Understanding, Acknowledging, and Accepting our Responsibilities as Civilized Beings
It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities
—Josiah Charles Stamp
My name is Jeb Taylor and I wrote A Handbook for Humanity: Seeking Sustainability in the Twenty-first Century to help people understand what our responsibilities as civilized beings are, and to encourage everyone to acknowledge and accept those responsibilities.
In order to do this it is essential to realize that when our ancestors abandoned their traditional nomadic foraging life-styles 10,000 years ago and adopted sedentary ones based on agriculture, that they inadvertently crossed the threshold between primitive and civilized existences and committed all future generations to an increasing reliance on progressive technologies.
We have managed to incorporate modern technologies into our daily lives incredibly well. Whether we live in cities, towns, or in the country, we are now all completely dependent upon modern technology.
In so doing, however, they also committed all future generations to the adoption of progressive social behavior commensurate with those technologies.
Unfortunately, we have categorically failed to fulfill this obligation. We are wantonly using technology to increase our own population to grossly unsustainable levels and to over-exploit Earth’s geological and biological resources.
In other words, we have managed to become materially progressive (civilized)—but we remain socially conservative (primitive). This is an untenable situation because nearly every problem that threatens civilization today, from suicide bombings and wars—to pollution and overpopulation can be trace directly or indirectly back to the disparity that exists between progressive technological development and conservative social behavior.
In order for civilization to persevere, we must either regress technologically—or progress socially. Regressing technologically is not a realistic option, so we really have no choice but to advance socially. Unfortunately, for a number of extremely complex reasons that will be exploring in the next blog, this will be extremely difficult to do.
It is essential to realize at this time, however, that if we continue on our present course that we will exhaust Earth’s capacity to sustain us in the fore seeable future, our population will crash, and civilization will collapse. In other words, maintaining the status quo is a death sentence for civilization.
Please feel free to leave constructive comments – positive or negative – below. Additionally, if you have questions, I will try to answer them.