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To What End?

To What End?

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Recent reflections on the long-term trajectory of the human enterprise have somewhat transformed the way I look at most activities. Specifically, I refer to the dual realizations that on 10,000 year timescales ultimate success is effectively synonymous with true sustainability, and that the human race stands in blatant breach of contract with evolution and ecosystem parameters—fueled by a mad grab of one-time finite resources. The net effect is that most human activities today promote ultimate failure rather than ultimate success.

As such, when evaluating a proposed or ongoing effort, I ask myself the question:

To what end?

This post will examine some of the activities of current society, and evaluate how much sense they make in the context of a post-party future.

I’ve had enough of the human tendency to “follow our noses” based on near-term advantages at the disastrous expense of long-term success. Humans have acquired the power to radically change the world. Great power should ideally be wielded only by those capable of great responsibility. But we cheated somehow, and grabbed power because we could, without first demonstrating responsibility. No higher or wiser authority was present to tell us not to.

The result is even worse than doing things willy-nilly, like an unconstrained firehose. Because even that firehose will sometimes by random chance throw water on the fire. Our actions are more systematically directed at accelerating destruction by eroding ecosystems that ultimately constitute our own life support on this planet.

A core problem is that most people lack the tools of math and science to inform thought, relying instead on history and experience as their bedrock. Even those adept at math and science generally have not directed their skills toward critical inspection of society’s prevailing narratives…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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