Urgency
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Note: The following statistics are difficult to comprehend and not at all reassuring.  They have caused many to hide behind hopelessness in order to justify inaction and/or the continuation of business as usual.  Either way, this is a luxury that we can no longer afford.  Because of advances in technology, and its destructive capability, everyone in the World is now at similar risk -- rich and poor alike.  This leveling of the playing field confirms, for the first time in human history, that we all have a direct stake in the quality of everyone else's life -- IF we expect to ensure the continuation of our own.  The emergence of this priori constitutes the 1st confirmable instance of a universally imposed, moral /ethical imperative, that is undeniably applicable to all mankind. It also establishes a real penalty if we choose to ignore it.


"I was happy and indeed honored to receive a copy of your letter to Allan Greenspan together with its informative supporting material. I fully endorse your argument and congratulate you on your courage and energy in putting it forward so forcibly and so widely.   My own concerns have been in the same direction for more than thirty years... 

One aspect of your Greenspan letter struck me forcibly  - "it is actually our thought process that is responsible for the predicament we find ourselves in."  I couldn't agree more.  Unless we find the means to change our thinking I can see little hope in solving the supreme problem of humanity -- its impending extinction."

Alexander King
Founder of the Club of Rome
(One of the World's preeminent think tanks)

 

Countdown to Chaos
 

uring the last century alone, the number of dead from political and religiously contrived situations, including war, genocide, tyranny and their aftermath, numbers upwards of 250 Million people; and, this is a conservative estimate.  Prior to the twentieth century the slaughter was similarly horrific.

You would think that over the last 6000 years humankind would have figured out a way to stop this senseless carnage.  But, obviously it hasn’t, since it continues unabated.  Even as you read this, war wages on several continents threatening to draw humanity into an exchange of weapons of mass destruction that will cause the prior suffering (at least in numbers) to pale in comparison.  If this were not bad enough, a new threat has now emerged in the form of secular terrorism, a dynamic for which there is NO immediate solution.

In addition to these more obvious liabilities, there are an endless number of other problems that also threaten to eclipse our problem solving capability.  Equally alarming, they continue to grow in both complexity and threat.  As such, they are further unwanted antagonists to what has already become an impossible situation.  In the interests of time, I will reference only the most pressing.  The following information is from demographic studies commissioned by the United Nations.

Please note:  Although statisticians would have us think differently, the results from all of their analysis amounts to nothing more than approximations based upon specific methodologies, all of which are inherently biased and therefore they bias the conclusions reached.  This is particularly true with regard to estimations of global magnitude -- because of the infinite number of variables involved and the difficulty in ascertaining accurate specifics.  As a result, data is inherently bound to vary from study to study.  Knowing that, the best one can do is to try and find the middle ground between proposed extremes.  Hopefully, the following information reflects that.

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21.5% of the world's population is currently undernourished.  This translates to 1.3 billion people, and results in some 50 million starvation related deaths a year. 14.6 million of these are children. 

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1.5 billion people do not have safe drinking water.  Without relief from current situation this number will swell to 4 billion by the year 2025.  3 billion people lack basic sanitation.  Disease related deaths from these antagonists remain incalculable.

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In the larger cities of the world 40% to 50% of the population lives in slums.  This translates to 740 million people who are constantly being exposed to significant health risks.  Worse, this number is increasing at an alarming rate every year.

   
bullet1.3 billion people are currently unemployed or underemployed.  That constitutes 1/3 of the World's total work force.  At the current rate of job loss this number will rise to 1.5 billion by the year 2012.  That is more than 1/5 of the world's population.  All who depend upon these workers are destined to suffer accordingly.  This deprivation cannot help but further exacerbate the  already serious social unrest that exists worldwide.
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The complexity and incurability of new diseases is also on the rise.  Part of the problem is due to the conditions cited above.  Another part is due to overmedication and the pathogenic resistant organisms it promotes.  Then there is the moral/ethical breakdown that attends the uncontrolled proliferation of information, and the wanton disregard for long standing cultural constraints it promotes.  AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), accelerated by sexual deviance and promiscuity, provides a tragic example.

Approximately 33 million people have HIV in the world (the precursor to AIDS).  This amounts to 1 in every 100 sexually active adults under the age of 49.  Over two million of these are children. Seventeen million are women.  More than 7,200 new cases of this infection occur daily. 2.6 million occurred in 2009 alone, and 1.8 million people died.  By 2009, some 25 million adults and children were already dead from this fatal disease.  AIDS has also resulted in 16.6 million orphans and by the year 2017 that number could swell to 25 million.

Hardest hit are third world countries.  In some areas of Africa one in four adults are infected with the HIV virus.  Future hotspots include India and China.  Worldwide, U.N. studies indicate that "this disease now rivals the greatest epidemics of all time."  The physical debilitation that attends this illness provides an optimum incubator for a whole host of other diseases that are now on the rise.  Since the cost for AIDS treatment remains prohibitive, there is little hope of relief for the majority who have contracted it.  No one yet knows how this tragedy will end, but the suffering evident in the middle suggests nothing good.

When you factor in the World's ever increasing population (currently at 7 billion and expected to increase by approximately 20% over the next 15 years) it should be obvious that the struggle for food, water, housing, medical care, education, employment and the rest, will be fierce.  Include the rush to modernization, of "developing" countries, which when combined account for 98% of the world's current annual population growth, and the increase in energy they will use, at a time when current usage is already adversely effecting the environment, spells environmental catastrophe.  At present:

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20 million acres of forest are being lost each year to any number of causes.  That's 50,000 acres a day.  At that rate, 40% of the remaining forests on earth will disappear by the year 2050.  With them, so goes the quality of the air we breath.

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"The world’s grain harvest fell short of consumption by nearly 6% in 2010, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that production has failed to satisfy demand.  Weather was the main cause.  As a result of these shortfalls, world carryover stocks (at the end of 2010) dropped to 72 days of consumption, the shortest buffer since the 64-day-low in 2007 that triggered close to a doubling of grain prices." -  Earth Policy Institute

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Of the total land mass of the World only 60.5% is suitable for agriculture.  Of that amount, 24.9% has already been significantly degraded.  At present, 29 million acres of productive land is being lost annually to fundamental misuse.  Deforestation, overgrazing and poor farming practices, all of which result in soil erosion, are high on that list.  Some 24 billion tons of topsoil is involved, topsoil that cannot be replenished.  It takes 1.2 acres of land per year to feed a varied diet to one person.  Currently there is only 0.6 of an acre available.  In 40 years, at the current rate of loss, available land for farming will be down to 0.34 acres per person.  Regardless of advances in science, that translates to worldwide famine.

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90 percent of all large fish species are now gone from the world's oceans according to the international journal "Nature," commercial over fishing and pollution are being blamed.  The study, which took 10 years to complete, paints a grim picture of the Earth's current populations of such species as sharks, swordfish, tuna and marlin.  "I think the point here is that there is nowhere left in the ocean that is not over fished," said Ransom Myers, a fisheries biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia -- and lead author of this study.  Since the sea provides a significant amount of the world’s food this constitutes yet another serious problem.

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Warming temperatures (Greenhouse Effect) of as much as 3 degrees (by the year 2050) could conceivably produce ocean level increases approaching 2 feet.  If this happens, considerable land mass will be lost to habitation.  The US National Academy of Sciences reports that "as many as one billion people, or 17% of the world's population, live on lands likely to be inundated or dramatically changed by rising waters.  Low-lying countries in the developing world, such as Egypt and Bangladesh, where rivers are large and deltas both extensive and densely populated, will be hardest hit.  Obviously, this mass displacement of people will only make the whole thing worse.

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In 2011 the ozone hole over the Artic was the largest ever observed.  It was estimated to be 5 times the size of Germany, or 700,000 square miles.  The ozone hole over the Antarctic in that same year was likewise the largest on record at 27 million square miles.  Ozone plays a vital role in supporting life on Earth.  In the atmosphere it helps to absorb harmful solar radiation before it can reach the Earth's surface. Included is a significant portion of the ultraviolet light known as UV-B, which has been linked to various types of skin cancer, cataracts and damage to the human immune system. UV-B is also known to be harmful to some crops and marine life.  Any changes in the amount of radiation that penetrates to the Earth's surface, has potentially serious implications for human health and ecological systems.  The depletion of ozone in our atmosphere has been directly tied to a number of chemicals that are used in industrial processes.  The process to controlling them has only just begun.

 

In addition to human/environmental problems, global stability is also being threatened by financial system instability.  As we begin our journey into the millennium, the world is experiencing its worst recession in over 50 years.  Nearly every nation that lacks the necessary resources to meet its growing need is now financially unstable... and, that includes most countries of the world.  Of the 177 countries tracked on the "Failed States Index" by the Fund for Peace, 124 are considered to be in varying states of serious decline.  Although countries in Africa headline this list, the Euro Zone is also in trouble. Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, and France are now financially unstable.  Several have already had to be bailed out.  Even the United States has not gone unscathed.  It is currently the world's greatest debtor nation, with an increasing trade imbalance that is inherently self-destructive.  Worse, all of this is happening at a time when no resolution to basic socio-economic system polarization exists -- hence, it heightens the possibility for open conflict.

In this backdrop, the potential for the misuse of high technology continues to grow, hanging like an ominous cloud over humankind.  Five nations now possess extensive nuclear weapons capability.  They include the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and Israel.  Others that have already demonstrated the ability to build and detonate nuclear weapons include: China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, South Africa and possibly Iran.  The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Administration (Mohamed El Baradei) recently indicated that between 30 and 40 nations now have sufficient expertise to achieve nuclear capability.  Many of these are both politically and economically unstable.  Several, still cling to despotic rulership, others to Communism.  Hence, the dynamics for nuclear confrontation are very much alive in many quarters of the world.  It should be evident that even a contained exchange of these weapons would have a catastrophic effect upon the many interdependent systems that constitute our modern world.  As a result of the complexity involved, we can't even begin to imagine the consequences, let alone prepare for them.

Add to this situation bacteriological and poison gas threats and the outlook gets even bleaker.  Both are capable, in existing amounts, of radically destroying significant amounts of life on earth.  Worse, they are easier to produce, more easily hid, can be dispensed in any number of non-technical ways, and are far more insidious in the way they achieve their purpose.  In the case of bacteriological weapons; which are now considered by many authorities to have superseded nuclear weapons as the World's greatest threat; they can be genetically altered, self-proliferating, and near impossible to defeat.  Recent developments in genetic research indicate just how insane it has become.

The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) chair Paul Keim, a microbial geneticist, says this about a recent breakthrough in genetic engineering:  "I cannot discuss specifics; but, I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one.”  Keim, who has worked on anthrax for many years then added, “I don’t think anthrax is scary at all compared to this one.”  He was referring to a genetically altered form of the Avian bird flu virus (H5N1). Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, said he created the contagious form of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain "easily" by mutating a few genes within the strain.  Once slated for full publication, he has now agreed to omit details from his published reports.  The decision came after the U.S. government warned Tuesday that published details could be used by terrorists to create a biological warfare weapon.  Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that 60% of cases classified as H5N1 result in death regardless of where they originate.  In third world countries, the mortality rate for those infected with this new genetically altered form is thought to approach 100%.  As such, it is indeed a very "scary organism" as Keim concedes -- and, one that could be used to constitute an ultimate weapon.  Not only is this an unacceptable threat to any sane person, but the maintenance and further development of such technologies, including potential defenses against them, drains away valuable resources that might otherwise be spent on improving the human condition.

To add to this problem, an artificial form of DNA was recently created which is totally foreign to the natural order of things. This complicates the picture even more. It could be likened to what was feared might accompany our astronauts from their excursions into outer space. In their case, we proved smart enough to quarantine them upon their return; but, no such wisdom appears to be in place with respect to this artificial DNA. Its introduction into existing organisms has already begun. What will result from all this obviously exceeds human understanding, and yet it continues.

And then, there is a new form of energy release which continues to be explored for the purpose of advancing weapon's development. The mentality in place here is...

  "if we don't do it someone else will, and then they will be in a position to  blackmail us and the rest of the world with it."  

This form of energy release is considered to be so powerful that real world testing remains an impossibility. As a result, its affect is being explored in computer systems that serve to emulate the World's environment. In that way, it is hoped that a approach can be discovered to selectively destroy parts of the World that power becomes disenchanted with. Where all of this inventiveness will end is impossible to say; because, it is being propelled forward by an inquisitiveness that is driven by a fundamental insecurity that cannot be quenched by whatever results are achieved.

Obviously, the most fragile part of this equation is "economic" in nature. The introduction of any of these weapons of "mass destruction" into the environment would induce a level of fear that would drive chaos into the global financial marketplace, causing an immediate collapse of existing structure as it is currently known. The ensuing Chaos would be uncontainable. In an environment like that no one would be safe, and no further use of weaponry would be off limits.

Finally, a less dramatic but nonetheless insidious problem is that of pollution.  With the additional resources and energy required to sustain the world's growing population, enormous stress is being put on the recuperative powers of the earth.  They in turn are essential to our survival while we attempt to find ways to limit our abuse of them. In many cases the earth is failing to meet this challenge.

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Twenty mega-cities already have hazardous air quality.

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Heavy metal levels exceed safe parameters in the drinking water of most major cities.  The more common culprits are cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and zinc.

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At present there are some 73,000 chemicals in use in the world.  Over 70% of these have never been tested for their effects upon the environment and living organisms.  Of that number 1200 are currently suspected of producing adverse effects upon living things.  Many are found throughout our food chain at unacceptably high levels.  The more dangerous include PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), PAHs (polycyclic hydrocarbons), dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins), furans (tetrahydrofuran), and a whole host of chemical components indigenous to the manufacture of pesticides.

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Carbon dioxide levels from growing combustion are now linked to the destabilization of climatic conditions.  Therefore, as CO2 levels increase with unchecked population growth, it would appear that our  weather patterns are destined to become more and more erratic.

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Oil spills and the increasing contamination of our oceans already threaten aquatic resources.  Since the sea provides a significant amount of the world’s food this is a serious problem.

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Garbage disposal is yet another issue where the solution is totally inadequate to the challenge.  Burning pollutes the atmosphere, landfills pollute surrounding aquifers, and ocean dumping destroys the aquatic environment.  Yet, with the world's growing population garbage is destined to increase.

    ** This is nowhere near all of the problems we face.  There are many more.  And, each is rapidly growing in both scope and magnitude.  So what’s going on?  Why don't we just take stock of these threats and begin fixing them?
 

The Underlying Cause Diverse as these problems appear to be, one thing links them all together, thus causing it to be the real spoiler in the human equation.
 

As unbelievable as it might initially seem, it is actually our "thought process" that is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. The reason is because it is "infinite" in its potential to yield ideas, while we are limited in our ability to understand their implications. Because of this fundamental difference, it was only a matter of time before it provided us with insights that outran our ability to control them. Unaware of this liability, no checks and balances were ever put into place to prevent it. And so, we are now faced with a knowledge base that dwarfs our capability to comprehend the realities it empowers.


Instead, the quasi "intelligent" from among us have placed their trust in computers to try and offset this problem.  But, it hasn't worked.  In fact, computers have only made the whole situation worse.  Analyzing information at speeds approaching 33 petaflop (33,000 trillion floating point calculations per second) computers have now pushed complexity far beyond our ability to ever verify its relevance.  Unable to contest the validity of this burgeoning body of probability, our dependence upon the "management of this probability" has now risen to the fore.  The result is a dependency relationship between man and machine that is once removed from the initial objective for which it was created in the first place.  This leaves only monitoring and subsequent modification of machine activity as the last remaining defense in this lopsided equation.  When faced with competing probabilities, arising from contrasting ideologies, we are at a loss as to which to choose -- because, we are unable to any longer understand the factors that would allow us to make an intelligent decision.  When situation nonetheless forces us to do something, especially in time frames that are insufficient for meaningful reflection, the unholy union between man and machine becomes truly evident.  For all who optimistically believe that this disconnect does not constitute a real problem, consider the following.

Currently, the flight time between nuclear capable protagonists is down to less than 4 minutes in several parts of the world.  This reduced time interval clearly precludes human intervention into this equation because the specifics involved are simply too complex to comprehend, and act upon, in the time available to do so.  As a result, "threshold formulas" that rely upon mechanical sensors to determine threat, and initiate retaliatory schemes, have already been formulated and placed into the bowels of computer systems for "go /no go" determinations.  Unfortunately, as with everything else human, there is a lot of room for error here.  However, computers are not concerned with the existence of potential error any more than they are concerned with ensuring human survival.  Their sole objective is to evaluate the information they receive and compare it to the mathematical formulation that empowers them to act.  Hence, they are quite capable of initiating nuclear war and eradicating all life on earth.  This is just one of the clouds we live under.

As of 2015, there are currently 435 operable nuclear reactors in the world with another 71 under construction -- all creating nuclear waste whose disposal remains problematic. Many are vulnerable to natural disasters in addition to human error. Chernobyl and Fukushima serve as two reminders of this threat. Chernobyl displaced upwards of 200,000 people and caused an estimated quarter of a million deaths from cancer. For the next 300 to 1000 years the place will no longer be habitable. With regard to Fukushima, it displaced over 136,000 people and the death toll won't be calculable for many years to come. Radioactivity from this disaster is now present in the ocean and on the shores of British Columbia some 4,590 miles away. Its toll on fish and wildlife is obviously incalculable and the threat has yet to be contained some 3 years after it happened. 

In addition, we are now faced with another problem that is just as unpredictable as computers are predictable.  And, it seeks to gain access to the very technology we are currently fighting to control.  It is called terrorism.  And, with the inability to contain its proliferation in evidence, worldwide, the need for an immediate solution to long-standing cultural problems has now become necessary to defuse the unrest which fosters it.  Without this solution, it is only a matter of time before weapons of mass destruction enter into this equation along with their use.  So, how big of a threat does terrorism actually pose, given its limited ability to effect geographical expanse?  Well, that may not be necessary to maximize its impact.  With the world’s monetary system now dependent upon hypothetical possibility, as opposed to actual reality, it would not take much for a well-placed attack to collapse the whole thing.  If that were to happen, chaos would immediately onset.  Beyond that, no one knows what might happen.

In the past, force and intimidation have proved successful in suppressing unwanted social dissent.  However, with the growing availability of high tech weaponry all this has changed.  Small groups and even individuals are on the verge of acquiring a destructive capability that could prove catastrophic to global dynamics.  And, let's hope and pray it is not a genetically altered form of the H5N1 virus.  Until the world comes to this realization regarding its vulnerability and acts responsibly, we will continue to be at direct risk from all that we forcibly disenfranchise.  Hence, its imperative that we find a way to resolve cultural disputes in a mutually acceptable way, before it is too late. And, while we’re at it, we need to clean up the mess we’ve created to date.

Doing everything that is needed to turn things around is not going to be easy; because, most people are oblivious to the need, or otherwise unconcerned with what is happening.  That's just how entrenched our patterns of activity have become, much like a drug addict hooked on crack or heroin.  But, in this case the culprit is materialism, with its constantly escalating ability to temporarily placate the emptiness of spirit that haunts one's more contemplative moments.  Hence, these problems are not just going to go away.  They can't, until we are able to bring our thought process back under control.  If we prove unable to do so, then our destiny will lie with the open-ended continuum that it necessarily promotes... the manifestation of which is already threatening our existence.  In the interim, everything will continue to spin out of control with ever increasing momentum.

A Solution:  So, where do we start to try and make the needed difference?  To begin with, we must stop placing blame in order to find a way to work together.  Difference that is disruptive to this larger objective is clearly self-defeating.  Education necessarily holds the key, but it must have a central focus... something which it does NOT have now. 


Since our system of thought is ‘infinite’ in its potential, and we are dependent upon it for the validation of our ‘finite’ existence, it is more than evident that we must adopt a method of self-restraint that can successfully contain its potential to quantify. 


And, this MUST be done immediately, before we unwittingly employ one of its many ideas from which there is no escape.  The only answer to this is to devise a "qualitative" system of thought, with "undeniable credibility," that is able to keep its ‘quantitative’ counterpart in check.  To do this, it must center upon the importance of the "human person" as opposed to the possibility endemic to quantification itself.  In other words, we need to refocus our thought process on the importance of the 'finite' as opposed to the 'infinite.'

On this website I have laid out the principles and methodology by which this ‘qualitative’ system of thought can be constructed and implemented -- in the shortest possible period of time.  I've called it the Eden project for obvious reasons.  What it proposes is a realistic way to identify the integrative elements (of otherwise separated problems) through an in depth analysis of their interdependency within the field of question.  By so doing, this new and innovative approach to problem solving holds out our first real hope for understanding the comprehensive answers needed to slow this whole thing down.  However, given our current situation, it must be instituted with all haste; for time is clearly running out.

There is little doubt that every ‘human person’ owes it to themselves and those they love  (as well as those who are yet to become important to them) to seriously consider how they can become a part of this effort.  To do less is to deny the importance of the potential they now defend.  There is simply NO room for procrastination in this equation.  If we fail to achieve this objective in the near future, there is little doubt regarding what the outcome will be.  And, no one will escape this time around, regardless of who they are, who they know, or what resources they currently possess.  Given the seriousness of this threat, some real soul searching is in order here.  Afterwards, a response is in order.

 

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