We will die; individually, at the end of our life span; as a species, at the intersection of whatever set of circumstances befall us, whether they be long term decline or short term cataclysm. For me, the fact that all things expire is the single indisputable truth of all existence – a statistic, that to the best of historic and scientific knowledge, and religious article of faith, registers a full 100% compliance to the reality of this statement. In light of this inevitable truth comes the less certain question: When will our demise occur?
As best as I can tell, an American Swami named Chetananada said it with bold and eloquent succinctness. The question operating at all levels of the animal and consciousness aspects of human nature is: What is going to happen to me? Divine and practical, self-preserving and self-exploring, constant and yet changing; the words embody an idea so primordial, and yet so utterly profound that, admittedly, I am stunned by its simplicity. But then again, most of the ideas I see having the greatest merit, and approach the status of what we might call absolute truth, are often profoundly simple! But do not make the assumption that I confuse over simplification, that reductionist tool of human rationalization designed to quickly constrain fear of the unknown by superimposing often flimsy, superficial or mystical beliefs, with the status of profound simplicity. English forces me to use words that are so similar to the ear yet are as different by intent and conveying meaning as, say, elephant compared to elephantiasis.
By extension we can thrust the question What is going to happen to me? into a larger venue, that of humanity, or Homo sapiens, as a whole, and ask the question: What is going to happen to us? That is the elephant in the room which no one states out-loud without being marginalized as stating something so obvious as not to be noteworthy; or is shouted down by polemics of every stripe spewing arrows of argument as aggressively as a drunk projectile vomiting. Visceral enough for you? I hope so! Extinction of our race is pretty visceral to those dying! Oh, I’m not apocalyptic, or doom saying that the bomb, or God’s chariot, is just around the bend poised to obliterate us, or the Valkyries of science or religion ready to strike. Yet, this obvious question seems to elude the thinking of most people.
If we are going to save the planet, we must ask: What for? Where do we think existence it taking us? More pressing a question, if you are a believer of free will and adhere to the idea that we construct our own reality, is: What future do we choose to design for ourselves? Or are we going to leave our direction to fate, fiat, fantasy, or fanatics by using the not-my-job defense? Time to decide if you ask me! So, Daniel, because we selfish, self-centered, self-interested, and self-indulged Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have left you and yours a world of diminished raw materials, increased pollution, and a population burgeoning near quantities that are obscenely unsustainable, please DO NOT follow our example. (If we have even left you a choice in the matter.)
It is one of those ideas whose time has come: Super-Ordinate Goal – it’s what social psychologists call it. Humanity – 2100 Project! It could include a whole range of subordinate targets that would do more than merely preserve the existing conditions for our continued survival.