My thoughts may seem trivial, or absurd, or impossible, or beyond any individual’s pay grade, but someone needs to proclaim something that might somehow get humanity through the obvious end game we are now embarked upon. Everyone hopes the good things that we presently enjoy will somehow wiggle through into the distant future and a glorious continuation of our current remarkable status as the top dog of species will continue forever and ever.
Unfortunately, several ways of exterminating humanity are within easy grasp of humans. There are obvious ones like the 13,865 atomic weapons currently available to nine independent nation-states. Another is the manipulation of DNA becoming so easy an average high-school biology student can do it. Who knows what a single angry individual of the over seven billion people currently living might brew up.
We might optimistically hope that no one would do such a terrible thing as destroy all humanity with an atomic war or with diseases. And yet, there is a reported global suicide rate of 10.7 per 100,000 population. “About one person in 5,000–15,000 dies by suicide every year.” (7.7 billion divided by 10,000 equals 770,000 suicides per year.) If there are that many people who are so distraught that they are willing to kill themselves, what is preventing any single one of them from taking others with them … even to the extreme of attempting to kill everyone?
Back when I lived in Berkeley, I was talking to a UC professor of laboratory biology about such things, and he said he could easily create an epidemic. That was more than fifteen years ago, before CRISPR became readily available. Nowadays, it would be even easier! I didn’t inquire into the specifics, but he spoke that scary statement as if it was easy to do for a person knowledgeable in his field.
Probably, a single disease would not wipe out everyone, but back in 1532 at the beginning of the Spanish conquest of Peru, a major reason that 168 soldiers could capture a functioning empire of millions of people was because of disease. Apparently, one deadly Old-World disease after another somehow, in the forty years between 1492 and 1532, found its way over the vast distances to Peru. These Old-World diseases killed huge numbers of people on being introduced to the New World, and apparently in Peru, every person was in poor condition after having survived several Old-World diseases.
Back in 2013, my Probaway Person of the Year was Plague Inc., a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth. It is a game now, but after a few plagues have gone by it will be remembered as a precursor to epidemics and a warning to humanity.
Okay, I’m horribly morbid about what I consider to be inevitable disasters, but along with my morbid projections is my quest for a way for humanity to survive and learn to be stewards of our Earth, rather than simple exploiters of its resources and possibilities. I spent a lot of time ten years ago creating an outline for the Earth Ark Project. It’s such a failure it doesn’t even get any Google recognition without a lot of digging. I created a different method for pursuing that goal and it resulted in a parallel list of EarthArk Project posts.
A second approach that I have been working on, and one that I recently discovered that Charles Galton Darwin recommended, is creating a “creed.” That is, a coherent group of ideas that might resemble a religion but is based in physical reality rather than some postulated hope-filled fantasy.
It’s time for me to take a warm bath.