There is the famous saying that states that money is the root of all evil. This is a corruption of the biblical quote “the love of money is the root of evil” but anyway I don’t think it is the case.
Sure if by “Money” you mean resources and power but if by money you merely mean a form of currency that allows one to trade with relative ease than no money is not the root of evil. It may be an annoying feature of human reality for the have-nots but in it-self money is neutral. Money is just a tool.
The problem is that there exists a minority of humans who have control over money. Money is a tool in their hands for controlling people. I’ve been listening to a series of lectures on economics recently and in it there is talk of incentives and costs. How a government can control a market using market forces (that is by incentivizing behavior it wants and adding costs to behavior it doesn’t want) rather than brute force.
For instance, instead of setting laws that determine the limits of pollution government should place a charge on each unit of pollution (basically a tax) that way government encourages companies to go above and beyond the limits set by law by increasing the profit a company can make by doing so.
The essential nature of this shift is a movement from an obvious system of control to a subtle system of control. Just as these measures are effective when dealing with corporations (which presumably behave like the ideal Human in economic terms) they work with humans. I mean what lengths have the powers that be got people going to in order to earn money?
By having a currency system like ours the majority of individuals become more susceptible to control. This is because in order for a person to trade in a primitive barter system all he needs is what he is trading. In our system there is always a 3rd party to any transaction.
People are strange creatures. They will insist on talking about their problems but will never listen to solutions. In fact it isn’t even necessary for them to talk about their problems! Any human creature with a semblance of a brain could quite rapidly articulate almost any problem they are likely to meet, enumerate the actions they could take and decide what to do or not to do.
If you look into any domestic problem it boils down to something really quite simple. Take for instance the situation of a parent with a child who insists on abusing substances.
In this case the problem is “My child abuses substances”. There is nothing difficult to apprehend in such a proposition. After articulating this predicament to a fellow hominid the being who pronounced it generally shakes their head and says something along the lines of “I just don’t know what to do?!”.
On what grounds do they make such a dismal statement? Have they endeavoured to analyse the situation? Have they even spent an iota of effort on divining possible actions they could take?
No! In almost every case the adult – and it is adults who engage in this activity! I am yet to see a child genuinely hang its head and mutter “I just don’t know what to do!” – just pollutes the air around himself with vacuous ejaculations of misery!
Just to show how easy it is to analyse such a circumstance:
Either I can do something to stop my child being a substance abuser or I cannot.
What actions can I do to remedy the situation?
- Shout at child
- Tempt child with money or other desirables
- reason with the child
- etc (Come up with actions till your creative faculty has spent itself)
After you have gone through this list you are left with the fact that there is nothing you can do.
Now that you realize this you can either accept reality or continue stressing. Most people continue stressing despite the fact that out of the alternatives (Substance abusing child without you stressing and substance abusing child with you stressing) this is the least desirable (at least on a conscious level).
Even when people become consciously aware of this state of affairs they do not desist from enacting them again and again. Actually I think it is this very phenomenon that is the cause of stories concerning demonic possession!
Philosophy is the most useful and valuable activity anyone can engage in. Now this may seem to be a bit proposterous given the current propaganda spread concerning philosophy but it is true.
What is philosophy? Philosophy is the art of asking questions, coming up with various answers and evaluating those answers and questions using multiple frameworks. As such every single academic discipline, every single intellectual pursuit is really a sub-discipline of philosophy. The way in which these sub-disciplines are defined is through the assumptions they bring to the questions they ask and attempt to answer.
For example take science. One of the assumptions science has that demarcates it from the rest of philosophy is empiricism. That is it gives a special epistemic value to knowledge gained via experience. It says that a statement is verified via experience. There is a second assumption which makes this first assumption more specific. That is that experience verifies a set of statements (aka a theory) by confirming predictions (aka statements derived from the theory that concern directly experiencable phenomena) of that theory.
The assumptions one makes when evaluating questions and answers are themselves unverifiable. Or rather – because verfiability assumes we are talking about truth – the value we use to evaluate an answer is itself unable to be evaluated. This is a natural result of the fact that this value is the reason why we are doing something and as such can itself have no reason. If it appears that a value does have a reason then it is really an intermediary value that is subsumed under a more fundamental value for some purpose.
So why do I think that philosophy is the single most important, valuable and beneficial activity one can partake in? Because I feel it is better to know than not know. Aside from the fact that knowing enables one to change something all things being equal I would rather know a thing than not know a thing. It is better to know and understand how we are and could be conditioned than to not know. Of course I’m not speaking objectively – I just personally find it better to know.
One of the problems with thinking about depopulation is that there are so many variables involved. These include:
How many resources does the world actually have?
How are you supposed to go about answering this question? Say you manage to figure out how much food the planet can produce given current agricultural methods those methods may change, or it may be found that those methods cause serious cumalitive damage. Such damage that results in diminishing food as time goes on. Though I haven’t done any research I’m willing to bet that there are many figures concerning this variable all of which support many mutually exclusive opinions and lead to very different opinions concerning over-population.
The rate at which population increases.
Is this a constant value? Does the human population rise and fall independent of resources? I may have cast us as a kind of phage, something that will expand given more and more resources but on what ground did I make that statement? No ground apart from a memory of school and the food pyramid. You know that schema that says that if there’s a tonne of carrots there will be a tonne of rabbits but if you decrease the supply of carrots the rabbit population decreases. Which seems convincing but does it apply to humans? Is it even true of the rabbits? I mean what were the experimental procedures used to gain this knowledge? How are we to assess such procedures? How are we supposed to trust the people performing the experiments? Keep an eye out for the number 27 and tell me how times you notice it tomorrow!
Isn’t it possible that the human population could increase and decrease cyclically over time?
Probably the worst thing of all about this issue is that the means are not available to any one person to verify any of the positions. It reminds me of the evolution vs creationism debate. Now personally I don’t know which one is the case. I have read books by proponents of both views and been convinced by both sides. To actually verify it or become properly informed about the issues would take a lot of effort which I can’t expend on it because it doesn’t hold my attention.
But even so the means required to verify either case are not in the hands of the normal man. What it comes down to is a kind of hooliganism! Who do you support the atheists or the theists? In much the same way here it comes down to which sources of opinions you support: those preaching depopulation or those preaching expansion!
Recently I’ve been watching a TV series on Channel 4 called “Utopia”. [Spoiler warning!] One of the basic premises of the series is that there is an organization that seeks to depopulate the world via mass sterilization. They have created a virus called Janus that will target all but 6% of the worlds population so that within a century the total human population will be around 600, 000, 000.
This got me thinking. If it is true that the human race is increasing exponentially and it is true that the world we live in contains finite resources then it follows that there will be a depopulation event. Of course we may be able to avoid this by colonizing space but I doubt that we will have the means to do so in time to avoid the depletion of resources.
A human being is made up of certain materials. If we were to really simplify the case and just deal with the question: How many people could be made out of the resources this planet has? If we were to do a 100% conversion; get all the carbon, water and so on and turn it all into human beings there is going to be a finite number of humans that can be produced. We’re not even taking into account the materials needed to maintain all their lives.
You can see humans – any living thing in fact – in the same way that those replicant things in stargate are seen. These replicants are made out of metal – I presume I am not an authority on stargate lore – so what they do whenever they enter a new environment is to convert all the material in that environment to replicants. That is essientially what we are doing when we eat and have babies. Sure we’re not as efficent or as rapid as some fictional entity but still that is what we are doing.
So given the inevitability of a depopulation event is it not better that we mastermind it ourselves? If it is a choice between on the one hand blind nature swatting us painfully into semi-oblivion or man giving himself an injection to make himself infertile for a bit – – – surely it’s better that we do it to ourselves. I mean being infertile is surely better than dying of starvation!
In fact the visual phenomena – in fact all sensory phenomena – is very similar to language. Think about it. Is the sensation of feeling the thing that is being felt?
Of course here I am playing a certain game. Let us for a bit forget about the uncertainity regarding external reality and pretend that there is an external reality that causes our sensory experience. Given this assumption it follows that all sensory experience is is a language the meaning of which is that which is causing the experience.
Just as the word “tree” is nothing like the collection of sense data it represents so the 2 dimensional image is nothing like the 3-dimensional image we think it represents. It may seem to be similar but I think this is nothing but a trick of familarity.
In fact the process of language acquisition must be similar to the process of image interpretation. Though I believe that it is harder to learn a language for a child than it is to come up with a concept that makes sense of sensory input. This is partly because it takes so long for the child to become competent at language compared to how long it takes the child to make sense of sensory input and partly due to the nature of the two tasks.
In the case of language a concept has to be generated or learnt for each word whereas in order to make sense of the 2 dimensional visual input there only needs to be one concept: 3 dimensional space.