What do We Humans Value?

The Great Barrier Reef is on the verge of extinction. Rainforests and all other old growth forests and ecosystems have all but gone. Every river, lake and waterway on the planet is unsafe to drink. Most of the planet’s farmland is more or less toxic. Cities are devouring the land, they are drowning in their own waste and running out of water and food. The planet contains about five thousand million more humans than it can maintain without ecological collapse. Millions of plant and animal species have become extinct in the last century and the rate is increasing. Why aren’t we doing something about global warming and climate change that threatens our survival within the next century?

Why don’t we value the planet? Indeed, what do we value and where do we learn our values? Religionists tell us values stem from religion – but they are never in the forefront of attempting to save the natural world that sustains us and in which we evolved.
It is obvious that most humans don’t value clean air, water, soil or oceans enough to stop poisoning them. The vast majority don’t value privacy and personal space enough to stop breeding so we can leave some spaces untouched. Very few people value other forms of life – unless they can either be eaten or will serve us. Very few value the lives of people who are different, which is why we are endlessly at war. Scarcely anyone really values happiness, otherwise they would pay attention to centuries of sages who tell us how to be contented.

Humans value getting more than those around them… a more prestigious address, more money, a larger house and car… these sorts of things. This is the only value espoused by most people, notwithstanding their protestations to the contrary, and they are prepared to sacrifice everything else to gratify these primordial urges. This is how we evolved. It is the way every living thing on the planet lives, and it is foolish to imagine our species could be different. People like Ben are evolutionary misfits. Humans are simply behaving in the same way as every other animal on the planet. Pleading with normal humans to change their ways is pissing in the wind. It is beyond their ability to conceive of being different, thus, the deteriorating natural environment and imminent crisis is inevitable and unstoppable and has been predicted by wise men since the beginnings of technology. Nothing anyone says even slows the rate of despoliation, let alone reverses it. Wise people now, in the end days [Ha! sounds like ‘rapture ready] make themselves safe and hope for the best while expecting the worst.

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2 thoughts on “What do We Humans Value?

  1. rigbyte Post author

    Thanks for your comment. I think human societies only react to catastrophe. While individuals may desire change, the inertia in societies become greater the larger they get. Thus, while hunter-gatherers in small groups survived and prospered for about two hundred thousand years by being able to change as their circumstances changed, our urban and political societies are now so gigantic and unwieldy that change is impossible. We will just shamble on from crisis to crisis until it all collapses, billions die and suffer and nothing will ever be the same again. It doesn’t depress me. I’ve always felt myself an outsider – an observer of the absurdities of humanity in which I also participate. I think what’s happening and is coming is an inevitable consequence of the way life evolved – we can’t act differently, no matter how hard we try.

    Reply

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