Race Survival Intelligence
Physicist Daniel Whitmire argues that species such as ours go extinct soon after attaining technological knowledge. Given standard statistical rules, this follows directly from the eerie emptiness of our galaxy. We appear to be on our own, and that is not good. Given that there are tens of billions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone, we would expect to see some signs of life from out there. As Whitmire explains, it means that any beings that successfully get to the stage we are at promptly extinguish themselves. Given our history it is not hard to see how this happens. The very properties that enabled us to develop advanced technology are the ones that look increasingly likely to be the cause of our extinguishing ourselves.
We now have the capability to feed everyone on the planet, and provide all the basic necessities for life. Instead we seem hell bent on me-first competition and warfare based on what one group wants to impose on another. There is only one way to explain this madness in the face of plenty, in a world where in principle everyone could be happy. We are fundamentally egoisitc. Egoism here means the belief that acting in one’s own best interests is the only criterion that matters. But this is exactly what got us to where we are now. It is practically the definition of how to be successful, and this has been true from the beginning of time. As explained in detail by political scientist Bradley Thayer in Darwin and International Relations, evolutionary theory provides a solid basis for the origins of egoism and domination. This is ideal default position for individuals and groups in a vast, unknown and likely hostile feral setting. So that is what is required for success across almost the entire span of the history of our development. But having got us as far as modern civilisation and technology, this same success strategy is disaster for our race in the now very small world of planet-killing pollution and high technology weapons.
There is, however, a way to transform this logic to our great and lasting benefit. The pioneering environmentalist Alexander King defined exactly what we need to do to succeed as a race. As he states in his book Let the Cat Turn Round: One Man’s Traverse of the Twentieth Century, the only durable solution to our external and internal problems is a transformation of human nature, namely: “… evolution beyond the egoism that motivates every individual” (2006, 22). In other words, this is a requirement for our survival. Unless we can achieve this transformation, we are going to join the vast graveyard of technologically advanced civilisations that might have been. And this is not just a problem for the next generation to worry about. It is happening now. As shown by this list of the global catastrophic risks we have created we are already in dire need of a change in the way we use our modern technology. As stated by John Holdren in his capacity as senior scientific advisor to President Obama, we’re in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog: “We know for sure now that the cliff is out there, we just don’t know exactly where it is. Prudence would suggest that we should start putting on the brakes.” (Friedman, 150, 2008). But in all too many ways we go racing on toward doom. So it looks like we need King’s transformation not only to prosper but just to survive.
Predation and competition were vital requirements to evolve to a human civilisation capable of producing high technology. But we need to move beyond both as primary drivers for the race to survive the self-induced global catastrophic risks. But this transformation of human nature seems quite impossible in the current worldview. As King notes: “All religions have, in their purest aspirations, attempted to induce such a change, with very little success.” (2006, 22). So we have ample reason to believe this is an insoluble paradox for a race of our kind. In other words, this is the explanation of the emptiness of our galaxy. But there is an escape clause. All we have to do is to put it into effect.
The new worldview brings about exactly the change King describes as essential. What is more, it means we do not really have to evolve beyond the egoism. Just as well since that does seem to be impossible. We are still egoistic, but the egoism of the individual who understands the true nature of reality operates on a much wider agenda. In the personal world defined by the new physics, you are the world, literally. As explained in increasing detail in the pages here, your record of observations, in your unconscious, is the sole definition of the physical world you live in. Spiritual gurus have been saying this kind of thing for millennia. It turns out they are essentially correct. When this is understood, the standard motivation of egoism changes from me-versus-everyone-else to me-and-everyone-else-versus-what-could-go-wrong–big-time.
In this very personal kind of world, enlightened self-interest is the only sane option. The rules laid down by spiritual traditions are simply the rules of survival and success in this kind of world. To love one’s neighbour as one loves oneself becomes self preservation and development. Thus, as described in Quantum Karma, the individual has nothing to lose and everything to gain from identifying with the world as a whole. If this can become the general perceived wisdom, the new current paradigm, the human race will likely live long and prosper. A new age is born. As an individual, as the world hologram described in The World Hologram, the objective is selfish cooperation.
There is every incentive. As described in Quantum Immortality we are effectively immortal because in experience death is simply passing on from one life, in one version of the world, to another. And the kind of world one finds oneself in is necessarily the one defined by what one has created in this lifetime. In this kind of personal world, the kind in which each one of us actually lives, there is a kind of karma. As stated by von Baeyer, there are things that the physics is urgently trying to tell us, and the implications are deep and powerful. There is an inherent morality. This is described in Quantum Karma.
Since it is now not only the community but the whole race that is best served by a functioning morality, it would seem this is an attribute of the race intelligence. In this case it seems that the pervasive leanings toward morality, communitarianism and spirituality are the race intelligence, emerging as intuitions. These are not just nice ideas by unusual people, this is what it takes for us to survive as a race, even if highly distasteful to some. But this is not wishy-washy or inefficient, it is how to make the world work for you, properly. Of course, it does not hurt to bear in mind that if we manage to pull off the impossible, and change the deeply imperilled destiny of our race, we will have an empty galaxy to expand into.
In view of the evidence from cosmology, this is a matter of the intelligence of the our human race as an entity, meaning the capability to solve problems, adapt and survive, and direct and control. If we take the obvious implication of the empty galaxy at face value, the transition proposed here is very improbable. In all likelihood we are not any more intelligent than the millions of races that developed advanced technology only to destroy themselves with warfare, or extinguish their ecosphere with pollution. We just got lucky. Sages have been telling us for millennia we should be nice to each other for our own good, but now it becomes clear this is a direct implication of the new physics. So we have a way out, or rather a way forward. There is every chance we can buck the odds and become the first race be fruitful and multiply on a grand scale.