I think the running red thread in my blog posts, as well as in my disagreement with the society I live in, is that I believe in humility before nature. We are a product of nature and trying to set nature to our own hand or denying how we are rooted in nature will almost always cause dramatic misery.
-That we are a product of evolution, with different groups of people having adjusted to different conditions. Evolving in the tropics of Africa or Papua favors a different outlook on life than it does in landscapes with harsh winters like those of Europe, Canadia and Siberia, where you generally need to store food to prepare for what lies ahead.
-That we evolved in the presence of respiratory viruses, that these viruses serve biological functions that we barely understand and that eradicating them as we go about trying to stop a new virus that we created ourselves is a bad idea.
-That our bodies are a production of millions of years of evolution and we would be better off teaching people that social norms distort our view of what it means to be a man or a woman, rather than trying to surgically and hormonally adjust their bodies when they feel as if they don’t fit into what they imagine being a man or a woman must mean.
-That we are able to thrive and maintain civilizations thanks to the unique climatic conditions we found ourselves living in. We were born into a world where no part of the Earth’s surface gets too hot for human survival, where rainfall is predictable, where methane in the ocean floor does not suddenly explode in response to rising water temperature, where we generally don’t suffer constant dust storms (like in the Pleistocene) and where most parasites that infect human beings can’t survive our freezing winter temperatures. Changing the atmosphere, by (for example) increasing its carbon dioxide content or blocking the sun, risks destroying these rare climatic conditions.
-That our evolution, first as small egalitarian bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers, then later as villagers first engaged in horticultural and later agricultural labor, impacts the way of life that leaves us feeling mentally well. Radically changing our way of life through modern technology will have the effect of causing widespread misery. Your hands are designed for digging in the dirt, harvesting berries and using simple tools, not typing on a keyboard. Your legs are designed for wandering through the hills, rather than pushing a gas pedal. Although this problem affect us all, the people who adjust relatively psychologically well to the modern landscape tend to be low IQ extroverts and confident high IQ psychopaths who rule over and exploit them. The people who adjust poorly are assigned labels like “autistic”, “schizophrenic”, “introverted”, “racist/xenophobic”, or “depressed”.
-That putting billions of (almost) genetically identical birds together in cages, where viruses can spread themselves from bird to bird without having to worry about killing their host before they can spread to the next host is a great way of breeding new and dangerous viruses.
In my experience, people tend to be willing to “believe in science” or “follow nature” when it is convenient to them personally.
Once it becomes inconvenient, we start to get fanciful theories:
-Space-lasers were used to burn people’s houses on Maui.
-Humans are all genetically basically the same because we’re all descended from a small group who survived the Toba catastrophe.
I believe that any significant failure to adjust to the dictates of nature, whether at the level of individuals, or at the level of entire societies, or even humanity as a whole, will culminate in severe widespread misery.
People will respond to this, by insisting that life in the natural state was miserable, with 20% infant mortality rates, widespread tribal warfare and other misery. But what I am proposing is not so much “going back”, at it is learning to adjust to the playing field that nature has established, rather than denying or trying to change the rules of the game. A tribe that burns witches because children died is as much struggling to do that, as we are when we change the atmosphere.
Although the future now looks very grim, with the tools we have it should have been possible for us to have better lives than our ancestors, by choosing the best options among what nature has to offer, while playing by the rules of the game. As an example, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with us having tropical fruit here in the Netherlands in the middle of winter: It’s shipped here in giant refrigerated container ships that use hardly any energy. A Middle Eastern goat herder who lived long ago and stripped bare the fertile crescent wasn’t following the rules any better than we are, nor was a Pleistocene hunter-gatherer who exterminated the megafauna.
Our modern improved access to knowledge allows us to better understand the nature of the game we’re playing and to use the rules of the game to our advantage. It doesn’t allow us to change the rules, or to ignore them. Sadly, we seem unwilling to accept this notion as a species.