Mental Breakdown of a Nation

Humanity 4.0: Do or Die

The epic story of humanity in four parts.
Holly Pickett / Redux Pictures

We’ve reached Peak Humanity.

We’ve exploited and exhausted all the resources of our planet, turned the atmosphere toxic with our waste, and now we torture ourselves with fear, denial and self-reproach. Messing with the processes of life, conquering microbes . . . were we not mad to try to rise above, even defy, nature?

“Is there any reason to expect,” asks Charles C. Mann, “that homo sapiens, unlike mussels, snakes and moths, can exempt itself from the natural fate of all successful species?”

But perhaps that same thing which has led us to our downfall remains our only hope – perhaps we haven’t yet used our minds for what nature has made them. Maybe we’ve only been animals up til this point … feeding, fighting and fucking. Now, teetering at the brink, can we finally live up to our metaphysical disposition, can we finally use our self-consciousness to reflect on the state we are in and act wisely? At this stage in our evolution, can we not overcome our base instincts – foreswear short-term gratification for the sake of survival?

As we realize that the only way to save ourselves is to do the most unnatural thing for any living being to do – something no other species has done nor could ever do – stop our growth.

Check out Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Epic Story of Humanity, and weigh in below …

Comments on the article “Humanity 4.0: Do or Die”

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anonymous

Hope itself may be the key to our survival. If we indulge in nihilistic hopelessness, our chances for tomorrow fly out the window. Hope is a force for motivation, a power that can be harnessed for positive change. You can feel hope just by trying to. It doesn't make you dumb, it makes you a survivor.

merely anonymous

Bravo! In Buddhist teaching there is the thought "to want what you have".Take a look, we only seem to want what we do not have. I realize this obstructs the view of where we are going, let alone, where we are now with consumption. If I asked myself to want this global catastrophe you talk about ,I will have to take a look and change everything I do. what next?

a girl

The Buddhist teaching that most fits the problem presented by our current mode of living in the west is that of mindfulness. When one sits long enough to hear oneself creating unnecessary and unwanted desires. When one realizes that the next shoe purchase, huge dinner out, or even that show everyone is watching will not provide happiness. Then you've begun to understand how helpless one can be in the to fight against a society that has openly embraced exploiting the most nefarious of human tendencies, Desire!

Anonymous

Everything.
The show of wealth. The pomposity.
The oh so subtle bragging to 'folks', the next day at work.
The feeding of impulse and emulation, in them.
Which in turn make others to 'rinse and repeat', your example.
Hence, the blind chain of 'Why can't we afford it?'

Ann D

Desire is created by people sitting behind a desk, persuading us to do what they want us to do. We need to take a serious look at our lives and those around us, and critically analyse the world in which we live where in one nation there exists the the rich and elite, then at the other spectrum exists poverty. It's not right that we take food staples away from those who need it the most and convert it into fuel for nothing more than pure profit. It's not a single persons responsibility sure, but it's a global responsibility.

anonymous

The challenge of nature is to produce a creature that can survive its own success.
Without desire you would be dead. But if that is what you desire, well, it is getting kind of crowded around here. Promoting the empty-headed slogans of Americanized fast-food Buddhism is neither helpful nor true to the spirit of Buddhism. If you want to be a real Buddhist you need to study it. This nonsense about desire being the root of all human problems is comic book Buddhism. Do you actually meditate and study and try to understand and apply, or do you just give it lip service like so many Christians do?

Anonymous

I think you are being too hard toward the poster. I agree there is an over-simplification in terms of how they have contextualized desire but at least they have begun thinking of on the subject. The problem is they think of desire only in terms of material possessions, the easy answer is of course for them not to buy the ipod or whatever else it material possession it may be. The fallacy is that the negation of these items will miraculously bring forth freedom and happiness, it does not. Life itself is rooted in desire. Growth and survival itself is an instinctual desire that resides both within the wealthy as well as the poor.

"Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace."

By Dalai Lama

Anonymous

Despite most English translations of the Sanskrit word 'tanha', Buddhism doesn't actually talk of 'desire' so much as it does 'craving'; the addictive, obsessive pursuit of something, whether it be material things like ipods, or abstract things like a hoped-for future. You can still 'desire' those things, but the obsessive pursuit of them at the price of perpetual angst and alienation from the present moment is not going to make anything better.

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