Friday, September 9, 2016

In the End It Will Be Our Choice. What Will We Decide?

"... a bad motor cycle with the devil in the seat,
Going ninety miles an hour down a dead end street."

Bob Dylan

I make no secret of my feelings toward the fate of our race (the human race) unless we take some steps to back away from the abyss. Every day the situation grows darker, and every day the darkness increases our ability to ignore the obvious. This combination will certainly spell doom.

In the coming days I will start laying out the mounting catastrophes. They are too numerous to detail in one post. I give to the homeless not because it will end homelessness, but it might help one or two people in a small way. And it makes me feel better about myself, lessens my insignificance in the face of problems so large, and troubling our elected officials and the general population choose to pretend it does not exist, "we'll stick our heads into the sand, just pretend that all is grand and hope that everything turns out ok."*

Of course if it made effective headlines people might be more likely to back initiatives to make the needed changes.  "The War on Crime," or the "The War on Terror," generate all sorts of positive feelings because they imply action, and, one would hope, measurable progress towards a goal. People can have a teary eyed vision of the day when all the criminals, or terrorists come out with their hands up. Neither of these programs have produced much in the way of results, and they have largely been forgotten. But, we still are fighting both "wars."

So, this is my effort to start a new battle, and say there might still be time, if we take steps to end the madness. But, I don't really expect too much.

Sir Martin Rees, co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk feels that civilization has no better than a 50-50 chance of making it through the 21st century intact. And the Future of Humanity Institute has survey of nineteen experts estimated a 19% chance of human extinction this century.

Accordingly, the average American is 1,500 times more likely to die in an extinction level catastrophe than in a plane crash. Moreover, the same American is 50 times more likely to witness the end of civilization than die in a automobile accident.**

Yes, these figures are very troubling, and the War on Self Destruction is not so catchy, and would make a lousy soundbite. No, I don't think anything will happen in time to change our fate. But, I am going to try.

* From The Ostrich, by Steppenwolf

** From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.