Thursday, March 30, 2006

Economics? ... or Gaia?

In some distant time, some prehistoric being had a duel with his contemporary. That duel is what economics is all about. We still compete with each other, as nations, as communities for whatever resources Nature may choose to provide us with, as scant as they may be. Instead of One-on-One duels, the conflict is less overt, but the competition is there... The choice to use the word 'competition' instead of 'conflict' is what grants us the right to call ourselves civilized.

Economics has changed much. Instead of having to risk life and limb in the search for bodily sustenance, a walk to the nearest shop is all that is needed. Instead of having to walk to the nearest waterhole for water, the knob on the faucet gives us the water from the city. Modern medicine backed by technological advancements have increased longevity; afflictions such as Tuberculosis which were deemed deadly and seemingly incurable can now be defeated. The dark which gave deadly predators such an advantage is now banished at the flick of a switch. Agriculture and Food go together; as do Transport and Communication. Food comes from Agriculture, and is required when we start to range long distances for purposes of communication ... or simply to move to another place. The ability to tame animals to provide transport, and to subdue nature to make our own food granted to humans an advantage over other predators who were unable to do the same. The ability to manipulate nature has made us the dominant species on land, from where the Human Civilization is even now reaching to the stars.

The desire of possessions, and the fear of losing possessions drives economics. Tenuous as our hold on life is, we subconsciously use our possessions to bolster our belief that we are in control. And yet, deep down we know the truth is to the contrary. We know our economics are based upon utilization of what Earth has garnered over hundreds of millions of years. We know that as our consumption of resources increases, Earth's resources decrease.

Insecurity drives the humans. Insecurity, and a need for what I can only describe as Solace. What our neighbour possesses we first envy, then desire to possess. It is not long before we need to assuage our faith in ourselves that our neighbour shall not outstrip us. In some persons, this manifests in a destructive tendency ... to spoil what our neighbour possesses. To other persons, it is a motivation for less potent action, to succeed in other fields. In either case, the result is Aggression. Aggression, and Insecurity together form a very potent force.

I am convinced what we term as civilization is only a form of metaprogramming (pardon the use of jargon); so to speak. Undirected metaprogramming, but metaprogramming nonetheless. What civilization really does is this -
Instead of competing with our planetary co-habitants for resources provided/available on the planet, we usurp control. After usurping control of a resource, we compete amongst our own species for it's use. That the resource may not be best suited for the use we put it to, or that the resource needs to be utilized sparingly is knowledge that may come to notice too late.

Perhaps if other species had the ability to manipulate nature as we do, they would do just what we have done. Ants, Bees, and Spiders are a case in point ... as are Viruses.

Before it is too late, we as a species, need to set a goal
- to understand ourselves as a species
- to communicate better with our co-habiting species across our limited audio-visual capabilities