Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is Homo Sapiens irredeemably stupid?

Following on from yesterday's post about the loose cannon of anger, today I am entertaining the feeling that maybe mankind is irredeemably stupid, and that we are destined to destroy ourselves.

Look at the problems we face: Riots, savage sentencing,  inequality, recession, unemployment (when there is so much good work that needs to be done), corruption, brainless tabloid manipulation of public opinion,  dictatorships, torture, violence, conflict, war, nuclear proliferation and threat of nuclear war by accident, environmental degradation, climate change, resource depletion, debt crisis and the rest.

Humans have been equipped with reason which, applied scientifically, is enormously powerful in understanding and manipulating material and energetic processes right down to infinitesimal levels. We understand particles that are so tiny they hardly exist at all. We understand the physical processes that occurred within milliseconds of the Big Bang. We have a good understanding of biology, and a very reasonable understanding of medicine, although economic pressures bias the science even here.

But as soon as we begin to apply our understanding to matters that affect our own human behaviour, or more to the point, to the way our behaviour is ruled by the oligarchs, science comes up against the headwinds of denial.

  • Unemployment is damaging health of individuals & communities, when so much work needs to be done.
  • People are homeless when houses lie empty.
  • Climate science has been trashed by ignorant propagandists like Delingpole and Monckton. 
  • Intensely important epidemiological insights from the Spirit Level are ignored.
  • The simple truth that if money is created out of debt, debt will inevitably increase, is also ignored.
  • The mathematics of exponential series shows that population increase is not sustainable, yet the subject remains taboo.

And so it goes on. Reason is trashed by self interest.
This situation produces the ineluctable progression of  frustration to anger to hatred to violence to more anger.

Despair beckons. But by giving way to despair, we become part of the problem. By continuing to voice reasoned calm arguments, we can remain part of the solution.

Humanity can change.
We got rid of human sacrifice around the time of the Iron Age, about 1000BC.
We got rid of slavery in the 19th century.

Our present problem lies in identifying precisely what it is that we have to get rid of now.
Free Market Absolutism?

I would appreciate suggestions, because I find it difficult to capture all our problems in one word.

I can see clearly the key reform that we need to start with.

Tax the Rich.

This will solve our immediate economic problems of debt, giving us breathing space to rearrange our affairs in a rational way based on human ecology that works for the good of all, now and until our Sun turns into a red giant in 5 billion years' time.

I feel a bit better now. Hope you do too.

No comments: