by Tim Scott-Walker
In their manifesto of 1955 Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued what was then an extraordinary appeal to the people of the world, to face a choice that in their words was stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race, or will mankind renounce war?
Today, as threats to the survival of our species become increasingly realistic, how are we to respond to this seemingly impossible challenge? I’d like to advocate an approach, but first should come the foundational question: Are we worth saving?
That we may not be is an argument I run into fairly regularly. I find it difficult to understand, this tendency in examples of life such as we to appraise life itself in this way. There seems to be much it fails to take into account. John McMurtry, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada, describes it as part of a value system disorder in our culture, and that would seem make sense. So how might we fix that? What may be required is a re-examination and re-evaluation our situation in the broadest terms. In doing so we may find that our old assumptions are fragile. We may discover that our value systems are evolving naturally and at ever-increasing rate towards a global ethical and technological revolution, and that this may well be the key, not only to the elimination war, poverty and disease, not only to the realization of a new and simplified unit of identity, but to the next leap of evolution, wherein nature becomes self-aware and self-determinate in the human mind.
Our current economic and political systems are fit for purpose only if we choose to continue along our current course. These systems demand that human problems are not solved but that they are instead managed, maintained and protected for the sake of monetary profit. Can we not see where this is leading? For as long as this is the case, as long as value is derived from scarcity we will always have these same 18th and 19th century inequalities, hardships and injustices to shame us. Our global pharmaceutical industry is a perfect example of this – we don’t cure illness, we treat it, because there is no profit to be made from people who are well. Shall we carry on?? I’ll link to some references of this below, if you’re interested to look further.
Up until recently we have had two options: either to fight over what is scarce or to try and co-operate in the sharing of it. Now we have a third option, which is to use technology to make enough stuff so we don’t have to fight over it. This is doable now, this technology is developing everywhere, it has been for years, but in so many cases it has been held back. We need only to implement it. This is our opportunity, yours and mine, not only provide all human beings with the food and water they need to survive, with energy and shelter, warmth and security, but it’s a chance to grow up, we get the chance to be strong for our species and others, to realize and encourage everywhere our limitless potential, to discover new dimensions, and rise to our greater challenges. Or, we can carry on with the same old bullshit. Austerity 2012. The fucking insanity of it. Say no.
Owned and Operated
- a documentary film on technology as a resource and a solution to humanitarian and environmental problems – final part
References to the claims concerning the pharmaceutical industry:
Big Bucks Big Pharma
Burzynski, the Movie: Cancer Is Serious Business
More information on the documentary films can be found under their titles, in the Art and Culture Section.