Humanity’s progress through the ages could be described as a very powerful automobile with very poor steering. Technologically, humankind has become somewhat advanced. Science and medicine are progressing at a pace. Yet with each technological advance Man has employed it to produce more sophisticated capacity for killing, albeit at a huge economic cost.
Likewise, although we are grateful for advances in medicine there has been insufficient consideration given to the problems of ever increasing overpopulation and an ever increasing proportion of elderly people in those populations as life expectancy increases.
Following the dollar trail gives a great insight into what our species as a whole considers really important. Financial investment and incentives are thrown at science and technology while almost no resources are directed towards philosophy and the humanities. Philosophy can be considered as the steering of our metaphorical vehicle whereas science and technology equate to the power of the engine.
What is the value or point of ever increasing speed and power without adequate thought being given to the direction of travel? The questions of the environment, society and ultimately even the economy have been subjugated to the pursuit of power. While science and technology certainly increase the scope and depth of our knowledge, without accompanying philosophical considerations they do little to add to our wisdom.
A realistic charter of human rights
Given the precarious state of life on our planet it would seem reasonable that the long term survival of the human race is subject to some considerable doubt. Globalisation has more rapidly brought negative consequences more so than positive ones. Although circumstances would seem to be rapidly spinning out of control there is no going back. We are on a one way journey wherever that is leading.
If we are to have any hope of overcoming these horrendous obstacles it will be necessary in the fairly near future to arrive at some sort of world government. That could be a UN with real teeth and power, although given its charter and the various rights of veto belonging to super powers who seldom agree, this is probably a pipe dream. A significant number of powerful nations would have to be willing to surrender most of their sovereignty. Millions die while nations and their governments follow their own agendas.
A democratic world government could only work if the bulk of humanity had sufficient education and intelligence to think both long term and fairly rather than chasing after immediate self-interest or ludicrous agendas and promises of extremist groups. The West’s promotion of democracy in the Middle East is an obvious example. The moment a genuine democratic election is arranged it is often the case that a majority elect an Islamic government tending toward the extreme and the West is mortified by the results.
A world government dictatorship is undesirable as the likelihood of an enlightened leader (in the mould of the Delai Llama) is remote. Even more so than leaders of democracies dictators seem only interested in their own well-being and that of their immediate circle of support. Syria and North Korea are obvious cases in point.
How we are to begin in saving our species and many others is a bothersome open question. Unless we can reign in the greed and philosophical stupidity of the mega rich and the very powerful we have little chance. The capitalist ethos of congregating more and more wealth in the hands of individuals or small groups is certainly doomed. The question is; will the survival of the human race go down with it?
A new charter of human rights will have to start from a non-capitalist standpoint. The very idea of human rights also necessarily includes the concomitant notion of human responsibilities. The idea of rights without responsibilities tends toward the absurd and is totally useless.
Charter of human rights
- 1. All humans should respect all forms of life and live and let live wherever reasonably possible.
- 2. Every human being has the right to basic shelter, food, water and the necessary means to sustain their lives.
- 3. All people have the right to produce and raise children (although not too many given the overpopulation of the world) in as much safety as possible. All children have the right to at least a basic education and preferably one beyond that.
- 4. People have the right to accumulate modest amounts of property and have that property protected. Such property should be subject to reasonable limits so as not to condemn others to poverty.
- 5. All humans have the right to defend themselves up to a reasonable use of force. This specifically does not include the right to bear arms. We have all seen how this amendment to the US constitution has played out. The right to bear arms actually diminishes personal safety rather than increasing it.
- 6. Everybody has a right to work and an obligation to do so, health allowing, until a reasonable retirement age has been reached. Such retirees have a right to modest support for the rest of their lives. People likewise have the right to reasonable amounts of non-work time and to be compensated fairly for their work.
- 7. All humans have the right not to be exploited, economically and generally, by others. This in turn translates into the obligation not to exploit others.
- 8. All governments, from world down to local, should be secular. Human beings follow many different, and quite often competing religions. No-one, and no religion has the right to assume a monopoly on truth and hope. People can believe what they want to believe and it is impossible to stop this in any case.
- 9. All governments and large private companies should be required to be completely transparent in all their deliberations and practices. The obvious exception to this requirement is weapons technologies and military matters. This exception is necessary to prevent such technologies falling into the hands of terrorists or criminals.
- 10. General transparency in governance is about the only effective way to fight corruption and corruption is one of the greatest blights on humanity, blocking our way forward.
Unless our outdated means of coordination between nations is quickly superseded it is all but certain that our species is going to follow the dinosaurs. There is little time left to act. Violence destroys much more than it gains. The various wars are testament to this. We must find non-violent ways of disempowering those who presently run this world, and are either possessed by greed and stupidity or else hamstrung by that of others. It could be argued that Barrack Obama is one of the most enlightened presidents in US history but is hamstrung by the realities of the power and wealth cliques that lie behind him. He may possibly even personally that Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are right deep down. However, there is no way he could say that or pardon them without risking a very likely assassination of himself. His position prohibits him from making many decisions and choices that he may like to.
The only way forward is for each individual to do what he or she can to follow a path of enlightenment and fight greed and stupidity at every turn, on every level!
If you’re interested in the future of our species and the world in general don’t forget to buy my novel ‘Brownout – 666’ (available as an eBook from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple I-store etc etc for a paltry few dollars). Don’t worry, I am not about to be capatapaulted into the ranks of the greedy mega wealthy. I am just scratching out a living.
Jesus (and Buddah) were right in saying that you should love all things, including your enemies. On a spiritual level that is the most sensible way to approach life. Stop to sniff the flowers and love them! On a personal and individual level, that is all there is.
Yet on a biological and species level it is more than likely that Hitler was right. If one desires that humanity goes on and prospers such ruthless policies as elimination of the disabled and weak make a great deal of sense. Post WWII the world we have inherited is worse than ever. Aging populations, ever increasing numbers of humans and finite resources are all spelling doom. At present we have multitudes of people in nursing homes, many with dementia. In the near future (unless humanity entirely becomes enlightened) I can’t see the rich and the greedy sacrificing anything for these unproductive individuals. I suspect it will be a case of “Arbeit mach frei” (Work sets you free). You guessed correctly, that is a slogan of Nazi Germany.
I don’t have to dream very hard to imagine a coming world where people who no longer work are disposed of. No, this is not a world created by Hitler. This is the world that prospered after his defeat. It is more than just for amusement and the occupation of time that the elderly continue to work. It probably makes them feel safer.
After all, if humanity doesn’t quickly get its act together, both from an individual and species perspective, Nature almost certainly will remove us, one way or the other.