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In its relatively short sojourn, humanity had managed to develop all sorts of tools to better ensure its continuous existence on the blue planet. In the struggle for survival, humanity utilized, not only material tools, but also elaborate social tools, (institutions) which further facilitated the development of even more sophisticated tools, both material and non-material. As a result, Homo sapiens proved formidable in the survival game, compared to other unfortunate creatures with lesser wherewithal. Whatever level of collective security it had attained however, humanity never felt secured enough to examine its on-going doings vis-à-vis the larger world in which it finds itself. There are now clear evidences to suggest humanity might well have overshot its survival project by leaps and bounds. Ironically, herein lie the major problems associated with our future survival!
Growth as a social concept is an offshoot of the deadly business of survival. As modernity came on its own, aspects of contemporary economic thoughts dogmatically declared; growth is sacrosanct. To us plebeians however, growth is nothing more that an increase in collective human activities mostly geared to making more tools, material or otherwise. Most horrendously, the concept of growth has refused to take the very real fact of limited resources/inputs into serious consideration, to say nothing about the potential limit of this most protagonist of the animal kingdom. We believe, whether this creature is derived via evolution or created by the Almighty, it still remains a creature that didn’t bring itself to conscious existence, hence cannot be omnipotent!
The prevailing complexity, which resulted from a whole lot of tool making (material/non-material) that is compounded ad infinitum (growth) is now clearly out of hand. But from the teaching of the coalmine, (established global order) one cannot decipher this ongoing complex reality of our making from the preached fiction of attained nirvana. Entrenched interests that claim to be on top of things (like the operators of the Fukushima nuclear power plants, etc) are telling us there is nothing to fear. These clowns have managed to sweet coat the whole unsustainable conundrum as; progress, civilization, development, etc. By and large, these constructs have never been thoroughly examined from the point of view of ‘sustainable life.’ In fact, these notions are now used as protective coatings to the frighteningly ascending but unmanageable complexity. This very complex, hence fragile social organization in which humanity currently finds itself is thoroughly flawed.
For example, science is telling us (with increasing probability) that Mt Fuji, near Tokyo, will erupt any day now (God forbids!). At the same time people are comfortably cohabiting the same environ as if nothing will happen. All the massive tools we have created everywhere (material/institutions) depend for their very survival, on the complete absence of eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, ice melting, climate change, (drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons…) ect. From a more rational point of view, it seems the nuclear power plants and the rest of them (material tools) along with the whole Tokyo community (non-material) are sustained bycontinuous miracles! In light of such impending phenomenon all over the world however, humanity blindly engages and pursues objectives that further lead to increased complexity. Before long it would be impossible to extricate ourselves from the various impending cataclysmic events, natural or man made. See Hedges article next column and Todhunter’s on page 50.
The moral of the above, particularly to those busybodies (pursuing unexamined development schema) is: it is dangerous to engage in all and sundry without proper reflections on the pros and cons of prevailing projects (material tool) and ideas (institutions.) In short, idiotic copycatting must be discouraged while fresh/novel approaches must be encouraged, so that we can better our life chances, irrespective of the anti-life doctrines of the coalmine. Policy makers in so-called developing countries must become more inquisitive and realistic. Don’t be fooled by those idiots that constantly tell us; such and such approaches are not realistic. Modernity itself is anything, but realistic! That is why its creed incorporates a lot of assumptions that are not warranted by reality, such as; resources are infinite, the environment doesn’t matter, we can create/invent ourselves out of all problems, past, present and future, etc.
Despite stern warning from reality, we selfishly continue to push our unsustainable ways, only to get stupidly surprised when the stuff starts to hit the fan! We better start thinking collective existence afresh, if we still believe the highest purpose of our collective effort is to sustain life itself! As the old Mahatma taught us: “There is more to life than increasing the pace.” Gandhi. Good Day!