human evolution

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Re: human evolution

Postby disjointed » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:32 am

the 1% or crony networks only have power over people because people in general are greedy and selfish.

Their success is entirely dependent on a disharmonious humanity.
Sounds kind of evil doesn't it? Promoting these mental afflictions on a world wide scale so that you can take advantage while the others are at each other's throats.

Ethicities mixing is a dream come true for them actually. Because it means that people cannot unify against them on the basis of race. i.e. dispose their puppet elected officials.

Representative democracies are also a dream come true. Because you can get your people into all the offices by controlling campaigns but still have the illusion of some form of democracy by letting your puppets act out conflicts over insignificant issues. And you never have to explain things to your representatives because they're so greedy they'll sell out their whole country for pocket change.

It's a ramble but it's semi relevant to eugenics in society.

If you guys want to set up a Buddhist crony network just tell me. We can discriminate against everyone else whenever it benefits us and can secretly take over more and more pretending to be autonomous individuals and then make the world Buddhist. lol

Honestly I've been debating joining an existing crony network through my family for about a year, but the Bodhisattva vows strictly prohibit it as a wrong livelihood on the basis of using coercion, flattery, pretense, etc.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:34 pm

Qing Tian wrote:It fails to convey any real understanding of evolution. Being smart, for example, is not a universal trait of species survival. If it was there would only be smart things on the planet - which is clearly not the case. Similarly being attractive is entirely a question of perspective - taking humans as an example, our take on 'attractiveness' has changed many times in just the last few hundred years - and overlooks the millions of humping 'uglies' in the world at present.

Actually, species which have survived are extremely smart. Even the best computers today don't have anywhere near the processing power of the brains of some of the most apparently simple animals.

Having natural selection in the world or not is morally neutral - good and bad karma arises from people doing good and bad deeds. But it is undeniable that getting rid of natural selection, as we have, will result in us not evolving to more physically and mentally capable forms. This is neither good nor bad, but it may be running away from bad karma which would otherwise be exhausted through such deaths.In many Buddhist countries, such as Burma, which is still third world to a certain degree, unfortunate and unforeseen death, which is far more common than elsewhere, is usually accepted as just the result of bad karma.

So if you let the bad karma, which would otherwise cause something as dreadful as death, to build up and linger in a mass of people, then it is obvious that you will have worse collective karma as a whole, having a population which is less intelligent, less attractive, and not as strong on average. Forced sterilisation isn't really getting rid of this problem from a karma perspective - the only ideal way to tackle this issue is to make the world all pre-modern again, and remove modern medicine. Though from a practical and national perspective, forced sterilisation is probably a wise precaution, and it will bring dividends in the future. After all, there's nothing particularly Buddhist about having kids, so if you're going to have them, at least let them be the ones less likely to be a burden and more able to contribute to the greater good - we can think of it from a practical and economic perspective, rather than a sexual desire perspective. After all, the only reason a person might think it is unfair is because they have the genetically coded desire to have kids - this is just another desire which in the end is another cause of suffering, so we should make it subservient to reason and sense.
greentara wrote:disjointed, You have some very interesting ideas but shaping a narrative around a pet idea is not always the most logical. Your arguement is a little bit messy as I can't count the number of times I've seen beautiful women give birth to quite ordinary looking children. Or travelled through the third world and seen extraordinary looking young men and girls in small, impoverished villages....that took my breathe away. They weren't athletic, there was no catwalk for them but just passing eyes that appreciated their beauty.

This is mistaking genotype for phenotype. The genes which become visible are not always the ones which were selected for one generation prior, natural selection is not as simple as Herbert Spencer's diagrams of geniuses in his family, it takes massive build ups of a selected gene in general populations over many many generations for it to be on average more likely to manifest itself in the phenotype. This is like our genes which make us hairy apes - we have selected through hundreds of generations not to have the genes which make us hairy apes, causing is to be quite bald on the face compared to other apes - but sometimes that gene is selected because it's still hidden away in our DNA, and you get a very rare occurrence of a man or woman with hair all over her body and face.

The fact that one individual family may be living in fortunate or unfortunate circumstances at present says nothing about the natural selection in their history. You could take one of Khan Noonien Singh's superhumans as a baby, and just place them in an environment with poor nutrition and bad fortune in general, and they will also grow appear to be very impoverished, and yet still extraordinary looking. So, such says nothing of their genes.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Qing Tian » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:49 pm

Nothing drives genetic change - it is random. When we, as humans, see the legacy of what survives and what does not we have an incorrect tendency to ascribe some sort of pattern to it.
There is also the the hidden belief that we have a right to evolve and survive, which is obviously ridiculous.
There is no upward path in evolution, there is no advancement in evolution. Thinking that there is such a direction is an entirely human conceit.

Evolution can really be summed thus: that which survives, survives.

Most people (who I have asked) have no real idea of what change they would like if we had the power to make it happen. Oh they say they would like to be fitter, stronger, faster, more intelligent, longer lived and so on, but in all cases they singularly fail to provide a good reason why any of these things are genuinely worth having. Ultimately it boils down to desire on an individual level.

My buzz phrase for this year has been : Fit for purpose.
Those who push their fitness beyond what they require in daily life find that they eventually struggle to maintain it, and have to artificially create the environment in which their current physical level is appropriate - a vicious little circle.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:26 pm

Yes, you are quite correct in that all kinds of attempts at improving worldly life are pointless and meaningless, they come back to desire in the end. From a secular level I can see how improving worldly life makes sense though.

Also, there are many types of Buddhism. There's apotropaic Buddhism, where you pray to the Buddha and keep the devas happy in order to avoid calamity; there's karmic Buddhism where you simply try to act now such that you get good fruits in the future; and then there's nirvanic Buddhism where the point is cessation. Of course all Buddhists see the final of the three as the ultimate goal, but due to their lack of motivation in this life, they simply try to make the best of the world we have and try to do good deeds or avoid calamity. It is important to remember that the Buddha also taught karmic and apotropaic Buddhism, because everyone has different inclinations.

So even beyond the secular level, there is motivation in improving worldly life which is Buddhist.

You don't need to worry about being objective in asking what we think is better or worse in terms of evolution, because we all know that life is easier when people are more intelligent and stronger because it means less effort needs to be exerted to achieve a goal.

On the other hand, this could be weighed with the notion that exerting effort is an important part of human existence, and that we should not try to make things easier on ourselves. In some Buddhist countries, ethnology has shown that village Buddhists often oppose modernisation quite vocally, because they believe that it does this very thing, and that it just serves to delay more karma for longer. And yet, at the same time, modernisation undoubtedly makes people's lives easier, thus relieving some suffering, and so modernising must be considered an act of good karma to some degree - after all, it yields good results.
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Re: human evolution

Postby disjointed » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:07 am

There is actually a pattern to genetic changes over generations.

That's why animals from previous eras are more primitive than those later eras.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:26 am

Oh boy...

You don't need to worry about being objective in asking what we think is better or worse in terms of evolution, because we all know that life is easier when people are more intelligent and stronger because it means less effort needs to be exerted to achieve a goal.


Please tell me you don't actually believe the second part of this statement that you (Zhen Li) wrote? Quite apart from the difficulty in defining precisely what 'more intelligent and stronger' realistically means (from an evolutionary perspective), at present a disturbing number of your 'more intelligent and stronger' group are raping the Earth of resources and increasing the misery for everyone else... and ultimately for themselves (not that they care).


disjointed wrote :
There is actually a pattern to genetic changes over generations.

That's why animals from previous eras are more primitive than those later eras.


Oh really. Care to explain why there are 'primitive' animals around today? How about a comparison of dinosauria - that dominated the Earth for 135 million years - with modern mammals, of which most of the large ones are rapidly going extinct?

At the risk of being a little impolite your statement looks like the kind of thing an adherent of 'Intelligent Design' would come up with.
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Re: human evolution

Postby disjointed » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:54 am

I'm assuming you're not suggesting that all the various forms of life did not exist "in the beginning" and there was no progression from that to this.

Large does not mean more sophisticated genetics.

Unfortunately I cannot compare the DNA of the earliest life with the primitive creatures of today. I expect there would be genetic differences though. Bacteria develop new coping mechanisms unseen before when exposed to modern chemical antibiotics. Their DNA is different, but they may look the same.

Actually, now that I think about it it may be possible to sequence ancient bacterial DNA from our own human genome.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:35 am

Qing Tian wrote:Please tell me you don't actually believe the second part of this statement that you (Zhen Li) wrote? Quite apart from the difficulty in defining precisely what 'more intelligent and stronger' realistically means (from an evolutionary perspective), at present a disturbing number of your 'more intelligent and stronger' group are raping the Earth of resources and increasing the misery for everyone else... and ultimately for themselves (not that they care).
Some also plant trees and work in hospitals. The more intelligent we become, the easier it will be for us to develop solutions to resource problems. In fact, things on the whole have gotten better and easier over human history.
Qing Tian wrote:Oh really. Care to explain why there are 'primitive' animals around today? How about a comparison of dinosauria - that dominated the Earth for 135 million years - with modern mammals, of which most of the large ones are rapidly going extinct?

Extinctions occur by natural law, and eventually humans will go extinct too, probably to be replaced by giant cockroaches.

Besides the fact that size isn't particularly telling of sophistication, as disjointed pointed out, the progress and improvement of a species' life through the process of natural selection is not one linear process, but is stopped, and started again, on and off. It's all impermanent.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:20 am

Progress and improvement? There is no progress in evolution. It is not a process with a beginning and an end. Random changes that are resource-advantageous do not represent progress, merely change.

In fact, things on the whole have gotten better and easier over human history.


Really? What things? You think that, taken globally, the percentage of people that live above the poverty threshold is significantly higher now than ever? With 5% of the population (globally) squandering 95% of the world's resources, you think this is a statistic that points to how intelligent we are?

And anyway, 'intelligent' people limiting themselves to 2.4 children will be eventually over-run by hordes of the 'unintelligent' whose only unspoken survival strategy is to do what is natural and have as many children as possible. You see, when it comes to natural survival the only factor that has meaning is to actually survive. How this is achieved is irrelevant.

Here is a very useful link

I offer this link with good intentions only, and not as a direct criticism of anyone. It would be unreasonable and unfair to assume that everyone is familiar with evolutionary biology.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:13 pm

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Re: human evolution

Postby undefineable » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:47 pm

Zhen Li wrote:it is undeniable that getting rid of natural selection, as we have, will result in us not evolving to more physically and mentally capable forms. This is neither good nor bad, but it may be running away from bad karma which would otherwise be exhausted through such deaths.In many Buddhist countries, such as Burma, which is still third world to a certain degree, unfortunate and unforeseen death, which is far more common than elsewhere, is usually accepted as just the result of bad karma.
Untrue - Far more negative karma is surely exhausted by surviving with the insight that one's skandhas constitute a mechanism so lacking in the sophistication that characterises the human realm that it could fairly be called inferior (by relative comparison) or even subhuman. The main problems for such beings (calling them people sometimes stretches the definition of the term) are:
1) That by simply surviving they are gathering negative karma of a kind similar to that gathered by actual parasites (although I grant that this is not heavy karma since it lacks sufficient intention), and
2) That by the likely negative consequences of any insight into their inferiority, this fresh negative karma will be far worse and far heavier (since envy, fear, and hate are now involved to some extent) than it would have been if they'd managed (one way or another) to practice self-acceptance at every stage of their lives and simply 'got on with it'. {Suicide, of course, cannot be a way out in either case.}

I agree that it's better for the world for the weak to perish as early in life as possible, and for evolution to prevent their birth in such great numbers as we see today, but I'm unsure whether it would be better for the mindstreams of the weak themselves, as they'd end up exhasuting the negative karma that caused their weakness (and all the problems that may bring in different circumstances) by being born in a more charitable world. Of course it's actually better for the mindstreams of the strong to practice charity towards the weak, but to the degree that taxation is involved in the "take more than you give" scenario I'm examining, the second precept is broken and the strong are wronged by the weak in a way that partly excuses the vengeance of the strong (against them) that we see around the world today. This last point is particularly true, since this 'vengeance' lacks malicious intent and so is only inadvertently vengeful. I understand certain wealthy Americans limit their 'charity' to the distribution of Ayn Rand novels in order to persuade the strong to better themselves and avoid charity towards the weak, and to persuade the weak to commit suicide - One wonders if this constitutes neutral or positive (rather than negative) karma.

Finally, as I've written elsewhere on Dharmawheel, it's becoming harder and harder (in the west atleast) to avoid generating negative karma, as the degree of "jumping through hoops" one has to perform (not to mention the degree to which one must risk remaining literally as well as morally in debt through education and training) simply in order to maintain right livelihood is becoming unsustainable. This is because meeting all such demands is impossible (or atleast a matter of *finding* oneself in the right situations) for many, and not necessarily just for those would have labelled as "weak" in other situations; it's also that way because of the degree of debilitating mental illness that such uncertainties provoke in beings who are merely sentient - rather than enlightened. Since no-one's managed to come up with an alternative (probably as there is none at this point), I suggested on another thread that the human population will have to reduce drastically through mass starvation (followed by mass extermination at the hands of sociopathic elites once this has provoked a crime wave). If it weren't for the advent of the 'New Right' around the eighties, we'd be more likely to be looking at a (slightly later) mass extinction of all life on earth as a result of human overpopulation and over-exploitation.

Though I've just made clear that I'd go along with the rest of your post, and with this:
Zhen Li wrote:You don't need to worry about being objective in asking what we think is better or worse in terms of evolution, because we all know that life is easier when people are more intelligent and stronger because it means less effort needs to be exerted to achieve a goal.
, most western readers will find this level of "facing up" to the world's problems shocking, simply because of its historical association with a certain party that suffered defeat in World War 2 and whom it's really time to forget about ;) ;) .
I realise this is all pretty heavy going, but an intellectual Buddhist forum -where readers are likely to accept rebirth- seems the place to write it.
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Re: human evolution

Postby undefineable » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:48 pm

Zhen Li wrote:On the other hand, this could be weighed with the notion that exerting effort is an important part of human existence, and that we should not try to make things easier on ourselves.
Yes - Failing to exert oneself optimally because of fear, laziness, or whatever, clearly generates negative karma and also leaves the world a worse place than it could otherwise have been. A hard life clearly amounts to an ideal opportunity to generate positive karma and 'burn off' the negative. On the other hand, 'lubricants' (as I described them on another thread) like Buddhadharma -or any skillfully-treated religion for that matter- can raise optimal levels of exertion, which is important when we bear in mind stories of Accident & Emergency Doctors, 'city boys' (a London term by the way), and so on 'burning out' and thereby contributing less to society over their lifetimes than they would otherwise have done. Also, 'making things easier' ends up making things harder, as I explained in my last post, since if everyone were to sit around with their 'mod-cons' without replacing the activities they used to do (in order to survive) with new activities that bind the whole society together, then the entire wealth of humanity whould dry up within a few years and everyone would starve to death. {It's hard to imagine how some people were apparently stupid enough to believe otherwise in the sixties!} Further to this, to the degree that things are easier and more luxurious after modernisation, more positive karma is burned away without necessarily being replaced, thus risking a big 'karma deficit'.
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Re: human evolution

Postby undefineable » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:57 pm

Qing Tian wrote:With 5% of the population (globally) squandering 95% of the world's resources, you think this is a statistic that points to how intelligent we are?.
It points to the fact that human as well as animal life is governed by the laws of natural selection. Btw, it's true (in the west atleast) that living standards were spread more evenly for a few years around 1970, but human nature and the human results of karma ensure that things quickly fall back in line.
Qing Tian wrote:at present a disturbing number of your 'more intelligent and stronger' group are raping the Earth of resources and increasing the misery for everyone else... and ultimately for themselves (not that they care)
If you know the story of Star Wars you'll know that the central character "brought balance to the Force" by drastically raising the level of misery and destruction in his galaxy for a short time after a long period in which "good" had been unnaturally and unsustainably dominant. He sacrificed himself in the course of mediating (for want of a better word) this rebalancing, and because his motivation was attachment rather than aversion, his rebirth (such as it may have been) was not unfavourable. Obviously that last point doesn't quite fit with a Buddhist POV, but you get the gist _ Anyway, that's all I got :toilet:
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Re: human evolution

Postby ClearblueSky » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:36 pm

Qing Tian wrote:Progress and improvement? There is no progress in evolution. It is not a process with a beginning and an end. Random changes that are resource-advantageous do not represent progress, merely change.

In fact, things on the whole have gotten better and easier over human history.


Really? What things? You think that, taken globally, the percentage of people that live above the poverty threshold is significantly higher now than ever? With 5% of the population (globally) squandering 95% of the world's resources, you think this is a statistic that points to how intelligent we are?

And anyway, 'intelligent' people limiting themselves to 2.4 children will be eventually over-run by hordes of the 'unintelligent' whose only unspoken survival strategy is to do what is natural and have as many children as possible. You see, when it comes to natural survival the only factor that has meaning is to actually survive. How this is achieved is irrelevant.

Here is a very useful link

I offer this link with good intentions only, and not as a direct criticism of anyone. It would be unreasonable and unfair to assume that everyone is familiar with evolutionary biology.


Yes, when it comes to evolution itself, the only "purpose" is surviving, and the only "progress" is whatever happens to happen, based on who dies out and who mates with who. Seconded and agreed.

But since we've gotten to talking about progress of humanity, and the earth's state as a whole, I'd like to say it's easy to present the opposing view, that things have in fact gotten better for people as a whole. I think whatever time people are around, they are going to think it is the "degenerate age" and things used to be better in the past. It's pretty much part of every religion in every time period. To me the one thing that is clearly worse right now is earth's environment, that is in fact degenerating.

But, if humans "purpose" is in fact survival, the closest thing compared to the original topic of evolution, that is "progressing" positively. Our lifespans are steadily increasing, as is the population. If you measure "intelligence" as an understanding of what is happening in the universe around you, I'd have to disagree and say that is increasing too. We just make some pretty bad choices despite it. As far as "peace on earth", the other main thing people tend to see as "progress" that is also increasing, despite people tending to believe it's the opposite. There's way less war and battling now then there's been through human history. For the most part, if you look at individual human rights, they've been increasing exponentially over the past 50 years. As far as individual happiness, that's the one thing that at least has been tough to measure, but maybe now that we can do giant surveys, future generations will have a better idea whether that's increasing or decreasing.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing about the poverty line, or even that we have certain new, horrible problems we didn't have before. Just pointing out that there's just as much opposing evidence to the "degenerate age" stuff people seem to say so much. And just as a reminder again, (I agree with you) in pointing out there are two separate issues repeatedly being mixed as one in this thread:
1. Evolution (what happens based on who dies and who mates, there is no goal and no 'unnatural conclusion')
2."Progress" (The state of earth, people's happiness, and the human condition. Could be argued there is progress and a goal).
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Re: human evolution

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:14 pm

Agreed, and I think it is important to make that distinction. Evolution does not have a purpose. It is really a record of what survived rather than a predictor of succesful changes to come (if any). On the other hand the human ability to deliberately (albeit imperfectly) shape our future is (at a small stretch) purpose driven by the desire to improve.

Also, to re-emphasise, our world is a closed system. It has finite limits on resources, and sustainability is only possible under a specific range of criteria. As soon as we exceed these in any significant way we are almost certainly going to see a rise in desperation, famines, wars, and ultimately, die-back. The problem with unstructured and unconstrained growth is that it fails to see crisis as the logical endpoint.
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Re: human evolution

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:35 pm

Qing Tian wrote:Progress and improvement? There is no progress in evolution. It is not a process with a beginning and an end. Random changes that are resource-advantageous do not represent progress, merely change.

So, if you find a solution to a problem, you don't consider it improvement?

I'm not trying to lay out some cosmic law here, I'm just talking about mundane experience that you and I know on a daily level.
Qing Tian wrote:Really? What things? You think that, taken globally, the percentage of people that live above the poverty threshold is significantly higher now than ever? With 5% of the population (globally) squandering 95% of the world's resources, you think this is a statistic that points to how intelligent we are?

Actually, a lot of the world which formerly had none of the benefits of modernity are quickly advancing into modernity. There are some nations which are not modernising or developing, but most inevitably do get introduced to modernisation through exposure over time.

But this also is something which we must face up to honestly, as undefineable pointed out, with the fact that a bell-curve is more or less a natural distribution in human existence. Inequality isn't something which we ought to necessarily abhor whenever it rears its head, it is something which exists in nature and we are unlikely to ever get rid of.

Suppose we solve the issue in one arena - it will invariably pop up again in another. So this should be balanced with a good degree of generosity where it exists, and keen yet cautious policy making to keep it at bay as we can. But we must not get too zealous and imagine we can solve the problem once and for all, because it will be futile.
Qing Tian wrote:And anyway, 'intelligent' people limiting themselves to 2.4 children will be eventually over-run by hordes of the 'unintelligent' whose only unspoken survival strategy is to do what is natural and have as many children as possible. You see, when it comes to natural survival the only factor that has meaning is to actually survive. How this is achieved is irrelevant.

I am not sure I understand what your point is here, but I view reproduction is more or less dependent on population density.

In as much as the nation state is still relevant (and I sometimes wonder how much it is going to be in the future), this is not much of an issue. If borders were eliminated, I could start to see some of the disadvantages of an anarchist position which I sometimes hold to be a nice 'resort' when my dissatisfaction with politics reaches it's frequent peaks.
undefineable wrote:
Qing Tian wrote:at present a disturbing number of your 'more intelligent and stronger' group are raping the Earth of resources and increasing the misery for everyone else... and ultimately for themselves (not that they care)
If you know the story of Star Wars you'll know that the central character "brought balance to the Force" by drastically raising the level of misery and destruction in his galaxy for a short time after a long period in which "good" had been unnaturally and unsustainably dominant. He sacrificed himself in the course of mediating (for want of a better word) this rebalancing, and because his motivation was attachment rather than aversion, his rebirth (such as it may have been) was not unfavourable. Obviously that last point doesn't quite fit with a Buddhist POV, but you get the gist _ Anyway, that's all I got :toilet:
This is an interesting interpretation. Though to reply more directly again to Qing Tian in light of that approach, it is somewhat interesting to note that the law of unintended consequences seems to work both ways - both that in changing one element in a complex system we may cause problems in another, but also that we may inadvertently cause some good to come about. Having great intelligence both causes us to require things like more resources to solve the problems that we come to identify, but also allows us to figure out ways to use almost none.

I'm not sure if there really is a solution to this issue, it's just one of the bitter sweet qualities of samsaric existence.
Qing Tian wrote:Also, to re-emphasise, our world is a closed system. It has finite limits on resources, and sustainability is only possible under a specific range of criteria. As soon as we exceed these in any significant way we are almost certainly going to see a rise in desperation, famines, wars, and ultimately, die-back. The problem with unstructured and unconstrained growth is that it fails to see crisis as the logical endpoint.

One of the things I find with humans, is we tend to find solutions to problems when they arise.

Extinction could occur due to unsustainable growth, but I doubt this. When density reaches a certain point, reproduction slows down. There are certain in-built mechanisms both in economics and in our psychology, which allows for adjustment. If oil runs out, I really don't think we'll have a problem in shifting to something else.

In fact, records of extinction in the past tend to lean more towards problems with not reproducing enough because of certain dynamics in the food pyramid. If anyone is interested I can provide more information on this, but it's a rather detailed topic. However, the issues are less pronounced with humans because of our use of technology and genetic modification.

What I would worry most about, is pollinator decline, which ironically appears to be caused not by human error, but by airborne parasites. It reminds me of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds: we think of the big things - including an awful lot of blame and denial - and tend to forget the little things and small delicacies of the world.

While we have our problems, which tend to accompany benefits, I have, on the whole, a rather positive view of humanity. In the end, you can also only attain Buddhahood as a human.
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Re: human evolution

Postby undefineable » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:09 pm

Zhen Li wrote:When density reaches a certain point, reproduction slows down.
?!?
Zhen Li wrote:If oil runs out, I really don't think we'll have a problem in shifting to something else.
Until then, the commercially necessary course of action for corporations involved with fossil fuels will be to do their best to prevent other sources of energy 'coming online', so as to avoid forking out for and risking investments.
Zhen Li wrote:Inequality isn't something which we ought to necessarily abhor whenever it rears its head, it is something which exists in nature and we are unlikely to ever get rid of.
There's a small matter of inherited karma, but although on a relative level there's an infinity of difference between the mental sophistication of a CEO and that of a cockroach, on an ultimate level the two beings are equal as both share the nature of boundless, lucid awareness.
Zhen Li wrote:In the end, you can also only attain Buddhahood as a human.
:applause:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: human evolution

Postby Qing Tian » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:26 am

I'm sorry Zhen Li, but most of what you have written is incorrect. Whether this is a problem with communication or a lack of perception in mind I do not know.

Consider this statement of yours.

So, if you find a solution to a problem, you don't consider it improvement?


This neatly encapsulates the type of misunderstanding that is all too common. At the evolutionary level there are NO problems to be solved and there are NO solutions that are found. Everything is random. That which succeeds in surviving, simply survives. There is no deliberation involved at any stage.

Similarly you talk about how stuff has improved without really understanding the values involved. So, people can live longer. Okay, yippee! An extra 20-30 years of grinding poverty/hunger/abuse etc to go, plus a concomitant increase in random cancer rates. So, you can get from A to B more quickly. Why? What are you (anybody) doing with the time saved? Seriously. Actually it reminds me of something the journalist/author Bill Bryson once wrote (from - The Thunderbolt Kid):

“By the closing years of the 1950s most people – certainly most middle-class people – had pretty much everything they had ever dreamed of, so increasingly there was nothing much to do with their wealth but buy more and bigger versions of things they didn’t truly require: second cars, lawn tractors, double-width fridges, hi-fis with bigger speakers and more knobs to twiddle, extra phones and television, room intercoms, gas grills, kitchen gadgets, snowblowers, you name it. Having more things of course also meant having more complexity in one’s life, more running costs, more things to look after, more things to clean, more things to break down. Women increasingly went out to work to help keep the whole enterprise afloat. Soon millions of people were caught in a spiral in which they worked harder and harder to buy labour-saving devices that they wouldn’t have needed, if they hadn’t been working so hard in the first place.”

“By the 1960′s the average American was producing twice as much as only fifteen years before. In theory at least, people could now afford to work a four-hour day, or a two-and-a-half day week, or a six-month year and still maintain a standard of living equivalent to that enjoyed by people in 1950 when life was already pretty good – and arguably, in terms of stress and distraction and sense of urgency, in many respects much better. Instead and most uniquely among developed nations, Americans took none of the productivity gains in additional leisure. We decided to work and buy and have instead.”


I think this nicely encapsulates the Western (and increasingly Eastern) approach to life.

And on that note - which will be my last - let me offer something to ponder. When the oil runs out, this will be a 'solution to a problem' for the planet as a whole... but may well be a disaster for humankind. Progress? Improvement? Perspective is everything.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: human evolution

Postby undefineable » Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:41 pm

Qing Tian wrote:in terms of _ _ sense of urgency
I wonder why people consider this negative rather than positive
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: human evolution

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:24 pm

Qing Tian wrote:This neatly encapsulates the type of misunderstanding that is all too common. At the evolutionary level there are NO problems to be solved and there are NO solutions that are found. Everything is random. That which succeeds in surviving, simply survives. There is no deliberation involved at any stage.
So if you're starving, you don't consider it a problem?

Remember, as I stated before, I am not trying to access some objective realm independent of human minds, but talking from the guts of everyday experience.
Qing Tian wrote:Similarly you talk about how stuff has improved without really understanding the values involved. So, people can live longer. Okay, yippee! An extra 20-30 years of grinding poverty/hunger/abuse etc to go, plus a concomitant increase in random cancer rates. So, you can get from A to B more quickly. Why? What are you (anybody) doing with the time saved? Seriously.

Other than extra time to meditate and practice the path to nirvana?

More time to enjoy poetry and nature, more time to spend with family. More time to spend creating and enjoying artwork and literature. I can think of plenty of things.

I think the main problem, Qing Tian, is just that you're being a grouch about things, and so terribly pessimistic. You have to lighten up a little to have a nice experience in the world, and spend some time enjoying the small things while being mindful of their impermanence - which is part of their beauty.

Yes, as you say, some people spend the extra time to do more work, but this is a choice one can make. And at the same time, look on the bright side of this - it's usually out of love, and generally the breadwinner who is trying to earn more for their family, to help their family live a more comfortable life. I can really appreciate people who do stuff like this, and don't look on it as an inherent evil.
Qing Tian wrote:And on that note - which will be my last - let me offer something to ponder. When the oil runs out, this will be a 'solution to a problem' for the planet as a whole... but may well be a disaster for humankind. Progress? Improvement? Perspective is everything.

If we find a solution, great, it will probably help preserve the lives which would be lost in the turmoil if we don't.

If we don't find a solution, great also, as Tolkien said, one of the solutions to all the problems of the modern age is simply to dynamite all the factories. There's an awful lot about feudalism which is rather attractive.
undefineable wrote:Until then, the commercially necessary course of action for corporations involved with fossil fuels will be to do their best to prevent other sources of energy 'coming online', so as to avoid forking out for and risking investments.
This really depends on the arrangement each country has with regards to its energy infrastructure. I don't see many countries as entirely indifferent to these issues, even China is making great pains to adjust as best it can.
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