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August 07, 2010

A Species in Crisis, the need for definitions

Science & GNT

The method of thinking now known as Science has not been around for very long, especially given the more accurate perspectives it has given us for thinking of time itself. It's only been about five centuries since Galileo and Newton were born in Renaissance Europe, literally back-to-back (Newton was born in 1642, the same year Galileo died).

Not only have our concepts of time changed since GNT; so has just about everything else. Considering today's world, however briefly; it has changed more radically since GNT than in the thousands of years of prior human existence; and we may be but the latest in a chain of primates stretching back to the Miocene epoch. Nor were G & N the two smartest men ever; just two with exceptional potential who chanced to be born at a time when their talents could be maximally expressed and then fortunate enough to live to have the influences for which they are both remembered (but neither can enjoy). It’s also quite likely that two, probably more, infants with similar potential already exist; but because of the enormous competition now facing them, and how much we have learned since GNT, won't have comparable impact.

Which brings me to my first major point: the role of chance in history. It’s at least theoretically possible that if all the important variables are known in advance, anything could become predictable; however the "arrow of time" makes that unlikely. Thus there will (probably) always be uncertainty.

Or perhaps God does exist. While a supreme deity can’t be disproved, the evidence favoring one has been diminishing steadily since GNT began.

The next logical point I want to introduce is that, in an over-crowded and contentious world, arguing with religious true believers is not only a waste of valuable time and energy, it’s probably the main reason for the “crisis” referred to in the title. Muslim jihadists’ willingness to kill themselves is unlikely to be matched by their opponents, thus the logic of the Cold War still prevails and “war” is almost certainly not a "solution."

Equally importantly; problems should be defined as accurately as possible before attempting a solution. Thus the best approach may be something humanity has never done before: tried honestly to solve basic problems short of violent destruction of presumed enemies. We humans are both the problem and the solution; no one else can save us from ourselves. While I am also aware there are fundamentalists who see today’s troubling signs as confirmation that an “end of days” is almost upon us, I don’t consider arguing against them to be helpful; thus I choose not to. If I have any “faith,” at all, it’s a hope that common sense will ultimately prevail.

In the meantime, I intend to keep on writing about what I’ve been learning about human emotions from talking to pot smokers for almost ten years.

My logic is straightforward: the emotional symptoms most of them began treating with inhaled cannabis are those now most evident in the modern world; thus they offer a potential short-cut to defining (diagnosing) our global problems; a necessary first step before attempting any radical "therapy."

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 7, 2010 05:23 PM