Pharoah - I partly agree with what you've written, partly disagree.
1. Agree population growth is a BIG environmental issue/problem.
Agree it should not continue for much longer - and can't continue for
2. Think the Chinese one-child family law is basically a good idea, at
least for China.
3. Strongly disagree that population growth ALONE is bringing on
ecological crisis, climate change, etc. Capitalist industrial growth
also is a huge factor here (socialist industrial growth, too, in places
where socialism still exists). And bad technological choices are a
You probably have seen Dr. Paul Ehrlich's rough equation that accounts
for pollution, other destruction impacts on the environment.
I = PAT
where I is the impact,
P is the population size,
A is a messure of affluence, a measure of how high a standard of living
the average individual enjoys, and
T is a technological factor -- measure of how dirty and destructive the
technologies are that are used o produce the standard of living.
As Ehrlich, Mr. Population Explosion, has pointed out, you can have a
huge human population that has a disproportionately small
environmenntal impact, because (a) they're very poor, don't use up many
resources per person, and/or (b) the technologies they use to create
their wealth are pretty damned clean and sustainable.
Or you can have a relatively small population that is (a) extremely
wealthy, extremely greedy and/or successful in its consumption of
resources per person, and (b) uses really destructive or inefficient
technologies to support itself. And that small population will have a
disproportionately large negative impact on the environment, compared
to a much larger group of people with more frugal lifestyles and much
Thus Ehrlich, although certainly NOT a fan of population growth in
India -- he once more or less advocated that the US let India collapse
-- Ehrlich concluded some years ago that the average American has as
much destructive impact on the global environment as 75 Indians, simply
because Americans are richer and more industrialized.
Or to put it another way, Ehrlich judged that the US population of
about 200 million people, at the time he was writing, had the same
environmental impact that 15 billion Indians would have. This
comparison is no doubt out of date, since average pc income in India
has grown enormously since Ehrlich wrote this, but you get the idea.
4. I think you've got to face up to this, Pharoah, if you're serious
about your population-based approach to global warming, other
I'm not writing this to justify population growth either in the US or
in India; think both nations have more than enough people already. But
simple logic says that when individuals become richer, more successful
in their ability to exploit nature, and more dependent on anti-green
technologies, they're going to have disproportionately large effects on
the natural world. They're going to magnify the impacts that
population growth would have alone.
On global climate change triggered by fossil fuel burning and CO2
emissions, for example, historian J.R. McNeill, in "Something New Under
the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth Century," estimates
that the human population basically grew by a factor of 4 between 1900
and around 1990 - from 1.5 billion people to around 6 billion.
The global use of fossil fuels over the same 90 years, though, grew by
a factor of around 16 or 17 -- four times as fast as the population.
Global CO2 emissions grew by about the same proportion, I think. And
global industrial activities, global manufacturing, grew by about 30
times in the same period.
QED: If you want to curb runaway global warming, you probably need to
tackle world population growth AND runaway growth in fossil fuel use
and industrial production.
5. I agree that whatever emotions we derive from religion, good deeds,
success in careers, success in love etc. all are mediated by, or
transmitted by, or embodied in, chemical changes in the brain and the
central nervous system.
If you get good enough drugs and you don't suffer from any negative
side effects, therefore, you can theoretically find total fulfillment
through brain chemistry -- meditation, joggers' high, torturing your
body for an adrenaline high in the manner of medieval Catholic saints,
ingesting LSD or heroin, etc. etc.
I think it's hard to control the negative side effects of the drugs,
though. I've tried some of this; didn't work too well for me. I
really think you'll be happier long-term if you find some satisfying
way to engage with the world, wicked and cruel though it may be.
6. Since all satisfaction ultimately is subjective, however, since all
of your victories and all of your defeats ultimately occur in the
brain, I think it follows that the attitude you take towards the world
is important. Critical, in fact.
The fact is, you are an intellectual and a physical component, a pretty
small component, of a much larger reality -- a world system, I guess we
can call it, which has human and non-human elements, various kinds of
human cultural components, etc.
If you adopt the attitude that you, the atom in the big machine, are a
separate entity with no moral or metaphysical connection to the rest of
the cosmos, I think you're going to find that your "self," your
individual ego and/or awareness is ultimately defeated, digested and
annihilated by the rest of the cosmos, human and natural.
That's how the system works. And if you view the bigger entity that is
slowly digesting you as totally "other," and as a hostile, enemy
"other" at that, you're going to suffer like hell from the process of
being defeated, eaten and annihilated.
If you take a somewhat wider view and agree with John Dunne that "no
man is an island," on the other hand, or if you agree with Emerson &
Alan Watts and the Hindu authors of the Upanishads that ultimately, all
of us are emanations of the same fundamental reality, all emanations of
"Brahma" or "the Oversoul" or "nature" -- whatever you call it -- then
you have a change of living in joy. Even as your individual ego is
being thwarted and ultimately snuffed out by the rest of the Godhead,
as it inevitably will be.
Depending on how you look at your connection with the rest of the
universe, you can live in subjective Hell, or you can exist in
Personally, I recommend embracing the sort of impersonal or
collectivist illusion/fantasy that will lead you to subjective
Paradise. I recommend learning to "love" other people, and the natural
world, and even your various enemies -- because it's a better high, a
more enjoyable amusement park ride, than spending your life fighting
them and hating them.
The strict Theraveda Buddhists call this accepting the doctrine of the
"impermanence of the self," I believe. And I think they're onto
7. A footnote on subjective Heaven and subjective Hell: I also
suggest that you can live a lot more joyfully on the planet if you
learn to get your individual enjoyment and satisfaction out of
ACTIVITY, rather than merely out of CONSUMPTION and POSSESSION.
The capitalist entrepreneur building a business, the artist creating a
song or a picture, the revolutionary trying to make a revolution, the
basketball player striving to outshine Michael Jordan, the Wilderness
Society member who strives to safeguard wilderness -- all of them have
learned to get ego gratification from various kinds of creative
activity. Not just from piling up the biggest heap of money in the
world, or owning the biggest piece of land or the largest numbers of
What this tells me is that most of these people -- from Ayn Rand's
idiotic hero John Galt railing against collectivism, to Osama Bin Laden
vowing to destroy the West, to Mother Teresa working to save orphans,
to the kid in the ghetto practicing his high jump, to John Muir working
to save Yosemite -- all of them have found ways to be happy even when
the outside world seems to be crushing them or neglecting them.
All of them, in their conflicting ways, are trying to do GOOD DEEDS as
opposed to piling up wealth on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and
thieves break in and steal. And I bet they lead happier lives because
Which is why even you, Pharoah, COULD learn to get joy and
self-fulfillment out of working for a Green future that combines a
search for global economic justice and global compassion with a search
for population stability and cleaner industrial technologies.
I doubt you'll sign up for this, but there are other people who may
choose to. I hope so, anyway.
"We may be fighting a losing battle,
but we're having a lot of fun
trying to win."
-- Peter, Paul and Mary (from age of trogdolytes in 1960s)
"Fire is Brahman.
And that, Svedartu, that are Thou."
-- The Upanishads
Post by Pharoah
Post by Orator Post by Pharoah
I am so glad to win something, ...... anything
Maybe I'm falling for a con, Pharoah, but you sound rather wistful and
Perhaps you are falling for a con, but your writing is interesting.
Let me say more.
Post by Orator
The Anglo-American writer on Zen Buddhism, Alan Watt -- a big hero
among some of the hippies in the 1960s -- has made a case for a
mystical sense of oneship in his book "The Book: On the Tabu Against
Knowing Who You Are," and also in some of his writings on Hinduism and
You sound like a christian, I may be wrong. Can I ask if you feel sense
of connection with Jesus or God and if so what does it feel like to
you. One person I discussed religion with in another group said, in a
rather long posting in answer to just the same question, that it felt
Like a baby must feel in it's mothers arms.
Other Xtians say much the same thing though not as poetically. I have
also noticed that Zen Meditation provides a similar feeling and I note
from Heroin addicts that they say that being on heroin provides a very
similar feeling of all being right with the world.
why are they all the same?
The answer is in your brain....not your view of the world
I say Happiness comes from within. Outside influences disturb it. You
know, the majority of people live petty dull lives and bicker and
quibble over trivial issues because they seek happiness in the world
around them, and the world around us all is selfish and doesnt care.
Post by Orator
What Watts would say is that if you identify yourself as a lone
individual, cut off from the rest of creation -- nature, nation,
family, humanity, religion, culture etc etc. -- by your own individual
ego and your own small bag of skin, you're bound to be depressed and at
war with almost everything. It's saner and happier, and actually it
makes some ecological and methaphysical sense, to recognize your
interconnections and your interdepencence with the rest of the
The opposite of paranoid is Pronoid. The world does not care. Fall on
hard times and the world will abandon you, get rich and the world will
love you. Happiness comes from within.
When you identify yourself not just with your own individual
Post by Orator
ego, but also with the human species at it's struggled to survive, and
with the evolving natural world that supports the human family -- you
recognize that you've already "WON" something -- a lot!
The Natural world is not capable of supporting 6 billion human beings
in the style to which we would all like to be accustomed.
Your Human family ?????
I bet you do not recognise how many people are working to support you.
The garbage man
The people who work at the dams and filtration and pumping stations
that let you have runing tap water
The people at the power companies who burn coal or oil or run nuclear
reactiors to generate electricity that they give to the people who
maintain the power lines that bring the electricity to your home so
that you can have HOT running tap water
When did you last thank the men and women who drive the trucks that
deliver food to the supermarket so the people in the supermarket can
stock the shelves so that you can eat tonight.
And lets not forget the farmers who grow the food, whether vegetable or
what about the people who work in the factories that make the clothes
you wear, the car you drive, the computer you now read this on....did
You send them a christmass card? when are their birthdays? Ha ! you
have no idea even what their names are
The police who will arrest a person who does wrong to you
the lawyers who will argue in your favour
the insurance agents who will pay you compensation (maybee)
the judges, the nurses and doctors who are waiting in hospitals to help
if you get sick or are injured
the people who make TV programs for your entertainment, writers,
actors, cameramen, stuntmen, the secretaries, the people in the canteen
who feed them and make the coffee
yes,. all these and many many more. It is a much wider world than even
you recognise. When did you last think of how much you owe to the
mena nd women who drive street sweepers keeping leaves and garbage from
clogging up the drains near your home?
(Put another way, if there was no crime at all. ??
How many police, forensic scientists, lawyers, jail wardens, parole
officers, judges, social workers, security guards, insurance workers,
.....would sudenly be unemployed??
You know what they say, dont wish too hard for what you want because
you just might get it.
No good deed goes unpunished)
Now think, if you could grow your own food, build your own house and
settle your own arguments and look after yourself if you are injured,
as people did a few thousand years ago you would not need all these
MY POINT BEING........THE BIGGEST CONSPIRACY OF ALL IS THAT OF HIDING
THE FACT THAT THERE ARE JUST TOOOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.
It isnt a question of finding alternative eco friendly power supplies,
it is a question of matching the supply the earth has with the demands
that we make of it. and in the future the demands will be greater.
Post by Orator
And if you act on
this insight, somehow -- doesn't have to be through Green politics; it
could be other things you identify with -- you may find that life
Life will not improve if we continue popping out babies all over the
Think of the starving in Africa, we have been supplying them with aid
for how long. What would have happened if we had never have given them
Well for one thing we would not be hearing any stories at all of how
the big charity organisations rake off a huge percentage before they
distribute the aid. If there was a solution to the starving people of
third world countries the charities would fight it as it would not be
in their interests. Charities need the poor.
for another, a lot of people would have died, yes died, of starvation,
of malnutrition, of wars over food and shelter. Africa would have been
a worse bloodbath than it is now, but the reason it is as bad now as
parts of it are is simply because we kept a generation alive long
enough to reproduce.
OK, now think of this, when global population reaches that point where
the supply of food and shelter and air and resources do not meet the
demand the whole world will be in the state of the starving people of
africa......................where will the aid come from then.
That my friend is the truth, we are heading for population burnout, not
a shortage of oil, not global warming, not oil spills on the
The chinese at least have laws to limit the number of babies. The rest
of the world should sit up and take note.
Who really needs cloning, who really needs a longer life span......no
my friend, you do not need to live till you are 100 you do not need to
live forever. All biology demands is that you live long enough to
How many nursing homes for the aged have you been through. Sure its
nice to know your Gramps is looked after and a nurse keeps his morphine
topped up, but thats not for his health, its for their income.
Post by Orator
The Christian Jesus, as portrayed in the accepted Gospels, is not
everyone's cup of tea. Some non-Christians despiset the man's memory,
and maybe they're right. But I think Jesus said something interesting
when he is supposed to have said in one passage, "I have come to bring
you life, and life abundantly." And yet he is supposed to have said in
another passage, "He who seeks to save his life will lose it, and he
who seeks to lose his life for my sake will find it."
mathew 21: 18 to 20 KIng james version
tell me, did jesus pay compensation to the man whose fig tree he
And why is this a variation on a buddhist story in which the Buddha
meditated under a fig tree all night, and in the morning there were 2
fig trees. Both then gave a lecture on how what we believe creates our
Jesus was a man, who looked for meaning, he found at least some of his
meaning in buddhist thought which he got from the Greeks. Alexander the
Great fought his way to india 300 years before christ and Greek thought
influence buddhism and buddhism influenced greek thought.
No, jesus did not need to go to india to find buddhism, he got iot from
the greeks in asia minor and Xtianity grew strongest first of all in
Greek colonies of asia minor because the thoughts were familiar, alas,
time and the propagandists of Constantine have distorted the true
Post by Orator
Forget about the "for my sake" for a second; forget about the obvious
invocation to Christian martrydom, which looks a little suspicious in
the wake of the 9-11 attacks.
When spain was under Moorish rule Xtians, who fell for the myth that "
he who shall lose his life in my name shall find eternal life in
heaven" made suicidal raids into mosques.
The suicide raid, whether with fists, sword, gun, bomb or jet airliner
is a Xtian invention just as scalping was a white invention which the
Indians or native americans what ever term you like, adopted in
Post by Orator
You'll never be entirely sure that it
was the "right" choice you made, obviously - because in an absurd
universe where none of us is smart enough or informed enough, who can
ever be sure that they're absolutely right?
I am being true to myself. We all are all of the time, we can be
nothing other than what we are in the same way that a pencil can only
be a pencil, never a teapot.
Post by Orator
What you WIN from the acceptance of existential despair and the making
of "absurd" existential choices is not necessarily a sense of oneness
and blessedness stemming from your relation to the cosmos. But you WIN
a sense of individual integrity, of having made your choice, as best
you can, in FREEDOM, and then of having the integrity and the toughness
to stick with it afterwards.
I sense that I have the freedom to say what I wish to say in this
ARE YOU TELLING ME WHAT TO SAY AND THINK! ??
Post by Orator
Whatever your poltiics and your ecological sensibility turn out to be,
if you can identify something that isn't simply selfish, that you think
is important to do, and if you can then do it, you WIN a sense of
having become a worthwhile person, somebody that you yourself can
respect -- a least a little bit. It's much more satisfying than saying
"eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die."
Tollerance is a great thing to have.
You know, when you can hear the cynical, the pessimistic, the
downhearted, the sad, the miserable, the depressed, ....and you can
allow them to be cynical, pessimistic, downhearted, sad, miserable and
depressed, .....without trying to change them, then you are truly
tollerant. It is their life, and only they have the right to change it
If you feel you need to cheer them up, lift their spirits, raise their
You have the right to be dissapointed.