Is it the song by James Taylor?
Is it what Arthur C. Clarke said?
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Is it Economics 101 where I can learn “The Law of Diminishing Returns?”
O Great Guru, I think I found the secret of modern life.
The secret of modern life is……. There is NO secret! There is no secret because as a species, we humans are removing, exploiting, and consuming, at the fastest rate possible, all the resources we were given when our Sun, on the outskirts of a medium to large galaxy of stars, we call the Milky Way, in the middle of nowhere, ignited some 4 billion years ago. Forget the question as to who gave us these resources. It doesn’t matter anymore because we have treated them as if they were infinite, and taken our way of life to the limit. The question has to be can we pay off the debt we owe nature and reclaim our species not as rulers of nature but as partners with all sentient beings, or are we on a downhill slope headed for the dustbin even before our Sun burns itself out?
Why have we abused the resources nature gave us? Because our human nature is irrational. Why else would we come up with the idea that a hairy old white man living in the sky gave us stuff and made us rulers over all the other living beings to do with as we pleased? Despite all the irrefutable evidence of where the stuff and life came from, we still want to believe in a hairy old white man living in the sky.
I’m tired of the Ayn Rand fans telling me that if we give individuals and corporations total unfettered, unregulated freedom to do whatever they want or need in order to make a profit, they will do the right thing because they will act in their own rational self interest. Please. The latest estimate of human evolution puts our earliest “Homo habilis” ancestors around 2 million years ago. So given that H. habilis was probably exercising absolute unfettered freedom, did they act in their own rational self interest? Of course not. Each individual acted in the interests of the group or tribe. They had a society with taboos and one of their biggest taboos was that if you acted in your own self interest, jeopardizing the tribe, you were cast out from the tribe. And this taboo was alive and well until about 5 – 10 thousand years ago. How did a cultural taboo that our ancestors maintained for almost 2 million years suddenly, almost overnight in cosmic time, get turned on its head? Were they wrong? H. habilis, H. erectus, and H. neanderthalensis lasted a lot longer than it appears we will. Conventional wisdom says they became extinct by failing to adapt to climate change. Shouldn’t that tell us something?
Did the early Stone Age humans use the tools and weapons they made for hunting, get used in tribal combat? I don’t believe so. I don’t believe the anthropologists will ever discover what turned 2 million years of cultural evolution on its head in the blink of an eye. Conventional wisdom says it was probably technological advancement.
The Ayn Rand fans want everyone to believe that cultural evolution has led us down the path to unfettered, unbridled, and unregulated capitalism as the pinnacle of Human evolution. I think its devolution. That’s not to say I don’t believe in capitalism and competition. I do. Competition builds character. But when you have unfettered, unbridled, and unregulated capitalism it leads to cheating. Cheating to get ahead of the competition. Cheating to stifle competition and turn us all into slaves to the corporate definition of consumerism.