Welcome to Janet's Blog

I first used this blog to publish "Trash" before I knew about ebooks. I wrote "Trash" twenty years ago. The novel explains why, in the original version of "If not for the tomatoes" Annie wrote: "We had aliens come and tell us". It wasn't Al Gore at all.

Annie isn't the hero of "Trash", but she has her own story ( a much more polished novel). Go to smashwords.com and look for "Tipping Point". (Follow the link to the right.)

If you're a first time visitor to my blog, try reading "If not for the tomatoes" first. (It's the short story in Annie's future - look in 6/5/07) This is only half the story, though. The complete story that inspired Tipping Point appears in my other blog as "Our choices".

To begin reading "Trash", start at 17/6/07. (Many apologies for the poor navigation.)


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Moral Evolution

Sentience is, at best, a mixed blessing. The ability to understand and prepare for the future has given mankind many advantages over the animals, but comprehending our own mortality is a cruel blessing. It is something that religions have played upon, and as religion wanes in the modern world, rampant consumerism and drug use appear to be the best we can do to protect ourselves from the unwelcome knowledge.

And, of course, the advantages gained through sentience won't help us if we don't use our capacity for independent thought. At present there seems to be widespread refusal to accept evidence that we find inconvenient.

Since the Industrial Revolution, advances in technology, agriculture and medicine have seen human population grow alarmingly. We have challenged nature and won many battles. The problems we now face are of our own making.

Evolution is a slow process that has no morality. Greed developed as a survival trait. But now technology has made us more powerful and capable of making grander mistakes than ever before. Natural Selection is not swift enough to save us from our clever interference in the natural systems on which we depend.

If we are going to survive, if our world is going to remain viable, it will be because we apply our ability for sentient thought to the problems. Instead, what I see in the society around me is media, driven by business, continuing to encourage the belief that consumerism is good.

There is no question that consumerism is good for the economy - it is a message that underpins many political messages. It is not, however, good for the planet and our chances for future survival. Yet it continues to be encouraged.

If we hope to survive we must develop a new morality. We can't afford to wait until it evolves. Anything which damages our environment must be viewed as morally reprehensible. We accept the strictures against murder, harm and theft - the social contract benefits us. We now need to accept that if our environment fails, so will our society.

Sentience is a two-edged sword. It has caused our problems, but it also holds the hope of redemption. Using our intelligence is our best hope of survival. But when I look around me what I see is people rushing out to shop, because, like a drug, it helps numb our fears for the future.

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