Looks like I missed the worst of the wedding. Have to keep the TV off for another couple of days. Find myself pulled between sorting out some kind of learning programme for grandson who can’t do arithmetic or tell the time at 13 (but is competent with words and thinking) and developing a grand theory of life in a scientific world-view. Both can linger with me for a few weeks as I sort out my diabetic medication and work on a garden project to get a bit fitter.
The scientific world-view more or less requires us to find a way off this planet to survive as a species. We could get along fairly well if we limited reproduction – say to the population as it was when I was born – about 2 billion globally. If we’d been that sensible 60 years back, the view also entails the probability of me not being born, along with a few billion others. Beyond this, we also have to ponder whether human form has much to do with a viable future for life, and whether we might, even without coming genetic technology, be developing a new species that will destroy homo sapiens as surely as we assimilated Neanderthals to their extinction. I tend to believe this is happening and that we are nothing special, apart from evolution.
My guess is we have become ‘global’ almost in the sense of stealing each others air, almost an example of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ in which common land is screwed as each individual takes more than a fair share until there is nothing to share. The ‘answers’ tend to look like Ponzi schemes that can only work at the beginning by pretending we don’t know what they are – borrowing against a future collapse because no work has been done except by illusionists. Pension schemes are an example, working well for survivors as long as other contributors have died off (which they now don’t).
I suspect nearly all of what we come of hold as argument grounded fairly in experience is false. When one doubts like this, one has to remember doubting is only one technique amongst many in thought and practice. ‘Look before you leap – he who hesitates is lost’ – our homilies are all contradictory and situational. We save lives in missionary zeal and condemn those saved to poverty in our inability to join things up. Yet the joining up leads us to the bleakness of controlled human population numbers.
I can see ways out of the argument. The bleak problem is that argument skills are the main problem. We are always left wanting to lead people who can’t understand. Plenty of insects make ‘collective decisions’ and we do not attribute ‘understanding’ to them. In the history of argument, human beings can be seen to have as little clue as the average cockroach. We rely on habit, not conscious history. Habit contains notions of future grounded in an illusory past and lacks the imagination.
The average human has almost no clue how much work she needs to do to live in a better world than now. I suspect this is much less work than the average human does in screwing up our world.