Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Visualizing an Ideal World

What would the ultimate incarnation of an ideal world look like? In my opinion, it would have the following characteristics:

  1. Everyone has at least their basic physical needs met (such as food, water, shelter, health care) for their entire lives
  2. High average human life expectancy (between 75 and 100 years)
  3. Other species have enough resources to survive and maintain diversity
  4. Human species lifetime maximized (while meeting all other conditions)

This list is an amplification of my primary definition: Maximum happiness and amount of Earth life over time, with deference to humans.

For basic physical needs to be met, people would have access to both raw resources and the means of transforming those resources. To be able to do so over the longest time, the resources should be reusable with minimal losses (especially in energy). Since transportation is energy intensive, people would probably be located close to the required resources.

Since conditions can change dramatically, it makes sense for optimizing species survival to have many independent communities (groups of people organized around sufficient resource bases) that are each at least large enough to breed a self-sufficient population if the others are destroyed.

Life expectancy depends on both meeting basic needs and minimizing deadly violence, so cultural controls on behavior will be as important as ever. Because stress (a precursor to violence and many health problems) tends to increase with involuntary exposure to other people, both physical and cultural infrastructure would be in place to assure adequate privacy.

Finally, we would cease (and indeed roll back) our acquisition and spoiling of natural resources so that other species can survive and thrive. Here, a reversal of the ecologist’s HIPPO acronym could be a guide: Create and preserve habitat (“H”); reduce invasive species (“I”); do not pollute, and clean up existing pollution (“P”); keep population growth to a minimum (“P”); and responsibly hunt and harvest other species so they do not precipitously decrease (“O”).

No comments: