We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, July 9, 2016
The Human Experiment is Probably Coming to an End
(Note: This week I am radically departing from my usual rule of posting articles that are limited to the past 30 days. I have recently discovered to my deep chagrin that I have been missing many excellent articles by Moti Nissani due in large part to my own failings, some misunderstandings, and because no one drew my attention to them. I am making up for this now by posting what I regard as the best articles of his in chronological order starting in 2010, one for each day everyday of this week, and maybe beyond until I catch up.
By giving Nissani this special consideration, I do not wish to imply that I agree with every single one of his views. Nobody has a monopoly on truth. We are like the blind men and the elephant fable who must collaborate to unravel the many mysteries of our existence. This is in sharp contrast to immature people who always look to leaders or "people in the know" for guidance on what to believe and how to behave. All of us must become our own seekers of truth if there is to be any hope of our continued existence as humans.)
This retired professor of biology with a rich background in the humanities looks at all the possible threats to humans, assesses probabilities, and adds them up to see what the future looks like for humans. It doesn't look good.
But what if we could replace the dominant class-based social-economic system in the world known as capitalism with one that could rationally coexist in harmony with the biosphere? I think this would greatly increase our chances of survival for many centuries. I see this as the major and crucial challenge facing humanity today.
Some scientists say that it is already too late to save the biosphere and human extinction is imminent (20-30 years); but I argue that even if we as individuals accept this as true, we as a species must strive to do better than what we have done so far. This means in the time remaining we will demonstrate that our human natures simply will not accept an economic system that guarantees the rule of a class of people and their culture whose character is defined by "greed, shortsightedness, and colossal stupidity". We are better than that.