I’ve been aware of our overshoot predicament for a decade and have moved on from studying specific aspects of human overshoot.
What fascinates me now is our collective denial and inability to discuss or act on overshoot, despite some threats being imminent.
I used to believe denial was caused by a lack of awareness and understanding, but having made an effort to educate many people, and observing that they almost always aggressively choose not to understand, I began to look for a different explanation.
I concluded that denial must be an inherited behavior because every country, culture, political party, and religion is in denial. And denial must be central to who we are as a species because of its depth, breadth, and aggressiveness.
A few years ago I stumbled on Varki’s Mind Over Reality Transition theory and a light went on. Varki’s theory provides the most simple, logical, plausible, and probable answer to the big questions that demand an answer:
- Why has no other species achieved our brain power despite common evolutionary forces and fitness advantages? Other advantageous inventions, like the eye, evolved several times, yet our brain, which is so advantageous it enabled us to take over the planet, has evolved only once.
- Why did all 7 billion of us emerge from one small tribe in Africa? And why did that tribe replace the many other similar hominid species?
- What genetic change occurred about 100,000 years ago that must be both modest in complexity and extreme in effect to explain the explosive emergence and dominance of behaviorally modern humans?
- Why do most people deny the many obvious dimensions of human overshoot like over-population, climate change, sea level rise, peak oil, resource depletion, soil loss, aquifer depletion, nitrogen imbalance, species extinction, fisheries collapse, and ocean acidification?
- Why do many people deny personal health realities like smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity?
- Why do people who are aware of denial (like myself) deny the cancer risk of red meat? 🙂
- Why do many people deny scientific realities like evolution, climate change, thermodynamics, vaccine utility, and the improbability of UFOs?
- Why do most people deny economic realities like the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet, unsustainable debt, and asset bubbles?
- Why do many people choose to believe fake news, like the Russians are to blame?
- Why do many people seek to avoid all forms of reality with mind altering drugs?
- Why do democratic elections never discuss, or debate, or even whisper about, the issues associated with overshoot? What could be more important to vote on?
- Why don’t environmental political parties, like the Green party, have overshoot policies in their platforms?
- Why do experts commonly and aggressively ignore or deny the most important (and unpleasant) facts associated with their domain? Economics, climate change, renewable energy, and nutrition being notorious examples.
- Why do people who understand climate change rarely modify their lifestyles to reduce CO2 emissions?
- Why are humans the only species with religions?
- Why did religions emerge simultaneous with the behaviorally modern human brain?
- Why has every human group everywhere through all history had some form of religion?
- Why does every one of the thousands of religions think it is the only (or most) true religion?
- Why does every religion, including new religions like Scientology, have a life after death story? Many aspects of religion can be easily explained by their positive affect on group survival, but it is not easy to explain why every religion denies death with a life after death story. A few random religions with life after death stories might be reasonable, but not every religion, unless the need for a life after death story has a genetic basis.
- Why do many atheists retain some form of spirituality which usually includes a belief in some form of life after death?
A good place to go next is You know you are in trouble when…