Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on May 23, 2009 6:13 AM PDT
This essay is dedicated to William Gibson, one of the finest of today's science fiction writers and a visionary of the near future.
When I was young, I used to laugh at the notion that we are still evolving. Drawings on the cover of science fiction dime novels showed future men with swollen brain cases making their heads look vaguely like mushrooms. The effect was as comical as the idea itself.
I reasoned that if evolution is driven by survival of the fittest, surely our bodies could not be evolving because we had evolved to the point where selective pressures no longer operated. The proof was in longer life expectancy and the defeat of many diseases that had formerly weeded out those with less fortunate genetic endowments.
Unfortunately, this is not simply an intellectually challenging exercise of developing a more complex equation to describe the phenomenon. The failure to grasp the implications of this reality threatens the survival of all advanced forms of life on Earth.
I recall reading in my youth that we would by now have developed interstellar travel, which would have allowed us to relieve this pressure by populating other planets, Terraforming them if necessary. Because we have devoted our resources to war and the accumulation of wealth, that time is a long way off. Meanwhile, the population bomb continues to tick.
Intelligence agencies use the term blowback to refer to the predictable consequences of their actions to innocent bystanders. When the consequences of human actions are unexpected and influenced by seemingly random events, we refer to them as being due to the butterfly effect. This is based on the idea that the beating of a butterfly's wings can have an effect on local weather patterns which can have effects that change weather patterns worldwide. Thus, simple disturbances in the existing order can produce effects that can be as profound as they are unpredictable.
The butterfly effect explains many things, from the consistent failure of self-interested U.S. meddling in the affairs of other nations to the repeated collapse of the world economy. However, the regular expansion and bursting of bubbles seems to indicate contrary to popular belief, these are not random events, but blowback that Goldman Sachs and its favored associates consider acceptable collateral damage to the American and world economies and to the Peoples who depend on the ability to earn a living wage in an economic environment increasingly hostile to life as we know it.
Whether due to blowback or random events, both war and boom-bust cycles result from the short sighted actions of an economic elite that worships Ayn Rand and regards life’s purpose as the lowly pursuit of personal wealth and pleasure. It seems that the generals in this game of economic warfare do not consider the possibility of a global economic winter if they implode the American economy.
Among her acolytes was former Fed chief Alan Greenspan, whose faith in the invisible hand of the market caused him to refuse to regulate the derivatives that were at the heart of the global economic meltdown. The Pnzi scheme of mortgaging houses to high risk buyers was brought down by the first shift of the economic winds like the house of cards that it was.
If we are to solve the many problems threatening human civilization we must understand the danger in accepting her assertion that radical individualism is the way of nature. We cannot accept that the treatment of life as a game won by accumulating the most toys by the time we die is a good and natural thing. I will not bother to cite the many counterexamples that refute Rand's silly assertions. Thom Hartmann has already eloquently addressed this in The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. I refer the interested reader to it for a powerful but frightening explanation of the details of what I am attempting to describe.
The implication of my thesis is that our economy must radically change in order to produce a just world order that will assure the survival of the human race. A fundamentalist Christian fearing Armageddon might be tempted to imagine that Rand is the Antichrist. Prophets have told us that the world will end in fire andiIt is not hard to imagine that global climate change might be metaphorically described in this way. If Rand's thesis is not challenged, unrestrained greed may lead to a literal Hell on Earth.
We have to believe that the predicted end of the world is not a promise but a warning. Perhaps if we can come to a new understanding of our relationship to the Earth and to each other, the world will indeed end, only to be replaced by a new and better one. Just as we create our own individual reality in the privacy of our minds, we can consciously create a new reality of the world in the higher mind that is the human collective consciousness, if we so choose.
We have the tool in hand that will assure our survival. It is the Internet. Through this instrument, mankind can rapidly reverse its slide down a slippery slope toward its self-destruction. Like most things, it is not inherently good or evil but a tool that we must individually and collectively decide to use for one or the other. Used for the good of Mankind, it can produce an exponential rate of change in the shared belief system of Mankind for the better, the like of which the world has never seen.
The beauty of the internet is that it has caused a connection of human minds and information around the planet such as never existed before. Used as a tool to manipulate investor greed, it can cause convulsions in the stock market and destroy national economies. Used as a tool to work together to drastically change the power structure by allowing people all over the planet to plan together to end corporate domination in a fascist New World Order, it can be our salvation.
If the collective consciousness of man is connected through the internet, there is the potential to create a tectonic paradigm shift in human consciousness. If we are approaching asymptotic growth in this process we may see that the End of the World is not a catastrophe but a new beginning for Mankind.
One can think of the Internet as a vast, somewhat disordered mind. As it begins to reach its potential it assumes the nature of an intelligence, bringing together the neurons of our individual brains to form a superbrain, from which arises a collective consciousness which can direct itself toward solving the many problems besetting us.
New thoughts can propagate at the speed of light, spreading like a wave if the right individuals can be reached. The idea of six degrees of separation can be used to amplify the message by utilizing the interconnectedness of all of us through nodes in the network that are the most highly connected individuals. Such rapid evolution is our best hope of saving ourselves from the threats that at this point appear obvious to most thinking people and unavoidable to those who have already given up hope in the essential goodness of mankind.
It is not too late to change the course of history if we can learn to abandon the conflict model of change and work together in enlightened self interest to create a better world for our children.
Please go to the International Planned Parenthood website and give generously.
Rick Staggenborg, MD
Coos Bay, Oregon