“Is modern civilisation sprinting in a long distance race?”
Certain changes in my life, including the birth of my son have called into question for me, the fundamental question. Are we as a species really successful?
For a few generations including my own, the outlook was bright; progress was bountiful with year on year developments in medicine, technology and agriculture. This progressive golden age has increased our species numbers like never before. Success is ours, or is it?
Drilling down to the basics and working our way back up to the surface of our new modern world, this philosophical mind food is essential to chew over because it is now the current world which is putting our successors at risk. Was success just a brief, fleeting moment in this epoch of time?
The children’s story of the Tortoise and the Hare best describes the situation. Our modern civilisation is sprinting in a long distance race, burning up our calories and resources in a few generations, leaving future generations nothing but an empty and exhausted planet to survive on.
Success as viewed by our modern world only comes if you have built up (hoarded) vast amounts of personal money that you impoverish others, and use the natural world as disposable property. The ecology of the planet’s sacrificed only to benefit a few, while the many forages around for the scraps.
Success, as viewed from a modern perspective, is causing humanity itself to fail as the planet’s ability to keep the bio-sphere suitable for life begins to wane. Success, as defined by the dictionary, is: “the favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours.”
Humanities endeavour is primarily consciously or unconsciously the survival and long-term continuation of the species. With this, we are failing.
Can we create an era of healing
The race is long, and we have sprinted from the start line.
In a recent debate, I had with an American chap, astonished me because he genuinely thought that technology would find a way to keep all modern civilisation flourishing for many hundreds of years to come. I had to point out to him that:
“Population growth is unsustainable; emission burning is unsustainable, marine fishing is unsustainable, forest depletion is unsustainable, species loss is unsustainable, and an economy based on growth is unsustainable”.
If and only if, all these factors are overcome, then possibly our success as a species may be possible. A World War 2 sized effort by all the countries of the world to begin to reverse the already noticeable damage we have caused and may begin an era of healing for a long-term vision.
However, the current system of rewarding money hoarders for destructive practices will only continue to see the human race tire before the end of the race. A successful and talented athlete will always keep some back for the future.
The track is long, but our sight is short, so I can only doubt that the human bravado our recent generations acclimatised too, will soon run out of steam.
Success only comes if you can finish the race.