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The Collapse Is Coming. Will Humanity Adapt?

https://nautil.us/the-collapse-is-coming-will-humanity-adapt-626051/

«Well, the primary thing that we have to understand or internalize is that what we’re dealing with is what is called a no-technological-solution problem. In other words, technology is not going to save us, real or imaginary.

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Herbert Spencer was instrumental in convincing most biologists to change their perspective from “evolution is long-term survival” to evolution is short-term adaptation.

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What Sal and I suggest is that if we go back to Darwin’s original message, we not only find an explanation for why we’re in this problem, but, interestingly enough, it also gives us some insights into the kinds of behavioral changes we might want to undertake if we want to survive.

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What’s really important is trying to decide what we would need to do if we wanted what we call “technological humanity,” or better said “technologically-dependent humanity,” to survive.

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In other words—and this is in analogy with Asimov’s Foundation trilogy—if we do nothing, there’s going to be a collapse and it’ll take 30,000 years for the galaxy to recover. But if we start doing things now, then it maybe only takes 1,000 years to recover. So using that analogy, what can some human beings start to do now that would shorten the period of time necessary to recover? Could we, in fact, recover within a generation? Could we be without a global internet for 20 years, but within 20 years, could we have a global internet back again?

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But you also admit, and this is a quote: “Our governance systems—long ago co-opted as instruments for amplified personal power— have become nearly useless, at all levels, from the United Nations to the local city council. Institutions established during 450 generations of unresolvable conflict cannot facilitate change because they are designed to be agents of social control, maintaining what philosopher John Rawls called ‘the goal of the well-ordered society.’ They were not founded with global climate change, the economics of well-being, or conflict resolution in mind.” So what you are essentially saying here is that anyone trying to adopt the Darwinian principles that you and Sal are advocating is going to be going up against established societal structures, which makes you, by definition, an enemy of the state.

Yes.

And we already live in a world where staging sit-down protests in favor of Native land rights or taking pictures of a factory farm is enough to get you legally defined as a terrorist.

That’s right. Yeah.

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That the way to cope with social institutions that were non-functional, or perhaps even antithetical to long-term survival, was to ignore them and go around them.

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We don’t crush—Homo sapiens doesn’t crush the biosphere. Homo sapiens interacts with the biosphere in ways that alter it. See, evolutionary alteration of the environment does not mean collapse. It means change. This is the neo-protectionist language—that any change is going to collapse the biosphere. That’s bullshit. I mean, what human beings are doing to the biosphere right now is nothing compared to what blue-green algae did to the biosphere 4 billion years ago.

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That’s what’s important. That first generation after 2050 is going to determine whether or not technological humanity reemerges from an eclipse, or whether Homo sapiens becomes just another marginal primate species.»

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