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The New Normal

2008 Dec 13

On reading the article "The New Normal" on Paul Chefurka's website ( and the comments following from Tim Wessels and Paul's reply, so many random thoughts come to my head, I don't know where to begin.

Don't sweat the small stuff.
If a tree in the forest crashes to the ground and no one is there, does it make a sound?
What is the meaning of life?

Let me try to begin with the last penultimate question, what is the meaning of life? Or as others may want to rephrase, what is the purpose of life? The purpose of life is life itself. Whether or not we believe in intelligent design, the fact that we are present on this planet Earth is a miracle that defies all the odds against us being here. Shouldn't our goal be to preserve this life?

Life is a fractal. When we look up into the clear night sky, we see millions stars in a seemingly random pattern. If we take a dark area of the sky and aim a powerful telescope at that spot, we again will find a million more stars and galaxies. Then we take the Hubble telescope, our most powerful telescope that exists, and aim that at another dark spot, we see another million more stars and galaxies. The point is that the number of galaxies that exist is a huge number, if not infinite. We live in a four dimensional world of space and time that is infinite in both space and time. Is there other life out there? The probability is yes. Are we likely to encounter extra-terrestrial life? The answer is no. To experience intelligent life from outer space the existence of our life has to coincide with their life in both time and space. The probability is so infinitesimally small that it is for all intent and purposes, zero.

To add another dimension to the picture, contemporary quantum theory suggests that we could be living in a world with more than four dimensions, with even as many as eleven dimensions. We cannot experience these extra dimensions since the human capacity is limited to perceiving the four dimensions of space and time.

Going back to the original question on the purpose of life, if we conclude that we, as individuals and as a civilization, will only be able to witness and experience one life on one planet Earth, shouldn't it make sense to protect and preserve this one chance for existence?

Don't sweat the small stuff. If we are going to consume ourselves with worry over 401(k)s or the price of oil, then we have missed the big picture.

Humanity's existence on the planet Earth spanning 50,000 years or more is like a one-time experiment to get it right. If we mess up, poof, it's all over and gone.

We have to come to understand that the economic crisis, environmental destruction, and social injustice are all part of the same problem. We live in a closed system. Because of the current size of our population, we are now coming to realize how we are all interconnected with each other and with the Earth. It is like the butterfly effect. Anything we do will affect the life of another person on the other side of the globe. Anything we do that destroys another living organism or the environment in which it lives, is an attack on the foundations that create life itself. Humans, all living things and the earth are but one.

What is the carrying capacity of the Earth? We know that the Earth cannot support 6 billion people at current Western lifestyles. We need to look at the product of global population and consumption. Is the carrying capacity 1billion people? Who knows? The more difficult question is how do we go from 6.7 billion to 1 billion? Are we in for a population reset? How will it come about, mass starvation, pandemics, collapse of healthcare infrastructure, war or nuclear Armageddon?

When are we going to see that the modus operandi of the current economic world is causing the global economic crisis, environmental destruction and injustice to humanity? Our global economic model based on credit growth, interest payments, capitalism, globalization and corporate greed for profit is long overdue for a reset and a new direction. Perhaps the time is now.

There are two sides of the camp in the science of cosmology, Big Bang versus Steady State. In global economics, the prevailing model is that the only way economies can survive is through continued growth and expansion. In order to preserve life on a full Earth, civilization has to move towards steady-state economics, where every individual is respected and treated equally.


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