Thursday, June 07, 2012

the problems with The Problem

population elephant | Some things are so preeminent within their context that they need no adjectives or explanation. Ask any American football fan what is referred to by "The Play" and they will tell you abut the final play in the 1982 Cal/Stanford game when, after several laterals and a mad dash through the Stanford band, Cal scored the winning touchdown as time expired (do a Google search on "the play" and see for yourself). Likewise, "The Open" refers only to the British Open golf tournament, even though there are dozens of other "Open" athletic events.

The world today is beset with a host of major issues - oil depletion, climate change, food shortages, resource wars, species extinction - to name but a few. But these are only symptoms of the one true problem. "The Real Problem" - the one that spawns all others, and the one that mankind must face at some point - is that there are simply too many human beings on this planet.

Therefore, I suggest, that like "The Play" and "The Open" - hereafter overpopulation should be referred to as "The Problem".

Unfortunately, in today's world, we are content to address only the consequences of the The Problem - climate change, energy depletion, food shortages, etc. This is the same classic mistake that a physician makes in treating only the patient's symptoms, and ignoring the fundamental disease.

So then, the million dollar question is: "Why aren't we addressing the real problem?"

32 comments:

Temple3 said...

Anonymous horseshit? 

umbrarchist said...

How do we address The Problem?  Who gets to kill whom?  Who stops having more babies?  Who is going to enforce what?

CNu said...

I tried to respond to T3 by phone, but couldn't get it to log into disqus. In effect, addressing The Problem gets you instantly branded "Malthusian". (plenty folks eager to pretend that that's somehow pejorative) The crux of my falling out with Mahndisa a couple years ago centered on my disdain for Nadya Suleman the "octoabomination" - who I considered a poster child for irresponsible profligacy - and quite frankly, insane.

One of my favorite pulp fiction novels is a little ditty co-authored in the 80's by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka that addresses itself to The Problem http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/394986.Nature_s_End

Temple3 said...

Sorry I missed that call. I know you're not Malthusian and I didn't want to go responding to the article point by point, because I presumed you were making a larger point. For example, the notion that there is no voice and no dollars for "The Problem" is absurd on its face. J-Rock's population councils were weighing in and paying in on this 100 years ago. Remember Lothrop Stoddard's classic: The Rising Tide of Color. So, here we are...sort of. 

I'm not as clear as a proponent or opponent would be on the science and the numbers, but we're talking about people...so if Europeans want to begin the process, I'm all for it. Let's see how it works out for them. A little depop might really lessen the strain on their economies, but it's unclear how 1 child per family might convince the US, UK, Fr, and others to lessen their strangehold on birthing independent, life-saving commerce in their former colonies. 

Fewer fuckers to deal with, but more drones? 

CNu said...

You ever read Black Empire? If not, make a point of getting your hands on a copy this weekend.

My main planned diversion this weekend will be seeing Prometheus. Here's a takeaway line from a timeline review  http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/video-essay-ridley-scotts-prometheus-timeline  of this movie that really resonated with me For starters, Prometheus was long thought to be a prequel to Alien—until Ridley Scott vehemently insisted that Prometheus
was not a “prequel” per se, but a film that occupied the same fictional
universe—a dark, capitalism-gone-awry space frontier full of privately
funded space vessels and government-manned cargo ships—Scott created
with Alien. Reason I asked you about Black Empire is because if you've read it, you'll recall Dr. Belsidus biological assault on the european powers, and the very notion that Schuyler was spitting that degree of game in the 1936 is staggering given the garage-scale open-source biological engineering capabilities available today.

What I'm saying is that I consider it an inevitability that some or another committed, impulsive, and highly capable entity is going to take matters into their own hands and deploy solution(s) to The Problem on their own dime. Further, I believe that that will happen during my lifetime. Just as surely as private entities are sending Dragon's into orbit with the international space station and gearing up for manned missions to Mars.

Temple3 said...

 I've always meant to read Schuyler. Great omission in my base. On the case.

Temple3 said...

 Apparently excerpts of this book were published in the Pittsburgh Courier back in the day. Not surprising given the orientation of the Nunn family back in the day.

CNu said...

I'd be keenly interested in learning more about these Nunn's. Any bibliographical or historical signposts I should commence to looking for?

D. said...

Overpopulation is a problem that Nature solves herself through Famine, Plague, War, ect. In the eyes of this Biologist in training, the consequences of the problem are the solutions. Sit back, relax, and place your bets.

CNu said...

 Another form of reification is the subjective transformation of a process into an event, into a thing frozen in time and space instead of a flow dynamic in time and space.

Anytime an experience is given a name ("nominalization," see below...), that is a kind of reification. Usually that is not a major impediment to authentic relationship or even sanity, but it is always some impediment.

Nouns are, by definition, the names of things. Nominalizations:  One of the ways that people become immobilized is to turn an ongoing process into an event. Events are things which occur at one point in time and are finished. Once they occur, their outcomes are fixed and nothing can be done to change them. This way of representing their experience is impoverishing in the sense that subjects lose control of ongoing processes by representing them as events. The psychologist can challenge the distorted portions of the subject's mental model by examining the subject's Surface Structure; that is, by checking each of the non-verbs in a sentence and asking yourself whether you can think of a verb or adjective which is closely associated with it in appearance/sound and meaning. For example, as the subject begins to discuss some ongoing process in his life...he may represent this process in his Surface Structure by the phrase my decision as in: I regret my decision. The task of the psychologist is to help the subject see that what he has represented in his model as a closed, finished event is an ongoing process which may be influenced by him.

D. said...

That would be a fair critique if one is addressing human suffering. If it is suffering that concerns you, I'm afraid that I don't have a utopian and humane solution. 

If one's purpose is the preservation of the species, overpopulation is, once again, a problem that literally solves itself. When there is an abundance of resources, population grows. When those resources are exhausted, population shrinks until population and carrying capacitance reaches equilibrium. Whether you consider war over resources, mass suicide, sterilization, birth laws, starvation the end result is the same: growth will either stop or reverse. And no matter the circumstances the aforementioned scenarios are inevitable, it's simply a matter of choice. 

On the matter of resources, what's most intriguing is that countries that consume the majority of the World's resources are facing underpopulation; Japan is the poster child last I checked. Meanwhile, Third World countries are growing stupendously. As First World parasites like you and I die off (never-mind the impending societally collapse), resources and power will shift to the Southern hemisphere. Then it will shift North again, then South again. 

In my opinion, tackling this problem "rationally" is the worst thing to do. This isn't the first thread I've visited discussing this problem, and they all come to the same incorrect conclusion. To put it bluntly: sterilizing Americans and Europeans would help the world far more than sterilizing, say, Afghans, even though Afghans are having far more children. The committed, impulsive, and highly capable of the world rarely see that if they really want to help, 9 times out of 10, shooting themselves in the mouth is far more effective than neutering those pesky Third World breeders. I doubt you would lead by example, though if you do I will sincerely miss speaking with you.

We'll either expand the planet's carrying capacity with hydroponics, amongst other things, expand into space, or die by the millions. Or all the above. Problem solved.

CNu said...

Outside my own children, suffering is of very little concern to me D.

If one's purpose is the preservation of the species

Nothwithstanding my poster child's reflexive cheerleading for one genome over another in the comment section http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2012/06/will-our-kids-be-different-species.html - the question of human species interests me very greatly. In a Mendelian sense, not.at.all, in a cognitive or psychological sense, very.much.indeed.

The Gurdjieffian filter, both in the sense of its magnetic compulsion of my own attention and effort for close to thirty years, and, by the fascinating cohort it has influenced over the past 9 decades - has led me to conclude that we have a very personal responsibility to survive and preserve specific psychological possibilities.

To put it bluntly: sterilizing Americans and Europeans would help the
world
far more than sterilizing, say, Afghans, even though Afghans are
having far more children.


lol, this work is not about "human suffering", or "the species" or "the world" - rather - it's about a specific, committed, and highly capable impulse - and - whether or not that impulse and those who carry it can survive the shake and bake which these humans have scripted for themselves just around that signpost up ahead.



 

D. said...

lol, this work is not about "human suffering", or "the species" or "the world" - rather - it's about a specific, committed, and highly capable impulse - and - whether or not that impulse and those who carry it can survive the shake and bake which these humans have scripted for themselves just around that signpost up ahead.

Even if they didn't survive, who's to say they wouldn't return in a couple thousand years? All human diversity, from Leonardo Da Vinci to the ni-nis you despise, arose from a bottleneck of some 1000 breeding pairs. There are 7 billion of us today, more than enough human life to spare.

Right now, that impulse is our greatest threat. Which is why I think it is best we settle this resource shortage the same way we've settled all resource shortages in the past: War. If people must die, let them fight for their survival as free people. The birth laws and sterilization programs the impulsive are itching to implement are not only totalitarian, they will be exercised against all the wrong people.

Don't be fooled; the dialog surrounding Overpopulation is crafted to legitimize the subjugation and genocide of the Third World in the minds of First World citizens. That will not save the First World, because the First World's chief competitor for world resources is the First World itself. If the committed, and highly capable haven't impulsively killed themselves, their friends, and their families they're already useless.

D. said...

That impulse will be the death of us at the moment, can't you see? The dialog surrounding overpopulation is engineered to legitimize the subjugation and genocide of Third World people; it is no mistake that people keep coming to the same incorrect conclusion. The problem isn't that there are too many people in the World, it's that there are too many people in Western Civilization. The First World's chief competitors for world resources is the First World itself. The First World will collapse one way or another, there is your solution, and a New Order lead by another people will take its place.

The best thing we can do is store our knowledge so it will last long enough for our successors to pick up where we left off, and arm them with the knowledge so as to avoid the mistake we've made. Don't fret over the intelligentsia, all human diversity from Leonardo Da Vinci to the ni-nis you despise arose from a bottleneck of a mere 1000 breeding pairs. There are almost 7 billion of us today, more than enough to make sure genus remains on this planet for a few more thousand years. Knowledge will outlast this crisis, though it is unlikely that the West will. 

Dale Asberry said...


That impulse will be the death of us at the moment, can't you see?


Uhh... yes? Apparently, you need to spend some time coming up to speed around here. 

The dialog surrounding overpopulation is engineered to legitimize the subjugation and genocide of Third World people; it is no mistake that people keep coming to the same incorrect conclusion.

Uhh... see above. Pay close attention to post tags like 'warsocialism'. In fact, you may come to realize that the situation is far graver than you imagine.

The best thing we can do is store our knowledge

Hmm.

ni-nis you despise

I can't say that I know CNu to any great extent, but I'm pretty sure he's never indicated despising anyone in these parts. 


D., you do a lot of jumping to conclusions, are rather self-important and project your own internal state onto others  -- your comments say much to your cognitive errors (needing work) and ignorance.

CNu said...

I DO rather despise ni-nis...,

D. said...

Apparently, you need to spend some time coming up to speed around here.
Well, seeing as this is the first thread I've participated in, I'm aware of that.

Pay close attention to post tags like 'warsocialism'.

Will do.

D., you do a lot of jumping to conclusions, are rather self-important and project your own internal state onto others  -- your comments say much to your cognitive errors (needing work) and ignorance.

I'm as flawed and ignorant as everyone else, that's why I'm here. To make mistakes and learn from them. So to that end, what cognitive errors have I committed? 

Dale Asberry said...

Good

CNu said...

D.

Powerfully influencing Schuyler's interesting and culturally incongruous production during the 1930's was his involvement with the Gurdjieff group in NYC. Matter fact, many luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance were greatly influenced by involvement with this group. (quite a few were not, as famously instantiated in the dueling essays by Schuyler and Langston Hughes on racial essentialism)

http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2008/08/awaken.html

While many of these links have gone bad, (i.e., file-sharing "services" stomped by intellectual property police) this bibliographical snapshot is still somewhat useful. I would encourage you to search scribd for the text A New Model of the Universe by P.D. Ouspensky and read the prologue - which attempts to define the psychological development to which I refer, and, will also account in part for the rather severe political views which late in life cost Schuyler any and all remaining traction with a black american audience.

CNu said...

A little something about Gurdjieff  http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2010/03/gi-gurdjieff.html

Tom said...


dueling essays by Schuyler and Langston Hughes on racial essentialism


Do you have links to those?  Seems to me we have a serious essentialism problem on both sides of the Big Serious Race Divide in the states.

CNu said...

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hughes/mountain.htm

 http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5129/

Tom said...

Thanks.  It's interesting.   My family's harsh view is that Americans who stayed in their ethnic  neighborhoods basically  failed.    We were not given an opportunity to do that.  My dad's "We're not Irish, we're American" echoed Schuyler.

Not to minimize in any way the racism barrier, my family had assimilation offered to us as a no-brainer.

CNu said...

Your dad was right Tom. That was also the aspirational underpinning of the civil rights movement.  The barriers that Schuyler personally broke and the time during which he broke them, the barriers that my parents broke and the period during which they broke them, puts the lie to anybody contending that they have no choice other beyond the hood.

Tom said...

I think I'm going to have to join the crowd of people you've got driving the price of Schuyler's books up.  

I'm kind of shocked, you know where I come from politically, to find myself siding with Schuyler against Langston Hughes of all people.  But of course there are Irish Americans who talk like Hughes, less poetically, and but they are purely a snare and a delusion.  Nobody successful pays much attention to them.

Now successful includes the mass-murderer Robert S. McNamara, but that problem can be dealt with separately.  

Tom said...


That was also the aspirational underpinning of the civil rights movement.  


Was it really?  Maybe it was just me, but I feel like I watched that whole dream of integration wither and die throughout the eighties.  

CNu said...

Living memory history Tom. Prior to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the overwhelming majority of black folks were confined to legally segregated neighborhoods. After the Fair Housing Act, folks moved wherever they chose and could afford to move - precipitating tremendous white flight, and also significant integration of neighborhoods, schools, public employment, etc...,

Those who wanted to escape the ghetto did escape the ghetto. There remains, however, ~20% who failed to achieve anything approaching escape velocity - and largely a media cultural production - ghetto cultural (black redneck culture) looms disproportionately large as the placeholder for black american culture.

I have no idea how the other half does, feels, or says, because as you might expect, I don't have any friends or associates who participated in white flight. I live in the city and associate nearly exclusively with folks who live either in the city or have some rural roots and holdings.

My children are for all intents and purposes forbidden from self-segregating for any reason and are daily encouraged to seek to maximize their access and exposure to the best, brightest and most intense loci of activity which appeals to them.

Access/exposure - Access/Exposure

- Purpose -

Mastery/Achievement - Mastery/Achievement

everything else is merely conversation....,

Tom said...

Reread LH's piece, transposing African stuff into my own disneyfied ethnic pseudo-group, and it sounds more unbelievable every time. I was in a sorta postpunk band in High School; if anybody had told me I hadda be playing Irish jigs or else I was a clown, I wouldn't even have been insulted,  it would just have been unintended hilarity.

Things aren't symmetrical, but jeepers, that's not leadership to me.  

Thanks for your help getting my head untwisted from the doctrine-based antiracism stuff, CNu.  

Tom said...

I used to take the White Flight people at their word, that crime or something was their fear.  But obviously a lot of my co-chromatics just don't like anybody who isn't white.  It's simply another neighbahood problem, they don't want to succeed they want to fail in maximum moment-to-moment comfort.

Tom McNamara said...

plz delete

Anonymous said...

FvtDkh [url=http://chaneljponline.org/]シャネル iphoneケース[/url] CmcUcf http://chaneljponline.org/ GjhLil [url=http://www.coachjpsales.net/]コーチ 財布[/url] BmpUkf http://www.coachjpsales.net/ HahOsz [url=http://pradasjapan.net/]プラダ バッグ[/url] OspCiy http://pradasjapan.net/ DmzYgd [url=http://coachonsales.org/]コーチ バッグ[/url] BrsKgq http://coachonsales.org/

Anonymous said...

What i do not realize is in fact how you're now not really much more neatly-favored than you might be now. You are very intelligent. You understand thus considerably in terms of this subject, produced me in my view imagine it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren't
fascinated until it is something to do with Lady gaga!

Your own stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

Here is my web blog :: プラダ ポーチ