I like fried chicken.
Eating fried chicken now and then is a most enjoyable activity. Eating fried chicken every day or every week, however, will soon become a problem. On a personal level, the amount of waste I generate daily is not really a problem I can immediately perceive. And so on.
Perhaps most of the problems we face as a species today are primarily a matter of degree. When a few people do something, the effects are generally minimal. When an entire flock of humans do it (and do it without thinking), the effects can be cumulative and rapidly devastating.
There are several factors working against us right now:
- We are by nature social animals and the need for social validation is very strong. Only the very self aware can have a chance of fighting it. We need a greater increase in awareness, fast.
- There are a lot more of us now, and the numbers are ever-increasing. Population growth management and resource allocation/use on a global, cross-border level, is desperately required.
- We are experiencing an unprecedented level of global connectedness. It is easier now to have fewer memes occupying most of the world’s population. The potential for groupthink on a global scale is real. Do we choose to leverage this for the common good? Or to sell more stuff
- In an information-overload, pace-overdrive world, we are perpetually rushing from one thought to the next. Is this fostering whole new generations of attention-deficit short-term thinkers? Are we at the threshold of the age of the quick-fix; the rise of the someone-else’s-problem generation?
- There seem to be a global rise in religious fundamentalism, and with that religion-fuelled intolerance and hatred for diversity, questioning, and rational discourse. It seems that there are people out there eager to push society back into the Dark Ages. Is this plain ignorance? Or perhaps denial on a grand scale? Or are they serving some grand hidden financial/political agenda?
A planetary awareness upgrade is clearly required. Will it come soon enough?