Bohemian's Back Message Board › Humanity's pressing issues - a grab bag of issues

Humanity's pressing issues - a grab bag of issues

user 4143008
San Diego, CA
Post #: 76
Sorry I'm getting these down so late, but here are a number of long-term issues I'm concerned with and would like to discuss:

Role of media - citizens in a democratic society need to be informed, but our media is geared towards titillation, shock, and profit. The newspapers are dying, and an opportunity for a new media paradigm has come.

Strategic planning for the economy - China is now monopolizing rare earth metals vital for batteries, electronics, and emerging green technologies. Do we have a system in place for assuring our economy gets the resources it needs? Will we be dependent on the Chinese in the same way we are on oil-producing dictatorships?

Sustainability – preserving non-renewable resources for use in the future, creating economic and cultural practices that do not destroy ecosystems, and preventing depletion of renewable resources (e.g. fish).

Overpopulation – Our population is predicted by the UN to reach 9 billion before the end of the century, severely taxing our resources. If the UN's high estimate is true, population will reach 14 billion by 2100, and 34 billion by 2300. Some predict wars over water and other resources. Even if the worst case scenario of war, civilizational collapse, and mass starvation does not come true, we can predict our standard of living will decline as we share limited resources with many more, and richer, people in the developing world.

Problems of capitalism – This seems like bit of a rant, as I have no time to write well, but there is truth to it.

Our capitalist system rewards production and resource use. There is no mechanism for preserving resources over the long term. Negative externalities like pollution are often not priced into business decisions, and society suffers for it. Advertising creates a materialistic culture of consumption. Our focus on the bottom line demotes humanistic values in business decisions. Human beings in bureaucratic corporate systems are treated as mere economic inputs, and interactions with employees unfold according to corporate scripts rather than naturally flowing conversations. Our measure for overall national success is the easily quantifiable GNP instead of intangibles like happiness. The overall effect of all this is a society where we are worked to death, have a lower sense of value from our work, and have little sense of community with the people we interact with, all while we are rapidly eating our way through our resources. At the same time, we are increasingly dependent on a global network whose collapse could severely damage our society.

Cyberwarfare - The Chinese (and probably the Russians) reportedly have trojan viruses embedded in our electronic infrastructre, ready to take down our power grid in the event of war. How prepared are we for life if communications, power, and financial systems crash?

Debt/entitlement tsunami - will the coming tidal wave of debt and entitlements sweep under our economy? Is the EU welfare state model sustainable when the aging European population must be maintained on the backs of young (and possibly resentful) Arab or African workers? Is the West going down?

Non-state actors/urban terrorism - Will new technologies give gangs, terrorist groups, and individuals the power to hold cities hostage? Read this article!

I know not everyone will agree with the premises of this topic:

Spiritual emptiness of Western society - how can a (for some) post-Christian society find a moral grounding? What services did religion provide that can be replicated in other ways? Can Hellenistic philosophy fill the gap? Can community wise men provide counseling? Can people sacrifice for each other without religious beliefs? What is the basis of spiritual emptiness? The human geography/car culture created by our economic system? The absence of a recognized and authoritative unified national narrative to tell us what tribe we belong to and what we should do with our lives? A materialistic ad-driven culture?

Please list any issues you'd like to discuss too, so we can better organize the discussion. I hope more people than Omar and myself will be speaking!
A former member
Post #: 348
I think for many folks, organized religion is no longer a source of wisdom, morality, and authority. That does not mean that Western Society is spiritually empty. It would only be empty if you equate spirituality with organized religion.
user 4143008
San Diego, CA
Post #: 81
I think that many individuals in are society are very spiritual, and there is every opportunity to pursue spirituality, but that life for most is spiritually empty, and the values most live by materialistic. I would say that the normative beliefs of this society have little to do with spirituality, and the public presence of spirituality, in discussions, on TV, etc., is less than it would be in traditionally religious countries. We often associate spirituality with organized religion, and as this has been undermined by scientific advances, spirituality has also lost its place. I think we need a new way of thinking that can allow us spirituality while accepting the scientific narrative of the world, perhaps even for those who accept a determinist, materialist (in the philosophical sense) narrative. It could be that society is not spiritually empty in this way, and I am just not seeing it because of my place in it.
A former member
Post #: 8
Free Energy If we could solve the energy problem many of our ecological and economic problems could follow suit. Getting off fossil fuels, making economics less dependent on raping nature. Instead concentrate on helping one another vs. killing our planet and ourselves through constant power struggles.
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