Our intelligence will decide our future

Each of the species of life on our planet has been given a special advantage that has helped it survive. The chameleon has its camouflage, the turtle its shell, the bird its wings, the rose its thorns.

The lion has a whole array of advantages—speed, strength, teeth and claws, that place it near the top of life’s food chain.

But no creature comes even close to the dominance of the species that now rules, and abuses, earth’s ecosystem—man. Our advantage is our intelligence.

In the earliest days of man’s existence it seemed such a puny thing. A few thousand years ago the lion looked at us and licked its chops. A tasty treat he thought… Little did he know that he was looking at what would become the most dangerous animal on Earth.

It was our intelligence that made a weapon out of a hefty bone. Our intelligence led to pits dug in the ground, covered by leaves. Troops of our ancestors herded their prey into the trap. Later our intelligence produced the spear, then the arrow, then the gun and then…

In the beginning we used our intelligence to survive in evolution’s survival of the fittest contest. But soon it was no contest. Then we began to have choices about how we use our intelligence.

 At first, the imperatives of survival, food and water drove all the choices. In the earliest days you were a hunter or a gatherer.  Then the first human communities, small groups of cooperating people, created the opportunity to specialize. Choices grew. Soon man’s success in his competition with other species left only one serious threat—man. And the career choice of warrior was born.

Enough ceased to be enough. Greed was born. And envy. And fear—and distrust. And alpha behaviour such as power hunger, hoarding, extravagant displays of possessions…

Man did not invent these bad traits. They have always been there in nature. All life forms are inherently selfish. But our intelligence has given us the ability to carry self indulgence to obscene excess. Why? Because we can… and our role models, multi-million dollar earning entertainers and athletes smile at us.

And then there is our “defence” spending. At the same time as millions of “have nots” are dying from poverty, the “haves” are spending trillions of dollars on defence. Fear drives the spending, of course (but also the greed of those who profit by the spending).  Fear of what? Are we afraid of an alien invasion? No. We spend trillions because we are afraid of ourselves. Does this make sense?

 We all know that we cannot continue as we are. Our numbers are growing and our consumption of resources is growing even faster. Our “defence” weaponry is becoming increasingly lethal. Is enough to kill everybody on Earth not enough? Apparently not. Let us count the ways… There is fission, there is fusion, there are neutron bombs, there is chemical, there is biological, there is (coming soon) nanobots…

Or we could pollute ourselves to death. Or fry ourselves with global warming. There is no end to our ingenuity… We are such an intelligent species…

There is a word that sums it up. Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth and Power of Now) was not afraid to use it. Nor is Tom Shadyac, director of the documentary I am, now showing in movie theatres (but better known for producing comedic hits such as Bruce Almighty). The word is INSANITY.

The “civilization” that we enjoy (?) today will end. It’s just a matter of time. The big question is will there be any survivors? We are a hardy species, so I suspect that some of us will survive. Let’s suppose that some do.

There are two possible scenarios. The first is the good one. We magically use our intelligence to pull ourselves out of our death spiral and become future man, a truly mature version of humanity.

The second is the bad one. Our civilization collapses. The population is perforce decimated, because we just cannot feed today’s billions without all the “power tools” (such as fertilizers, insecticides, global economy, etc.). In all probability, poverty and starvation will ignite wars where the “haves” try desperately to hang on to their wealth, while the “have nots” with nothing to lose, fight for their lives.

Inevitably, the survivors will look back at our civilization. In the “good” scenario they will call our era “The Age of Insanity” or “The Chaos Era”. They will have learnt from it. They will go forward.

The survivors of the bad scenario will dig up the artefacts of our civilization—still shiny iPhones, the remains of jet aircraft, the carcasses of bridges and skyscrapers—and they will wonder. These people were Gods they will say in awe. And they will, eventually, repeat the same mistakes—and create a new insanity, and that civilization will come crashing down. And then…

Good or bad? Which will it be? Should we care?

Yes, we should care—because we are, above all, the custodians of the future of our species. We know this when we bring up our children.

And there is good in humanity too… There is hope, compassion, love…

And our intelligence is really not a curse. It’s a gift…

10 thoughts on “Our intelligence will decide our future

  1. Hi Mr. Hollings! Again another wonderful and stimulating post to enlighten people about our gift of intellect. Thanks as always!

  2. Thanks Varin. Good to hear from you again. I have the feeling you would like “The Nanobot Attack” (my second book). Let me know if you are – I will send you a pdf of the first part of the book…

  3. Hi again Mr. Hollings, I wanted to let you know that I seemed to have lost your e-mail address. I would like to keep in touch via e-mail of that’s alright. Thanks!

  4. I haven’t read your book, but from what I read here i wouldn’t really need it.
    I agree with you for the most part. The problem being that man doesn’t know we are in control of our own future.

    I completely agree with the fact that how things are now is not how it should end.

    My point is, how do you stop it.

    How can you change the path of a entire species when they dont even know that its there?

    With all the problems people face and the ones they think they face so few can actually take a step back and even try and look at a larger picture.

    When so many can’t even accept another perspective on things as mundane as the outfit they wear.

    I have not been able to find the road my life should take. But by all accounts anything apart from trying to open peoples eyes feels like a waste.

    But how can you change the path of a race? How do you even know your idea is the path it should take?

    And how come so few actually dare to think further than their own existence?

  5. Caspar, you sum up our dilemma nicely – including the feelings that fill my days and nights. Why is it that so few see that today’s “fiscal cliff” is just a minor bump in the road compared to the “extinction cliff” that is looming for our species… The intelligence test of all intelligence tests.. We fail it we die..

  6. Desided to look for a copy of your book.
    Could use something to kill time i guess.
    Untill i find a way to help solve this problem.
    Fact of the matter is i think that none of the systems in place today are capable of sustaining and maintaining a global goverment or population.
    Put simply i dont see why we cant just make something new. There are enough people on this planet in theory it should be only a matter of getting the right ones in one room.
    But im growing tired of speculating.
    By just speculating ill still be stuck on the preverbial merry go round untill it finally breaks.
    And even though thats unlikely to happen in my life time i cant stand the idea that my life could have made a diffrence. I just cant see myself leading a “normal” life. Walking around with blinders only interested in my personal gain and survival while i know its all so pointless.
    Every problem we fix just reveals a new one. all originating in the fact we are a devided world and our systems of goverment finance ect are all but falling apart.

    To put it simple when its broken fix it. But after so many fixes you will have to replace it all together.
    If your car keeps breaking down at some point you will buy a new one. Even if you love and adore the old one for all it has done. Its just not capable of keeping up anymore.

  7. Caspar
    You won’t find the book in a bookstore (unless they order it in from Amazon). Best/fastest way to get it might be to buy a Kindle version. You can then read it on your computer by downloading the Kindle reader… I hope you do persevere – for two reasons. 1) As you said, you are one of a very few that actually realize that something is horribly wrong (probably fatally wrong) with our current social model – and, as I see it, the only hope is our numbers grow until we have a voice that is heard – and leads to fundamental changes… and 2) on a more mundane note, I would be interested in your take on my book.
    I was in precisely the same place as you are now when I embarked on my project to write “The Future of Man”. I reasoned that I had to do something to wake people up – and I looked for a glimmer of light in the darkness… I found it and I wanted to share it… Naively, I thought that the message, once explicated, would explode into awareness…
    But I haven’t given up…

  8. It is sad that a message meant to open peoples eyes to a bigger view of life gets lost in the rabble and drama wich sole purpose is to distract and keep you entertained temporarely.
    Its like teaching the blind to see. They simply dont know wat it means.

    First and foremost i will have to read your book though. And i will gladely give you my thoughts on it.
    Found it on amazon, it still has to make its way here so it might take some time.

  9. “All life forms are inherently selfish.”

    That is not true. Many studies conducted with primates show the exact opposite. They might be selfish in frameworks of artificial scarcity because instincts come through under this circumstances but that is not the norm.

    Homo sapiens is inherently cooperative and altruistic … it is our highly competitive monetary system, its incentive system and the culture it generates and in which we grow up and live day by day which makes us selfish. We learned to be selfish … it is not in our genes. In fact we became the dominant species because we were highly caring, cooperative and empathic.

    We need to break this downward spiral of competition, fear and selfishness by changing our monetary system and thus the rule we play by and the culture in that we live.

    I recommend reading “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein or checking out the interviews with Peter Joseph and the work of The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project.

  10. Christian
    Every living thing must take a selfish view because the “processor” is the life form that is viewing its world. So everything is evaluated in a personal (selfish) frame. Arguably only an artificial intelligence (that is NOT self-aware) can be objective.
    In any event, I thank you for your comment – and the suggestion to check out the Zeitgeist movement and Venus Project. My latest post is the result. Check it out. I think you will find it interesting.

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