12/31/2019: Life and Death

Life is key, because it is self-evident that without life there can be no one to assess value – so, effectively, there is no value. Increasing its longevity. If an action results in an overall loss of life, then it also results in loss of value and is therefore wrong. By extension, our hastening of extinction is wrong. At the very least it must be slowed; and at the very most it must be reversed. In the simplest terms I can think of, accelerating extinction involves direct and indirect killing of the members of a population until no members can survive, and one of the most effective ways to do the latter is to reduce the availability and/or usability of resources needed for basic survival.

For me, learning is an artistic experience of creating artificial constructs of reality that change with experience. It doesn't lend itself to schedules and preset expectations, and its results would be suspect if it was forced into them. It also wouldn't be any fun, and – from my observations – having fun is how people do their best work. In a dynamic and complex world, learning is critical to accurately assessing the consequences of one's actions and therefore efficiently attaining one's goals while avoiding problems that could sabotage other goals. That efficiency requires time and effort spent not directly working toward goals.

Ignorance of that fact, along with the fact itself, are consequences of our collective preoccupation with rapid growth, which might be a consequence of the dominance in our history of colonizing new places where we could grow as fast as we wanted because what we consumed – in the beginning – was insignificant with respect to the much larger total.

Humanity has always had colonizers, who find new resources and enable others to process them into increasingly diverse products. Those products are traded between the others and eventually back to the colonizers, who are financially rewarded in part as a reward for the risks they take. This has allowed more needs to be met and for longer (providing for higher population and life expectancy), as well as personalizing people's environments (making them happier) - until recently.

What changed is that a limit was breached in 2001, when due to declining availability of resources some members of the population began to see their life expectancy plummet. Presently almost half the population are among these "decliners." If humanity continues toward its apparent goal of reaching the peak as a group, and external impacts drive the amount of total resources (capacity) lower, then extinction may result.

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