Let’s face it: IF the entire human race decided to do this then it is totally theoretically possible. 1.) All warfare and violence ceases. 2.) Means are found to reduce the planet’s population over the next century to ONE billion (down from 6.7 billion). 3.) The sciences of artificial intelligence and robotics will create as much as possible the automated means to produce all that is necessary for life. 4.) Human life will be reorganized to eco-friendly technology using renewable resources. 5.) In one century, the remaining human population will all be a leisure class devoted to worthwhile creative pursuits in total equality. Earthly paradise will be achieved.
EXCEPT, let’s face it. War is sweet! The name of the game is REVENGE. We will continue to squander what we have and attempt to enslave one another. We will gouge out each others eyes until we are a planet of the blind. And then we will blame it all on God for being so mean. But we have only ourselves to blame.
Aha, but you, in the back row, with your hand raised! You make an excellent point. What benefits the human race 100 years from now will not benefit anyone here in the audience. We shall all be dead by then. So, who cares? Right! No one cares! So, forget I even brought it up. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.
Now what do I mean by “earthly paradise is in our grasp”…. I MEAN
THAT, AFTER THE EARTH HAD RETURNED TO THE ONE BILLION population
level,…..over the next 200 years…. technology, science, medicine, and a
united world democracy, would make EVERYONE independently wealthy,
and disease free.
It is very obvious to us , even now… that computers and robots and
modern technology makes possible a level of production (food and other
materials) which does not require such a work force as in previous
centuries… and CERTAINLY DOES NOT require the slave labor which was
employed so many times in history….
So, humanity has it totally within their power, to choose, to elect, to
transform human life into a paradise of wealth for all, free of disease…
But our own selfishness and greed, and our racial and ethinic prejudices
and nationalistic pride, will perhaps never allow us to co-operate with one
another, and to practice the personal asceticism and self denial, to
achieve such an end….
But even if humanity COULD manage to unite and discipline to create such
a UTOPIAN WORLD…. what would those people do with all their free time,
their leisure, their perfect health and incredible life spans extended by
genetic engineering and artificial organ transplants??
Would they write poetry and create works of art….???
Recite prayers and debate theology????
Or would they have too much sex, drink and smoke too much, and
become bored and depressed??
(end of excerpt)
Now, we might wonder why it is that people cannot get together and cooperate
work towards such long-range goals.
I try to answer this question in :
We are all mortal. We all die within 100 years or less. Have you ever
noticed that? Why yes, of course you have.
We can never all agree upon anything of great significance. Have you
ever noticed that? Even in democratic nations, there are at least two
parties, if not more, in any election. There are Republicans and
Democrats, there are Liberals and Conservatives, and perhaps all sorts of shades in between.
I have come to see mortality and discord as distinct survival advantages.
But, how can this be, you ask? How can there be an advantage in the
fact that we are all doomed to die? How can there be an advantage to
the fact that we can never arrive at unanimous agreement upon important issues?
How wonderful this world of ours would be (you say) if none of us would
ever face death, and if all of us could share in one religion, one language, one culture, one nation, one philosophy, one economy and one single set of values and principles. Allow me to explain.
I see the vanished races of north American Indians, who dwelt for
millennia in that continent, as having been very hardy because of natural selection, and kept hardy as a race by the rigors of survival. Modern man, by contrast, becomes a progressively weaker and less robust species because of high tech and increasing dependence on things like antibiotics, surgical procedures, insulin, etc., which in the short run greatly benefit individuals, but in the long run weaken the species.
Amoral nature, with its natural selection and survival of the fittest, seems to have a very different agenda which favors groups and species over individuals. Our society now seems to place the well-being and interest of the individual above the well-being and interests of the group as a whole. In the short run this emphasis on the individual is quite benevolent. But what is long-term benovelence? Does long-term benevolence sometimes wear the mask of cruelty and indifference?
Nature makes it difficult for the weak and defective to pass their genes on to another generation, but medicine and modern technology makes it
easy for even the infertile to pass on their genetic traits to future
generations. For me, the problem is so patently obvious. Physis and
Nomos, Nature and Law, mortal enemies for eternity!
Of course, we may ocassionally discover some temporary cure for a
particular disease, but then all those little pathogens turn around and
produce thousands of generations in a short time, and evolve a resistant strain, so then we develop a different antibiotic, and so it goes, on and on, in a vicious cycle, a Catch-22. Those pathogens desire immortality just as much as we. Their oeuvres are plagues.
As individuals, certainly we benefit from this medicine and technology, but as a species we were obviously better off under the amoral natural
scheme of survival of the fittest. Now, as a species, we are gradually
becoming weakened and dependent upon that medicine and technology.
“Better Living Through Chemistry.”
Mind you, I am not saying whether this increased dependence upon
medicine and technology and genetic engineering and this progressive
weakening of our species is bad or good in the long run. I am merely
pointing it out as an observable phenomenon.
In an odd way, mortality is a survival advantage.
In Ham’s Histology (a textbook from the 1960′s), generation after
generation of mice had their haemopoetic marrow tissue destroyed by
radiation, and received a transplant of the same strain of tissue received by the previous generation
In theory, that culture of haemopoetic tissue should be immortal, but in
practice, it was not, it became weak (exhibited its mortality.)
Here is why I think the property of immortality is a survival disadvantage for the species. That strain of haemopoetic tissue weakened because it was perpetuated asexually, with no chance for change, modification, evolution.
In theory, there is no reason why a strain of cells could not be asexually immortal (in fact, the hela cell cultures are one example), BUT, from an evolutionary point of view, that very immortality is a survival disadvantage, since it does not permit change and adaptation
Humanity’s inability to reach universal consensus in philosophy, theology, politics/government is possibly related to the obvious survival advantage inherent in a genetic tendency towards diversity/uniqueness, so that some might be shoemakers, others soldiers, others scholars, others politicians, each happy in their ecological niche of specialization.
We might have evolved as a species capable of a higher degree
agreement with one another, but that would have been a survival
If what I have said is the case, then that aspect of humanity has every
bearing in the world on philosophy.
If everyone saw things the same way, then everyone would want to be a
philosophy professor (or movie star) or president…. there would be no
diversity… no one to live on mountain tops, no one at the polar circle, no
one in the Amazon rain forests; that very diversity which was key to
species survival now makes unanimous agreement difficult or impossible.
I think of the imaginative faculty of the human mind as a kaleidoscope,
constantly churning, changing (almost by chance) , (and how interesting it
is that a similar image of “the churning of the oceans” is given in the
Vedas as the process by which nectar is produced)
Such a kaleidoscopic churning may produce many mathematical models
(model theory), but then by an arduous process, we apply those random
productions of imagination to reality, until one day someone stumbles
upon a “match” between model and noumena, like Archimedes in the tub,
shouts Eureka!, and runs naked through the streets
For years, people called “imaginary numbers” imaginary precisely
because it was felt they had no reality or analog, but now they are
indespensable in treating such phenomena as radio waves
Yet, the products of imagination are a part of reality.
The laws of physics and chemistry do not predict rabbits, but the
existence of rabbits in no way defies the laws of physics. If you wanted to
learn to play poker, would you study probability and statistics?
Obviously, gambling and gamblers came first, and then the
mathematicians like Pascal turned their attention to it .
The universe will continue after our sun supernovas in 8 billion years, and humankind are extinct, and this 8 billion year from now doomsday is
something which we could be addressing to preserve culture and
knowledge, but no one is concerned because that doomsday seems so
There is no causal connection, I suspect, between the laws of
reality, and the activities and products of human imagination, and yet
imagination (and the imaginary) is our source for this kalaidescope of
models which we heave at reality in a hit or miss fashion.
In a certain sense, imagination is the threshold of Being.
I thought our national faith was in freedom in the pursuit of happiness even if that does not involve “God” for certain people. I thought we put faith in separation of church and state. Suppose every American TOMORROW decided to convert to Islam, which is unlikely but in theory possible. Popular vote has the power to change and amend the constitution. If we are true to the founding principles of American government then we always leave ourselves open to gradual but radical change. We expect God to fix our lives and we blame God when things get bad but we have the power of freewill choice so the fame and blame lies at our feet.