Nov 27

Human Nature: An Unconventional View

In Brief—Bay explains why he believes humanity has no better than a 5% chance of survival beyond the end of this century.


Humans are Flawed Creatures—

uncertain-future-signCapitalism, seeking profit, is just one reason why humanity has only a small chance of surviving beyond the end of this century. Greed, short-sightedness, forcing one’s way of living on others, fear of “The Other” that ignores their fears, winning at any cost, scientific ignorance and illogical religious dogma are some of the other reasons. These are why I hold the view I do.

There is a small possibility that humanity might muddle through, that they might survive for a while in a much-reduced state in some remote location, but science won’t save humanity and certainly the imagined deity of the majority won’t appear to pull our fat out of the fire. Indeed, the dumbing down of society written about by so many observers does not bode well for survival.

Let’s look at the reasons that lead to my conclusion.

Greed—The symbolism of Wall Street comes most readily to mind. Many traders and corporate executives earn more in a week than most humans will ever see in their lifetimes. Research shows that the wealthy look down on the common folk. They are reported to be markedly meaner, even sociopathic. Writers have pointed out that America leads the world in inequality, and inequality is growing.

 Short-sightednes— The world is changing rapidly and humans don’t adapt well to change. Reams of research show that humans are still living in an era when change came slowly and was relatively easily digested. That isn’t the case today…and the speed of change is accelerating.

Take a look at the cars on the street and absorb the fact that manufacturers and buyers want the size and horsepower they had twenty years ago. Further, given that many can’t afford a low-polluting car, do you think that polluting vehicles are going to suddenly disappear?

Forcing one’s way on others—Isn’t war one way of forcing others? What do you think those politicians, extreme religionists, those who fear fleeing immigrants want? They all want us to think and act as they do.

The Koch brothers want to keep pumping oil, mining coal, influencing politicians to insure their continued profits. Are they likely to reconsider the harm they are causing regardless of what the majority want?

Fear of “The Other”—People who speak a different language, dress in different clothing, worship a different way, eat strange foods, have darker skin are “The Other.” They are feared for irrational reasons, but fear is the driver. Right now, whole countries are consumed by this irrational fear. It’s only going to metastasize as the fleeing grows.

Scientific IgnoranceGlobal human-caused climate change is terrifyingly real, but numerous influential and ignorant people believe that it is a hoax because their local weather doesn’t fit the pattern. Too many people in the world whose crops wither or who watch the rivers dry up or are driven from their homes by war and corrupt leaders don’t even think about the climate changing. They just flee for safety. It may be too late to stop the warming and its wider affects.

Winning at any cost—The globe is chock-a-block with people who aren’t happy with anything but coming in first. Whether it’s the Olympics, a football team or at the track, winning is what’s it’s all about. Forget Win-Win or social good, it’s a zero sum game. Winning is in the human DNA.

Religious Dogma—Neither God, Jehovah, Allah nor any of the other deities will save our asses. Although humans will believe what they want to believe even when confronted by contrary evidence, no deity is going to step in to reverse the inescapable. Science is a day late and a dollar short, so don’t look to them for help.

These are just a few of the reasons that humans are unlikely to make it into the next century. Human nature is such that we are unable to stop our headlong plunge into the abyss.

As animals with an opposable thumb who are not nearly as advanced as we’d like to believe, humans are locked by evolution into destructive ways that won’t change. And the universe will go on its way not caring that humanity was ever there. As the Christian Bible says, eat, drink and be merry, the end is just around the corner.


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  1. hej Don
    The New Yorker daily Email sent me to this THE POLITICAL SCENE JULY 25, 2016 ISSUE
    “The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it.
    In which Schwartz tells tthis to Jane Mayer:
    He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

    I have drifted closer and closer to your view, DB, that catastrophe is possible. Hillary Clinton had already been out there before Trump declaring that she was ready to “obliterate Iran” – in a video – and Trump might be all too ready to do Netanyahu’s bidding and bomb Iran. Trump can set the stage by ending the 5+1 Agreement with Iran.

    Trevlig söndag kväll! Här kan jag se fram emot till att titta på Midnatts sol på SVT playtv, skall kolla för att se om man kan titta på den utomlands.

      • Don Bay on November 27, 2016 at 19:25

      I genuinely believe from all the evidence that catastrophe is not only possible but inevitable. My reasoning is brief, but it is there in the blog piece. Whether Clinton or Trump, humanity has the chance of a snowball in Hell. A Trump administration merely hastens the inevitable end.

      Welcome to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

  2. All your reasons have the potential to contribute to the end of humanity, but only one is certain to do us in, and that’s climate change. It’s already too late, last year was the warmest year on record, the arctic continues to melt, the politicians say things will change but no leader actually has the will to save the planet, and even if they had the will the corporations would prevent it. And now we have elected a leader in the US who will listen to the corporations, the militarists, and the deniers. Game over.

      • Don Bay on November 27, 2016 at 19:16

      Global climate change is, in my estimation, like water torture…slow but effective in the long run. In my view, the greatest danger is actually capitalism, the need to receive a profit. It’s part of the human DNA and as normal as…well, apple pie is to Americans. Capitalism assures us that humans will do anything to keep that money flowing in, exploiting the mineral reserves, screwing our neighbors, keeping our jobs. I’m by no stretch of the imagination a communist, but I am a realist.

      Trump and his cronies will do anything to assure their own profits and to keep their sponsors, the rich elite, happy. The Paris Accords, already said to be insufficient to prevent exceeding the carbon dioxide limits, are one target of this administration. Human-caused global warming will go on warming the planet as the temperatures go out-of-control. Neither an imaginary deity nor science will be able to stop it, but capitalism is, in my view, the most serious culprit.

      We won’t see the end, but our grandchildren will. As has been said, the living will envy the dead. BTW, since Trump was elected, I have reduced my estimate of human survival from 5% to 2%…and that may be optimistic.

      You are certainly on target.

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