Friday, October 29, 2021

Can Mankind change in time?

 Most people would agree we live in a crazy world.  Many are worried that we are going in the wrong direction.  We haven't really handled the pandemic while climate change is accelerating.  A possible nuclear war has not been eliminated.  We are squabbling over all these issues.

Carl Sagan, searching for an extra terrestrial civilization with no result.  Many would think that meant we are the only ones in the universe, but another interpretation is that civilizations self destruct before they are able to communicate across the universe.  Carl was egotistical, but humbled.

What is intelligence?  If a being can differentiate between darkness and light or if a being can seek nutrition, is that the base for intelligence?  We know evolution moves with mutations that gradually take over from previous life forms.  Life started in its simplist form, but somehow over a long period of time elevated to Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.  Recorded history is only a slice of earth history and infinitesimal against solar history.  Eternity is incomprehensible to humans

Individualism is growing and most of us prize the freedom that allowed it.  A good example might be with homosexuals.  Only a few decades ago in western countries it was a life and death matter.  It is still a life and death matter in much of the world, but homosexuals have emerged perhaps first in the arts, but also in politics and really in all fields of life.  We have always admired those individuals who successfully bucked the establishment.  There are many more voices that we need to pay attention to.  There is resistance to authoritarianism while elites have found ways to mobilize large crowds.  Other small groups see the dangers outlined below and although their voices are being heard they are not yet being heeded enough.

Evolution has been depicted as survival of the fittest and we have taken that to mean the strongest and the fastest.  More recently we have come to realize that group dynamics played a role.  Many hunts depended on a group.  Wars for that matter depended upon co-operation and trust among allies.  Finding better ways to survive requires the effort of many.  Consider:

There has been such a thing as tyranny of the majority that held back progress and human rights.  Another reality is that small wealthy elites have been able to manipulate the rest of us for their increasing greed.

The Covid 19 pandemic is really a health crisis.  While we have been complaining about the high cost of drugs and medical services, the pandemic is recognized as truly universal and there is no cost for vaccinations.  Some might argue that the drug companies are benefiting from the panic and are probably helping to fan it.  At the same time the rest of us are at the mercy of those who are resisting.  The resisters are often just afraid or lazy, but for others it is a political decision.

Climate change is no longer a theory, but is hurting millions around the globe.  Climate refugees are mingling with genuine political refugees.  What some might consider economic migrants are at least partially motivated by loss of opportunities due to climate change.  Economically, storms, floods and droughts have resulted in a loss of productivity.  Some very wealthy people are still trying squeeze as much profits as possible.  Other people fear for their jobs and economic security.

What has stopped nuclear war has been fear of MAD i.e. mutual assured destruction.  But many nations have the bombs and others are seeking them.  There are some who believe they can survive a nuclear war, others who believe if they bomb first they will win and there are others who don't care.  Should a mad man get control we are all in danger.  One must recall that Donald Trump had access to the bomb. 

Underlying all these crises is inequality.  It is possible inequality will be exacerbated, but it is also possible there will be a resetting of the status quo.  Check how inequality has been leveled in the past:

The crisis is human made including Climate, pollution, drugs, wars and pandemics.  The problems cannot be solved by any individual, but by a collective understanding and action.


We are dealing with human nature which is ego centric.  We have separated ourselves through languages, racism, sexism, homophobia and countless other criteria.  Despite those limitations mankind could only have survived to this point as there was a part of everyone that cares for others. and we learned co-operation is necessary.

To me the greatest need is for education with some attention to critical thinking.  An earlier blog still explains the scope: Education has been politicized and a budget bargaining item.  There are so many perspectives on it, but my hope is that more people will realize its critical importance for our group survival that barriers will fall and purse strings will loosen.  The more "rational" education the better we will all be.

I have only a crude understanding of Game Theory, but believe there may be some lessons to be learned.  The best results are when an individual chooses what is best for themselves and the group.  It depends on rationality.  Making the first move encourages others to take a risk.

Rationality boils down to enlightened self interest.  We can pull ourselves over top of others, but the best long term benefits come when everyone benefits.  As a salesman one mantra was the "win-win" solution.

Trust is sadly lacking in the world mainly because some people have put their interests above that of others.  However it is vital, so that without it we will let suspicions lead to fear which cuts off rational discussion.  Earlier blogs have tackled this issue.  One with lots of useful links is:

If no one makes the first move, nothing will get done.  Fortunately a few have made that first move.  Now it is your turn.

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