Watching the Weather Channel, seeing the unfolding catastrophic effects of Super-typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines, I was struck again by the thought I had while watching the movie “Gravity” at the theater recently. The movie, while being a typical Hollywood over-the-top “space-cowboy” portrayal of disaster, in many ways managed to come together at the end with a subtle but powerful message. A message I have often thought and written about over the last several decades.
In the movie Dr. Ryan Stone, ably played by Sandra Bullock, survives the destruction of every space station refuge the combined nations of earth have placed in low-earth orbit. In about three hours an unexpected event wipes out decades of space development, construction and operation. There’s a message about the fragility of mankind’s endeavors somewhere in there. It might be a Hollywood one-in-a-million scenario but then, those possibilities do exist.
Before its destruction, Dr. Stone makes one last miraculous escape from the Chinese space station that was her final refuge. She then survives an uncontrolled capsule re-entry that can only be described as one no sane astronaut would ever wish to have. Dr. Stone makes a near crash-landing in an un-identified remote lake somewhere on earth with no support or pick-up operations anywhere on the horizon. The capsule quickly sinks as she tries to claw her way out. Stone has to struggle free and swim to the surface and then to the nearby shore of the lake.
There, she crawls back out onto the soft sand shore while grappling once again with earth’s gravity pulling her back down, forcing her to re-double her low-gravity weakened muscles in the push to stand up. At first, she walks shakily and then confidently onto the beach as a fully erect, thinking human having escaped the entire onslaught thrown at her to survive. She is reborn as life emerging from the waters of the earth.
The scene is highly-symbolic of a whole collage of emotion and mankind’s triumph over adversity and planetary survival, not just that of one astronaut returning to earth after a single harrowing mission of deadly challenge. The scene and movie aligns a multitude of issues that all people of the world face if we are to survive in a universe with a so-far-very-low inventory of planets hosting intelligent life. The most important issue seems to be the impossibility of the people of the world to choose how to even survive together as a civilization or a species.
Complimenting that theme was a recent item in the news of the announcement by NASA that there may be approximately 9 billion earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. That is an astounding number where we knew of none a decade ago. Even if not one of those suspected planets proves to host intelligent life it should give every person on this planet pause, no matter their station or circumstance, for no other reason except to ponder the implications for a day.
The ongoing advance of such science and studies shows that the odds of eventually finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe grow every day. Or, just having an available inventory of life-sustaining planets may one day prove very important for that trait alone. However, we seem to be having a problem finding intelligent enough life on this planet in order to govern ourselves.
Which brings us back to Super-typhoon Haiyan and the devastation it has just visited on the Philippines. I have often thought of the problem that “island nations” face on this planet every day. Whether the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia or the tiny Maldives islands, surviving as an island nation is a tough proposition. They have strictly defined and limited land mass upon which to support an ever increasing population. The Philippines, especially, has a large (nearly 100 million and growing) and grindingly poor population that must figure out how to survive and then prosper on a landmass about 2/3 the size of California. How do they really survive for the long term?
Or Japan? A much more successful nation that 70-odd years ago felt compelled to attack other countries when their ability to trade was threatened. Even though seemingly successful today Japan’s population is now declining at a rate of 1 million people/year with alcohol and suicide fast accelerating in the population. The Sendai quake of 2011 and subsequent Tsunami is just compounding their problems.
Both Japan and the Philippines are dependent on being able to find or trade for goods, materials and resources they may not find anywhere on their islands. Plus, any large-scale catastrophe multiplies the difficulties of island existence many times. It also illustrates another problem.
Three thousand years ago such events occurred with the same regularity as the more recent Indonesian and Japanese Tsunamis or the Super Cyclones or Hurricanes in any of the seas. The same is true with massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, with ancient populations so much more sparse and dispersed and more easily accessible resources close by, the incidence of effects on large populations was much lower. Such will never be the case in the future.
People back then viewed such devastating and low-frequency events as “Biblical” or the “Wrath of the Gods” on a world and in a universe of which they had little understanding how the fundamental laws and resulting geophysics operated. Such minimal understanding is much less the case today. We understand much more (though nowhere nearly enough) about how earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and firestorms occur. However, we really have little more ability to avert or ultimately alter the outcome and effects on people than we had 2000 years ago. In the future, there is a very large-scale disaster awaiting that will prove beyond anyone’s doubt the truth in that statement. So, most must still resort to some form of prayer or ritual protection practice.
We have some small ability to detect and thus give earlier warning but it’s not much for most circumstances. And with a large and dispersed population of 7+ billion inhabitants large-scale death and destruction is going to become more prevalent. More to the point is the extremely poor response we, as a planetary population, make to these events around the globe, particularly given what they mean to our island world. Yes, the same problems that every island nation has today is actually shared by every nation on our “island” planet, whether anyone wishes to understand or believe that fact or not.
We have a finite planet with an always-increasing population and will have for quite some time into the future. Governments and, particularly, the anti-human environmentalist crowd has to get over that fact. We are infested by a range of governing systems that together seem to make less progress, with each war and conflict, in understanding and rising to the real challenge of our continued existence here on earth. Instead, those governments regularly seem to expend just as much time in ravaging and destroying much of what earth’s population achieves on the same regular basis that the earth’s geophysics destroys. Which really brings us to the “BIG” problem and what we’re going to do about it.
Are we going to allow the evolution or practice of large-scale depopulation or build a world that embraces population growth as not just an inherent feature of our long-term survival but a thing of beauty and essential to our survival? Yes, expanding population is a thing of beauty, contrary to what most environmentalists (a slightly different form of narcissistic-sociopaths) believe. However, everyone needs to turn their attentions to fixing coercive governance not trying to develop more.
As I and a few others have advocated for decades, there is a much more critical reason to solve the problem of dictatorial, murderous, socio-pathological regimes and governance that seems to plague our existence everywhere on the planet. That self-evident reason is that we cannot solve our much larger problems of earthly survival for any one population or conserving the environment in the best way possible, much less the species, without first solving the problems in our governance. In many ways that problem is more easily solvable if only the reasonable and rational among us would actually stand up and start expressing that reasonable and rational proposition.
To save ourselves on this planet we must first eradicate the power structures of humans that generate conflict and war and give rise to the narcissistic, socio-pathological megalomaniacs who strive for power in every country through maintaining those structures. In this and other countries we seem to be stupid enough to elect and re-elect them out of both major parties. In other countries they also take control through various mechanisms, from pseudo-democracy structures to outright police state violence. In any case, the general population must learn how to identify them much earlier in their rise to power and end their efforts through concerted individual action. They must learn the lessons of freedom and liberty and our population apparently must relearn them.
Yes, that’s right, it’s up to each of us to stop them, not look for others to do it for us. Yep, we need to turn off Sunday Sports, the latest Amazing Race or any one of a number of mind-numbing, brain dead activities that really provide no added value for our own lives, much less to help insure the benefit of our children and grandchildren. Get off the couch now, otherwise it will be removed for you as government grows ever larger. Even many of those who don’t view themselves as couch-potatoes, because they are employed and may have “jobs,” fail to realize that many “jobs” are simply not productive or produce no true wealth that advances the population or our civilization. That is particularly true of about half of government jobs and many in the service sector that support government. Those government activities and “jobs” that produce no economic, human health, safety or productive benefit are easy to identify once one understands actual economics and human behavior.
For the truly addicted, the only way might be to toss the satellite or cable and most social media connectivity altogether and go cold turkey. Also ending the massive, mindless consumerism would appear to be a reasonable education experience for most. More than a third of our GDP is used up making, selling and using “stuff” that can only be viewed as complete “crap.” A waste of precious and finite resources. Incomprehensibly, many people don’t understand everything we make and have comes out of the earth, it doesn’t just magically appear in the stores and supermarkets. There’s no other way to describe it but “crap” that so many rush around to purchase every day, believing they’re helping the “economy” because their political leaders and the TV tell them so.
It’s also appalling how few in the United States are engaged in trying to bring about positive economic and political change while our economy and federal budget are in the midst of an ongoing implosion here and in similar governments across the globe. There is no “Recovery” on the horizon other than transitory statistical blips and flim-flammery. The two ideologically-controlled parties and the mass of elected buffoons here have failed to resolve anything of importance and, in fact, are the ones pulling us underwater. We have wars of all types brewing around the planet and more than half of America couldn’t locate central Asia or Africa on a map even to save their life. Which soon may become a necessity.
On earth we live in a gravity ‘well.’ To first overcome that ‘well’ will require enormous individual sacrifice and the development of private, sustainable (meaning profitable) systems, infrastructures and technologies to fully exploit the region of near-space and the solar system beyond for the immense and beckoning resources there. It is an imperative of the survival of the human race. If we fail to do that before we have consumed too much of the strategic resources we have on the planet, the necessities of planetary survival of the increasing population will trap us here in the well and likely doom us to a (optimistically) slow and grinding extinction.
However, think of the opposite possibilities! My Dad was an early worker in the Space program. He and his colleagues early-on planted a seed that directed eventually all man’s long-term possibilities lie in space. Nature, as did my decades-long career as a large-scale systems engineer, teaches that the first form of any system’s survivability is redundancy, particularly when the in-system reliability is either not high or unknown. Being able to obtain resources from space not only insures our long-term survivability on earth, but in space or elsewhere may lie refuge if for some reason something were to happen to earth. Development of off-earth resources will also allow the Conservationist mentality to be better utilized.
However, to obtain our long-term survivability requires we must finally overcome failed behaviors, philosophies and failing political systems first. Thousands of years of tribal, religious, monarchical, nationalist and oligarchical wars have left the human race largely bereft of the correct lessons. We continue to fall into the same traps built by the powerful to both amuse and control. One of the contemporary and chief failed philosophies behind Communism-Socialism-Fascism -Progressivism is Environmentalism.
A person born today stands a reasonable chance of living to somewhere near the end of the century. What kind of a planet will they be living on? Will human behavior continue on the downward trajectory we seem to exist on today? Will we learn the lessons of the 20th Century or continue as we are? Is it possible to retrace the Pursuit of happiness we started out on?
In a world of ever-increasing population and finite geophysical boundaries there is no such thing as Environmentalism. Only Conservationism. Environmentalism is the latest attempt at the “free lunch.” Until that is understood we will continue to fall behind in our need to survive for the long term. Mankind is the most endangered species on the planet as we represent the best hope of developing both intelligent life AND continuing the survival of the entire planet. If we are wiped out everything else will inevitably follow. Cosmic events may be far apart but they contain the only global-killers we will ever know. Governments and Environmentalists aren’t smart enough to think that one through.
It is the goal of “The Citizen’s Last Stand: Are YOU Ready?” to re-introduce the population to the fundamentals of existence and of positive advancement towards happiness. I believe it is the goal of the “Remnant” who truly believe in Freedom and Liberty to re-establish those fundamentals as the driving properties of not only America but of our planetary civilization. It is the most expansive view to our future that I know of and certainly beats the heck out of the brain-dead policies and political future of the ruling parties and the government we have in place.