Society: New scenario?

QUESTION POSTED BY RICHARD WILLIAM POSNER

Looking at the actions and attitude of the human race in general and the ruling class in particular, it would seem we believe ourselves so exceptional that we don’t need the rest of Life on the planet for our survival.

Many apparently believe that our technology will enable us to prevail no matter what.

Think of Earth turned into a self-sustaining technological environment, something like a planet-sized version of the starship Enterprise complete with those wonderful “replicators” which can produce whatever is needed out of thin air.

Imagine that the human species is the only Life left on the planet, that all other species of flora and fauna have been driven into extinction by our destructive exploitation of Nature, but that we are still able to live in this artificial environment.

Can we live alone and like it?

Would this be an acceptable or even desirable scenario?

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23 Responses to Society: New scenario?

  1. Demosthenes says:

    With very advanced technology I am sure it would be possible to transform inanimate matter into biochemical compounds on a large scale in order to produce food.

    Would shooting or letting all your close and distant family to starve to death be desirable so that you have all the family house for yourself? I do not think so.

    We could live LIKE this for certain, but we could not live WITH it.

  2. theimaginator says:

    If we are sophisticated enough to replicate our own oxygen – implies quantum computing and manipulation of quanta as a medium – then we can restore the planet to its former glory, or a variation of it. We’d be fine. 🙂

    • Demosthenes says:

      Coming back my the family metaphor – you say it would be fine to shoot your family as long as you can promise that you will bring MOST of them back. Later rather than sooner.

      • theimaginator says:

        No, but then humanity doesn’t regard the rest of life itself as being family; it has no such emotional attachment to it; life is a faceless, nameless casualty, just a statistic.

    • Demosthenes says:

      Whether humanity regards the rest of life as their family or not, does not change the fact that it IS our family. Extended and far, but family. And more and more people do realize that once they get knowledge in biological sciences, once they understand evolution etc. I, personally, feel quite emotionally attached to other species and environments and I know many other people who do as well, so you cannot say that there is no such connection.

      • theimaginator says:

        Oh, I wouldn’t say that I personally feel that there is no connection, just that for many others that there is no connection. Why should they care beyond their immediate needs and wants? It’s all very well to be high and mighty when you are in a comfortable ivory tower in which to be so. I agree with you though, higher awareness of our ecological connections at every level and how that affects us in turn might well improve things for everybody and everything on this planet.

    • Demosthenes says:

      WE should care beyond the immediate because WE have evolved to do that. It is innate to humans to anticipate consequences and think into the future, but we are being subject to, pardon the use of words, destructive self-propaganda. We need to, as you said. raise our consciousness and become more aware of how we relate to the rest of the world. Now excuse me, I need to go relate with my friends’ cats WHO need feeding. 🙂

  3. atlanticcus says:

    I am sure there are technologies that could change this world for good and forever. Unfortunately all those amazing technologies are hidden or destroyed by biggest companies that feel threatened by them and ridicule everyone with better solution, spreading false claims of how impossible this or that is. For now what we can do is consume less, or be more ecological, protect animals and so on and stop using too many chemicals for cleaning and such. Using more bicycles and walk a lot more ( I do a lot). I am coming from Central Europe so I have to say I have experience of poor countries that have nothing and super rich countries in the West that have it all… I never understood the way Westerners were treating things they owned – they just throw things like nothing or treated it disrespectfully saying – oh its just a thing. (and so what?). They had not problem to throw untouched meat or food to the garbage… I was astonished. When I first time moved to London I’ve seen for the first time plastic bags flying everywhere around shopping malls, dirt and plastic crap thrown just like that. The same when you go from the airport to London whole trip was disgusting to see… Horrible, garbage everywhere on trees already hour away from the city… And no advertisement or any coverage by the media about it. All they care are new breasts of some D celebrity from big brother that slept with some famous sportsman …

    • We’ve all met people who suffer manic depression. In Britain you met a country with manic depression. Should we ever succeed in constructing a greenhouse world the British would be first to put a dome over it and ensure the space inside was reserved for only the ‘best people’. GB is in this state because the majority of its citizens no longer feel a connection to it. Patriotism, like the civil law and the police, is a privilege not freely shared.

  4. Stacy says:

    I’m not going to delve into the science of it – whether or not it could be done. My question is….Who would want to live in a world devoid of other life forms? Not I. ❤

  5. Ruby says:

    I believe that scientists are far away ahead and the researches that are available to the public are old at least 1 year. They know the dangers and how far they can go. The question is not if we can make it in the end but how selfish we are to think that everything starts and ends with us.

  6. yarnspinnerr says:

    It would be like living in a space suit and would not be acceptable to most; but then I am ignoring the survival instinct.

  7. coyotero2112 says:

    The technocrats who come up with new ways of “living” are so absorbed in their goals and accomplishments, I don’t think they can imagine the eventualities they are bringing about. When the British collected all the Nazi scientists working on atomic weapons, they sequesterd most of them in a country manor to liberate their knowledge…no outside influences or information was permitted. One of these scientists found out about the Americans dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima, and they were all aghast at the destruction. A total disconnect from the very work they had been promotiing in their isolated world of “progress” for progresses sake. Tunnel vision at its worst. Can it be done without thought to What if it is done.
    Later…

  8. Jeff Brown says:

    I believe that it is, or will be, possible but it will not be acceptable. Peace & Happiness are the result of having a Love for ‘all things, great or small’. We can already see it, all around us… should we write another law that forces us to be kind & respectful of one another? Or she we actually be kind & respectful of one another? Technology isn’t the problem… the total disconnect between technology & humanity is the problem.
    “Wisdom is the perfect blending of Intelligence & Love” ~Emmet Fox.
    The only way to have a healthy, happy, harmonious existence is to properly unite technology & humanity… without both, I would consider it unacceptable. Thanks for letting me share 🙂
    Have a great day everybody!

  9. lillylion says:

    “Can we live alone and like it?” IMHO, NO!!! First, who would help to take care of the young, injured, and infirm? Second? Who would I have to complain about????

  10. raeme67 says:

    Could we? Sure. Would we like it, who knows? After living that way for hundreds of years, how would you know any difference? Could you miss what you never knew? Thanks for leaving us other humans and food. Wouldn’t be to pleasant without food.

  11. I don’t think many people would choose to live in such a world, but it could come upon us as a natural consequence of some of our attitudes towards the world. Such that, it may be too late to turn back when we realise what is happening. It would be a classic dystopian vision of human egoism and self-obsession taken to its logical conclusion.

    I doubt it will become a reality though. I think for many people, there are already too many human beings, and many prefer animals as a result and prefer to not interact much with other humans. On the other hand, a situation without other large wild mammals specifically is likely, and is already happening and has been for some time. All large mammals are gradually becoming extinct and lower in numbers to make way for growing human numbers and dominance. If farm yard animals were no longer needed for food, I doubt we would choose to breed and look after them anymore, so all then that would be left of large mammals other than humans would be as pets, or as exhibits at zoos, etc.

  12. Catherine says:

    Think of it this way. Most young people love granny, but are happy when their visit is over and they are with their world.

    Replication would be current people moving around in granny world. You would get the opposite of the growth and innovation you are looking for.

  13. B Gourley says:

    We can’t even live without the other life that resides inside us (e.g. organisms in our digestive tract that are symbiotic but not integral to ourselves) let alone all the other materials.

    It’s important in this discussion to realize that the real world version of the “replicator” is what we call 3-D printing. Raw materials are obviously still required, they are just assembled on a nano-scale rather than a macro-scale.

  14. bjhayward says:

    No. It would be a living death, at least for me…

  15. That kind of life would be overrun with Vanity, the spirit of self, cat-clawing competition, boasting, arrogance, one-upping, self-aggrandizement, puffed up head knowledge, and little to no essence of the truth. Almost like the world we live in now.

  16. Would we WANT to live alone? I think we are heading in a very dangerous direction…

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