Since 1950 I’ve thought about how to save humanity. At that time I lived directly across a field from the plant where plutonium was being created. This was the material used in the first atomic bomb, which was exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, and in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Then in 1960 I was assigned to B-47 bombers which carried H-bombs which were a thousand times more powerful. It required some soul searching but I resigned because I didn’t think dropping an H-bomb would save America; quite the opposite, it would surely trigger a response that would destroy the US. They let me go and I started a tour of the world to inform everyone about the futility of that approach to saving civilization. No one cared! Everyone felt it was totally our to their control. I have never felt that way and have continued with desultory efforts to pursue that struggle. In reading the link above about the first atomic bomb I was shocked at how many of the people mentioned in the article I later met personally. It is weird to me because I never sought out any of those encounters; they just came along.
Luckily sixty-seven years after I started worrying about this problem we are still here or I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. My most recent thoughts on “What can we do to save humanity,” are to raise the emotional developmental level of all humanity by raising the level of each person. Perhaps that can be achieved, because when the problem of saving humanity is the goal, then raising the maturity level of all the people would make it more likely for our mutual respect to ease interpersonal conflict. In the long run, more maturity and less conflict would lessen the chance for an ultimate atomic-weapon-based war to end civilization and perhaps humanity.
The goal is for full-grown people’s pursuits to be raised above the infantile level of enjoying pleasurable sensations and avoiding painful ones; in other words, to be raised above the childish pastime of simply having fun. That presently common life orientation doesn’t even fulfil a consistent epicurean goal of maximizing pleasure. There are more pleasurable things to do than play. Many people seek to prove themselves more worthy than other people and they seek reputation, honors and recognized status, but that attitude generates conflict, permanent combativeness and a life of anxiety. An adult goal of providing for oneself and one’s family so they can grow and become productive members of society will bring a person to be surrounded by happy, contented people. A mature person can do things that help his whole community become a cooperative enterprise that lives in such a way that others in the whole world are better off because of their contributions.
The operative idea for raising humans to become better people is that when you feel good and full of energy to think for a moment about what is the more mature thing that you could be doing right now. Instead of taking drugs to feel pure pleasure, go play some games to have fun with friends. Instead of playing games, join in a competitive sport like track or a debating society. Instead of competing for a prize, go work at something that creates some economic value. Instead of working for someone else making their things, start your own business or design some new things that can be sold outside your community.
The point is that when you have the opportunity, do a more mature thing than you usually do.