Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crisis Overload: Global Warming as Hot Air

How do you feel these days? What seems the predominate social mood-- of the people around you, the people of your nation, the people of the world? Let me guess: "Uneasy" (at best)... or for many, "Overwhelmed".... or even "On the Brink of Collapse". And what emotions seem to predominate? likely, Fear and Anger.

Many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly endless succession of crises of unprecedented global magnitude. There is the current financial meltdown which affects most of us; the threat of war and terrorism whether it be from muslim radicals or NorthKorean paranoids; the threat of pandemic diseases of either natural or man-made agents; and beyond that, the threat of an ecological meltdown in the form of 'Global Warming/ Climate Intensification'. Any of these, and especially a combination all at once, could easily devastate us beyond comprehension.

Today I assert that it is quite rational to feel overwhelmed! Given the high probability of disasters of multiple types, and the fragility of our modern globally-dependent society, it is less rational to deny the urgency. It is an appropriate time to face the facts about ourselves as individuals and collectively. Rather than be diverted by focusing separately on one problem or another, it is most intelligent to identify (if possible) a 'root cause', and addressing that, a 'common solution' to the various crises.

I further assert that there is a simple 'root cause': 'us'... that is, we 'homo sapiens' (better named 'homo sophomores') are the common element in all these problems. That should be obvious to all; I'm just postulating a conscious 'heroic response' to this truth.

I assert that it is both necessary and fortunate, given that several of the above-named 'secondary symptoms' of the root problem have become so intractable (un-solvable) in themselves. We are in fact overwhelmed. It is in this sense 'our last chance' to make a concerted attempt to surmount the two aspects of us-as-the-problem: (1) our quantity (2) our quality. This 'root approach' I assert, is no more intractable than the sum of the major secondary symptoms, so its difficulty (or seeming impossibility to solve) is not relevant. We must; so let's assume we can.

(1) QUANTITY: There are very much too many of us on the planet. As an initial goal, let's suppose this: 4 million of us would be an acceptable load for this planet; so we need a fair plan to achieve a 1000:1 reduction as quickly as it be humane. Following that, we need a system to maintain the population prosperously within bounds. My first draft: 20 cities globally-distributed in safe, convenient locations. Each would start with 200,000 people, grow during a century to 1,000,000; then a 5:1 reduction would be done, making a sustainable 100-year (3-generation) cycle. On that scale, a model city can be designed with utmost skill and carefulness, to be dynamic yet stable, an enjoyable home for all.

In stark simplicity, we ought to admit that in economic/ ecological terms, we humans are animals, and we need to manage ourselves analogously to 'domestic husbandry'. This does not preclude a humane, fair and intelligent process to achieve the goal. It is not hard to imagine some reasonable-not-perfect set of criteria for selecting 'the few' (initially 0.1%, then 20% each century) who would be the new 'seed' stock for humanity (including physical/mental/emotional/social/genetic-diversity measures of excellence). Of course, given the (2) problem, it is indeed a difficult task. As a motivation, we may assert that this reduction is likely to occur via natural planetary or cosmic processes if we fail to do it ourselves; and those unsentimental processes would probably not be perceived as gentle nor just.

(2) QUALITY: ie, 'the dark side of human nature'.
I would divide this immediately into two sub-topics:

(2A): The current 'power-wealth elite' who effectively control the resources of the planet and the rest of the human population to a large extent; whose primary intent is in practice to maintain their advantage, and who consider the rest of us to be merely slaves: stupid, unworthy, and expendable.

(2B): The rest of us. I assert that we are the key: The only way to achieve a happy, sustainable humanity. That is, to take radical responsibility for ourselves, to radically reject blame (in the form of resentment of the elite, and aggression against our fellow commoners), and to decisively become peaceful and happy with a much simpler life. A good summary expression for this is: We can and must radically raise our compassionate consciousness, and disavow our egos. In that reality, the (2A) become powerless and irrelevant, not a threat; they can then choose to happily join us in our cooperative venture. Impossible? for example, ask the Amish.

Again as a motivation, we can assert that unless 'the rest of us' choose this way, then we will fulfill the expectation of the 'power elite', and they will prevail. Very probably, they are already working their own plan of (1), with themselves of course the new 'seed' for a reduced human presence on this long-suffering planet.

Some may consider this a utopian foolishness, or else unduly harsh. Perhaps, but the improbable is not impossible; time will tell -- in some moment before 2012, any and all of us may awake one morning in a very good mood, ready willing and able.

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