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Apocalypse Mythology has been part of the Western mindset since Christian times. It would be interesting to see what an absence of Apocalypse Mythology would look like. Especially given that Dubya's biggest achievement has been to poison the zeitgeist with an apparently bottomless pit of anxiety, hatred and paranoia. If we're not scared of the terrorists, we're scared of him. Something about this isn't how it should be. It feels like a win win for the bad guys.
So although we all do it, Doom Porn is just as crazy in its way as the shiny middle class suburban space frontier.
In terms of resources, with the possible exception of water, we're much better off than we think we are. Huge inefficiencies and a culture of waste mean that resource cutbacks are very possible. There would be major dislocation, but not necessarily major damage. Cities are full of people who waste two to four hours every day moving from one place to another and back again in outsized heavy metal boxes. Like many traditions this is clearly pointless and stupid. And like many other traditions it offers plenty of scope for resource savings by taking a more thoughtful approach to what's needed, instead of ploughing the same old groove forever.
What's really missing isn't stuff, or innovation, it's political intelligence and inspired and integrated social management. Socially, humans are't terribly bright. Humans who Get It usually seem to be in the top 10% or so of the intelligence spread. That means anywhere between 60% and 90%, depending, don't have the foresight to make intelligent long-term choices. Those are the ones who are also easy meat for demagogues and charlatans.
Unlike the resource issue, which is fixable, poor intelligence isn't. Education can help a lot, but there's still a point beyond which people are handicappred by a predictive horizon that clouds into grey before it should. If they can't see the issues they can't deal with them.
Dealing with that handicap is probably the single biggest challenge there is. I have no idea what a solution would look like.
But yes, it is about political intelligence. But politics are about power. Why are there inefficiences? Not because people have not pointed them out but because it would hurt the one in charge of that particular ineffiency more to correct it then to let it be.
Maybe, just maybe, we can someday strangle the last king by some proper material and get rid of the stupifying power-structures. Then surely we can get to some nice society with efficient power useage and no waste. Unfortunately I think those in power will rather see it all crash and burn then give up on their power.
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