I worry about our future. I’m not especially concerned about nuclear weapons. Unless we pop off a bunch of them, the race will go on, somewhat diminished. Bacteriological and chemical weapons are horrible, but the chemical weapons can’t get everyone, and there will be natural immunities to the germ agents, as there always are. HIV and other natural plagues and disasters will spare enough of us to keep on breeding. We already know, for example, that the big cats live in good health with HIV-like diseases active in their bodies, and have for hundreds of generations. They adapted. Homo sap will, too. The species will probably go on.
What’s fascinating is the question of whether or not it’s in the planet’s interest for us to make it. We’ve been here for about .00005% of the Earth’s history, and we’ve already destroyed species on a scale unheard of except in disasters of astronomical magnitude. We’ve figured out how to create radioactive pollution sufficient to give the place to the cockroaches. We’ve altered the atmosphere to an extent that we can only hope won’t doom most land-dwelling critters sooner rather than later. And we did ALL that in the past 150 years! Wow!
Now I ask you–if we’ve managed all that in about .06% of our history, what are the chances of getting our act together quickly enough to avoid finishing ourselves off–or at least civilization as we know it? From hunter-gatherers to bearers of Armageddon in only 10,000 years. Aren’t we something?
I’ve had conversations on this subject with people of some education and intelligence, who ought to know better, and gotten comments like, “We make vast advances in science every day. They will figure out how to handle all that.”
Ya know, we’ve really got to stop depending on science to bail us out of our jackpots. Let’s look at what they’ve done for us so far. Pollution? Nope. The means exists, but not the will. Dependence on our finite supply of fossil fuels? Nope. The means exists, but not the will. Solving the possible effects of an undoubted problem with greenhouse gases? Nope. The means exists, but not the will. One-third of the world’s population lacks clean drinking water. Has Science done anything about that? Nope. The means exists, but not the will. Thirty thousand children starve to death every day. Has Science solved that problem? Nope.
Why? Because these aren’t scientific problems. These are problems of the human spirit. The bare fact–and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of argument about this from folks who don’t want to face their own inadequacies–the bare fact is, WE DON’T CARE ENOUGH. We give lip service to the issues, but we “haves” can’t even convince the “have nots” that they ought not be blowing us up at every opportunity, let alone that we’re going to help solve the very real problems that led to their hating us to begin with.
The world knows that Americans and Western Europeans can’t be relied upon to do more than give fancy speeches and pocket change to save the lives of starving babies and people of color. Our religious leaders feel “inspired” to keep the knowledge and means of population control from 6 billion people who will, unless something is done, double their numbers in the next thirty years.
We’re a failed experiment–and someone’s put a Bunsen burner under the petri dish. We need to take a good look at our priorities, real quick. The flesh is weak, and the spirit just doesn’t give a damn.