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Modern terrorism is a prime result of humanity mismanaging four dynamic equilibiria. Each is ultimately limited by the bisphere, and most basically, by its response to the solar constant. For humanity, each has become:
  • competition instead of cooperation,
  • argument instead of dialogue,
  • guns instead of butter,
  • automatically blaming others instead of looking in the mirror.

To use a biblical metaphor: collectively, we are destroying Eden.

We, Americans especially, behave as if there are no limits. Indeed for five centuries there seemed to be none. A new pristine world beckoned, invited exploitation. Natives were no match for the hordes and fire-power of the invaders. Freedom and liberty drove technological developments--for the conquerors. It was heady times for them. Manifest Destiny took root in the minds of the hardy pioneers and settlers.

But nature does have its limits. Growth without bound is simply not allowed. Effects of exponential growth are now being felt -- and unfortunately denied in high places. "American Interests" has become the modern battle cry. That is why we established a global reach, supported Israel at the expense of the out-gunned "natives," established conditions that led to 9/11, went into Iraq to quench our thirst for oil. After all Manifest Destiny always worked before. It is the American way...isn't it?

Beyond that there is the ages-old question: "Whose god is God?" American Protestant Fudamentalists in particular honed their sabres and polished their guns in anticipation of founding a new world order. The Neocons and Military-Industrial Complex made common cause. Of course, those dispossessed reacted as we did in similar circumstances, back there in 1776.

Humanity is not just at war with itself over resources, it is also at war with itself over knowledge and ideas, over governance and tradition, philosophy and religion.

And so the first dynamic equilibrium came to pass on the global level.

Dynamic Equilibrium: Competition Within-Species

While humanity wars with itself, it also enslaves, wars with, eats or simply exterminates other species. Macro-organisms, species visible to the unaided eye, are disappearing more rapidly than they are being created regardless of whether or not we believe in Evolution. The Dodo is dead as a Dodo! Numerous other species are on the brink. Disappearing acts are too numerous to count; the Tecopa Pupfish is one example close to the writer. Macrocide, to coin a word, is only slowly becoming a political issue.

On the micro-organism scale, species requiring a microscope to see, microcide has proven much harder. That is most fortunate since every one of us needs hosts of microbes just to survive. It took a world-wide effort to contain Smallpox for the only such "win" on record so far. But the quest to live longer leaves humanity at war with pathogenic micro-organisms that may be never ending if Evolution has anything to say about it. And Evolution does; it lies behind the various and rightly feared epidemics of Influenza, and potentially much more. From all this it is easy to conclude:

Dynamic Equilibrium: Competition Between-Species

The third great equilibrium is that between the playground upon which the other two are played out and the limits of the biosphere itself. It is now being felt and measured in numerous ways.

This final great dynamic equilibrium cannot be changed--even though Americans in particular are living as if they created it and therefore own it. Whoa! We are talking about the solar constant and the biosphere, we all share, if unequally. Over eons, Solar energy hoarded and sequestered carbon in its various reduced solid, liquid and gaseous forms. The solar constant provideth, the biosphere containeth, Humanity taketh away. Not totally yet, but Americans in particular again, have hogged and continue hogging more than their proportionate share of the inventory comprising finite resources within a finite biosphere. Much of humanity already finds itself crowded into a corner while the carbon inventory is used up by others. Carbon is not the only resource, just the most prominent one in our times.

Dynamic Equilibrium: Up Against The Limits Of Growth

The high irony is that humanity now has the technical means to live in peace--comfortably within the means nature provides. Humanity reaching such an accommodation with itself within a limited biosphere remains a most serious challenge at the dawn of the third millennium of the Common Era.

[This page was inspired by an article by Cynthia Wagner in the Oct-Nov 2005 issue of The Futurist: Ed]

For more on this and related issues see: Green Economy.

For one peek at what the future may hold, see Kathy Freston.


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