Why Tinkering Won't Fix It
most people look around
the world today they see a set of problems. They see energy/technology
problems. They see ecological/environmental problems. They see economic
problems. If they are slightly deeper thinkers they may see population
problems. I believe they are all suffering from vision problems.
that we miraculously
stabilized our population tomorrow, at our current 6.6 billion people.
that fix the problems of resource depletion, ecological devastation and
economic instability caused by our insistence on continual material
maintain it wouldn't. After all, those problems are still
worsening in places where
populations have already stabilized, or are even in outright decline.
appears to have
evolved without a crucial internal self-restraint mechanism. That
because, as is the case for every other species, those restraints were
within the environment - mainly resource scarcity, predation and
Because those external restraints were available, selection didn't
with internal restraints. They simply weren't needed. In fact,
time as a species, any internal self-restraint mechanism acting in
the external restraints would have been counter-productive, and so
actively selected out of our makeup.
So I hold out no hope whatever that our tinkering
will solve the
"real" dilemma of humanity. We are behaving exactly as our evolution
intended, and it's unlikely that we will stop. What we need to do is to
out ways in which our feeble reason can create the necessary conditions
for the continued
survival of our species (and perhaps some of our civilization), despite
unconstrained, innate urge to grow and our glorious but ultimately
tragic ability to
These aspects of our nature that are at the root of all our troubles however, and we will need to be enormously cunning to outmaneuver them.