At one time the realm of science fiction, now even serious scientific research considers the possibility of other intelligences in the universe. The success of movies like "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and such TV series as the "Star Trek" testifies to this fascination.
If indeed an alien intelligent life form would visit the planet Earth, what would it think of the dominant species -- Homo sapiens? Because one of the purposes of life is continued existence, any evaluation would look at the survival factor. What are the chances of survival for a species that has these characteristics?
The visiting alien would have to conclude that the human species is on a terminal decline. Such dominant human traits as intelligence, aggressiveness and curiosity -- extremely "valuable" to overrun and conquer the habitats of other species -- are now turning suicidally against other people deemed to be different. Such differences may be based on race, ethnicity, religion, social class, history -- any trait that can be focused on and exacerbated by powerseekers and powerholders.
The power-hungry elites are vastly helped by technology to gain and keep power, without addressing the real problems of their societies. Populations multiply while the environment is gradually destroyed. Military technology develops more and more lethal weapons, which are then freely distributed to fuel future conflicts. Aggressive and proactive "evil" appears to be triumphing over passive and reactive "good."
The Jewish-Slavic Holocaust of World War II was a demonstration of these fatal human tendencies. There was a propensity to social addictions -- racism, ultra-nationalism, militarism and antisemitism. Political mismanagement flourished. Populations were highly susceptible to demagogues. There was a craving for "decisive leadership" offering simple solutions that required little or no sacrifice. New communications technologies emerged for influencing the masses through charismatic messages. Technology also facilitated the collecting, transporting and killing of the millions of victims. Finally, there was a failure of the institutions that could have stopped the mass slaughter. International organizations -- the League of Nations; organized religion -- the state churches of Europe; the democratic countries, all failed. Evil easily triumphed over good. The prophecy of "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth" could be replaced in this case by "The Aggressive Shall Destroy the Earth."
Although the future of humanity seems bleak, our situation is not beyond redemption. Jared Diamond concludes his generally pessimistic description of the "human chimpanzee" with glimpses of hope:
"... our situation isn't hopeless. We are the only ones creating our problems, so it's completely within our power to solve them. ... we really are unique among animals in our capacity to learn from the experience of others of our species living in distant places or in the distant past. ... While genocide hasn't vanished, the spread of communications technology has at least the potential for reducing our xenophobia, and for making it harder to regard distant people as subhumans unlike ourselves."
Humanity at the Crossroad
As we survey the history of the human species and its problems and opportunities, the unavoidable conclusion is that humanity stands at a crossroad. One fork of the road leads to an abyss, at a minimum resulting in the collapse of civilization as we know it. In a worst case scenario, even human extinction is a realistic probability. These are the likely outcomes, if we allow continued political mismanagement and a flourishing war institution facilitated by First Brain thinking.
The other path, guided by the logic and rationality of New Brain thinking, could lead humanity to new levels of knowledge, prosperity and spiritual development. New social inventions and institutions could be designed, to restore worldwide the damage caused to economies, societies and the environment.
Fortunately, an awareness of our predicament is beginning to emerge in this country and in many parts of the world. The table of Exhibit I, "Advancing Human Survival" shows the goals and favorable trends for ensuring human survival.
Though the tasks outlined are formidable, so are our resources. The danger is so great that we must exert maximum effort to prevent the worst outcomes. The United States -- established through the New Brain logic of the Founding Fathers -- is the only nation capable of averting the ultimate catastrophe that is likely to befall the human species.
The Role of America
The collapse of the Soviet Union may have ended the Cold War, but it also created a power gap and a still dangerous world situation. Because the United States emerged as the undisputed military and economic superpower, we cannot avoid our obligation of world leadership. Power-hungry demagogues continue to emerge, capitalizing on ethnic, religious and cultural enmities. Arms races are continuing, with more lethal and threatening weapons developed and transferred to exacerbate already unstable situations. Growing populations and virtually unchecked consumerism gradually are destroying the planetary environment. More than ever, the world needs a stabilizing force. Only the United States has the power to accept responsibility for this type of world leadership.
Discussions involving the world leadership of America usually suggest the role of the "world policeman." This is not a very suitable model, for it involves a permanent obligation to police the world, with a large -- and expensive -- military force. Often in the past the United States became the "world sheriff" -- organizing a posse of other nations and going after a criminal leader, such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq. This also is not a good method, because it still requires heavy military spending, and meanwhile great damage can be caused by the criminal country.
From Empire to Umpire
The new world role for the United States would follow the example of many popular recreational activities, such as baseball or football. Essentially America, supported by our democratic allies, would take charge of the Game of Human Survival. Not the impossible role of the global supercop, but the role of the "world umpire" would be taken over by the United States. The rationale for this activity would be:
The outcome of all these activities is that human survival is seriously threatened. Positive leadership is needed to reform and continue the survival game. The following actions would be needed on a worldwide basis:
An example of such American leadership is outlined by William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem in their book Critical Mass, in connection with halting the spread of superweapons. Such actions as: developing an inter-agency and international communication system; a fundamental change in U.S. export policy; forging an effective non-proliferation regime; applying economic sanctions to violators; rewarding compliance; and paying attention to Third World countries prior to their acquisition of mass destruction weapons.
By implementing these reforms, it will be possible to expand the present incompetent United Nations into a new organization, possibly called Concord for Human Development. To qualify, member nations must meet certain standards:
The benefits accruing to countries following the new ground rules of human affairs would be so great that more and more countries would gradually fall in line. The demand of populations, and the reward/punishment actions of the United States and its allies would gradually effect the retirement of the self-seeking politicians, and replace them with servant-leaders.
Developing a Global Consciousness
Finally, individually and collectively we must develop a Human Species Mindset, where we overcome our First Brain induced addictions and focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us. This requires, as stated by Robert Jay Lifton, professor of psychology and psychiatry: "... full consciousness of ourselves as members of the human species, a species now under threat of extinction."
If we choose to disregard the lessons presented in the various Holocaust Memorials, then the human species is indeed doomed to extinction. The Holocaust will be simply a way station to this suicidal death wish of Homo sapiens. Our survival can only be assured if we remember that
Humans are too dangerous as enemies!
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