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fremen_warrior's avatar

Humanity v2.0 - how do we make the leap?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5461 points ) March 5th, 2013

“Miss Universe” shows, and the like, celebrate blind luck, and – along with popular press, ads, cinema (and the majority of show business in general) – create deep sociological issues relating to feelings of low self worth, an endless pursuit of the better, faster, more luxurious, and an overall inability to ever satisfy our lust for MORE.

It’s the beating heart of modern day capitalism, it’s the lifeblood of consumerism, it is, in my opinion, the worst thing to hit our global civilization since WW2. I believe this economy-focused approach to governing people is wasteful, immoral, and immature, and is going to come back and nibble on our collective backside sooner or later…

What I would like to hear from you are ideas to stop this cancer dead in its tracks. To come up with a new world order that does not rely on a consumerism-fuelled rat race, one that is sustainable and would allow for the human civilization to move to a post-capitalist reality.

As the most advanced organism on this planet, that we claim to be, it is embarassing (who knows what other more advanced life forms might be observing us from deep space right now) to say the least, that we have yet to defeat our addiction to our basest instincts, that we cannot look past our obsessive compulsive hedonism, and build a glorious, mindful civilization of jedi knights space-explorers and “shepherds/protectors of lesser species”. We are mired by our inability to stop feeding the inner-child boat loads of candy, to stop thinking of the here and now, and to start reaching for the stars (both figuratively, and literally). This has got to stop; humanity needs to grow up (NOW!)!!

Ideas?

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22 Answers

josie's avatar

Replace humaninty with something else.
Because what you described is the nature of the critter.
But if you decide to try to replace humanity you will get resistence from me.
I like being here.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Sacred Economics. The concept is somewhat idealist, but it can work, especially if or when the current system collapses under its own greedy weight. The ethos of consumerism (Buy! More! Buy! More!), added to the egocentric advertising (You are worth it! Even if you need to borrow money to get it! If you don’t buy this you won’t be as worthy!) has led to the current system of 1% controlling 95% of the wealth in this economy.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It seems that economic instability and the fear engendered by unnecessary political impasses promotes and encourages the endless search to the false security wealth or at least the trappings of wealth promise are expected to provide.

Until as a species we learn to distinguish need from want, we will never move up of the hierarchy of needs as discussed by Abraham Maslow over fifty years ago. Looking his theory up should be easy enough for anyone interested.

ETpro's avatar

Great question, @fremen_warrior

Watch The Story of Stuff and then check out the parent organization, and look at some of the stories and videos linked on their front page. You’ll see there are things we can do, and people that are doing those things.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am sympathetic to your point of view, but I do not see an alternative. I am haunted by Nietsche’s image of the last man and also by the dystopia in The Time Machine of H G Wells. We should all get along and love one another and not take beyond our needs, but if you eliminate greed and competition and envy, what do you have left? What would motivate us? I am no follower of Nietzsche, but I don’t know how to answer him.

We could stop our consumption binge in the interest of preserving the planet, but we would just find another way of competing with one another.

CWOTUS's avatar

First you should thank and congratulate capitalism and all of the other ills that you decry that have allowed you the leisure time (and the computer, internet, texts for review, etc.) to have and entertain the consideration that you do. It’s only when you don’t have to spend the entirety of a short, anxious, work-filled life trying to keep your belly full and your kids from being eaten by wolves (or lost in childbirth or malnutrition or to bad water or water-borne illness) that you can step back and consider “what comes next”, and so can many others.

Maybe what you need to do is help the rest of the world get to where you are. The most effective way to do that is to buy what they produce for sale to the global market place, so they can improve their own standard of living.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@CWOTUS Bravo, monsieur!

starsofeight's avatar

A greed-driven society may definitely be replaced with a purpose-driven society, but I do not foresee idealists running the show. Aside from changing the language, the entire upper echelon of money-grubbers needs to be removed.

Reversal. First give citizens the things they need and want; provide for them completely. Then, demand a responsible and productive lifestyle that includes a set number of work hours per week. Slackers get punished.

Worker-friendly. Make most jobs user friendly so that individuals may go anywhere and do anything to fulfill their responsibilities. We should avoid boredom. We might even broaden our horizons, and take on multiple skills.

Make life free and accessible to all. Let each in turn maintain some part of the whole.

ETpro's avatar

@CWOTUS Unless we have quantum leaps in energy and all other resource production technologies, bringing 7 billion people up to the lifestyle that Americans live would just hasten the onset of a dystrophy with global warming run amok, mass starvation, resource depletion of every kind. The US houses less than 5% of Earth’s population but consumes over 25% of all energy production. If the other 95% suddenly join us in our profligate ways, we can destroy spaceship Earth in the next 10 years.

Conservatives seem to think digitally. It’s either 1 or 0. There is nothing in between. But we live in an analog world with infinite nuances. I’ll grant you, the far left is no different. They are equally incapable of seeing any middle ground. I’d be just as harsh a critic of them if there were enough around in America to have any serious impact on policy decisions.

@LostInParadise Most people actually take pride in their work and their contribution to the community. Mankind survived countless eons without stock markets, capitalism, and the incentive to become the biggest billionaire with the most corporate jets. I disagree that such a culture is not possible. It obviously is possible, because it is how humans lived throughout most of human existence. Capitalism is the aberration, not the norm. That’s not to say we need to abandon capitalism altogether. That might be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. We just have to start calculating the total cost of capitalist activity.

We are fast approaching a time when we will no longer be able to pretend that when we externalize costs to third world nations, those costs no longer exist. Like the old Mexican proverb warns, “Take whatever you want in the world, says God, and pay for it.” That is not in the Bible, but it is in the way the Universe is wired up to work.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ETpro Why do we still have the tax break in the US for having children? It’s so annoying to me that we reward reproducing monetarily, thus every family, even the ones with five unhappy hungry children, get $4k+ on their returns each tax season…isn’t it past time we do away with that?

mattbrowne's avatar

The end of trash by using “Cradle to Cradle” design for all our material goods.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Yetanotheruser, @Dr_Lawrence, @ETpro thank you for these, interesting stuff by all means.

@LostInParadise we are competitive by nature, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just… a feature ;-) Who is to say we could not channel this competitiveness into something positive instead?

@CWOTUS something tells me you didn’t read my question in detail but skimmed it, saw something about anti-capitalism, and decided to post a “standard response to anti-capitalist morons”.

I do not attack the western capitalist-democracy meld itself, it is a lot better than any other system we have tried so far (okay, perhaps the People’s Republic of China has an alternative solution – but the jury is still out on this one, and it’s too early to judge imo). What I am against is the out of control consumerism that is wreaking havoc on societies worldwide, leading to both severe sociological and economic crises.

What I am saying is our human civilization is being weakened by this self-absorbed pleasure seeking. People used to have ideals, nowadays they only seem to have idols.

@KNOWITALL won’t you please, please think of the children! :P

@mattbrowne I am not sure I am familiar with that term, but I do like the sound of ending waste! :-)

I guess what I am saying is I want an enlightened society of healers, protectors, and explorers. And it is frustrating to see all that potential go to waste, as we go from one shiny thing to the next.

Maybe I should start writing sci-fi?

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m sorry, @fremen_warrior, I did the best I could with your incense-laden, hand-waving, mystical and mealy-mouthed space-opera nonsense… and then came up with my standard “defense of Capitalism 101” response. Try asking a question based on some kind of reality next time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@fremen_warrior No, tired of the dirty unhappy little critters. :)

fremen_warrior's avatar

@CWOTUS you respond to something which is not in my post, and when I confront you about it you resort to demeaning me? How about you take a few deep breaths before you decide to post something, and check the drama at the door, instead?

@KNOWITALL well good luck to you then ;-)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@fremen_warrior Thanks! Our family has donated to our local children’s home for decades and we try to do our part to help with the world’s unloved children, but taking those tax breaks away may help.

CWOTUS's avatar

@fremen_warrior I think if you’ll have someone read to you out loud exactly what I wrote (both times) you’ll find (or they can tell you, because you haven’t been able to find it yet) that I have been responsive to what you wrote (in the first reply) and not at all demeaning to you in the more recent response. I freely admit that I was completely dismissive of what you wrote, however. I hope you don’t regard your writing as “part of yourself” ... but I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@KNOWITALL small steps. It’s all symptoms though. The root cause is somewhere else. It’s the lack of mindfulness that our civilization must somehow overcome.

@CWOTUS if trolling were a viable career choice, you’d be set for life. Bravo. Funny how only you have a problem with the wording or the general style of my post so far. As they say “a closed mouth gathers no foot” – unless you have anything of value to add to the discussion, leave.

ETpro's avatar

@KNOWITALL This may sound racist but it’s not. It is, instead, a look at the actual facts that impact the question in the linked comment. The birthrate in the US is currently a little below that required to simply maintain a stable population. The birthrate in impoverished minority groups is high, but among college educated whites it is dangerously low. Careful what you wish for.

dabbler's avatar

@ETpro The birthrate analysis sounds like Idiocracy !

It’s going to take a philosophical leap for humans to transcend their normal and natural hoarding instincts (i.e. get more stuff!) and feel content. Now that many of us have enough of the basics, thanks to the industrial revolution, it’s time to realize that we have enough.
(@CWOTUS I wouldn’t credit capitalism for our prosperity. It’s science, and the exploitation of fossil-fuels to supplement and replace people and animal power to produce what we need.)

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler You mean all I need is a hibernation machine and I can wake up as the Isaac Newton of 2613?

dabbler's avatar

Just don’t go looking for no time machine.

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