Elsewhere on the internet...

The League of Reason has some social media accounts! You can find us on Facebook or on Twitter for some interesting links and things.

Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 2
 [ 30 posts ] 
Why contribute or care about future humanity?
Author Message
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Here's a counter question. What would you say to the last generation of human descendants when they face the destruction of their home planet, or the universe (Presumably, heat death or rip)? A future with a home planet turned to dust, in a void with no visible light, stars burning out, so expanded that there is no way to travel without appealing to science fiction. This is ending and the only difference up in the air is how many for generations are forced into this existence along the way.
Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:26 pm
CosmicJoghurtPodcasterUser avatarPosts: 809Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:59 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:Here's a counter question. What would you say to the last generation of human descendants when they face the destruction of their home planet, or the universe (Presumably, heat death or rip)? A future with a home planet turned to dust, in a void with no visible light, stars burning out, so expanded that there is no way to travel without appealing to science fiction. This is ending and the only difference up in the air is how many for generations are forced into this existence along the way.


I don't know, how is this question relevant?

Regardless, I'd tell them to have fun while it lasts. You know, go crazy. Would be fun to watch.
Perception of reality results in interpretation of reality which results in a deformation of reality.
Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:51 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

CosmicJoghurt wrote:
I don't know, how is this question relevant?


Making the development and prosperity of humanity a goal implies an intent to go on indefinitely. Neither the planet nor the universe as we know it will allow this, given enough time. Investing in progress now is investing in a perhaps horrific end for a very populous descendant of humans.


Regardless, I'd tell them to have fun while it lasts. You know, go crazy. Would be fun to watch.



I'll consider that a fully serious remark. If you're so indifferent to the ultimate end of your species then don't give me trouble for being indifferent to its process of getting there. (Presuming you would) After all, you'd[Read: Everyone advocating a duty to human progress] be giving me grief for not contributing to a temporary prosperity, which you acknowledge apathetically to be without an appealing ending. What I'm doing with my life, you're doing with the collective lives of the species: Living it up and not worrying about the end.
Last edited by bluejatheist on Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:44 pm
DeanBlog EditorUser avatarPosts: 593Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 1:49 pmLocation: United Kingdom Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

CosmicJoghurt
CosmicJoghurt wrote:["¦] [H]ow is this question relevant? ["¦]

Regardless of whether or not you are inclined to agree with Bluejay's overall premise, I trust you recognise the flagrantly obvious. It is relevant, because the topic under discussion within this thread concerns the future of humanity; a logical extension of this would be the overall fate of humanity, as the universe approaches its end (however it happens). He is attempting to highlight the fact that a continued human existence lasting the full life-span of our universe , while it may superficially sound like a pleasant notion , would be bleak indeed for the last generation. Furthermore, since many people who have responded to this thread have emphasised our perceived "duty" to look out for the well-being/progress of future generations, why is this not a perfectly reasonable question to consider? This doesn't mean an advocacy of voluntary self-extinction per sé. That would be rather impractical and rather unnecessary, since it is very unlikely that the human race will survive even millions of years into the future, let alone billions, or more. However, it does show the point that our existence; is not inherently a "good"- thing. Nor is the existence of anything inherently a "good" thing.

I imagine that people on the verge of extinction in an otherwise entirely empty and lifeless universe, would have somewhat more pressing concerns than the one you mentioned . . . and as has already been noted; appealing to the possibility of fantastical future technologies, would be a pellucidly dishonest tactic. Otherwise, what substantive responses can there be to this question? It's an interesting point to consider within the wider topic at hand here.
~~L.N

“You ask ‘Is there any Florida?’ I’m inclined to answer ‘No.’ There is no Florida, there’s only this, this England, which nauseates my soul.” – DH Lawrence


انقلابی
About Us
Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:09 pm
CosmicJoghurtPodcasterUser avatarPosts: 809Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:59 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:
CosmicJoghurt wrote:
I don't know, how is this question relevant?


Making the development and prosperity of humanity a goal implies an intent to go on indefinitely. Neither the planet nor the universe as we know it will allow this, given enough time. Investing in progress now is investing in a perhaps horrific end for a very populous descendant of humans.



I agree. Though I'll say that people who advocate a better future don't necessarily assume it'll last forever.

Regardless, I'd tell them to have fun while it lasts. You know, go crazy. Would be fun to watch.



I'll consider that a fully serious remark. If you're so indifferent to the ultimate end of your species then don't give me trouble for being indifferent to its process of getting there. (Presuming you would) After all, you'd[Read: Everyone advocating a duty to human progress] be giving me grief for not contributing to a temporary prosperity, which you acknowledge apathetically to be without an appealing ending. What I'm doing with my life, you're doing with the collective lives of the species: Living it up and not worrying about the end.


Please refer to my first post on this thread, since I'm not a part of the group you're referring to :)

Regardless of whether or not you are inclined to agree with Bluejay's overall premise, I trust you recognise the flagrantly obvious. It is relevant, because the topic under discussion within this thread concerns the future of humanity; a logical extension of this would be the overall fate of humanity, as the universe approaches its end (however it happens). He is attempting to highlight the fact that a continued human existence lasting the full life-span of our universe , while it may superficially sound like a pleasant notion , would be bleak indeed for the last generation. Furthermore, since many people who have responded to this thread have emphasised our perceived "duty" to look out for the well-being/progress of future generations, why is this not a perfectly reasonable question to consider? This doesn't mean an advocacy of voluntary self-extinction per sé. That would be rather impractical and rather unnecessary, since it is very unlikely that the human race will survive even millions of years into the future, let alone billions, or more. However, it does show the point that our existence; is not inherently a "good"- thing. Nor is the existence of anything inherently a "good" thing.

I imagine that people on the verge of extinction in an otherwise entirely empty and lifeless universe, would have somewhat more pressing concerns than the one you mentioned . . . and as has already been noted; appealing to the possibility of fantastical future technologies, would be a pellucidly dishonest tactic. Otherwise, what substantive responses can there be to this question? It's an interesting point to consider within the wider topic at hand here.


First of all, thanks for the eloquent response.
Bluejay's question was in the likes of "what would you say to the last generation before extinction" - it is that question, specifically that I find irrelevant. I see nothing interesting to say to them, if they're definitely the last generation, nothing I could say would make a difference.

I do, however, find the idea of a final generation to be an interesting one and I'd be happy to discuss it. But I must stress that I was referring to the irrelevance of his specific question, and not the subject in general.

Cheers!
Perception of reality results in interpretation of reality which results in a deformation of reality.
Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:17 pm
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

To rephrase, my question is: What would you (if you advocate indefinite progress) say to the last generation to justify your efforts that resulted in what they're facing? It is more a rhetorical question however, to simply bring up the inescapable futility of progress.
Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:21 pm
Nom_de_PlumeUser avatarPosts: 247Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:36 pmLocation: Western Canada Gender: Female

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:To rephrase, my question is: What would you (if you advocate indefinite progress) say to the last generation to justify your efforts that resulted in what they're facing? It is more a rhetorical question however, to simply bring up the inescapable futility of progress.


Ok, so the focus of the question has shifted.
originally you were talking about the social aspects now we're onto environmental.

The fact that sometime in the future the universe may explode, sun go supernova etc doesn't really have a bearing on this.
I mean, by this logic, why eat your veggies and go to the gym seeing as you're just gonna die anyhow.....
The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
~Robert A Heinlein
Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:52 pm
ICQ
bluejatheistPosts: 525Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Nom_de_Plume wrote:
bluejatheist wrote:To rephrase, my question is: What would you (if you advocate indefinite progress) say to the last generation to justify your efforts that resulted in what they're facing? It is more a rhetorical question however, to simply bring up the inescapable futility of progress.


Ok, so the focus of the question has shifted.
originally you were talking about the social aspects now we're onto environmental.

The fact that sometime in the future the universe may explode, sun go supernova etc doesn't really have a bearing on this.
I mean, by this logic, why eat your veggies and go to the gym seeing as you're just gonna die anyhow.....


Because it may make the time between now and death better, or increase that time. The question overall hasn't changed, just been expressed differently but with no intention of being misleading, it's a matter of deciding how (personally, obviously this doesn't bother other people) worth it the struggle to make a largely ignorant, harmful species progress to a happy ending that won't come. No matter how many generations will benefit there will be one that most certainly wont. Is there any reason to let myself give a damn about this train wreck of a species, in a dead-end of a universe, that doesn't require appeals to intangible, subjective aesthetics, or require me to solicit some evolutionary impulse by procreating or even pair bonding?

I would be lying if I claimed impartiality, I approach from a subjectively misanthropic standpoint, which is why the aesthetic/subjective appeals to humanism or duty don't do much for me. Nome de Plume has provided the only arguments that I have had to take time to think about, which are that efforts and inaction have benefits within our lifetimes. If I seem deliberately stubborn or like a troll, it is because I don't want to be swayed by such a simple notion as an appeal to empathy. If I decided to go with the "For the sake of empathy and altruism" it would be settled for me just like that, which is why I reject it. Maybe those are the only reasons to choose from, I suppose. I'll readily take the blame for this thread being a sort of mess, I've articulated poorly.
Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:22 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3210Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

Greetings,

bluejatheist wrote:Starting around 2008 my view of life has been steadily becoming more and more cynical and misanthropic, to the point that I consider both terms to be compliments and draw comfort from them. Currently I'm undecided if there is any reason to allow myself to be empathetic to the human condition, past, present and future or to make any efforts for long term goals to better human society.(Short term I see as logical for myself and others near me to care about, but the long term that follows my life and death is another thing). As a back drop my 'philosophy' is probably best summarized as existential nihilism though I don't consider it to be the source of my current 'decline' and indecision.

I'd like to hear whether any LoR members consider long term humanity is worthy or reasonable thing to contribute towards in terms of activism, science and so on, and what their reasons are for it, as this would be useful during this phase of contemplation in my life.

Edit: To clarify, I'd like it if anyone would post whether they are proactive in favor of the future welfare and advancement of the human species, and how they justify their position, so that I may conduct a 'peer review' discussion, in order to help me with my own contemplation on what I want to do in life.

Edit 2: Emphasis on future humanity. There are plenty of sound reasons for acting in favor of local and immediate peace and prosperity. Sacrificing in the name of benefits one may never live to see is different.

Given that the beginning of your pessimism appears to coincide with the 2008 global financial meltdown and its aftermath, it's a understandable result of someone who feels caught in the proverbial Kafkaesque nightmare. Your feelings of "looking after me and mine" whilst apparently becoming indifferent to, if not turning your back on, the rest of humanity and its future is also understandable in this light.

However, strange as it may seem, you can't improve your own prospects for a happy life without improving others, if only unintentionally.

For example, studies - pardon the anecdotal nature of this statement - have shown that broadening one's social network increases one's happiness and lengthens one's life.

However, in doing so - for "selfish" reasons - you can't help but increase the happiness of each and every person with whom you network and, thus, lengthen their life! ;)

One might shrug one's shoulders at the concerns Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" raises for the future of humanity, yet in making purely "selfish" choices to ensure you breath fresh air and have access to clean drinking water, perhaps through environmental campaigning/activism, you can't help but improve subsequent generations' health.

The film, Carbon Nation, makes this point in spades.

In other words, you can't help making life better for yourself without doing so for subsequent generations. whether you're interested in doing so or not.

Your subsequent question regarding "the final generation" is but a reflection of the question regarding your own life.

If you're trying to lengthen your own life on Earth, at some point it's going to become intolerable due to infirmity in old age. This is a - or rather "the" - trade-off, which no-one can escape: except through death, whether through natural causes or euthanasia.

Similarly, the "final generation" is the species' equivalent of the intolerable nature towards the end of a individual's life.

At the end of the day, they - just like the individual - have to come to terms with the inevitability of death: the one consolation they might have is that - unlike you or I, who'll be outlived by others (as Hitchens put it, "The party will go on without us") - every other species throughout the cosmos will be facing their own death at the same time as humanity.

The above points may be small consolation, perhaps, for your own feelings of pessimism - but it's a starting point. :)

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:25 am
malicious_blokeUser avatarPosts: 305Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:12 pmLocation: Proper Westcountry Gender: Male

Post Re: Why contribute or care about future humanity?

bluejatheist wrote:Because it may make the time between now and death better, or increase that time. The question overall hasn't changed, just been expressed differently but with no intention of being misleading, it's a matter of deciding how (personally, obviously this doesn't bother other people) worth it the struggle to make a largely ignorant, harmful species progress to a happy ending that won't come. No matter how many generations will benefit there will be one that most certainly wont. Is there any reason to let myself give a damn about this train wreck of a species, in a dead-end of a universe, that doesn't require appeals to intangible, subjective aesthetics, or require me to solicit some evolutionary impulse by procreating or even pair bonding?


This is primarily an artifact of overthinking the situation you find yourself in. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Just because you can percieve the doomed nature of the substrate your life is imprinted on (whether it's a relationship, a nation, a species, a planet or even the entire universe) doesn't preclude you from continuing down whatever path you choose for yourself.

Misanthropy is a feeling I deal with now and then, I often fail to see the point in interacting with human society with all it's wilful self-delusions and deliberate ignorance. I seek knowledge of the universe and I take comfort in the idea that, over the course of my finite lifespan, I will come to know and understand and make sense of at least *something* about this reality. The selfish and misanthropic side of me wants it to end there, the simple act of researching and knowing something is its own reward and the side-effect of it adding to humanity's knowledge base is an irrelevance.

But then the opposing thought occurs that, no matter how stupid, how deluded or dogmatic humanity becomes, there will always be a small core of society who want to KNOW and who curate the sum total of human understanding of the universe and THAT is what I ultimately aim to add to. The idea that we live in a doomed universe is far away and distantly beyond our lifespans. That tiny flicker of hope that maybe our work can drag the unthinking masses forward into some semblance of mental adulthood and avert all the crises preceding that is enough for me...just about.
[sarcasm ][/sarcasm ]

The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it
Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:43 pm
Previous
Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 2
 [ 30 posts ] 
Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests