….. „Humanity will abolish itself in the next 400 years !“…..Sure !!!
Dear Prof. Xxxxxxx : I will take the liberty of using a short FOREWORD before I jump into the actual title of my remarks! I mentioned the title in passing during one of my conversations with Sir Roger Penrose, he found it extremely appropriate and logical, he asked me to send him the first contributions.
„Sir Roger Penrose is a British mathematician and theoretical physicist.
Penrose’s main areas of research are mathematical physics and cosmology, and his work in these fields is highly respected.“ He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020 with two others.“ – From black holes to human consciousness – Nobel Prize winner in physics Roger Penrose
Humanity will abolish itself in the next 400 years!“
Let me go into a little more detail – I can think of a few incidents I’ve experienced myself, such as overcrowded buses, streetcars and even trains these days. My throat always goes dry, I start thinking too hard every time.
A hopelessly large number of people, the world is becoming increasingly crowded: in November 2022, the global population will have exceeded eight billion people. It’s almost impossible to always have an accurate overview of births and deaths around the world, but the UN has already set this deadline for November 15, 2022 as a precaution.
Whether global population growth will slow down or even come to a halt at some point is the subject of differing findings: According to United Nations (UN) forecasts, there could be around 10.4 billion people on the planet in the 2080s. However, there are still various forecasts, but I would like to refrain from making them in this article. So let me stay away from these infinite number of scientifically based predictions of this future development or even future states!
I’ll start with my thoughts on something else…….oh Yes, the earth has humans-and how! More than eight billion of us are cavorting on its surface and doing what we were obviously born to do: We are changing this, I say very thoughtfully…..our world because we can simply do it more or less harmlessly. In the meantime, this global, collective process of change has reached a truly fabulous intensity and spatial dimension, so much so that an age of the earth is already being named after us !!!! named after us. …
….es is >The ANTHROPOCENE<
I look cruelly into the distant future and say that one day it will be possible to detect our traces in the ground. I am sure of it…..The earth scientists of the future will then state: Apparently there were once creatures that were able to change the earth’s matter extremely efficiently because they even created quantities of artificial substances that no longer decayed. They „fiddled“ with large quantities of radioactive materials and, incidentally, they almost completely exploited the Earth’s already greatly reduced stores of raw materials on a daily basis. The atmosphere was incessantly enriched with large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane, apparently through the burning of such materials as coal, oil and gas. In addition, their global activities in the water, on land and in the air destroyed the biodiversity necessary for us humans. Flora and fauna have been decimated, as has the fertility of our soils.
An honorable colleague once mentioned in a private conversation with me, smiling quite strongly: „Perhaps the researchers of the future will also find individual objects that indicate that various groups must have existed in Central Europe, possibly religious associations, whose mystical common ground was the use of plastic bags.“
My objection ; that the names of the „gods“ usually only had four letters: LIDL, IKEA or ALDI. The very locations where these plastic bags were found indicate a large-scale infrastructure. Massive asphalt road networks and huge concrete building complexes were perhaps used as „economic temples“ to pay homage to the most important „gods“ of the time:
The following names of the „gods“ suddenly come to mind , they were certainly called
„Growth and profit.“
I was improved :
These have always been … CONSUMPTION and GROWTH.“ …..
Yes, that’s right!
All this will surely be revealed from the findings of electronically stored information. More…….. it can be proven that hundreds of thousands of airplanes flew around the planet every day and that its seas were sailed and polluted by cruise ships and container giants, which could then also be proven by excavations of port facilities and wrecks. And of course the concentrations of greenhouse gases will be detected in the ice cores of the future – if there is any ice left on earth at all. In the former population centers, we will come across the technology of the past, rails, wagons and locomotives and perhaps old newspapers. You will read in them that in a country called Germany there should of course be no speed limit on the autobahns. A headline in normal advertising newspapers will surely proclaim: Free travel for free citizens. Next to this article is an advertisement with one of the „premium limousines“ with more than 380 hp. Underneath is the line „Vorsprung durch Technik“. I can well imagine that the people of the future will immediately shake their heads and murmur in deep thought: What „madmen“ they must have been – back then. But it’s all just a fantasy. After all, WE …… are clever, enlightened Europeans and know what to do. We’ll rock the boat……of course, after these statements, which are speculative for many people reading this, I’ll continue with the
damn ……. „The world is already here“
YES,…THE WORLD IS ALREADY HERE:
To put it succinctly, our birth is a very interesting event. It confronts us with our greatest challenge: the world, because it’s already here; billions of years. But it is precisely msie that immediately causes us difficulties. I’m certainly not just speaking from my own experience here! Because the word „immediately“ is not quite right in the following consideration, because first of all our parents and grandparents usually take care of us, they often look after and protect us together. ……and usually not a little. But then, when we go out into the world ourselves – usually very hesitantly and even if it is only the very first small steps – the world immediately works against our aspirations. We resist the world, so to speak, and the world resists us. We are obviously concerned about balance and gravity and it sounds like an accusatory remark from me ……… That’s why we immediately start to change it, the world. At first it’s just tentative attempts, then we take visible and tangible action. We prefer things to behave the way we would like them to. Even a small child gets very angry when things don’t go the way it wants them to. And we continue to practice this behavior until our last breath. As we all know, this has been the case without exception for as long as mankind has existed.
If something in the world doesn’t work the way we want it to, we simply change it. This has been done thousands of times; around 500,000 years ago, the „Minni human race“ of that time began to change the world – and it continues to do so regularly to this day. Everything we do, plan and carry out serves to ensure „OUR“ survival. This is what I simply call culture; unfortunately, it is a cultivation of nature that should be taken completely seriously, the truly original, independent work of man. This celestial body 3, planet Earth, has never experienced anything like us – and what kind of man-made filth has it not already experienced!
This species is truly unique. But how did it come to this? How did it start, that humans not only influenced their immediate environment, but spread further around the globe. In doing so, they not only left their footprints and other traces, they even transformed these areas to such an extent that we have to ask ourselves today: Wasn’t it too much of a good thing?
In answering these questions, we will see that there is always a certain rationality of purpose behind everything that humans have done and continue to do in relation to their habitat. We have never „seemingly“ acted irrationally, neither in a global context nor on a local level. There were always good reasons for doing something and not doing something else. And it is these reasons that I will be looking at here.
So let’s start from the very, very beginning … no, I’ll be careful, that’s why I say better not. I’ll start differently, not the way you, dear reader, might expect. Many current ones, strongly influenced by the wisdom of physics, always start with the big bang ???“. No, I hate such general beginnings, it won’t be like that for me. I’ll just ask you, the readers, a simple question:
Which „instrument“ do we humans actually prefer to work with?
I am inclined to simply give you a little help: It is an „instrument“, better still a biological device, it works far too little almost everywhere despite a general preference and is generally used too little in accordance with its „high-performance“ capabilities.
The wonderful thing that we carry with us furthest from the ground for very good reasons is – yes, hard to believe – the BRAIN. It would be downright insane to drag this CPU (the central processing unit) across the floor and expose it to all kinds of risk of injury. This cognitive apparatus – (human functions associated with perception, learning, remembering, thinking and knowledge) – at the airy end of our body has the ability to think. Not just crazy thoughts and crazy dreams, but also purpose-oriented thoughts, i.e. even virtual planning games with the aim of achieving a goal.
We therefore have the ability to create a reality within ourselves, according to the motto: I shape the world according to my imagination. And you may not believe it, but this is precisely the secret of success ??? – of the human species: the ability to imagine something, to simulate the future, so to speak. Humans can not only reflect on what they have already done (this is the hardest thing for them to do), they can also imagine the future. They can imagine certain goals and what it might be like once these goals have been achieved, even whether further goals might arise afterwards. This „thinking ahead“ into a time that isn’t even here yet is the Prometheus in us. (Prometheus the forward-thinker, Prometheus is a figure from Greek mythology) The Prometheus legend itself is one of the best-known literary stories.
On and on and on! But there is also his brother „Epimetheus“, the one who looks back. He tries to learn from his mistakes and repeatedly warns his brother to be careful: „Watch out, we made a stupid mistake back then. Please don’t carry on like this, otherwise everything will go down the drain.“ But the good Prometheus man doesn’t like to listen to such warnings, he always sets off for new destinations. So these are two different speeds of action: On the one hand, we see what we have already done. But it takes time to sort and prioritize the mistakes: much more important than asking the question: What was the worst mistake we made? While we are still thinking, this Prometheus has long since rushed on at high speed.
I compare the ethical question of „What should I do?“ with a ride on a trolley:
There you are standing on this well-known rail vehicle, pushing the hand lever up and down without much effort and moving forward at a very leisurely pace. BUT !!!, ………… Meanwhile, technical progress in the form of the new Japanese magnetic levitation train races past us into the future at more than 600 kilometers per hour on the adjacent track. If we realize afterwards that this development was a mistake, we have a problem. Unfortunately, we humans often act insanely faster than we can evaluate our actions. Now I’m deliberately not saying CPU, but the so-called cognitive apparatus in our heads allows us to view the world in a way that no other creature on this planet can.
We overestimate the power of our CPU
We are able to make prognoses (prognosis means knowing in advance). In medicine, they are the prediction of how a disease is likely to progress. For a prognosis, the current state of a disease is critically assessed. This is done on the basis of what we have learned in the past. A good example of this is our weather forecasts. If the sky is blue, there can be no rain. If we see clouds in the sky, even dark gray clouds, then we have known since prehistoric times that there could soon be rain. If huge mountains of clouds are building up, our experience teaches us that a thunderstorm could be approaching. Over the course of 500,000 years, our experiences with the weather have even become ingrained in our genetics, arming us against the vagaries of the climate.
Humans realized extremely early on that a cave, for example, offers a certain amount of protection during thunderstorms and in cold weather. Provided there is not already a bear or something else threatening living in it. That’s what it’s all about to this day: protecting yourself in an environment that is often full of dangers in such a way that your own survival and that of your kin (i.e. known relatives) is guaranteed. This is the real driving force in the cultural history of mankind: the realization that the reality of life is resistant. I am only a part of the part that was everything in the beginning. I am part of an environment in which I have to survive and from which I live. But the latter in particular is a realization that we humans unfortunately only came to much, much later, perhaps, no, certainly I say too late. Many (most) of us still haven’t. People learn from their fellow human beings, who can also be their „enemies“, their parents, their family, their friends, their acquaintances, their small group around them. They learn how to behave. And they also learn that sometimes it can be good not to do something.
For example, to remain silent…….
The old often told the young: Look, that was the mistake we made, you better not make it. If the descendants were clever, they followed the advice. In this way, enormous manual skills and often admirable cultural traditions gradually developed. It is mostly a human endeavor to influence, or often very often to manipulate and shape, first the immediate and later also the wider environment, which gave the geological era in which Homo sapiens lives and works its name: the ANTHROPOOCENE.
Occidental culture was and is instrumental in this, because it is the culture that brought forth true science. With their technical applications, the sciences have immensely „potentiated“ the human influence on the environment, on the planet as a whole. No other culture in the history of mankind has changed the earth as much as Western culture. Actually, we don’t need to start at the very beginning with the Stone Age people, we can start about 440 years ago, perhaps even a few years earlier.
In addition, I would like to make the following two comments with total conviction:
Giordano Bruno (* January 1548 in Nola as Filippo Bruno; † February 17, 1600 in Rome) was an Italian priest, poet, monk, philosopher and ASTRONOM. He was found guilty of heresy and magic by the Inquisition and sentenced to death at the stake by the governor of Rome in 1600.
Galileo Galilei (* Feb. 15, 1564 in Pisa + Dec. 29, 1641jul / Jan. 8, 1642 greg.) in Arcetri near Florence) was an Italian polymath, physicist, astrophysicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, philosopher and cosmologist. Many of his discoveries – especially in mechanics and astronomy – are considered groundbreaking. He developed the method of exploring nature through a combination of experiments, measurements and mathematical analysis, making him one of the most important founders of the modern exact sciences. He also became famous when the Catholic Church condemned him because some of his theories contradicted their interpretation of the BIBLE at the time; they rehabilitated him in 1992.
Dear reader, you know I had to make these two remarks because they clearly show the ignorance of the natural sciences by the clergy.
Let’s move on …… man began to try out different things and explore new territory. What does new territory mean? The Occident discovered new continents and spread its influence across the globe because it already had certain technologies at its disposal that could be used most effectively to satisfy a desire that has been with man since the beginning: – GREED. The eternal desire for more is comparable in its strength to the survival instinct or the reproductive instinct, which should not be neglected. The lesser-known term „mammalian imperative“ comes from behavioral research. The mammal practically gives itself the order to constantly review its own position within its group and, if necessary, to improve it. There would never have been such an effective power of an age as that of the Anthropocene, for example, if instead of Homo sapiens, only another form of AMES or BEES had developed? When a bee is born, its position is already clearly defined: It is either a worker, a queen or just a male to be used for fertilization. Ascension is not possible. But when you are born as a mammal, you want, no, you have to compete with the others in order to better distribute your own genes. Mammals are always geared towards gaining prestige within their group.
We must not lose sight of this characteristic or even remove it from our thinking when we consider the phenomenon of human greed. How can a certain species of mammal become so demanding that it takes more than it actually needs for its survival, that it clearly takes too much? This is what happened in antiquity, for example. If we define Western civilization as the culture that developed around the Mediterranean, we can still see the traces of its overwhelming desire today: A good 2,000 years ago, the Romans used wood to build ships. And, as we know, they built a lot of ships, so they needed a lot of wood. The result: Sicily and Spain, until then all green countries, were systematically almost completely deforested. „THAT IS TYPICALLY HUMAN“. In northern Italy, the Etruscans started deforestation on a large scale even before the Romans, because they needed a lot of charcoal, which is why ………. I once asked the question, simply answered…… to produce bronze.
I am simply stating that the beginning of the Anthropocene does not date back to the time of industrialization in the 18th century, nor to the time of Columbus, no, it goes back much further. It is the birth of „occidental“ culture that heralds the human-dominated age. With a very successful method, it is the EMPIRE (method based on scientific experience to gain knowledge), this culture has increased the power of humanity many times over the physical powers of the individual. The empirical sciences carry out research and thus gain knowledge based on experience, the explanations of which are then reflected in scientific models. It is very important that every model, every hypothesis and, of course, every theory must be able to fail in the face of reality; it must be possible to test them. Experience is at the center of everything. In and of itself, science behaves like the ideal occidental man: he works with experience, which he defines as the yardstick for the failure or success of a hypothesis. In other words, if a hypothesis has predictive potential, i.e. if it can predict something, then of course it has passed its test – it is therefore good.
So my contributions will not be about untestable speculations such as „parallel universes“ or „wormholes“, but I will be dealing with something relevant, a topic that concerns our past and future behavior and thus appeals to us in the most violent and good way:
„PLEASE DON’T DO THIS AGAIN, BECAUSE YOU KNOW NOW THAT IT WAS A MISTAKE“
Because knowledge and conclusions that are important for our survival are highly relevant and therefore extremely important. And what does that tell us? …we are in the middle of the problems of the „Anthropocene“ and should not do anything wrong. Actually, it’s nothing new; from the very beginning, Western culture has included the exploration of theory and experimentation. If I look back a little in history, the first important step was taken by Nicolaus Copernicus. The turning point named after him, in which he finally removed the earth from the false center of the universe and classified it as one of many planets, is described by „Freud“ as an „insult“ to humanity, because Freud could have imagined that man would lose his supremacy as a result. „Copernicus“ reacted differently, he appealed to our reason, not our intellect. ……and that is a considerable difference and, of course, simpler and happier as a result. Surely you know the difference between reason and understanding, don’t you? The mind is the actual instrument of reason, which enables us to act rationally. Reason determines our actions with wisdom and morality. But what did Copernicus say? He simply said: Don’t be like animals! Don’t just follow your senses, which tell you that the world revolves around you. No, there are more general principles that our reason can grasp by means of our intellect. Simply put. These principles can tell us much more about the world than what our senses tell us. Western man tries to rationally categorize and understand his experiences by means of his intellect and then apply them. Throughout history, this approach has brought us advantages to such an unbelievable extent that it makes you dizzy, or must have done.
I therefore say that it is the credo of Western science, which has ensured the enlightenment, progress and success of the human species.
NIKOLAUS KOPERNIKUS (1473-1543), as I have already mentioned, said „Do not be like the animals.“ However, the Copernican appeal seems to have faded. But where are we today? Because of the masses of stupid human behavior, I often tend to say: like animals. And so I will summarize and express it a little more gallantly:
The Copernican appeal seems to have faded, because we are behaving like animals again, and like very lowly ones at that. Because, to put it simply, even from a global perspective, we are multiplying quite unrestrainedly and our greed has increased in a way that, unfortunately, I say, lacks all reason. We don’t just want everything, we want a lot more, especially ……… money. But I’ll talk more about that later…..
Back to my initial question: How did it all start? With a view of the sky, for example! OK, that’s a real home game for me as an astronomer, if I may call it that. After all, every person can have a very confidence-inspiring experience by looking at the sky many times, and that from a very, very early age, so that this experience could even be „genetically“ stored in the meantime:
the rhythmic, the periodic repetitions of what happens in the sky. That doesn’t sound like much at first, but reliable repetition is something very important for us humans. We realized very early on that it is good when the sun rises in the east in the morning and sets in the west in the evening. And the moon also rises and sets. Reliability has given us a sense of security and trust in the world. Which means:
The periodic changes in the sky testify to an order in nature. I say knowingly, nature is not chaotic, it does not produce unpredictable, threatening phenomena. No, everything certainly has a strict order, everything has its reasons and causes, everything has natural triggers and so astronomers were already of particular importance several thousand years ago, as they were able to interpret the movements in the sky. At first there was only a little content with useful results, but over the tens of years of their work, more and more significant things emerged. At the very beginning, if one can speak of a beginning at all, the cause of the movement of the celestial bodies was naturally attributed to the gods. The stupidity of mankind began and ended with the statement that there was only one God. However, he was called by different names depending on which religion imagined him.
I am not afraid to add my two cents, which I will do as follows. Around two and a half thousand years ago, a strange and frightening conviction spread from the West. It was loosely claimed that only we humans can get to the bottom of things and recognize what is really happening in the world by means of our cognitive apparatus (CPU). Now it’s bursting out of me; this sentence I’ve just written prompts me to make a disgusting statement and that is to say: „This self-praise, which reeks of rotten carcasses, stinks“. I give a speck of understanding to the people living at the time, because although they didn’t know at the time why the world was the way it was, at least they began to understand that causes always have effects. And, believe me, this little bit of understanding is independent of any supernatural source of knowledge. There was no such thing as a „god“ and gods cannot speak, or do you, dear reader, know a guy like that.
It gives me great pleasure to take this moment as an opportunity to revisit the Greek story once again. This time it’s Odysseus and the Sirens:
He simply didn’t trust the gods. Incidentally, Odysseus was the first person in literature to take on the „gods“. Yes, the Homeric Iliad, just like all the other stories written during this period, is evidence of the steadily growing emancipation from the gods. It is said that Odysseus, the cunning one, even tried to deceive the gods. All I have to say is that he must have been a very bad hand, because although he had a goddess on his side beforehand, he essentially relied on his own intellect and reason. He was also suspicious of the gods. This mistrust of traditional, supernatural sources of knowledge was the real beginning of philosophy.
Knowledge ? !
Let’s just take a look at what happened next….she was a simple, almost physical thing, because the ancient Greeks first thought about the elements, fire, water, air and earth. So the term „simple“ is correct.
It bubbled and boiled in the illustrious minds of the „ancients“ and the first criticism arose again and quickly. A simple question made its way. Couldn’t everything be completely different? A new approach promptly followed, this time it was the following, which was also clearly more physical:
I’ll simply pose this question to the readers: Maybe the world consists only of atoms and „nothingness“. ??? Unbelievable, dear reader, attention, the idea of atoms is in fact, hard to believe, already 2,300 years old. But if you thought it could go on like this, you were way off the mark. Another 1,700 years passed before the first discoveries about the structure of matter were made.
In a nutshell, we are still working on this today, but our way of working has changed dramatically. For around 400 years, we have been conducting exclusively empirical research, which is easy to describe. First of all, we test every theory we put forward with observation and experiment. The resulting findings about natural processes are then translated into technology with the help of a great human characteristic: creativity. Simply not true,….( Technology comes from the Greek „technikós“, which means craft or artistry) This means that we don’t just stop at pure knowledge, but use it to create something truly new.
Let me start by saying, very thoughtfully and not entirely convinced: the history of technology is a great success story. After all, at the time of its discovery, the lighting of a fire was already high-tech, just as the wheel, the rope and the first piece of writing were equally worthy of mention. Today we say in a very mannerly way :
A culture that mastered such techniques was simply far superior to all others. But superiority is not the be-all and end-all; the „why why why“ plays an important role. The latest technological achievement was always a winner and it didn’t matter that the first inventions were actually made without a scientific background.
Aha…so what !
But what does it mean for people if they know the causes and can foresee effects, which in turn can also be causes? What does this mean for technical progress? I think the answer is relatively simple. Over the last 400 years, we have seen a huge exponential increase in technological innovations thanks to scientific progress. Scientific knowledge contains insights about the world as it is and the increased technical knowledge makes it possible to transform these insights into something new, it can create something new. Knowledge is the known know-how. Science looks for the reasons, technology looks for how these reasons can be made usable. Technology is never purpose-neutral, but always purpose-oriented. If we want to talk about the Anthropocene, we can easily and without hesitation talk about science, but actually we have to talk about technology and engineering because the fatal nonsense that technology has done on the back of science fills a lot of books of accusation against people and even against certain parts of humanity. I am certainly making the beginning of this immoderate action visible with the writing of my texts.
It all began with the appearance of the human being around 500,000 years ago and that is where I come back to the almost succinct sentence :
So man came into the world, and the damned barren ? world was already there!