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« Hospice For Humanity | Main | A Fitting Summer Solstice? »

June 17, 2012


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Aboc Zed


Good post as usual.
I liked how you took an overview of biology.
Indeed the bottleneck event is the selection event.

One dimension of response to think about is the ability to consciously to chose to trust people when the biological instincts dictate the opposite.

In other word those who will decide to _actively_ trust other fellow humans under the daily dangers of survival on the net energy downslope will exhibit the signs of highest sapience.

That would be an ultimate in modulating the immediate response.

Of course many of them will die as the result of that but some will be successful in spotting another sapient member of homo species.

So unions of those higher sapience will have higher chances to survive and little by little over long enough horizon a super sapient group will emerge.

That group will act as truly eusocial group with each member contributing to the survival of the group in a completely self-less manner because capacity to behave like that was what lead him/her into the group in the first place.

Since we cannot predict how the current system of pecking order will evolve under conditions of decreasing net energy it is hard to imagine in what part of the system such sapience group would emerge.

My theory is that such sapient group would emerge or clamp together towards the top of the structure.

But I may be wrong as demolition of the structure may be a pre-condition of recoalescence of higher sapients into an organized "super-family".

In the long run dynamic stability and sapient group leaving in harmony with Ecos is the attractor state, even if the total global population is in thousands and not millions and the biodiversity is not diversity at all.

Bodhi Chefurka


In my opinion this post goes far beyond your usual level of excellence. This is just plain brilliant - a quantum jump in insight. I feel like you just threw open a shuttered window I had never noticed, and let a piercing ray of pure sunshine into the room.

The idea of sapience as the significant fitness characteristic and the bottleneck as the selection event has never been this clear to me.

I'd always been convinced that this is some kind of evolutionary event (with such overwhelming species-level implications it could hardly be otherwise) but I hadn't been able to take it beyond Sahtouris' pupation metaphor until now. Your explanation has true genius-level simplicity, directness and accessibility. Wow! Thank you!

@Aboc Zed, your idea of active trust in the face of increasing adversity being a sign of sapience is something I've long believed as well.

On your other point, I think that the dissolution of the existing structure is an essential prerequisite for the change. Complete autolysis of the original organism is a fundamental aspect of the pupation metaphor. Though we all know that analogies are necessarily incomplete and misleading, it's hard to see how a total reorganization could occur so long as any of the original system's backbone remained. Its remnants would both impede and misdirect the unfoldment of the new structure.


George, essays like this are why i not only return to this site, but link it to several others i visit regularly.

This one clearly maps humanitys' evolution of sapience as a possibility to our extinction while hoping it occurs within the timeframe of the collapse of civilization.

While i agree with your premises and appreciate Aboc Zed's insights, i think we've (again speaking as if "we" is the entire species) already unleashed (by our inaction) the very mechanisms that created the chaotic weather we'll come to realize is our undoing: the continued warming via CO2 pollution, and now methane geysers (because we failed to stop the CO2) and all the "collateral damage" that will proceed from them.

These would include sea-level rise, dust bowlification of the bread baskets of the planet, heat/cold ranges expanding beyond our ability to deal with them, long term droughts and "1000-year flooding" events, increased plant and animal diseases, warming oceans, more acidic oceans and the resultant death of many fish species, massive algal blooms, coral die-off, and finally the collapse of the oceans as providers of food.

If that's not bad enough, the 400 or so nuclear reactors on the planet need to be decommissioned and shut down as soon as possible to avoid Fukushima/Chernobyl that many times over (only worse, since there will be no energy to do this with if we don't hurry). We still have the original nuclear waste from the first reactors - none of it has been "gotten rid of" or "processed" and the half-life of plutonium and some of the other by-products of these reactors can run into the tens of thousands of years.

There are more problems than we can possibly handle not only physically but on any level - even if we made a concerted, global effort starting right now. We continue to do the exact same stupid behaviors (driving everywhere, relying on fossil fuels for everything and not even trying to change to a more local way of "doing business") because of the delayed effect of the collapse (it takes a while for a complex system to absorb and react to inputs of any kind).

So even if somehow a small group of say 10,000 super sapient and extra-sapient beings evolved, there would be nothing they could do to ameliorate the continuing destruction of their biosphere at that time (whatever they could have done would have to have occurred beforehand, as you pointed out).

This is why, when we start feeling the bite of the bottleneck, an already up and running community, with secured water, group food growing and distribution activities, shelter and lots of guns and ammunition (which will be futile) might last a while (by repelling the hordes of doomed beings trying to survive), in the end what would be the point? If we haven't already reached the tipping point (with respect to just the atmospheric composition, not to mention the many others that will impinge on our success at avoiding extinction) we certainly will before humanity as a whole decides to get off its collective ass and actually DO something about it all.

This i'm sure of - we're basically a failed experiment.

Bodhi Chefurka

Tom, what comes out the far side of this event will look nothing like what went in. Is a caterpillar a failed experiment? He may think so, because self-digestion is pretty final from his point of view. But you really have to ask the butterfly.

Here's a different heretical thought:

Limiting our population growth right now could even be construed as a bad idea, since it would reduce the pool of selection candidates that might carry the fitness trait. Of course that comes with severe tradeoffs, but frankly, we've already made those tradeoffs. The damage is already done, and what remains is to see what the "reward" will be for the species.

Maybe all those soccer moms with their 3.5 kids are doing the species a favour...

Anywhere But Here Is Better

I've been following George Mobus' perfectly sound reasoning for some time now, and I wish I could keep hope alive that there is a chance of 'sapient evolution' prior to the eventual extinction of Homo sapiens. But I can't get beyond an observation that seems to hold true for the past, present and I imagine the future. And this is that for every Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr holding the banner for sapience, there are thousands of Blankfeins, Cheneys, Murdochs and Bloombergs forcefully hindering real progress and laying waste to the earth for self-centered personal gain.

No guessing required about who gets cut off in their prime and who gets to live a long life of power and glory fueled by over consumption of energy resources.

Higher sapients of the type we would want to advance our species post-bottleneck are less inclined to brutalize others for self gain/survival purposes, therefore I just can't see how they will continuously outmaneuver cunning but sapience-deficient alpha males when there is a collapse of food and water supplies - no matter how deep in the undergrowth the former establish their settlements.

I dearly wish survival of the fittest meant the fittest brain, rather than the fittest body/physical strength/proxy armed forces. Alas, natural selection is a bloody business from start to finish.


"No guessing required about who gets cut off in their prime and who gets to live a long life of power and glory fueled by over consumption of energy resources."

The following might further illustrate your point. The US consumes 19 million bbl/day of crude oil and distillates, which is 7.1 billion bbl/year or ~23 bbl/year per capita.

Reported US consumer spending is around $11 trillion/year, of which 45-50% is attributable to the spending of the top 10% of US households.

If we take total spending and divide it by the bbl of crude we consume to illustrate a point, we get something like $1,665 in consumer spending to a bbl of oil or ~$19 of consumer spending to every $1 of oil and distillates.

Using the ratio of consumer spending to oil, the top 10% consume $268 billion/year or $22,000 per household per year in oil, whereas the bottom 80% consume $2,350 per household per year in equivalent consumer spending to oil.

Thus, in terms of the cost to US society for consumer spending to oil at the current highly concentrated income distribution to the top 10%, the top 10% consume/spend/require nearly 10 times more in oil as a share of consumption per household as do the bottom 80% of households.

Moreover, the largest consumer of crude oil and distillates in the US is the US gov't, which is primarily the result of maintaining the imperial military around the globe.

The top 10% of US households pay 70-75% of federal income taxes, with total military spending accounting for an equivalent of 10% of private US GDP or $3,200 per capita and $8,100 per household (17-18% of the median US household income). Sheer madness.

Combined, the typical US household pays over $10,000/year in equivalent spending for oil and imperial military costs, which is nearly 25% of the US median household income.

Inferences? The top 10% pay the taxes to support the imperial military, which in turn is used to secure the oil supplies and shipping lanes around the world. The flow of oil supports a global division of labor, tax code, and system of resource, wealth, and income allocation and distribution that is obscenely wasteful and costly to the bottom 80-90% of US households (but remarkably efficient at distributing gains to the top 0.1-1% to 10%), not to mention the rest of the planet's inhabitants and the global ecological system.

Throughout the developed world, the emphasis is shifting to "austerity" imposed by the top 0.1-1%, facilitated by the next 9%, and on the bottom 90%, even as the top 0.1-10% receive an absolutely obscene share of oil-based net energy flows to support their socioeconomic and political status, privilege, and power at the expense of the bottom 90%+ and the ecosystem.

Is it likely that a small minority sapient/super-sapient population could secure a sufficiently large share of the remaining oil-based net energy flows to sustain itself to reproduce successfully in large enough numbers without being part of the current top 0.1-1%?

What if the prospects for the species in whatever successfully adapted form it takes is thus dependent upon those among the top 0.1-1% who are sufficiently sapient or super-sapient and who today enjoy the luxury of net energy flows to necessary scale?

If this is generally the scenario that will maintain, what should the rest of us in the bottom 90-99% do today in preparation or response? What are those sapients among the bottom 90-99% to do with their prospects limited to nil among the non-sapients?

Anywhere But Here Is Better

Bruce, thanks for your factual analysis, it's devastatingly brilliant. And I'm glad to see words like obscene included - no point using kid gloves now that it's as clear as day what's going on among the 0.1% guzzlers.

The excellent questions you leave us with aren't immediately answerable as I see it, but they do illuminate the key issues that confront any individuals and groups planning to act on George's escape pod proposal. I'd be glad to facilitate others who choose to launch the lifeboat, but I'm so jaded with disappointment over this bestial world that I think I'll be one of the guys in the band playing slow jazz as the behemoth sinks.

Bodhi Chefurka

Bruce, you ask what those who are sapient might do to prepare. I'd say the overriding priority should be to find another sapient of the opposite sex and have children.

I think the future is too inherently unknowable for any specific physical planning beyond learning low-energy, low-resource techniques for daily living. All the sapients I know seem to be taking up permaculture, for instance.


"I'd say the overriding priority should be to find another sapient of the opposite sex and have children."

I empathize with this as a possible (re)evolutionary strategy, but consider the following:

I have two children. Now what? $100,000-$500,000 each for a university "education" in the sciences and engineering? To do what? Compete with Chinese, Indians, and Vietnamese requiring incomes of 10% to 30% of what an American requires for self-support at a middle-income salary? Not likely.

An occupation in "health care" that is 17-18% of GDP and growing at twice the rate of GDP threatening to bankrupt the private and public sectors? I seriously doubt that this sector will avoid contraction with the rest of the economy.

Law? Financial services? I think we just might have enough parasites already who are already beginning to prey on one another on Wall St. and in DC.

Horticulture? Agriculture? Permaculture? Only if we can avoid private equity and hedge funds from becoming the modern-day latifundian feudal lords and buying up farmland by the tens of thousands of acres and turning them into armed agrarian fiefdoms; or such opportunities might emerge because of the creation of such holdings.

Martial occupations to defend the holdings and status, privilege, and power of the neo-feudal latifundian lords and competing warlord castes? I suspect this is more likely than the other choices.

Thus, by one of many possible inferences, having children today is effectively bringing human beings into the world to assign them to having to adapt to lives of agrarian peasant subsistence and/or martial discipline, loyalty, selflessness, violence, and risk of death on behalf of their fellows and their neo-feudal overlords.

Too pessimistic? Lacking imagination and sapience? Perhaps. But the history of civilizations is replete with such transitions from acquisitor- or merchant-dominated societies experiencing increasing wealth and income concentration and resource depletion succumbing to social, economic, and political disintegration and being supplanted by warrior/martial caste leaders who impose strict discipline and employ swift "justice" against opponents and out-groups.

Such periods are typically preceded by transitional phase during which merchant/acquisitors co-opt charismatic personalities among the emerging martial caste and confer power upon them only to be opposed by successive martial leaders who appeal to the masses in order to overthrow the acquisitors and banish them from power for generations thereafter.

Were such an epochal transition to be before us in the West, the Wall St. oligarchs would be expected to select current martial leaders to positions of power during a protracted period of worsening economic conditions and social unrest.

At some point, the scale of suffering and requirement by the acquisitors that martial leaders crack skulls en masse will be resisted by a growing minority or plurality of the martial caste, prompting the warriors to turn against the acquisitor oligarchs and dismantle their superstructure of power and control by various means, including violence and coups.

It can't happen here? Human nature and history suggests otherwise.

One can only imagine the scale of misery and discontent that would be required to displace the rentier-oligarchs on Wall St. and their surrogates in DC.

Even then, what sort of personality types would self-select to be so opportunistic, self-assured, and emboldened to presume to turn against the rentiers and rout them from the temples and citadels? I strongly suspect they will be the kind who would self-select for cooperation, self-sacrifice, loyalty, strict discipline, and violence to survive the bottleneck. Think tribal nomadic warriors, such as the Visigoths, Norse, Rus, Huns, and Mongols.

Therefore, if one does not intend to raise highly disciplined, loyal, self-sacrificing tribal nomadic warriors, one perhaps ought not to be having children.

Bodhi Chefurka

Bruce, I feel your pain, but that's much too short-term thinking. The goal is to get as many sapients into the evolutionary selection pool as possible. Your genes don't care what you do for a living. 20,000 years from now nobody will care what your children did either, only whether they reproduced sufficiently to augment the gene pool with more sapients.

Your concerns are those of an individual citizen, not those of a member of a species on an evolutionary quest. Lift your eyes to the far horizon, my son, and all these overweening latifundian concerns pale into insignificance...

Sorry to wax a bit flippant, but I'm burned out from a decade of solid worry and analysis of all the things that are going wrong today. There are too many problems in the predicament, they're simply not soluble, and the bottleneck now appears to be upon us.

Frankly, it's a huge relief to have a long-term hopeful ideas like the "The Evolution of Sapience by Means of Natural Selection" to think about. It takes my mind off the infinitude of intransigent day to day political, economic, cultural, psychological, energy, resource, climatic and ecological disasters that are starting to unfold, intersect and amplify around us.


"I feel your pain, but that's much too short-term thinking. The goal is to get as many sapients into the evolutionary selection pool as possible. Your genes don't care what you do for a living. 20,000 years from now nobody will care what your children did either, only whether they reproduced sufficiently to augment the gene pool with more sapients."

". . . I'm burned out from a decade of solid worry and analysis of all the things that are going wrong today."

". . . It takes my mind off the infinitude of intransigent day to day . . . disasters . . ."

I empathize with your burnout. I confess to having reached a similar state.

Yet, the short term precedes the long term, and surviving before the onset of the bottleneck with access to sufficient net energy surplus is required to have a chance to adapt to the conditions of the bottleneck. Making a living is required to in the meantime, whereas a growing share of those under age 30 (and over age 50-55) are finding it impossible to find paying work. They might have to adapt to no paying work, which might mean helping themselves to whatever surplus you and I might have TODAY. They might even plunder your surplus with a flippant smile on their faces, wishing you a good day after they've adapted your surplus to their biological requirements, irrespective of whether or not sapience comes with the plundered loot.

Picture a band of hungry Mongolian horsemen riding at half-gallop toward your village. There won't be much time to think about whether or not they are foe or kindred sapients before they're pillaging your village, making off with your female relatives, and handing you your head as thanks.

I strongly suspect that in the decades ahead we will discover that evolutionary self-selection to plunder and merciless violence against "other" to survive, adapt, and reproduce are not mutually exclusive to human sapience.


I wonder if the metaphor for survivers will be those creatures requiring a certain cool climate on mountain sides. They can only go up. And even if the mountain is high enough the habitable area will get smaller. Who will survive? Somehow I doubt it will be the sapient.

Anywhere But Here Is Better

@Bruce @Bodhi Chefurka

Those hungry horsemen all look like Blankfein (boy, is he prolific with his genes) and they've already pillaged most villages far and wide. Next stop: cannibalism.

My head on a stake is the latest decorative effect outside my ex-hut.


Americans' confidence in institutions.

Warriors and small merchants/shopkeepers/traders are atop the list and large corporations, corporate mass media, and corrupt union and federal political leaders at the bottom, which is rather like Samurai society.


"Those hungry horsemen all look like Blankfein (boy, is he prolific with his genes) and they've already pillaged most villages far and wide.

Mr. Blankfein's racial/ethnic ancestry is from the remarkably adaptive Turkic/Slavic/Caucasian gene pool, if you will, making up no more than 2% of the US population and barely 0.2% of the European population. If there are any capable warrior types among his gene pool, I would place a sizable wager that they will be among those surviving the bottleneck.

"Next stop: cannibalism."

Seriously, think about it. What "natural resource" is today NOT in constraint or experiencing depletion? Human apes consume and deplete virtually everything we encounter given the time and opportunity. Why not human flesh and bones in such abundance?

Wall St., Madison Ave., and the corporate mass media can socially construct beliefs, desires, dissatisfaction, and conspicuous status items for consumption, why not humans as food?

What better "green food" than people? The more we eat, the fewer there are of us, and the better for the planet's ecosystem and the remnant pink, brown, black, and yellow people eaters hereafter.

After all, Soylent Green is of, by, and for people.

Make Soylent Green, not war!

Super-sapients love people, which is why they love Soylent Green!

George Mobus

Dear all,

I am horribly behind in replies to comments and in spite of it being summer I am increasingly strapped for time to respond to every one individually. I will try to cobble together a summary from the Hospice piece and this one re: some thoughts I've had regarding some issues raised in the comments. For what it is worth I have been trying to work on another post in which I try to pull together some loose threads that had origins in past posts and seem to be coming together subsequent to the last two posts. As you might have surmised I see humanity in the end game of survival, first the impending collapse of global civilization due to the energy situation, followed by spasms of contraction of local attempts at societies down to tribal levels, ultimately followed by the convergence of climate change and other environmental disasters resulting in the evolutionary bottleneck event.

As Bruce has repeatedly pointed out, and others have joined in, this whole process will involve substantial population demise, and that alone will trigger behaviors in the average human that we all would rather not bear witness to. Most of the dying will be traumatic. I can't see any other scenario for the masses at this point when you take all of the biophysical and psychological aspects into account. Woe be unto mankind - I agree.

However, a number of you have taken a more pessimistic viewpoint than me (and now I think Bodhi Chefurka has seen what I am trying to express). First I detect a tone of discounting of the potential for higher sapience to be of value in surviving the bottleneck. Many favor the warlord scenario as the most likely event, and some have asserted that it might just be the last act before extinction of the species. While I grant that there will be extensive war lording going on during the collapse phase, I must point out that none of us, myself included, can really predict what the outcomes are going to be for the species. There are no precedents for global collapse. A commentator on another blog that carried a link to this one attempted to compare what might be happening to us now to the collapses of previous civilizations. S/he could cite facts and figures, but apparently simply missed the scale factor in what we are facing. This time it really is different!

My projections are based on trying to understand much larger scale phenomena in the course of universal evolution than the petty squabbles of humans in their current form. I am more interested in the entire forest than the bark on some particular tree. And what I believe I see is that evolution (particularly biological evolution) is progressive as long as there is real-time energy flow. Having spent many years now studying the nature of knowledge and wisdom as well as the brain's mechanisms for producing these, and paying attention to the distribution of these capabilities in the populations I've looked at, I do conclude that sapience is a real and potentially powerful attribute that fits the progressive pattern of evolution of life on Earth. The loss of energy flow from fossil fuels that we are starting to feel has more to do with the retrograde evolution (devolution) of culture, not necessarily that of the human genus. In fact, I've argued that it was the evolution of culture that largely impeded the further development of our biological evolution with respect to sapience. I now view that, however, as a necessary evil; necessary in the sense that a high-energy culture was necessary in order to support science and the discovery of knowledge about how the Universe works. That knowledge is what we bought with our last ten thousand years of stasis (perhaps retrograde) in development of mental capacities.

Now comes the bottleneck event and a culling of the energy consuming artifacts of cultures as well as people. What can go on is a small population of survivors making it through the bottleneck. My thesis is, and has been, that some of us, those who can see this big picture, can actually play a role in helping that bottleneck event produce an evolutionarily progressive outcome. By assisting in the survival of high sapients (a sacrifice) and working toward a preservation of important knowledge that can be reconstituted by far future generations (something I will be writing more about in the future), human consciousness is simply fulfilling its purpose in the grander scheme of Universal evolution.

For many this is going to sound like a quasi-religious belief, and I won't deny that there are elements of faith, belief without scientific evidence obtained empirically, involved. My justification (after a lifetime spent demanding scientific evidence!) is that I've spent a good deal of time looking at the scientific evidence from our past, where we could actually practice science. Everything I have synthesized comes from that collection of evidence-based knowledge. My "faith" comes from the conviction that the patterns I've seen will continue into the future. We cannot do experiments. We can only build models (i.e. conceptual ones). And what I have been writing is my sharing with you the conceptual model that has developed in my awareness. In my next blog I hope to make this more explicit.

Some of you, perhaps most who read this, will still hold onto that pessimistic view. Some have even expressed a kind of joy that the human cancer (in their view) will get wiped out, saving the planet for other life forms. But a few will consider this model a little more and perhaps take heed and join the effort. I extend an invitation to those who will to participate however you can.


In Hospice:


I spent a lot of my career working in AI. Computers require energy. Where will it come from?

In this post:


Nice referral to attractor basin - that is dynamical way to view the whole process. What are the attractor basins?


So even if somehow a small group of say 10,000 super sapient and extra-sapient beings evolved, there would be nothing they could do to ameliorate the continuing destruction of their biosphere at that time (whatever they could have done would have to have occurred beforehand, as you pointed out).

Cleverness + Sapience = Adaptability!



The "Blankfeins, Cheneys, Murdochs and Bloombergs" are committing suicide. They are taking out a whole lot of other people with them. The sapient need not be in the building when the suicide bombers pull the chord.



Sometimes I think you make some unwarranted, though understandable assumptions re: preparing for the collapse and bottleneck. To whit:

Yet, the short term precedes the long term, and surviving before the onset of the bottleneck with access to sufficient net energy surplus is required to have a chance to adapt to the conditions of the bottleneck.

It depends on what you mean by surviving, which, by your comments suggests surviving in the world of civilization as it devolves. My whole suggestion is to absolutely NOT try this. You will be caught in a trap. The second assumption has to do with "sufficient net energy". Again that requires understanding what you mean by sufficient.

It could be that you are misconstruing what sapience can do if sufficiently powerful enough. I sincerely doubt that there are many high sapients in the .1-1% you deride. Any children born into that class that have somehow gotten the right genes tend to forego the privileges of the class and find meaningful work to do. I know several such cases personally and they are quite dismayed with what their parents are doing.

Similarly high sapience in the general population seems to sort out of the class distinctions. They are able to see beyond the financial definition of worth. If they are clever they find ways to thrive in whatever environment they find themselves in but being motivated by strong moral sentiments also tend to be scrupulously honest. Try to not focus on the present state of things and what you imagine it will lead to so much as developing a deeper appreciation for what sapience means. Just a recommendation.



Who will survive? Somehow I doubt it will be the sapient.

I'm afraid your metaphor was a bit too dense for me to unpack.




Guy thinks it's already too late (also):


George, as always, you clearly prove or self-validate your own case by demonstrating your sapience.

Perhaps one of the principal inferences one should take away from what I am attempting to relate is that it might be perceived as sapient, even super-sapient, during the post-bottleneck decades hence that the wisest action to have been taken was to have proactively wiped out billions of human apes through the most efficient means possible to reset conditions for those who would survive and be best capable of adapting and reproducing.

Put another way, one or more self-selected groups proactively carrying out actions resulting in mass human die-off is not mutually exclusive to sapience and may be perceived to be super-sapient to the surviving successor generations who successfully pass through the bottleneck.

Consider the case of Europeans who migrated to the Americas to escape overpopulation and social, religious, and political oppression, as well as opportunists seeking material wealth. The result was a mass human die-off from disease, war, mistreatment, and starvation surpassed only (???) by the casualties resulting from WW I and II. Most of the deaths occurred as a result of diseases to which the native peoples had no immunity. But the event so reduced the populations as to render the remnant incapable of resisting what became a virtual invasion of Europeans in the centuries that followed.

Now, imagine a situation in which there was such an abiding threat to the small sapient, techno-scientific, net energy-rich population from overpopulation, famine, water and electricity shortages, economic collapse, and social unrest that it was decided that the mass of humans had to go by the most efficient means available. Apart from the clear moral aspects of such a decision, would not a sapient or super-sapient group be wise to consider dispatching the rest of the non-sapient population efficiently and perhaps as humanely as possible?

Not that there would necessarily only be the two choices at that point, but sapience would be challenged to weigh the risks of doing the deed or not and adapting one way or the other.

One can be understandably repulsed by such a notion that super-sapient humans would choose at some point to kill billions of their fellow human apes for the purpose of ensuring the survival and successful adaptation and reproduction of successor sapient generations. However, I contend that the scale of decline we face and the resulting misery experienced by the vast majority of human apes will force sapients at a minimum to consider seriously the unthinkable as a contingency for surviving and successfully adapting through and beyond the bottleneck.

The earlier reference to the martial mentality is instructive here. If the sapients do tend to self-select for martial traits, then it would be more likely that martial sapience would include mass violence as one (not necessarily "the") means to an end.

Therefore, what we might perceive as a moral constraint or permission by the conditioning of today's Oil Age affluence, cosmopolitanism, and tolerance might in the future be perceived as foolishly indulgent, misguided, and dangerous during a period of heightened competition, conflict, and acute resource constraints.

IOW, we are communicating via this forum under what are conditions informed and regulated, if you will, by educated bourgeois professional
middle-class decorum and sensibilities that I very much doubt will persist as we approach the bottleneck.

P.S. When I use terms such as "rentier-parasite" or "militarist-imperialist" (with or without the hyphen), my intention is descriptive, not derisive, even though I am aware that many will infer the latter.

Aboc Zed


your last comment is how i see it

in fact to me it is certain that as soon as critical mass of sapience percolates to the top 1 - 10% they will do exactly what you pictured

the fact that it did not happen yet only tells me that sapience percolates to the top slowly and the top is still as ignorand as the bottom

and i agree mith you that if one is sapient at the bottom he would not have children because he would know that chances of his progeny to survive the bottleneck are effectively zero

we all are born in ignorance both those who are from tp 1 -10% families and bottom 99% families

but the whole is getting more sapient - accumulation of science is the manifestation of that and the overpopulation is the cost we are paying for that

that is how evolutionary process works

the only way to decrease suffering is to enable percolation of sapience to the top: the faster it happens the less people will be in 99% by the time they will have to die

Bodhi Chefurka

The following observation is by Adyashanti, one of America's top non-dualism teachers. It speaks to me in the same way as the Dark Mountain ethos and Charles Eisenstein's book "The Ascent of Humanity". I bring it up here because I feel that embracing a non-dualist philosophy is a marker of sapience.

"The hope for the environment does not lie in the hands of the environmentalists. They simply sit on the opposite side of the duality from those who destroy the environment. They are culprits in continuing a type of violence that is the very root of what causes us to destroy the environment.

"The hope for the environment lies in the realization that all beings and all things are yourself, including those who oppose you. Until your vision and compassion is big enough to include those who oppose you, you are simply contributing to the continuation of destructiveness. The end of separation is the salvation for all."

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