I’ve been reading The Next Million Years by Charles Galton Darwin intermittently for many years. It is a book of existential importance for humanity, but there are surprisingly few copies available on Amazon. It is written in the spirit of his grandfather Charles Robert Darwin and Thomas Robert Malthus. This book travels the path forecast by those two eminent men, but does it by clarifying the common issues that the human species will encounter repeatedly during that projected million years. With so much time and so many repetitions of potential events, nearly everything that can happen will have happened. Thus, what is happening at any given time becomes a statistical variable. The primary question then becomes, “What are the conditions which determine whether a man will survive or not? … But all without exception are subject to one overriding condition, the danger that they may not get enough to eat. This gives rise to yet another threat to the survival of the individual animal, the competition between the different members of the same species for limited supplies of food. … It is this competition that will determine the detail of history, in the sense that it will determine which men and which races will survive … It is food that in the end determines the population of the world.” p. 24.
On page 126 “For when history is regarded on the long-term scale, however, these fluctuations of prosperity disappear, and the fact has to be faced that it will be starvation that limits the numbers of the human race. …What is the total population of the world likely to be, and the answer is immediate. Whatever food the efforts of mankind may produce, there will always be exactly the right number of people to eat it. … but short-term necessity will always prevail against long-term prudence. …The total amount of living matter of all kinds on earth can never be very different from what it is now. … the hope is to convert more of it to his own use. … So the possibility of greater supplies of food may be assessed by the available supply of fertilizers.”
Page 124-5 Discusses the starving margin of the world population: “The central feature of human history must always be the pressure of population. … there will be a fraction of humanity, a starving margin, who have got to die simply because not enough food can be grown to keep them alive. … The central question for humanity is the problem of the starving margin.”
Darwin challenges my ideas on unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, specifically “4. —becoming known to everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.”
Darwin asserts that a starving margin of humanity is the natural condition in the long run. The starvation is intermittent in the short run and inevitable in the long run. “Short term necessity will always prevail against long-term prudence.” p. 126 The problem of being kind and alleviating suffering when there isn’t enough food to feed all the people present seems unsolvable.
Version 23 is revealed as …
We find unbounded hope by being infinitely kind, and by:
1. —exploring the orderly nature of our bountiful Universe, so we can help ourselves and others benefit from everything that it makes possible.
2. —striving to physically survive as individuals and as a species by seeking opportunities to live and survive in every available place.
3. —creating open-ended attractor goals, so you and I and all living beings can have meaningful lives within our personal worlds.
4. —becoming known to everyone as dedicating our wisdom and energy to alleviating the suffering of all beings.
5. —helping everyone to find meaning in their lives by helping them find a personal path to unbounded hope and infinite kindness.
6. —appreciating that we as people expressing diverse views to one another are more likely to discover beautiful ways of living our lives.
7. —making a habit of giving our attention to individuals and acknowledging their kind acts within our shared Universe.
Perhaps the best that can be done to prevent suffering is to let the starving die in some belief that a better world is coming.