This I Believe

Jonathan - scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on May 14, 2007

We have been plagued by civilization for nearly 10,000 years. Every form of society as we see today traces it origins to somewhere in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. It was here were humans developed a way of life that will lead to our inevitable extinction. Civilization is the form of human society that is inefficient and makes us lethargic.

When I refer to civilization, I don’t mean the United States, or even the western world for that matter. I am referring to a way of life that puts humans above their environment. This way of life doesn’t view the world as an integral part of existence, but rather a stepping stone to some idealistic technological utopia. This ideology wasn’t always present in the world. In fact, 2000 years ago it was concentrated in small regions. However, like the plague, it spread its reaches to all parts of the world.

The overall reasons as to why civilization is inefficient are entirely too complex to explain in a book, let alone a mere essay. However, a helpful allegory will give the essence of the ideas:

It is common knowledge that to fly, an object must abide by the law of aerodynamics. This law states that an object must have a proper thrust, lift, and weight ratio. If one of these concepts is not in compliance, the object will crash. Birds, airplanes, hot-air balloons and others all comply with this law. Unbeknownst to most, there is a law that dictates societies. Whether it is a society of ants or wolves, in this case, humans. This is called the law of community and has never been proven wrong. This law incorporates things such as how species treat their environment and other species. It extends to how a species acquire their food and what they do with their waste.

Now, imagine civilization as an airplane with humans being the pilots. This plane doesn’t comply with the law of aerodynamics; the design is flawed. This flaw in design correlates directly to civilization. The plane is close to complying but, ultimately it doesn’t. However, it flies for a while but slowly loses altitude. The pilot thinks giving it more thrust will help so he gives it more power. The decline slows, but nonetheless is continues to decline. The pilot continues to have a false hope that more thrust will save him, but he doesn’t recognize that the issue is a flaw in the overall design.

This scenario is identical in concept to our civilization. It doesn’t comply with the law of community, but we think that technology will save us, like the pilot thought more thrust would save him. We think that things like ethanol, recycling, and computers will save us from our societal flaws. I agree that it may slow the destruction, but it won’t stop it.