- Geo- Biocentric Worldview and not an Anthropocentric one, which is but the manifestation of individual human egocentrism.
Unfortunately, for the reasons that extremely few people have a good enough general knowledge to develop a holistic, Planetary Worldview, and being consequently pushed out by the legion of specialist “Systemists” each looking at the whole through his own very limited specialization, that a Planetary Worldview cannot gain stand against the popularissimo anthropocentric one. And because vested interests are financing all research, all system study is concentrated on "well-paying" political and economic systems, regardless of the Planetary Life-system and what they do to it.
"It is quite easy to see the interconnectedness between and among these areas: the population problem exacerbates the imbalance between the haves and the have-nots; which impacts the environment and is not resolved by the present form of capitalism. Technological breakthroughs could help, but if they don’t, there could be significant shocks to the global financial system . . . etc."
The first statement above must be reversed: the have-nots have created both the population problem and the imbalance, which no technological breakthrough could correct.
Nobody is forced to have a child, but all who do, have to know that the condition to have one is not the capacity to copulate. There are many kinds of human scum, but none as depraved as the one who, while incapable to feed and sustain himself, produces more of his runted kind to be incapable to feed and sustain them also; and neither as the one who produces to exploit, sending to work, to beg or to prostitution his own progeny. But these are the crimes in front of which soi-disant society has always closed its eyes.
Based on the commercial world-view of "tooth for tooth", "eye for eye" – "bad for bad" and "good for good" – to be negotiated and reciprocated always between two parties, a tradition has developed in many human societies, where the young has to compensate directly to his elders for being brought into this world, and kept alive under better or worse conditions, until the time he is capable – in the opinion of the elders – to initiate the repayment. While the starting time may have a variation between say six years of age and sixteen, the principle prevails: the need of the elders comes first. The tradition is consolidated and kept alive by the "honour thy elders" wrapped in some sloppy sentimentalism, and by the expectation that the young will become an elder, and the same repayment will be due to him.
At a first glance the tradition is right, at least as a closed system; the two sides of the ledger – debt and repayment – tally.
Based on a natural spiritual drive, animal intuition (animal I call it because it comes to expression in the whole animal kingdom), individuals – forming societies or not – possess the desire (in various degrees), not only to procreate, but to turn the bundle of joy into a ‘valuable being’ for himself, for their society and for the planet, even if the standards set by the various societies do not necessarily conform to the physical and ethical ideals of Nature. The parents complete their work with the upbringing, and after the young has established himself, continue living their own, independent, self-supporting existences. The process has its roots in Nature; the standard defining maturity, and with it the point of setting free, in the individual.
There is no one-sided sacrifice in this system either. Each individual gives back to his own progeny what he received from his parents; the two sides of the ledger – received and repaid – tally.
In comparative analysis, however, some outstanding differences distinguish themselves right from the start: In the first system, the more children are produced, the better off are the parents; in the second one the harder. This is even more accentuated in affluent welfare societies within which the first one has developed as a sub-system: the social assistance received after every child renders the production lucrative right from the start, and makes the first system exist on the expense of the second.
In the first, the product is the child, the purpose is the welfare of the parents; in the second, the product is also the child, but the purpose is the man they make out of him for his own sake.
In the first, the interest of the child is disregarded, in the second only that is considered (even if there are conflicting opinions on its nature).
Procreation is quantity-oriented in the first, quality-oriented (unum gigno sed leonem) in the second.
In the first the child is produced to take from, exploit (camouflaged slavery), in the second to give to (love).
It can hardly be argued that the first, profit oriented, parasitic system is dehumanizing in its working and in its results both to the parents and to their progeny. Morally it is an evil system, even if the majority of (in)humanity lives by it.
The second system is a natural system, and whatever differences might arise in the opinions about the standards and directions between the parents and their youngs, there is neither exploitation, nor degradation in their relationship.
Continuing the comparative study on education, it is found that in the closed system the child will never be allowed to reach an educational standard that could liberate him from the family fetters, nor to study during those years when he is otherwise useful to his parents. On the other hand it is quite obvious that, in the natural family, the educational aim is the highest possible the parents can afford.
The respective low and high earning potentials and consequent incomes are evident. On this income the first has to support outside of himself his parents and his young brothers and sisters (sharing the burden with the other working brothers and sisters) and also his own family, that he must start early in order to produce his own slaves. The other, while supporting only himself, can wait until his earnings grow, and is financially comfortable to start a family.
The first one works 25 years of his life, 15 for his parents only, and 10 also for his children who take over after this. All his work is unskilled labour of low value and consequently of low compensation. The second one works 40 years, all for himself, his wife and his children. All his work is well paid, skilled and highly skilled work.
The tendency of the living conditions is from bad to worse, and from good to better respectively; the gap is widening incessantly.
The first group more than doubles its numbers each generation; the numbers of the second group are declining. Thus "the deterioration of entire societies comes about with an almost explosive rapidity." (Aldous Huxley)
The circle of family or family group is a real, of-the-nature social unit, and is the only natural way to produce independent individuals with positive life-values. Their extinction characterizes a disintegrated species.
I should lament over these facts, but I don't: when general cancer expands even to leukaemia, the end comes with explosive rapidity, but all that will pass away will be a formless mass of rotting cancer-tissues, giving way to the development of a new, healthy organism.
Another fact about human character and relationships that makes one think is contained in a recent newspaper article originated from the BBC: "Researchers at Warwick University have discovered most people need to feel richer than their neighbours, even when they do not know them. Two-thirds of people taking part in an experiment at Warwick were so desperate to better their imaged rivals, they were willing to sacrifice some of their own money if it meant their neighbours would get poorer as well." - This shows, that the problem is much deeper than xenophobia or cultural or financial differences. Here are people of the same neighbourhood, culture, nationality, language, and even dialect, driven by their very lowest emotions, aberrant individual psychological developments and particular hostilities, accumulated personal aggressions, that aggregate into paranoid collective forms of concentrated physical manifestations; as are the present nuclear arsenals the lethal monuments of the very same (in-)human sentiments, and the consequent global spiritual degradation.
"If the whole system is not addressed, the underlying problems will not be solved. At this point in time human institutions neither have the experience nor the inclination to understand and address these big issues systematically. No urgency - Another problem is that there is no real urgency associated with finding a solution to these concerns. They are problems, to be sure, but then there are lots of problems chasing limited resources (and the poor have always been with us). Governments and corporations must necessarily prioritize. If we really thought that absent a comprehensive solution we would be facing a disastrous world in fifteen years, then perhaps the developed world would be moved to action, but that image has not yet been imprinted upon our minds."
The whole system is not and will not be addressed, because human institutions haven't got the slightest interest, and consequently inclination, to address these big issues systematically or otherwise, except with empty "imperatives", and we are facing a disastrous world within the next fifteen years.
"For some reason, we humans do not have much of a long view. The important things are those that are currently pressing. The current initiative against terrorism is a classic example: Bin Laden has been very public and clear about his feelings and objectives for years now, but even though isolated individuals within our institutions were raising a red flag, the leadership continued pursuing variations of the status quo. Only when the problem was mature (and present) did the system respond."
Noam Chomsky has a few interesting words to say about this subject too. However, none of it is either the reason or the cause of the population explosion, the human moral degradation and the planetary predicament. It only shows the mentalities on both sides, neither of which is to be preserved.
"In the end, compared to where we really spend our money and time, relatively small amounts are committed to the big problems, and structural issues like the present form of capitalism don’t get much more than a few academic papers and a book or two written about them."
Changing capitalism to marxism, or marxism into capitalism, or both into neither, has also nothing to do with the planetary predicament. They are both the products of the aberrant thinking of a runted species.
"Changing How We Think
It is axiomatic: the way humanity presently thinks has produced the problems we
presently have. If we don’t change how we think, we will not solve our problems. On the other hand, if we change our perspectives – if we culturally evolve – we have a chance to remedy some of the underlying sources of our concern. This is not simple. It is not easy."
“This is not simple. It is not easy.” Let us honestly face it: it is impossible.
"The history of life on this planet is described by evolutionary biologists as “punctuated equilibrium” – long periods of relatively stable periods defined by major forms of life that rapidly shift to new ones. There is not constant evolutionary change; the shift comes quickly, punctuating the status quo. Early on, these evolutionary punctuations were biological: from single cellular life to multiple cellular life, and from vertebrates to mammals, etc. With the advent of homo sapiens sapiens, the major changes evolved to being cultural: from being hunter-gatherers to living in cities and towns, etc."
The periods of equilibrium have rapidly become shorter – each succeeding one
being about one-tenth of the one preceding it – to the point where the latest era was about five hundred years long.
Regarding evolutionary theories and evolutionary splits and jumps I refer to my thesis [The Rational Evolution of the Species], contained also in my book Living Universe.
The change from tribal to city-state existence is not necessarily an evolutionary step, and – "culture" meaning "trained and refined state of the understanding and manners and tastes" – neither does it necessarily mean cultural improvement.
All of the past evolutionary shifts just "happened" – that is to say, the major life forms didn’t realize what was going on, they just participated in the transition. Hunter-gatherers, for example, were not thinking about the significance of the transition into living in cities and towns . . . it was just happening. Neither did they understand the operation of their external environment nor were they conscious of the larger significance of their new behaviour."
Nothing is "just happening" in the Universe, and all that is happening has its inside cause. While no individual fraction can control how it is acted on, is the unique master of its own reactions, and the unique agent for its own change, these being the reflections of its individual being. This applies to all life-forms, all of which understand the operation of their external environment in the sense, that they live in harmony with it; all, except the great majority of the species Homo sapiens.
"That has now changed. We are now at the first time in history where humans understand, in terms that are far more sophisticated than any time in the past, what has happened historically, what is going on at the present, and what the future implications of current events might be. We have learned more about how reality works in the last fifty years than was learned in the previous 5,000 years. For the first time, we also have the technology to be able to consciously make the big changes that have transpired in seemingly random ways in the past. A global neural system – the Internet – is just now in place that can communicate ideas and images instantaneously throughout the species. We are on the verge of engineering life, as we know it – deciding what characteristics would be desirable in future plants, animals, and humans. Humans now have the ability to destroy all of life on the planet with their weapons . . . and perhaps we are on the verge of discovering the means of producing unlimited amounts of energy for positive uses. We are now not only in the position to understand what is going on around us, but also to consciously influence how our future evolves."
None of the above applies to the extreme majority of humans, no matter which corner of the Planet they happen to exist, with the exception of "having the ability to destroy all of life on the planet with their weapons", which they are in process of doing anyway with their overrunning and devastations.
And "engineering life"? What a frightening expression and thought! And who will be "deciding what characteristics would be desirable in future plants, animals, and humans"? The mob, through general suffrage, or the political/commercial/military potentates, according to their political/commercial/military interests? Here is a quote from John Taylor Gatto’s book, The Underground History of American Education: "The truth is that America’s unprecedented global power and spectacular material wealth are a direct product of a third-rate educational system, upon whose inefficiency in developing intellect and character they depend. If we educated better we could not sustain the corporate utopia we have made. Schools build national wealth by tearing down personal sovereignty, morality, and family life. It was a trade-off." Is a genetical manipulation with this kind of possible and consequently probable use to be hoped for? Is this attitude a foundation to build a new world on?
Only a minute and muzzled fraction of this species understands what is going on around 'us' and the planet; and any conscious influence exerted regarding the "evolution of 'our' future", is in the direction of "negative trends accelerating onward without obvious solutions".
"So on one hand, humanity exists at a place in time where huge, negative trends accelerate onward without obvious solutions . . . and at the same time, in a matter of decades, we have developed extraordinary capabilities that could help remedy this situation."
These are all fundamental misconceptions.
In spite of many academics' exclamation to the contrary, I strongly suggest that man is not only not the "lord of the universe", he is not even the lord of his little himself, and is no more the master of this poor planet than are a few billion cancer virus infected cells the masters of a living organism they are parasitically overrunning, exploiting, and slowly but surely regressing and finally annihilating.
"The moon is ours!" – were the headlines of the newspapers announcing the first moon-landing – "we have conquered space", "man demonstrated his hegemony over the forces of nature".
These bombastic statements were not less absurd, and not less ridiculous than if a baboon would have uttered the same in the name of the primates. Ridiculous: would it not be the sorrowful portrait of a narcissistic mass that places the possessive pronoun to all and everything it beholds, and claims co-authorship to its greats' – who are, in fact, its segregants – achievements, reducing all excellence to the vulgar average.
I propose that the unique discoveries and technological achievements, and the ability to control the motions of satellites orbiting distant planets and to leave the earth and land on the moon are those of a few, utterly atypical segregants, and not of our species as a homogeneous whole, which, however, can undoubtedly boast of its unique incompetence in the conduct of its personal and social affairs because of its envy, greed, lust, aggressivity, arrogance, inertia and ignorance, which are the very ”huge, negative trends accelerating onward without obvious solutions”.
"We are at an inflection point. Either we come up with the new perspectives and processes that allow us to solve and transcend our problems, or our present way of living crumbles in the inevitable collision of the powerful forces that are now beginning to describe our future. Either way, there will be big change – it will happen to us or we will initiate it."
Maybe the Planet will initiate it. "The psyche is the world's pivot: not only is it the one great condition for the existence of a world at all, it is also an intervention in the existing natural order, and no one can say with certainty where this intervention will finally end. ... The Psyche, if it looses its balance, actually destroys its own creation." (C.G. Jung)
"The best option, of course, is to initiate the change – to consciously evolve – but that is far easier to appreciate than to execute.
For one thing, the next world won’t make sense from here. If the need is to design a new way of thinking and a new set of values (remember, the ones we presently have, got us into the situation we’re in), then they will not make sense to most of the people who operate within the current context. Think of it this way: how hard would it have been for a hunter-gatherer to have visualized what life in a village would have been like, considering that nothing like that existed at the time. To a castle-bound knight, the notion of machines that fly through the air would have been impossible to consider at best and “magic” at worst."
While the next ‘world’ might make sense from here for a rational thinker, because, in order to exist at all, the human species will not participate in it as parasites, but as organismic constituents, what the nomadic tribes were, and whatever is left of them still are. It will not ‘make sense’ to most of the people who operate within the current, unnatural context, because it will not provide survival conditions for them. This does not mean back to tribal life, but forward to natural, ethical and still sophisticated social groups, in which every one must carry his own weight, and make his positive contributions, in order to survive. See my thesis The Integrarchic Society.
"That’s what we’re up against – trying to invent a new framework that, at the same time, addresses the present system (we can’t get rid of it right away, of course), but also moves forward in a substantial new way of thinking and living that deals fundamentally with our biggest problems."
This will also be very complex. For it to work, any new ideas must necessarily be the result of a systems approach that considers all significant parts within which we operate. It is not enough, for example, to look at the problems with the environment or at the population issue alone, as many specialist groups do. Each of those is influenced by the other and by technology, social values, economic incentives, etc. The only way to describe this new world is by looking at all of it. It will take a special process with special people to even begin to look at the next world in this way.
“A new framework”, that works, and “at the same time addresses the present system”, that does not work, are fundamental contradictions, and its “invention” would lead only to another socio-cultural cripple, of which humanity’s past and present history is filled to the brim. And any special process, together with any special people who even begin to look at the next world in the right way, are and will be suppressed by human stupidity and sloth, as by vested interests, which find the present one quite comfortable for their purposes.
"Fortunately there are new analytical and process technologies available for making sense of very complex systems and building scenarios of possible futures that might evolve from them."
A report for the Club of Rome's projection on the predicament of mankind in 1972 was based on the analytical computer 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 models run and presented included even unlimited resources, unhoped for technological innovations and even "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 policymakers seems to be actively pursuing goals that are inconsistent with these results."
"A guided evolutionary process must start with the development of a clear image of a desired future world – a normative scenario – that then becomes a vision for the rest of the process. Once one has in mind what the objective is, then it is possible to work back toward the present and determine what needs to happen now and in the coming years in order to reach the desired future."
What is the objective? What is the desired future 'world'? The above statements clearly imply, that no such objective is formulated yet, no plans are determined. The problem is – and I am talking from experience – that each and everyone understands under ‘world’ the “homosphere”, a man-created concept, and under ‘objective’ the transformation, through peak technology, of the whole Planet and its non-human life – labelled as the “environment” – to serve as the Land of Cocaine for all the wonderful human beings, no matter how many they choose to be. With anthropocentric objectives as inputs, no new available analytical and process technologies will produce working results.
"Of course, we’re talking here about major, fundamental change that isn’t going to happen of its own accord. There almost certainly will have to be a major catalytic event that so shakes up the status quo that the system is prepared to consider whole new ways of operation. So what is required is a strategy – a strategy for the future of humanity – that takes into consideration both the new ways in which humanity might operate and the evolving global context that would precipitate and support the new behaviour."
There most certainly will be a major cataclysmic event that will shake up the status quo, but that will not ask the decayed system what it is prepared to consider, but will force out whole new ways of operation. The actually evolving "global context" does not precipitate and support the "new behaviour", but is part and parcel of the old decay.
The actual conditions under which humanity exists are not survival conditions. Man became paralysed by the narrowness of its doctrines, its material-mechanistic outlooks, its pursuit of abstractions, the love of the herd it represents, and its contempt for individuality. People hate each other, because they are each other's reflections; and the result is very natural. Unnatural, however, is man's self-portrait that presents an innocent victim of a cruel fate. Everybody is ready to reconceptualize nature or evolution, nobody ever considers reconceptualizing man; all want to "humanize" nature, none to naturalize humanity. For all, the universe happens because man is, none would consider that man happens because the universe is. No matter where, causality is observed from a headstand.
The existing system is not obsolete, for it never was actual; it is as it always was: degraded and degrading. The families are not torn apart: they are disintegrating; the economy is not being rocked: it is rotting apart; the political and social systems are not being paralysed: they are born paralytic; the values are not being shattered: they are only being recognized for what they really are.
Systems do not make people: people make systems. No system based on the present mentality will work. No new system can change the present mentality: only a new mentality can create a new system.
A new mentality must start with the understanding that the earth does not belong to man: man belongs to the earth.
Solution does not lay in general plans but in minute particulars, and is based on fundamental principles, not on authoritative power within organized hierarchic systems; for only suppression has authoritative power, liberty never. People who see the future as the linear extension of the present, are unable to produce any positive image of a future worth fighting for, because they possess no present worth fighting for either; only one that is full of ignorance and hatred.
See also: The Unsustainable Degradation of a Runted Species.