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Why our predictions must move away from utter doom to continuity?

Must our predictions all end in doom and destruction
Must our predictions all end in doom and destruction?

The idea of terminal decline 1 is pulling the power of prediction like a black hole pulls light into it.  This phenomenon is not new.  It has happened again and again throughout history.  It has also had its reasons.  It is sufficient to say that people desire achievement and progress.  However, when the price, the sacrifices, and the reality of destruction that was along the way comes to the notice of even the beneficiaries, it changes how we look at those things.  The examples are many.  Hospitals are supposed to be centers of care, but those same buildings could be the centers where clinical trials are conducted.  Universities are centers of education, but those same universities could become places where abuse and discrimination take place.  Upon learning of such things, we simply cannot reconcile the grandness of the institution with the pettiness concealed within it.  Many such examples exist in government, religion, and even in families.  Are we to, in our disappointment and great hurt, wish for the end of all things?  Or are we to look for solutions, look for possibilities of reform, and look for hope to have a chance?

Predictions that take into consideration the fallibility of humans

It is quite understandable to wish to make predictions that lead to a future without any failure.  It is also what we wish of our achievements.  We wish our achievements to somehow have the enduring nature of the universe itself.  As we perceive the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars to be eternal, we wish for our works and even our lives to be such.  This is simply locked into the human conscious, or in some way spiritually inherent to belief.  Those are the kinds of stories we write, “happily ever after” etc.  The reality, as we understand it, reminds us of something else.  We are reminded of our impermanence, and of our vulnerability to disease and death while the universe continues on.

To accept human imperfection and the entropy of our works based on the natural raw materials is to accept reality.  Taking this beyond just the physical world and into the world of ideas, even our thoughts have the same characteristics.  It is not in human power to build the eternal.  Let me repeat: It is not in human power to build the eternal.  Could we then, build our ideas and our achievements with the realization that these need maintenance?  Could we accept that later periods of time – God willing – there will be others to improve without ever reaching the aspired perfection?

We must seriously consider our views of the world, our future, our life now.  We must also try to change our view of others and of the creatures around us.  Giving up and surrendering to the idea of doom is disastrous.  It will pull even our hope into the ground, and then into the grave.  This very idea is the threat.

Contentment - for we only can wear one pair at a time
Contentment – for we only can wear one pair at a time

The willingness to be content, to have less than what we wish for

For an equilibrium to come about, as long we can peacefully make it possible, we need to give up some things.  Why?  In consideration for others.  It brings into play many ideas that we are unprepared for.  We think of unselfishness, of contentment, and of generosity.  These seem entirely impractical to those who have suffered.  And in the justified reaction to remain safe, individuals have come to the conclusion that all possibilities of ever being hurt again must be eliminated.  This is what protectionism is.  It is true of an individual, as it is of a society.  Our predictions have to consciously be moved away from doom and decline.  This sense of helplessness has to be countered.

The strength for change might not arise, would not arise from the inner conflicts of society.  We would have to build some recognition for the simple needs of humans.  It is truly required at this time.  For the powers, we have now – politically, technologically, and in our armies – it is so easy to lose everything!  There are places experiencing war where even basic necessities are difficult to procure.  Can we in our comfort forget?

Yes, our goals would have to change.  Unbridled ambition is one of the reasons that declinism and the possibility of doom threaten us.  Those ideas and people that are beginning to appreciate the need for sustainability should be recognized by all.  In that, we are opening the possibility of continuation rather than of doom.  We are very close to disaster, but it does not mean suddenly making enormous changes that disregard society, law, or human frailty.  We can gradually withdraw from the situation we find ourselves in and slowly start to build hope.  We can gain more by being less desperate and maintaining some patience.

Update 2018-03-13 T 15:07:19+00:00


  1. A very interesting, thought-provoking article appeared in Aeon, Why the idea that the world is in terminal decline is so dangerous | Aeon Ideas.  Please read it to gain context and perspective.
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