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« How did Mammals and Birds Survive the End-Cretaceous Event? | Main | Great News! »

March 20, 2013


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Thanks George - especially for resolving a longstanding deep puzzle: what to choose for my personal epitaph.

Here lies a short-term pessimist but a very-long-term optimist

Perfect summation :-)


Who will read it Oliver?


@Tom - The Ghost of Oliver Future :-)

Aboc Zed


There will be people after we die. And after our children die, and after our grandchildren die and after grandchildren of our grandchildren die.

There will be people.

The open questios are:

How many? and
What kind of life they will be living?

For those questions the farther we go into the future the more our opinions become speculation and the details of our stories are less and less certain.

But there are some scientific truths that inform our speculation.

The constant growth of biomass of one spicies (H Sapiens) is not possible within the closed biological system of finate planet.

Species that overshoot the carrying capacity of their ecological niche eventually experience population die-off. While one species population decreases becaue it is now maladapted to the environment that changed as the result of the population growth some members of the population harbor new features that allow them to exploit the niche that opens up.

And the branching of LIFE as part of EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS continues.

Homo Sapiens Sapiens is now on the top of the food chain. And is disrupting its own environment very fast. Much faster than he could ever understand. Not to mention that he does not care to understand environment. all it cares is to fulfill its biological genetic imperative to multiply and exploit the environment.

That is what LIFE learned to do very well. That will always continue. Bacteria will always continue to exploit its enviironments. It will always continue to evolve resistans to antibiotics. The viruses will continue to swap the genetic material and maintain themselves as the largest form of genetic material available to LIFE to play with.

Homo sapiens has only one way to go. To evolve into lifeform that can contain its own "primitive" urge to maltiply.

That day will come.

Whatever remnants ogf genus homo inherit the planet with whatever biodervesity ofr lack thereof they will know the have themselves organized that is in line with the processes of closed planetary system.

The one lbig die-off or many iterations of small die-off's will eventually produce intelligent organization of genus Homo.

Those who can understand the process can easily see that as inevitable as the star of our solar system go "POOF!" one day (or moment because there are no days and nights in the cosmos).

And that is the basis of their optimism.

The flip side of the understanding that leads to that optimism is understanding of continuity of evolutionary process and the timescale being more that one human generation. That tells us that most likely we will never know that the evolutionary branching occured because nobody will announce that to us.

Such is the human condition.

Once we understand it we are liberated from it and we can live our life in peace able to pick and chose the emotions we profess to the world while being completly void and utterly empty of any emotions when we look into the inside.

No ego, no emotions, no beliefs, only the void of the Universe.

Have a good day!

Robin Luethe

I see this book came out about a year ago. IIRC you did not review it. It sounds like the sort of thing you are saying. I would read it myself but c$70 is more than I want to spend, and not in our library. Any comments would be helpful. Thanks Rob

Energy and the Wealth of Nations, Hall & Klitgaard

Martin Gisser

Aboc, "No ego, no emotions, no beliefs, only the void of the Universe."

Methinks it's the other way round: The void is terrifying (it certainly terrified Blaise Pascal). Thus emotions arise, the void has to be filled with beliefs, and the humand mind starts circling around itself, and at the circle's center Ego arises.

Methinks the nihilist view of the world as void and empty is a root cause of the mental illness of Late Homo S Sapiens.

But have a look at the mud under your boots. Behold the myriad forms of life it contains, dwarfing the complexity of an entire galaxy, plus, it is not irrelevant unlike the galaxies. There is no void outside your ego.

Aboc Zed

Emotions are the automatic responses of the limbic brain. They are short cuts that evolved over many iterations of evolutionary process. Hence inate fear of snakes and spiders.

The emotional valence attached to words that denot abstract concepts is is cultural. Since the SCIENCE and scientific method is only recent way of approaching the understanding of human condition it has not had yet much effect on the way language is used by a man on the street.

So it is easy to jump to conclusions and build a straw man to fight.

And I have made a mistake of using those ambiguos words that mean everything to everybody, like "void".

To me "void" is increadibly liberating because it autamaticaly means oneness with any and all lifeforms at all level of organizations.

I like to think about individual cells in my body running their own agenda - wondrous and never boring.

So to me the "void" is not nihilist but inclusivist way of thinking and communicating.

Alexander Carpenter

Snap out of it, guys. Any glass that is half full is also half empty. You need more practice not filling the void with empty noise. Unlike the glass, noise that is any-part empty is entirely empty. Be still, Oh Busy Mind.

St. Roy


Will there be people? As Homo Sapiens evolved into Homo Colossus (Catton) it seems that superior intelligence will soon prove to be a lethal mutation (Mayr). Humans were a freak accident of nature never to be repeated. As Homo goes extinct (probably in this century) the social insects will soon again dominate the planet as they have for 100s of millions of years (Wilson).


@St. Roy - We personally will never know. We could just as soon posit the following:

Will there be guns? As pistols evolved into assault weapons (Uzi, Smith & Wesson et al) it seems that superior firepower will soon prove to be a lethal endgame (Violence Policy Center). Anti-gun lobbyists were a freak accident of humanity never to be repeated. As mass victims go extinct (probably in this century) the social insects will soon again dominate the planet as they have for 100s of millions of years (NRA).

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