It’s the million dollar question that many of us find ourselves asking quite often. If you are into reading the news regularly, it is quite easy to develop a negative outlook on the future of the human race and human society. It seems as if today, nearly all the headlines being published by the media are all of the negative events occurring in the world; conflict, hate, violence, and injustice appearing all too prevalently. As these situations appear to worsen, it is easy to fall into the trap of a cynical view of the fate of mankind itself.
Inspecting this in a different, more positive manner, it certainly appears as if the human race may be on the brink of a new worldwide revolution, not unlike the Neolithic Revolution that occurred some twelve thousand years ago.
Many of the world’s conflicts today arise from the straining of Earth’s resources. The condition of our planet is rapidly deteriorating as a whole as the human population continues to grow past the point this planet can sustain. In the near future, humans will need to fully address and resolve these issues or face extinction.
An interesting model, that matches the current events in the world today, is the Kardashev scale, a method for measuring development of civilizations. It is a simple scale that classifies civilizations into four distinct categories. A Type 0 civilization is what all civilizations start out as; a civilization with minimal technological advancement in the broad spectrum of things. A Type I civilization is a planetary civilization that are able to harness and consume the energy of their entire planet. A Type II two civilization is one that is able to harness and consume the energy of their star. And lastly a Type III civilization harnesses the energy of their entire galaxy. There have been numerous extensions to the above basic model, but that is a topic for another post.
At this point you’re probably wondering where this post is going, but try and bear with me here.
Currently, on the Kardashev scale, humans still rank out as a Type 0 civilization. However, we are ever presently approaching attaining Type I status as our energy consumption continues to increase towards being greater than the total energy of the solar insulation of the Earth. In fact it has been predicted that we will attain a Type I status in the matter of a few decades, all things permitted that is.
What we are seeing going on in the world today can easily be seen as evidence of this transition. Take the Internet that this posted on for example, it is, when it comes down to it, nothing except a glorified planetary communication system. Also when examining the political state of the world, one can see in political treaties, such as NATO, the beginnings of the world being united into a unified, global political unit.
So what happens now?
Well, the Kardashev scale, includes a theory that the transition from a Type I to Type II carries with it, as with any planetary revolution, large amounts of social unrest and furthermore a high risk of self destruction. This is due to the fact that during this transition the needs of the civilization surpass the ability of the home planet to provide.
This could directly be compared to Global Warming, wherein the excessive consumption of energy by the human race without the adequate means of disposal, is putting life on Earth at risk. As for a lot of the other negative headlines mentioned earlier, many of these are based on the unstable political spectrum or intercultural conflicts today. These situations arise out of the resistance of people towards a transition. Cultures with close-minded belief systems are bound to be resistant of the impending change though, as life as a human being would likely be drastically altered.
So now as I see it, the human civilization as a whole, has one of two options, being either to join together and work as a whole or to destroy ourselves in the process. Currently there is no way that the Earth will sustain the human race for much longer. No one nation can solve the environmental and resource problems of the entire world. And as long as we, as humans, continue to exist as separate nations, there will surely continue to be conflict between different nations and peoples. Our only hope for survival lies within each other.