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April 08, 2007

A Gloomy Easter Thesis

Man, although long the planet’s cognitively dominant species (at least in terms of our ability to determine time from a scientifically informed  perspective), really didn’t start affecting the survival of other species on a mass scale until roughly five hundred years ago; first we had to achieve leisure and literacy; then we had to accumulate enough culture to stumble onto empirical science, a development that took place in Western Europe between Gutenberg and Newton and included Copernicus and Galileo (collectively, from 1398 to 1727).

Developments flowing from that brief interval quickly led to scientific ‘progress’ which, through its ability to generate wealth, started the human species on a road it has been uncritically following ever since: a vicious cycle in which unforeseen problems are created by enabling population growth and then ‘solved’ when newer technology created by further scientific progress leads to even more wealth and further expansion of the  human population.

We are now bumping up against the reality that our planetary ecology will not sustain its current burden of 6.6 billion humans; particularly when they are as polarized, as is now the case, by disputes over the distribution of wealth and non-renewable resources. Ironically, we are just beginning to understand there are calamities beyond mere depletion of scarce resources threatening our welfare: accelerated climate change, unrecognized mass extinctions, and pandemics of ‘new’ diseases are just some that have recently competed for our attention; there may well be others. In any event, the sheer inertia of a global economy that has evolved around the unchecked pursuit of economic ‘growth’ can also be seen as a major problem, albeit one we are still unwilling to recognize as a species and even less equipped to deal with.

How do these dire thoughts relate to use of Cannabis? That’s easily understood, once one appreciates that the dominant lesson to be derived from interviewing those who became  its chronic users is the degree to which human emotions influence— and have have always influenced— human behavior.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 8, 2007 06:28 PM