Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Avoiding Disaster

The key feature of my ideal society, adoption by everyone of the goals of extending longevity and improving quality of life for our entire species, addresses the issue of forceful confrontation between different societies, arguably responsible for most evil in human history, by melding all societies into one. Unfortunately, the very violence I am attempting to quell may erupt when the existence of this feature becomes apparent to the fraction (perhaps one-eighth) of the population inclined toward forceful resistance to change.

I was surprised to learn recently that at least some of the current resistance to environmentalism is due to a fear that it is being used as a tool to unify the planet in fulfillment of the predictions of the Bible’s Book of Revelation. The leaders of environmentalism, this conspiracy theory goes, are agents of the Antichrist, whose ultimate goal is to facilitate a final war between good and evil. Globalization and the elements of world governance emerging to deal with it have long been viewed with similar suspicion by fundamentalist Christians. Thus, the dominant religion (society) in the world today has programmed its members to fear what may be the best way to assure our continued survival as a species.

If this were indeed an ideal world, all of us would recognize that our fates are tied up in one another’s; that we can only choose to either work together or destroy each other. And we would all choose the former option. In reality, there are some who see the destruction of others as an acceptable choice; and in response the rest of us must override our peaceful instincts to some extent in order to survive. Killing people (other than in self defense) is only rational when dealing with diminishing resources, thus reducing the population to the carrying capacity of the environment. Since our species is currently facing a major resource crisis, the violent part of our population may become more dominant. Ultimately, my ideal society is an expression of what I see as the only hope for avoiding a major increase in violence and death: cooperation in using our combined intellects and remaining resources to deal with the crisis that is precipitating this disaster (and any future ones that might come along).

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