Monday, February 8, 2010


"Man can be the most affectionate and altruistic of creatures, yet he's potentially more vicious than any other. He is the only one who can be persuaded to hate millions of his own kind whom he has never seen and to kill as many as he can lay his hands on in the name of his tribe or his God." Benjamin Spock, pediatrician and author (1903-1998)

Count me in as one of those people who hates millions, no, billions of my own kind whom I have never seen. Farley Mowat once said, while standing before an audience in front of his microphone, that if he could press a button that would wipe out mankind, he would. I would not go that far because I want the human race to survive, or at least, to see its limited tenure on Earth extended. It is precisely because of that objective that I believe that probably all but 5 million of us require termination. Then again, there is no reason to believe that those five million would not give rise to the same behaviour which has led to the current crisis. As I have said before, our brains are not sufficiently developed, a deficit that cannot be remedied by "education" or moral improvement. We are hardwired for denial, we need unfounded optimism to get through the night. That is why religion and superstition will never be eradicated. We require comfort, not the cold truth. Even Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" needed a Hollywood ending. We have a limited tolerance for bad news. Remove mass advertising and media-spun delusions, and we are still left with an ineradicable human appetite for escape. We can't live with reality. It is too mundane, boring or awful. We need to be entertained with good stories. Soap operas, games and gossip were as much the signature of our species in our hunter gatherer guise as they are now.

It is really quite bizarre when you think about it. We face extinction and we spend our time talking about the Academy Awards or the Winter Olympics. What would alien pathologists and archaeologists conclude about our demise? Especially if they discover the archive of books and movies and documentaries that we produced that have warned us of the consequences of our folly. The best snapshot of human mentality can be found by recollections of so many Titanic passengers who continued to party well after the collision. The cheerful bimbos who tell me to "have a good day" or "stay positive" in the face of the gathering storm before us are little different than the women in evening gowns on April 12, 1912 who would point to their cocktail glass with punch listing at 30 degrees and say, "Look, the glass is half full". By what measure of acumen can we be rated as an intelligent species? How can we remain motivated to fight what, in the great scheme of things, can only be regarded as trivial pursuits? Almost any cause that we invest so much time and energy in can be likened to the hackneyed metaphor of changing deck chairs on the Titanic. Human rights, women's rights, rights for the handicapped, rights for minorities, social justice, wealth redistribution, urban planning, border control, save the poster species of the month----all of these things seem pathetically inconsequential in the context of the collapse that must come. To be objective, my efforts are nothing more than an exercise in therapeutic catharsis---dogs bark but the caravan moves on. Yet trying to do something about it is a more satisfying preoccupation than doing absolutely nothing.

I believe that we need genetic engineering or brain surgery on a mass scale. Seriously. Whatever it is that is causing a disconnect between our actions and the consequences of our actions must be identified and surgically or genetically removed. Jason Brent has argued for the development of a Master Race, a term that must not be confused with Hitlerian concepts of "race", but nevertheless will be. Differences of skin pigmentation or culture are irrelevant. What is important is that we are just not smart enough to continue our reign as king of the food chain. The present model of a hominid is defective.

Tim Murray,
December 1/09

PS Take a look at a 1970 movie entitled "The Forbin Project", then tell me that we would not be better governed by the competent and chilling rationality of a super-computer than the most benevolent rule of an omnipotent Mother Theresa. Just as war is too serious to be left to the generals, overpopulation is too serious to be left to the democratic wishes of a species that is congenitally incapable of acknowledging limits. Tim Flannery has proposed that immigration, a subset of population policy, be removed from the control of politicians and placed in the hands of a scientific body aloof from political pressure. A super-computer like "Collossus" in the movie that would command all military levers could act like a surgeon and global policeman to exact all the penalities and sacrifices necessary for humanity to survive. First-World wealth could be commandeered, consumption curtailed and mass sterilizations imposed instantly on pain of liquidation. Sounds good to me.

1 comment:

A said...

Well done Tim! Kudos!