If we’re to grow up as a species, we need to address the systems that infantilize us.
I recently posted a question to Steve Shives for his “You Had to Ask” series, wherein I asked for his thoughts regarding population growth and the problem it poses for our continued existence on this planet. No great surprise, Steve had no solutions among his musings, but he noted importantly that, as a problem, population growth is far more obvious and blatant than something like climate change, yet the latter at least gets some lip service in the halls of government, while the former gets next to none. In thanking Steve for his response, I suggested the following:
I suspect we as humans will only fully address that problem when we have grown out of our adolescence as a species. That of course means thinking far more rationally than we do now and rejecting wishful thinking, woo, and the biggie, religion.
The fact is that humankind is in various stages of its adolescence, depending on where on our planet one chooses to sample. I submit that the level of adulthood in any such sample is reflected in its rationality, as suggested above: embracing reason and science and dismissing those practices which are either not fruitful or counterproductive, with religion heading that list. By that measure, Homo sapiens remains very much mired in puberty, with figurative raging hormones manifesting in everything from random violence and gang warfare to science denial and jihad. These irrationalities deny their own effects and insist on their continuance without change, because their foundations say it must be so. Worse, when coupled with technological advances, they conspire together to threaten both our species and the continued viability of the planet which spawned us.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” Whether Paul said that or not doesn’t change the necessity of growing up, of becoming an adult, and facing reality. In part this entails confronting the mistakes made in adolescence and making a mature, concerted effort to correct those mistakes to better address the path forward. It does NOT mean giving up the Child’s sense of play or wonder or the occasional absurdity which makes humankind the only Terran species which laughs, especially at itself. It also doesn’t mean eradicating all future mistakes but embracing a healthy attitude toward them along with resolving them. It DOES mean relinquishing those actions which are less childlike than childish, including belief without substantiation and purposeful ignorance and stupidity, borne of unfounded and illogical dogma and disordered thought processes.
We are at that point in our arc when we can be conscious of our actions and at least some of their products and should be able to choose wisely, to preserve ourselves and our future. The obvious question is: