As I have stated in numerous previous posts, such as this one, there is really no way to fix human problems because they are largely self-inflicted and based on modes of behaviors that are irrational. You cannot fix what does not want to be fixed, but that does not mean you should let it keep on existing. I would like to tell you that there is a magical way to separate otherwise OK people from sociopaths, drones and assholes. But there isn’t such a method or algorithm nor could you implement any such strategy on a scale large enough to reliably rid the world of such people, their kids, grand-kids etc. But there is another way to approach this problem..
Make all humans disappear… the keyword is ALL.
Now you might be skeptical about whether something like that is even possible and more importantly feasible. I mean how do you get rid of people who want to live. Would they not try to do anything to keep on living? Ironically, it is possible to use this very willingness to live at any cost to make humans extinct.
But first let us understand what methods of making human disappear won’t work. Methods based on natural disasters, energy starvation, nuclear wars, comet strikes, epidemics (natural or artificial) might destroy entire civilizations but they are unlikely to reliably cause human extinction. They are also complicated, involve too much work and have single points of failure. The other problem with such methods is that an external threat might make human beings temporarily come together and find a way around that problem.
The best way to cause human extinction is to use certain features of the human psyche, present day society and technology to make things fall apart at an ever-increasing rate.
I am certainly not the first person to wish for human extinction. However I and others who wish that today have some advantages over those who wished something similar even 30 years ago. We now have many of the enabling conditions and technology to complete the job.
Those enabling conditions and technologies are:
1. A globalized and connected world where news, ideas and events spread in ways that are beyond the control of anybody. In previous eras, even the utter collapse of one civilization would often not transmit to another on a different continent. Today we can daisy-chain the whole process and use one node to amplify the damage at another node (and so on) till the whole thing comes apart.
2. In previous eras people could not act on their worst impulses because they were part of some social structure or order around them. Today, we have a rapidly increasing number of people who have no real connection to the society around them nor any hope of benefiting from playing by the rules- and they know it.
3. Our societies, in-person behaviors, customs and expectations are still based in a world that used to exist. We still act as if the social changes and technological possibilities which have occurred over the last few decades had no real impact on who we are. While living in a previous era can work for some time, the shift underlying realities will ultimately interrupt the trip.
4. We have run out the spare human beings! In previous eras, it was possible to cover all sorts of horrible things and mistakes with a new crop of naive humans. Today, you can no longer do that and that affects the amount of bullshit a society can get away with before experiencing irreversible collapse.
5. Newer technological possibilities and older socio-economic mores have made it easier to put some space between us and the damage we cause. Today a billionaire, celebrity, CEO, manager, lawyer, bureaucrat or doctor can cause far more damage without a realistic threat of immediate retribution. Since human beings, especially the ‘clever’ ones, are the most short sighted- the lack of immediate retribution can make people cause far more damage than they had originally intended.
It is relatively easy to make people do something that can start a whole series of secondary and tertiary events whose eventual impact is far more than the primary event.
But how can one translate that into initiating a process which will eventually, but certainly, destroy all humans. Now I fully understand that almost nobody would willingly take part in something along those lines- if they saw it like that. But why advertise it as such? I am not suggesting that lying is the way forward, but what if you presented it in a way that appealed to the needs (rational/irrational) and ego of human beings.
Almost every human being desire to keep on living is linked to some combination of external validation, social acceptance, respect from others, power over others, ability to harm others, make others suffer etc.
Now all of these reasons are not truly rational- even at our current level of technology and knowledge. But then again, human beings are not rational. This is especially true for those who pretend to be “intelligent”, “rational” and “objective”. A truly rational human would spend all of their waking hours trying to get away from the slow-motion disaster also known as the rest of humanity. Therefore I do not expect the very few truly rational human beings will care about what I am talking about- one way or the other.
My idea relies on using the consequences of social atomization and mass personal communication mixed in with simple probability to create a set of circumstances that will elicit a disproportionate and increasingly counterproductive reaction from the rest of people. Fortunately developments within the last two centuries, and especially the last few decades, have made my task much easier than it would otherwise have been.
In the next part of this series, I shall discuss the single most important social phenomena that will allow my vision to prevail- the rise of the ‘free agent’.
What do you think? Comments?