Friday, May 24, 2013

Illusion of Individuality pt. 11


This situation where the population swells[i], and the pool of resources remains stagnant[ii] leads into the third issue concerning the concept of the individual, overpopulation. A collection of individuals, as opposed to an interdependent network that is the whole of humanity, will always clamor for individual freedoms and choice. One of the most fundamental “rights” of an individual is the ability to reproduce to whatever extent to which that individual is able, much like a cancer or virus.[iii] The problem here is the stagnant (but realistically shrinking[iv]) pool of resources of which we are all dependant on will at some point (arguably past[v]) no longer be able to provide adequately for everyone, at which point we kill our host or die trying.[vi] Of course there will always be the classic 1973 Charlton Heston solution of Soylent Green, or the classic “A Modest Proposal,” but much like eating excrement, cannibalism is generally considered a damnable taboo, so this is not a realistic global solution to overpopulation.[vii]
One option that has been tried on a national scale was China’s one child policy. Granted, it was steeped in small failures such as the cultural preference for having sons. Yet, despite the fact that its implementation has neither been evenly applied nor was it perfect in other ways, China’s one child policy has had dramatic effects concerning curbing overpopulation on a national scale.[viii]  Various dictators have attempted forms of eugenics, yet our individually oriented culture finds this distasteful; possibly that is because these genocides have historically been based on such ridiculous standards like race or religion instead of empirical study such as genetic dispositions for illnesses.[ix] That, however, begs the larger question of “what is illness?” which seems pointless to attempt to answer until after the paradigm shift from individuals to an organism occurs.
There may be no magic bullet to this problem that can be voiced without some popular cry of condemnation, but at some point in the not too distant future someone will have to take control of the situation for it is clear that self-governance is not a viable option. Thus, if the nature of our existence is continually kept at arm’s length it will always remain impossible to fully embrace. So until an ultimate root cause of the issue is realized and largely accepted, a potentially productive course of action on how to address the issue cannot begin.            

[i] Justin Gills and Celia W. Dugger, “U.N. Forecasts 10.1 Billion People by Century’s End,” The New York Times, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[ii] “Natural Resources,” European Environment Agency, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[iii] Kay Steiger, “’Population Bomb’ Scientist: ‘Nobody’ Has the Right to ‘as many children as They Want’,” The Raw Story, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[iv] “Natural Resources”
[v] “Land Degradation,” University of Michigan, (accessed April 21, 2013).
[vi] “’Population Bomb’ Scientist: ‘Nobody’ Has the Right to ‘as many children as They Want’.”
[vii] “Soylent Green,” Wikipedia, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[viii] “O Brother Where Art Thou?,” The Economist, (accessed April 19, 2013).
[ix] “List of Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters by Death Toll,” Wikipedia, (accessed April 19, 2013)

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