Also known as: Explosions: Nukes and Population; Driven by Extremism.
Jan 2006; Updated 26 May 2007.
What have expediency and band-aids wrought?Is it too idealistic to believe or think either of these crises can be solved? Many think so. If they are right, humanity is doomed either to extinction or to total subjugation by the winner of a holocaust. Given that the potential for violence is in our genes how can we alter course? What is certain is that none of these crises will go away on their own, nor will any be solved anytime soon. History, in its rhythmic ways, moves only slowly. Over the centuries the liberation of women has evolved in fits and starts; a large fraction of women on earth have zero opportunities to better themselves.
- An earth where small regional powers possess nuclear weapons with at least one having an unstable governance.
- A world with a human population already straining the biosphere.
- A world with a human population making no move to limit or even understand its own potential for extremism, the barrier to which is egg-shell thin as our modern ability to motivate people to: genocide, abuse in Abu Ghraib, and abuse in the Stanford Prison Experiment show.
Meanwhile, and almost without fanfare, humanity has brought evolution literally onto a new stage, where it can be directed or misdirected by less-than-moral people, perhaps even in the name of God. Genetically modified crops have dramatically increased the food supply, yet there are limits. Humanity has long practiced genetic selection of domestic animals, and did so long before Darwin or Mendel.
There are also natural limits to fresh water, and topsoil disappears faster than nature replenishes it. Climate change is now a fact of life that our descendents can only hope to live through.
Like it or not, this is the situation. How it will all play out is anyone's guess. There are many scenarios evident, many gruesome or worse, including extinction of Homo sapiens. Yet humanity does have the smarts and technology in our time to alter these courses. If history repeats itself, as it always seems to, any of several things might happen:
- Nuclear holocaust survivors, if any, disagree and continue fighting over what is left of the turf. Likelihood is significant, given humam nature.
- Nuclear holocaust survivors, if any, agree to do it better next time. Probability is near zero, given human nature.
- Something else, totally unexpected, may happen. We can do more than hope. We can ask: "How can we find that 'something else' today?" And we can actively search for solutions to the several recognized causes of violence. That is our purpose on this site. What follows combines logos (scientific) with mythos (imagined). Logos has a proven history of accomplishment. It can find pathways and provide mechanisms. Mythos provides the imagination and energy to pursue the logos. A neat fit, and both will be needed.
Where are the pearls of wisdom? For starters, the basic questions come down to:
Where indeed, will it all end? The most obvious and likely answer: under a mushroom cloud if famine and pestilence from a man-made run-away heat wave or the like doesn't ruin our biosphere first. Water is already in tight supply in too much of the world.
- Can humanity negotiate and survive the transition to a new evolution that betters humanity itself?
- Is it wise for the US to unilaterally restart nuclear arms development while limiting options for population control? (No nuclear competitor is even remotely in sight; population pressure on the biosphere is already extreme in some parts of the world. Population pressure hurts most among those who have the least wherewithal to do anything about it.) Compounding this problem is monotheist preachings that add to the population pressures while keeping women in the dark ages if not in pratical bondage.
- If the world continues on its present course, where will it all end? The Second Coming is on the lips of many. But history is replete with such predictions that never came to pass.
Would it not be better to discover the basic causes of violence and deal with them directily as we limit population growth? Speaking metaphorically, is it not more effective to stop war than to forever staunch spear wounds with Band-Aids? And would it not make sense for us not to exhaust food sources and poison the environment? Is humanity on a roll like multiplying yeasties in a vat producing wine from a limited amount of grape juice? Yeasties end up drowning in their own effluent, and so could humanity.
If all humanity can see is blood, if all it can do is seek revenge, a never-ending cycle of violence will continue as a plague.
If humanity can grow and recognize itself in the mirror as having potential for violence, realize its own social contributions to that violence, understand the limits nature will impose on population growth, and resolve to find solutions, then we can have realistic hope.
Could it begin with reading Tea Leaves; avoiding the Enamor Trap, and embracing Loci of Control as the measure of citizenship?
Natural History provides nature's perspective. To be sure, there is controversy in the US over natural history itself. The logos side of the issue has logic and proof arising from vast amounts of consistent and unifying data on its side. These are the ingredients that have improved our living standards even as they permitted populations to explode. In like manner, these ingredients can provide solutions to humiliation, violence and depravity. See: Hope for some trends. For present thinking, see Locus of Control and Solutions.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Saturday, January 21, 2006.