SUNDAY, FEB 26, 2017
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: THERE IS NO LIFE WITHOUT THOUGHT, FROM THE WIRES, FUTURE, POSTERITY
'For the first time in history a conviction has developed among those who can actually think more than a decade ahead that we are playing a global endgame. Humanity's grasp on the planet is not strong. It is growing weaker. Our population is too large....' — Edward O. Wilson, Half Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life 2016
TUCSON (A-P) — A global endgame suggests high stakes, which raises the question: how high is high? If how we play the endgame is of interest, some consideration of the stakes involved is worth considering for clarity's sake.
Species extinction may seem the height of concerns. We of the Anthropocene are presiding over the greatest mass extinction since the late Cretaceous. Some concern themselves with global warming. Others with next quarter's profits. All are concerned with how the deck chairs are arranged, who gets to sit in them, for how long, and when. Some seats are better than others, and concerns for fairness, justice, freedom, dignity, equity, for the rights of passengers and crew..., dominate our social primate concerns. And where's the lattè I ordered?
The rate of species extinction is now about one thousand times higher than it was prior to the beginnings of human empire building in the neolithic and is rarely mentioned. That by the end of the twenty-first century, the rate could well be ten thousand times higher, is of no concern to the masses of clothed primates currently infesting the globe (if the Galactic Park Ranger assigned to Earth were to return from a 50,000 year vacation...WTF?....).
That hu-mans could be among the extinct is clinically unthinkable. 'Human extinction' are words that can be uttered but not 'believed' in. We can no more understand the actuality of human extinction as existential threat in the near future (coming century) than growthers can understand the implications of the exponential function. The number of 'Anthropocene enthusiasts' is growing as Nature is being subsumed.
So another mass extinction event. It happens (six or nine times so far depending on who's counting). As for humans going extinct, why should they? Some may want to join the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, but the rest will become Masters of the Universe. After Sol's Dyson Sphere is complete, a galaxy of other stellar systems await the subsuming, and there are at least two trillion more galaxies after the Milky Way becomes an infrared emitter. Those worried about what happens when the universe blinks out due to all the Dyson Spheres shouldn't worry so much — it's multiverses all the way down so illimitable growth is possible.
Should human extinction be our greatest concern? What if Earth is transformed into a Trantor orbiting within Sol's Dyson Sphere? If the human descendants who inhabit the Anthropocene home world develop into a Borg-like collective that goes forth to subsume all other worlds, inhabited or not, doing unto other systems what they have done to their ecosystem by assimilating it into their SYSTEM, then human extinction becomes not only thinkable, but something devoutly to be wished for.
Wishing doesn't count, however. Alternative is to destroy the incipient SYSTEM before it destroys Earth's life-support system and all organisms other than those deemed of value as pets, industrial products, or valued for amusement potential. That Industrial Society might collapse with hyper-consumers/shoppers ending up eating each other in a zombie apocalypse is a lesser concern to the ecolate than that it won't collapse.
Alternative to our descendants becoming Borg or going extinct would be voluntary degrowth, collective self-restraint, a managed descent to a life of enough dependent on ecosystem services while leaving room for Nature and working to restore and repair damage done. To lord over Nature (or try to) is the intent of empire building and believers in empire engage in Borg-like conquest by intent or species extinction (or zombie apocalypse with maybe a remnant human population) as unintended consequence. To live within limits as part of Earth's life supporting system, compliant with Nature's Laws, as agents of Earth is the Federation alternative more likely to allow humans to live long and prosper than if we continue to go Borg. Look around. Do you see Borg in the making or Kogi in the making?
Which way humans will tip will be affected by how we of the twenty-first century, each individual, tip. We will tip according to our sort of mind, to our understanding of the Nature of things. Individuals who listen (the ecolate) to Mother are on a different path than Anthropocene enthusiasts. Humans are the axis about which the universe spins..., or maybe not. Which fork in humanity's road each of us goes down has consequences.
The stakes are high, therefore endeavor to think well and 'to love that well which thou must leave ere long', to love this Earth and the things of it, including five-year olds with machetes and a vote.
There is no substitute for energy. The whole edifice of modern society is built upon it. It is not "just another commodity" but the precondition of all commodities, a basic factor equal with air, water and earth. —E. F. Schumacher
It will be a race toward either paradise or oblivion, right to the last moment. —R. Buckminster Fuller
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. —H.G. Wells, The Outline of History
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. —Mark Twain
'Industrial Society' = 'Planet for the taking'.
'Borg' = 'Universe for the taking'.
'Kogi' = 'Planet for the knowing and loving'.
'Federation' = 'Universe for the knowing and loving'.
The Alpha Male is my leader; I’ll be okay. He helps me get food and water. He leadeth me to the best and safest places. He eases my anxiety. He tells me what to do to avoid getting into trouble, especially with Him. Yea, even though the savanna is full of dangers, I will fear no competitors, for Thou art in charge. Thy strength and Thy vigor they comfort me. Thou protecteth me from other animals (and from Thyself). Thou helpeth me out. I’m doing pretty well… considering. I feel safe in Thy territory and among friends and relatives as long as I am in Thy troop; and I submit and accept Thy dominance forever (or until someone replaces Thee.)