Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Ultimate Struggle

What is the ultimate struggle of mankind?  And who will win?

There is a battle looming for mankind, one that I think will come to a head shortly, and the results of which could seal the fate of our species - for better or worse.

It is not good versus evil, or Democrats versus Republicans, nor is it the Left versus the Right, Islam versus Christianity, Democracy versus Communism.    Those are all fairly trivial disputes or battles or antagonistic situations.  But none is analogous to, or correlates to, the ultimate struggle facing mankind today:  Reason versus Unreason.

We are coming close, I think, to a climax in the history of mankind, and in the next few decades or Centuries, we will determine our fate - the survival of our species.   We will decide whether logic or emotion will dictate our future - blind hatred versus love.

Now when I say this, many folks immediately align their own political, social, and religious beliefs behind the side of righteousness.   "I agree!" they say, "And our side, the GOP is right!"  or if Democrats, they will say the same, but insist that Socialism is the answer.  Both sides are delusional, however, and neither represents logic over emotion.

All of these other dichotomies are irrelevant to the fundamental one.   Neither the Democrats or the Republicans have a monopoly on logic or truth.   In fact, both are raging emotional thinkers - or at least use emotional thinking to snare voters to their cause.   Both support irrational propositions, in many instances, and both have some logical positions, every great once in a while.

Religions?   None of the above.   Religion is pure emotional thinking, wishful thinking, and a huge dose of "hooray for our side" and "too bad for the other guy".   Religion, like political parties, is predicated on the idea that, "If everyone believed the same as us, the world would be a perfect place!"   That has, of course, been tried, before, with horrific results.   Nazism, Communism, and even Socialism turned out not to be "answers" to anything, just ways of enslaving ourselves to rigid thought structures.  Religious wars have raged for Centuries, with each side convinced that if only everyone believed in our sky-ghosts the world would be saved.

The ultimate struggle our species has is whether our intelligence can counteract our instinct.   We have the capability of wondering what consciousness and life are.  We have the ability to create technology to support ourselves - and indeed are now completely reliant on it.    We can decide whether to use this intelligence to shape our future, or continue as we have for millennia - just allowing shit to happen and then try to cope with it as it comes.

Take the world economy.   It is based on one thing and one thing only - growth.    We assume growth in the economy is good.  So long as it expands, wealth increases.   The folks who got in earlier end up wealthier (until they die, of course, and then their well is turned over).   It is, in a way, the ultimate pyramid scheme.   So long as there are more and more people at the bottom of the pyramid, our economy continues to grow and we thrive.

There are problems with this model.   With each generation, we populate the planet more.  We use newer technologies to make it possible for more people to populate the planet - and to increase life expectancy as well.   The result is a more and more crowded world and a diminished expectation for each successive generation.

So far, we've kept the population in check through pestilence and war.  Disease, hunger, and mass-murder have been the means of population control, and that is deemed acceptable.   Birth control, on the other hand, is deemed an affront to God.   You can maybe see the dichotomy here - logic versus emotion, reason versus unreason.

We are capable of thinking this through.  We are capable of saying, "Gee, maybe if we had fewer babies and made each of them wanted, the world would be a better place."   But instead, we just pump out children willy-nilly with no idea as to how they are to survive in the world, whether they will have a purpose or how they will be brought up.

To even discuss such ideas is taboo.   Literature abounds with stories like 1984 or Brave New World, which posit that the only alternative to our chaotic way of living is some dystopian future where people are treated as cogs in a machine.

There has to be a third way.  We're smarter than that.

Sadly, the forces of reason and logic don't have emotion on their side.  And emotion is what drives people to battle.   No one every rushed off into war thinking, "Hooray for logic!  Down with emotional reasoning!"   Rather, we are exhorted to fight the Kaiser, or terrorists, or Nazis or other "bad guys" who have the same emotional feelings about us.

So the game is rigged from the get-go.   No rational person will blow themselves up with a suicide vest, or march into withering machine gun fire.   So the emotional side wins, it seems, every time.   Unless we can outsmart them, they will continue to win.

And that means everyone loses.