We are inundated these days with ominous news on the extent and pace of climate change and the associated predictions of the looming catastrophe it carries with it — the ubiquitous planetary cry of the next generation who will soon inherit the Earth. A rallying cry seemingly to “save human civilization.”
But why? What are the redeeming qualities of human civilization that deserve “saving”? Why not let it die a natural death, fall on its own sword of pride, avarice and cruelty?
Either way — original sin or our original DNA — human life was destined to be precarious and end by its own hand. The very arrogance that keeps us silent before that reality is the principal reason behind its inevitability. As witnesses to mankind’s work in the 20th century, from the two world wars and nuclear conflagrations to cultural revolutions and ubiquitous civil wars, why would any parent bring progeny into that?
The answer is generally that not too many parents have thought about it. People were programmed to reproduce. Mostly, like all living organisms, for their own survival. For replenishment of their kind as producers (to carry on), especially after great global winnowings.
Pleasure being an added and natural inducement, mostly for males. But, to an increasing extent in the modern world, pleasure and procreation are being separated. Pleasure has become an end in itself. The burgeoning of the baby under the frayed cotton dress and the diapers being strung out on the clothesline off the gray back porch are history.
As for survival through the multiplication of human mind and muscle, well muscle is already vestigial as an engine for productive (or destructive) activity, and mind is fast becoming usurped by artificial intelligence. Meaning there are no a priori reasons for humans to multiply or even replace themselves. In the last half century, their “value added” as a progenitor of their species has begun to collapse.
Except perhaps for the incomparable love it allows many of us as we hold our newborn in our arms. The spitting image, if you will. The legacy of human persistence amidst the final curtain call. The “do not go gentle into that good night.”
Not sure? Study the science of it, the demographics of it. By the end of this century, most “science” will provide support for what we all feel. Women vote with their wombs, while men nowadays are more often compliant. The verdict: Children are not worth the trouble, not when their cost is measured against the rising plentitude of other human ambitions, both noble and mundane.
As of today, China, Japan, Europe and North America will not replace their people without immigration. By the end of the 21st century, only Africa will sustain its population, and that is only if it avoids depopulation from either manmade or natural forces — a long shot given the experience of other similar agglomerations.
Science is indivisible. We have been told this since the enlightenment. The science of human demographics is every bit as compelling as the science behind global warming.
In pure numbers, the greater threat to human civilization over the next 100 years is more likely to be our own self-induced extinction than a warmer planet. Unless, of course, we alter that course with radical genetically modified solutions.
Yes, I am solar. I know by the feel of the sun as I farm, as the cold of the morning gives way to the warming sun on my face. I have written extensively about the abiding virtue of the sun and the importance of eliminating the intermediaries between us and it. But that has little to do with saving human civilization, which can only be done by so much DNA engineering that our humanness as recognizable men and women would be erased. You see, humans are, in the most part, malignant — notwithstanding glorious intercessions.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.