The Me-species

Posted 1.19.17

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Popular expressions, slogans, and attitudes evolve as our societies evolve, most of them; it's interesting to see which do and which don't.

Example: globalization has expanded almost everywhere, but it's opposite is now showing up. That opposition is clearest with "make America great" - - an attitude which will end many of globalization's success stories, like NAFTA.

Assuming evolution means progress, better adaptability, and survival, where's the evolution here?

"Me-first" takes us back to attitudes that ended in large and vicious wars -- WW I -- where competing empires battled for "greatness" (resources, markets, territory). But today's world -- by size of population, by speed of communication but not of thought -- has evolved into almost one-world.

Making one nation great is clan-thought. Nations, tribes, even families, religions, languages : each means one nation really can be separate. Yet it's obvious the world is a network, and it's hard to imagine that changing.

Most problems – and opportunities --- are embedded in networks: climate change, wealth disparities, pollution, over-population, food scarcities, habitat destruction, transportation quagmires, and nuclear armaments (for starters). Every one is the centre of a spider web, sensitive to pressures, connecting consumers to markets to resources access and production facilities.

How can making one player ‘great’ solve such multi-player problems?

Or why go back to a past that created these very problems?

"Solve" is not the word. "Deal with" or "handle" is better. Today's big problems are so complex it's difficult to envision solutions. They question our survival, unless we grab and actually "handle" these problems.

To assure a future will surely require we focus on the big picture opportunities and dangers.

How can we protect ourselves from all the collateral effects of too many people, too many hungers, too many ideologies, too many armaments, too much nationalism, exploitation of others, and way too much greed? Put all this together on one planet - - right here — and it's clear that dinosaurs are going to be Earth's success story, not Sapiens.

Years ago a generation was labelled the "me generation" - - the way "Millennials" are picked on now. But we've become the "me species", all of us. We feel we have a right to anything (just because we can afford it), and have no responsibility for the trail of rubbish we leave behind as we motor through our lives.

When eco-warriors say we are killing our planet, our own habitat, by a million tiny cuts, they do mean the cuts from a million open pit mines and toxic ponds but also the million cuts we inflict when we each waste energy and resources every day, kitchen to office.

In the end, the biggest threat facing our planet is us. But we also represent its biggest opportunity to craft an incredible civilization within, as a part of, our planet's lushness. We start by our individual daily choices and, necessarily, by the big questions we solve with our focus and intelligence. Everyone's.


Copyright © 2018 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/1.18