Saturday, November 30, 2013

Surviving Progress ~ BBC Documentary (2011)

Surviving Progress is a very interesting look at modern society.  What is progress?  Can there be such a thing as too much progress?  Are we on the path of a Progress Trap?  The central theme to this documentary is the "Experiment that is Civilization" (i.e., the last 5,000 yrs) is failing.  Technological evolution seems to have outpaced human evolution.  If we are so intelligent, why are we experiencing some of the globe's most serious challenges (i.e., economic, environmental, social)?  Have we out evolved ourselves?  And possibly to our own demise?  The interest on Nature's Capital has supported us for some 50,000 yrs until 1980.  Since then, we have begun eating into the principle of Nature's Capital.  Not to mention the accumulation of debt across the globe ~ and the depletion and impairment of ecological services that economists like to refer to as 'externalities' ~ with the (monetary) wealth concentrated in the very few.  Unlimited economic progress is counter-intuitive to the physical limitations of the planet.  But technology will save us!  Is it not technology that created this?  Or is it ethics?  Or environmental degradation?  There is no correct answer ~ that will be experienced in real time.  But it is becoming increasingly apparent that the current path is not sustainable within the aforementioned limits.  Is the evolutionary process of making apes smarter a dead end?  The society dominated by consumptive values can be reversed with an acknowledgement of humanity ~ and a realignment of 'values' to allow for a safe operating space for humanity.  Or, is it what Stephen Hawking believes quoted below?  Time will tell.
" ... if we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue.  If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe.  We have made remarkable progress in the last one hundred years.  Our only chance for long term survival is not to remain inward looking at planet earth, but to spread out into space."    Stephen Hawking

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