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What will be

We cannot know the future, but we will collectively create it. This has never been truer. Human activity is transforming the world often in dangerous ways. Science and technology continually expand our ability to do so. What will we do with this power?

We can create a second Eden. The enormous environmental problems of today all have solutions. The continual expansion of productivity through technology means that we can work less and live better. We will probably, in the next few decades, develop an understanding of how our genetic code shapes the proteins that in turn create our bodies. Such an understanding should lead to magic bullets tailored not just to a disease, but to the individual with the disease. Much human suffering can be eliminated. Even aging may be forestalled, stopped or even reversed[37]. We can through technology create a second Eden where much of human suffering is eliminated and we have the time and resources to live joyful creative lives.

But that does not seem to be the direction we are going. In the United States we are developing a winner take all climate that lavishes resources on a handful of super stars to such a degree that the entire economy suffers. Instead of increasing productivity allowing all of us to work less and live better, it is seen as a threat to job growth and deflationary. If the benefits of productivity were widely shared with the workers that are made more productive, this would not be a problem. But if wealth is increasing concentrated in the hands of the few, than productivity hurts the economy by siphoning a greater percentage of total wealth into the hands of those who will not spend it on themselves and will not invest it in unneeded new production.

The myth of Eden speaks of a time when our ancestors were living in harmony with the natural world and their internal nature. It was self consciousness and the power of decision that comes with self consciousness that separated us from Eden. Instead of simply reacting, we started thinking about our decisions and in the process created a new reality. The world became split between good and evil. Our harmony with nature and ourselves was shattered. Cultural evolution accelerated this process. Evolution created a mind able to shape culture too rapidly for evolution to adjust. Eden had been lost as the price of rapid progress.

We cannot evolve our instincts to adjust to a rapidly changing culture. We need to recognize that simplistic ideologies that appeal to those instincts are deadly dangerous. There is no easy or simple solution. Love is not the answer. Unbridled capitalism is not the answer. No fundamentalist religion holds the answer. No ideology or doctrine is the answer. We have to create solutions for our problems one at a time. As we succeed at this, there will be a multiplication of opportunity with new problems. These will require more creative solutions and that will in turn expand our possibilities and our problems.

The second Eden, if it comes to pass, will be a time when we again live largely in harmony with ourselves and our environment. We we will have mastered the art of using the bounty of nature expanded through technology without lessening that bounty. We will have learned to live together respecting all our varied instincts and we will have social structures that makes it practical to meet most needs of most people. But the second Eden is not the end of the line or the ultimate goal. It is base for future evolutionary steps.

This chapter is about the path to a second Eden and beyond. It starts with a discussion of how to avoid chaos and stagnation using terrorism as an example. It then discusses how tax policy can be used to serve the interest of creativity by helping to strike a balance between diversity and concentration of resources. The chapter then moves from the practical to the speculative discussing globalization and its ultimate endpoint a global organism. The chapter ends with speculation on the perhaps unending evolution of consciousness.



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