Thursday, September 28, 2006

Some kinds of people will go extinct

"Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you."
- Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

As much as we would like to think that we play a role as an integral part of the world in which we live, this is at least partly a self deception. It is more accurate to say that we each create the world in which we live.

There are happy people who live in the barrios around Rio de Janeiro, while perpetually unhappy people pace the penthouse suites of New York City. Indian ascetics with no possessions, homes or steady incomes feel their lives are fulfilled while devoted religious fanatics can't figure out why the world is so hellish.

Even people who spend every day together don't know each other as well as they they they do.

The reason is that we are not one single entity that was born, lives and dies as might be prepresented by the lifespan of a doll. We are unbelievably complex beings that are patched together as if with plasticine. Each day many new pieces are added, some with different colours, other with textures that are not the same as those they are newly attached to.

Add free will to that. Further, add our ability to plan our own future then shape our own destiny by working to implement our plan. We can become who we want to be.

No one should ever tell you that will be easy. Two people with exactly the same life plan could never implement it in identical ways. Implementing a life plan requires us to adapt to life circumstances.

The ability to adapt to new or unexpected conditions is a feature of humans which has allowed us to be so successful at spreading over the planet and to reproduce so rapidly in some places. However, adapting is not something that we take to naturally or easily. That requires change, which is anathema to most people.

"Oh, yes," we say, "change is inevitable. Just don't make it happen to me." Change is very hard. Some can't do it. They fall by the wayside. Look at the species of animals and plants who are unable to adapt to global warming so are going extinct for examples.

We have many people in our world who are extremely afraid of change. They are passionately, obsessively afraid of it. They will fight wars to avoid it. They will commit suicide for some ostensibly honourable cause to avoid it. They will join fundamentalist religions in the hope of being protected from it.

They will go extinct.

Whether you view "progress" as positive or negative, it means change. If we do not adapt to it and work within new parameters as they change, we will be among the extinct.

War and suicide will only assist with the natural process of extinction. They should be anachronisms. We cannot build anything on destruction.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make the future look as realistic as it really will be.
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