"Intelligent Destruction" and a brief history of life
Whether one believes or not in the intelligent design of the human race, I think many can embrace the idea of it's intelligent destruction. It will probably not be some asteroid, the sun burning out, or a natural plague that ends our species. It will probably be by our own hand - by our own selfish design.
And all because we want to do one core thing - live.
The history of life revolves around death. From Cain and Abel to the gods and deities of many cultures - we strive to live by killing off, ie warring, against those who oppose our world view of peace and utopia. 'They' must be destroyed so that we and our ideals may continue to flourish.
And maybe, in some odd way, that is evolution in action.
Religion is but one small, and yet very logical, piece to this whole mess humankind has found itself in.
It all boils down to a few simple ideals and how they are worked on. To wit:
1. we are the most advanced species, the goal of some in the species is to find a way to continually make the world a better place, while hoping with advances in science to stave off death via medicine and give us an escape plan from this planet. - Some do this by polluting the planet and going at break neck speed to develop the best weapons to defend us while we work on ideals, and then using that power to ensure our ideals dominate. While in pursuit of a better life we find in some ways that we may indeed be getting the opposite. Global warming, nuclear weapons, bio weapons, etc. Trying to find more life we create less of it.
2. Religion style views: Humankind is doomed because we know #1 is the reality, people are inherently selfish and evil and science advances will lead to an even worse world because we cannot control ourselves. While science is good in and of itself, and it's desires welcome and noble, the fact is people are the ones behind it's advances and people are naturally evil in some ways. - Religion seeks to control the person for the betterment of the species, and keep our souls from becoming polluted so that we do not pollute the after life when we get there. Hence the good go to a heaven and the bad (selfish) do not. The same problems erupt though as religious factions seek to wipe out those who are not on board as they are seen as a threat.
3. Humanism style views: We are all there is (see #1 as well) and must work together for a better tomorrow for our kind. Yet we cannot do this in a vacuum because of the diversity in all the other views. We welcome the diversity and want each to have their own views but share a common goal of peace and freedom while obtaining them. - Again the problem becomes that not all people will think this way, and education may well work over a long haul but in the short term there are those who want to eliminate us because they want their world view to be perpetuated and to grow (Islam, Christians, etc and so on).
Overall one may look back on the bible, as one example, and see that perhaps it was right about some things all along. The species is flawed, and as it progresses over time there will come a day when an 'Anti-Christ' appears (someone totally opposed to our core beliefs) and uses their power to destroy more than to save. It was evident to the prophets of old that someday our selfish ideals (satan) would eventually lead us to destruction unless we each had a change of heart and embraced the teachings of peace (ie, Jesus in this particular case).
The practical lessons have been around for ages. Engaging in certain behaviors are bad for you and can lead to death, or pain mentally. Attachment to this world and it's things will often drive people to be self centered and want theirs, at a great cost to others. Few want to pick up the cross and follow Jesus, because it means they cannot have their gas guzzlers and major comfort in their lives. Sacrificing for others is something done in small, tolerable, doses. While the example was to lay down even your life for the betterment of all people.
You don't have to be a Christian or believe in Jesus to see the point. You don't have to have a degree in eschatology to see that the end times are directly related to the fall of humankind and it's sinful (selfish) ways.
Death comes our way eventually. Jesus' idea was not only to die for us, but to show us that death is not to be so feared that we kill others to avoid it. He could have called down the angels of heaven to stop it, to kill all those romans. But the way forward is not to kill, it is to sacrifice for the good of us all.
You may not hold my beliefs. You may not believe in intelligent design or god, etc. But surely, after seeing the history of the human race, you will probably end up at some time believing in Intelligent Destruction.
4. I don't buy it. I don't think this is a zero sum game, I also don't think that
Edited on Mon Jan-15-07 08:36 PM by impeachdubya
"Selfishness" inevitably leads to "evil". Selfishness brought us the Polio vaccine. Selfishness brought us microwave ovens and antibiotics. Selfishness brought us Ipods, which some people bitch about but I happen to like.
Do or can those things cause problems of their own? Of course. But I'm still glad they exist.
The central erroneous assumption in all these whinging, hand-wringing arguments is that not only are we bad and evil, but also that we have fucked things up so badly and gosh gee golly, wouldn't it be nice to go back several thousand years, when the average lifespan was 30, sewage treatment meant shitting upstream from your neighbors and not vice-versa, and 60% of all babies died before age 2...
All this is, and it may reflect something deeply buried in the human psyche, is a reframing of the old "original sin" blahblah. Instead of eating the apple, we developed science. We pursued our own interests. And we are all sinners.
Baloney. I call baloney. I think the answers to our environmental problems lie in thinking forward, in creatively using the same brains that invented the internal combustion engine to invent a better, more sustainable way of getting ourselves around. If anything is going to kill us all, it's going to be old thinking, "more of the same" thinking. Original Sin thinking. We're all so bad, we're all so fucked, 'what's the use' thinking. Hell- from where I sit, the original sin may have been coming up with this bullshit about original sin and how evil we are. How "bad" it is to try to improve and enjoy our lives. Should we look out for each other and our world? Of course. But wallowing in misery and self-flagellation over our very existence as humans, over our nature-given desires to have fun, enjoy ourselves, screw, eat, laugh, etc. isn't going to help anyone.
Me? Despite everything, I'm an optimist. Like Bucky Fuller was an optimist. The human animal is the most interesting thing this planet has seen in billions of years, if not ever. We live in interesting times. As Al Gore points out, the Chinese word for "crisis" is also the word for "Opportunity". I don't believe we're going to kill ourselves, I believe- I hope- that we will be able to transcend this old style, beat ourselves up, zero sum game superstitious (Thanks, Western Religion) thinking, and move forward into intelligent stewardship of this planet even as we move outward into the stars. What we have going on right now is, for lack of a better expression, growing pains.
8. I disagree. I don't think the looking out for yourself inevitably comes at the expense of everyone
else. I think, in many cases, they overlap. Like I said- what drove the polio vaccine? Altruism? Or did Salk "selfishly" not want his kids to get sick? Is there a difference?
And the concept of "evil" is ill-defined at best. Some of the worst "evil" comes from people who are convinced that they are fighting "evil". The more convinced they are that they're fighting it, the more capable they seem of gleefully committing it. Whatever, I don't think trying to improve your life (and often the lives of your fellow humans) constitutes "evil". But, I'm not living in a nail-biting theological thriller penned by candlelight in 1394. I'd much rather be living in some hokey sci-fi novel where the future, despite its many problems, is still fucking cool.
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