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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Day 553: Cruelty or Kindness?

I have been watching a British TV series called Utopia which is an odd, edgy and relatively controversial show. I say controversial because it questions the future of humanity and of this planet in a way that makes you consider that maybe our future is not all that bright and is only going to get darker from here on in.

The human race has multiplied exponentially. For generations before us, war and disease kept our numbers relatively stable between 500 million and 1 billion, but in the last century our advances in hygiene and healthcare have increased our life spans twofold. Our population keeps on growing and at some point we are going to have very serious problems. Even with the conflicts and poverty that ravages so many countries our population grows. Even with our miraculous antibiotics becoming less and less effective, we survive. Even with our food becoming less nutritious and more toxic, we prosper. But, this cannot continue, at some point we will no longer be able to survive and many, many people will die slow and agonizing deaths.

The concept in Utopia that is emerging slowly is one of sterilizing the majority of the human race in order to decrease our population growth and bring our numbers down to a less impactful 500 million. They argue (the "bad guys" I mean) that if the human race continues to grow in numbers, the planet will simply no longer be able to sustain us. A quote from episode 5 is that 'one third of our farmlands are now useless due to soil degradation'. This dark future is a very real possibility - we are simply not doing enough to offset all of the harm we have done and continue to do. The bad guys argue that by making 95% of the population sterile (in a non-invasive or harmful way) the pressure our presence puts on the planet will gradually decrease until we reach a point of being able to live and sustain ourselves and the planet well. They say that by doing this they are helping humanity avoid years of suffering in which people slowly starve to death. So what is it that makes these guys the "bad guys"? They will do anything necessary to achieve their goal, including murder.

Obviously I do not agree with their methods, nor with their belief that sterilization is the only way to save humanity - but they do raise some damn good points that are not discussed objectively often enough. Our world is suffering from our actions. We are heading towards making life unsustainable on this planet. We are not doing enough. Drastic measures are required.

I see the potential in humanity to change - to become more considerate and less quick to anger; to treat each other with respect and not cruelty; to forgive ourselves and each other instead of holding on to past hurts and perceived wrongdoings. I see the potential for this planet to recover, for the plants to recover and the animals to recover. I see the potential for us to heal the damage we have done and improve the lives of those we have hurt.

I also see the potential for genocide, for war, for starvation, for genetic modification like in Utopia. We are working against the ways we have lived and thought and spoken for our entire lives. In order to change the outcome of this planet and humanity we need to change our very natures. We need to strive for those principles that we all know would allow for Earth to become Heaven.

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