Pessimism and Optimism

The prevailing cultures across the globe have lost sight of our total dependence on the rest of the living world, and they are generating human activities on a scale and of a kind that threaten the integrity of the living systems of the biosphere that underpin our existence. If these activities continue unabated, the ecological collapse of civilisation is inevitable. There are also other highly unsatisfactory features of current society, including the gross disparities in health and conditions of life across different socio-economic groups, the massive population explosion and the existence of thousands of weapons of mass destruction.

What is the likelihood of cultural enlightenment coming about soon enough to avert ecological disaster on a massive scale? I am rather pessimistic. The maladaptive assumptions of the prevailing cultures are deeply ingrained, and the general ignorance of biological and ecological realities do not auger well for the future.

On the other hand, although it seems unlikely that effective cultural reform will come about soon enough to avert catastrophe, I don’t think it is impossible. So long as this is the case, I feel strongly that those of us who understand the nature and severity of the current situation should continue to do all we possibly can to bring about this radical cultural turnaround.

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