With the development of science, it became clear that the Earth is periodically subjected to sudden changes that are catastrophic in nature. There is enough evidence of such events in the past – huge volcanic eruptions, impacts of large celestial bodies, rapid climate changes associated with the activity of the sun, cosmic environment through which the solar system pass, change of thermodynamic equilibrium due to internal planetary factors. Recently, the humankind was added to the list of possible causes of the Apocalypse, too.
A distinctive feature of the reason is that it reproduces itself by changing itself or the environment, according to an ideal image that represents the optimal state of reason itself in its relation to the environment. This occurs at the level of personality, even at the stage of its formation, and the level of civilization – all manifestations of mind that we know exist thanks to this feature. Child learns to build common ideas and thus to survive in an otherwise full of surprises world. The old man always guess as far as possible what awaits him in tomorrow and prepare for it in one way or another. The nations rise their grandiose or modest ideals that help them survive in their historical path. If science in the 21st century, trying to play the role of God, tells us that a Flood on a planetary scale is possible and even inevitable, it is just natural to start looking for the perfect ideas that help us to survive in some possible planetary catastrophes.
The construction of this idea, call it Noah’s Ark, has already started and this is just like building a perfect idea in our daily lives. First, get understanding of the problem. Then immediately mobilize our already existing knowledge to produce solutions. Further, we understand that the available knowledge is not enough to cover all possible scenarios. We start accumulating more knowledge about menacing phenomenon of environment. This new knowledge leads to some clever models and ideas on how to change the environment to remove what threatens us. Finally comes the understanding that as our interaction with this environment is a bilateral process, our own change is required, too. We examine ourselves in the light of the problematic situation in which we are placed, and we choose what should be our new state, which would help us to deal with the problem. Currently we are somewhere in the early stages “accumulation of new knowledge about the environment and offering clever means to correct the problem”.
For the first time humanity knew there might be trouble on a planetary scale when colossal military nuclear capability was built. The scientists gave the answer to the inevitable question, what happens if you push the button: nuclear winter and probably self-destruction. Reaction, we must admit, was quite reasonable: we stopped the senseless rearmament and devised safety procedures. The model of possible self-destruction itself, however, leads us to the next inevitable question – can this be happen in other ways? The answer was not very encouraging – not only possible, but this is almost for sure. There were pointed the planetary potential offenders that threaten the newly born humanity. In popular science magazines and TV channels, we are flooded with information on how the dinosaurs disappeared with the fall of an asteroid in the present Gulf of Mexico. Due to this persistent interest in this event, the dinosaurs came into our homes and they became something like close relatives, the fate of which is not only sad but also warns us what can happen to us. Soon after this, an idea was raised to destroy those potential killer asteroids with the same nuclear weapons that made us think about the Apocalypse.
Awareness of the scale of the threat, however, leads to look in some evidence of such catastrophic events that were always before our eyes, but we have never paid attention. This scrutiny has brought us new and unpleasant knowledge – not just asteroids are capable of causing a planetary cataclysm, but otherwise well-known volcanoes. Yes, we know that a volcano wiped Cretan civilization or perhaps destroyed the mythical Atlantis, but these were quite undeveloped civilizations compared to today’s global humanity. Unfortunately, it turned out that the volcanoes have never shown us yet their full potential. We found evidence that the otherwise very beautiful mountain Yellowstone is a volcano that has activity period of about 600,000 years, and its activity is typically at a scale that U.S.A could be covered with a three-foot layer of volcanic ash. This will surely return the most advanced country in the world a few thousand years back in history and certainly several hundred years the rest of humanity.
Of course, we avoid thinking about such events, as we do not think over the possibility of head-on collision on a highway to happen to us. People drive their cars and this real possibility is sent somewhere in the deepest layers of our consciousness. Daily weather forecasts however embitter our lives far more effectively. They are not some abstract volcanoes or asteroids but gray, sometimes wet, sometimes too hot or chillingly routine. Logically, the possibility of climatic imbalance, which can lead to catastrophic consequences for the entire earthly civilization, haunted the thoughts of ordinary people, and the politicians seized this anxiety. As in the case of asteroids, the politicians sought closest to their mind available solution to the problem. So, we had one Kyoto Protocol and all environmental organizations were stilled or rather it was throw dust in their eyes. In fact, with the Kyoto Protocol, politicians respond by political means to the political risk coming from the political behavior of men feel threatened, but do not respond to the major threat of abrupt historical scale global climate change. On the other hand, scientists now know that this change cannot be stopped and the question is not whether it will happen but when it will happen. Admittedly natural historical selfishness, every generation hopes this bleak fate to pass, and children do get better as they can.
It seems that mankind currently still actively accumulating knowledge about the nature of planetary threats, offers some tried and trivial solutions for dealing with them, beginning to understand that they either do not work or are unfit to eliminate other. Yet no one thinks seriously about the other side of the equation of the problem – the man himself. What is “man”, how can he be changed and what can help him retain his humanity in the situation in which he found himself once Noah. Still it is not understood that we design ourselves, and predicting the consequences of a planetary catastrophe, we are proceeding from available to us ideas for ourselves. Moreover, not only that – we put our goals to survive in the same prejudices that we have for ourselves, and in this our prejudices seem immovable and eternal. However, let us first see what the possible scenarios for saving ourselves are.
Once the Lord appeared to Noah and told him to climb representatives of all animals, plants and his family on a big ship to carry them on the waves of the Flood. Indeed God has instructed Noah to take a snapshot of hiss civilizational culture – that system components and relationships through which he interacts with the environment in which he lives. Alvin Toffler would say that Noah did a record of the First Wave – agricultural civilization. The man form this civilization wave interacts with the environment through organic processes occurring in the environment itself. This is possible because man himself is a product of the development of these bioprocesses and has the necessary interface to be part of them. Incurred by Noah recording later is used to restore his lost civilizational. Today this technology is still a valid way to rescue from Apocalypse societies of the first wave.
In times of industrialized civilization, when we became aware of the consequences of using nuclear weapons on a planetary scale, also we had ideas to build something like Noah arks, but this time in the form of underground bunkers. Many different types of plants and animals were supposed to be kept there, along with accumulated knowledge, technology, equipment, engineers, politicians and political commissars. This represents a snapshot of the civilization of the Second Wave.
The new point here is that humankind is not reproduced by the processes occurring in the environment, but through active change of this environment. It is here, however, that is seen the ephemeral nature of the civilizations of the Second Wave and that the culture of the industrial age is something transient and intermediate. Reproducing itself by changing the environment, humanity builds a complex system of energy and information flows, but this is incredibly vulnerable system. Surely, it would have been destroyed in a planetary cataclysm. Even if you survive the cataclysm, underground bunkers may not have the production base to restore industrial civilization again, because the environment will be completely changed and unsuitable for rebuilding industrial infrastructure.
At the end of the second wave, however, ideas of salvation can occur based on the information technologies of the coming Third Wave. At example, it is possible to miniaturize the modern arks. We already have memory drives with a capacity of one terabyte. Generally, this is enough to preserve all the technologies underpinning human civilization today. Imagine that each of us has such a drive and carry it with us at all times. This would ensure that even if a minimal amount of people survive a possible Apocalypse, they will have the necessary information available to restore civilization.
However, the problem is again the same industrial civilization, which actually should be restored after the cataclysm. The information in the personal arks cannot be opened and read, as this will require energy and communication infrastructure that already will be destroyed, and which cannot be recovered since its recovery will require the same content that is enclosed in tiny arks.
In the end it turns out that way for survival Flood use by Noah is not valid for industrial civilization, as it is not possible to preserve it in a hiding place, no matter how great it is. Technosphere in many ways is a new, artificial environment, whose function is continuously to modify the external natural environment. When the technology is placed by the same natural environment in the position of its subdomain, its functions stop and self-destruction of technosphere occurs. On the other hand, industrial civilization cannot be saved with the means of the coming Third Wave, as more and more information technologies are dependent on the same industrial infrastructure that should be saved.
The story about nuclear arks is instructive, however, about one thing that seems at first glance trivial. Problem with the survival is solvable far more efficiently if we change our civilization, instead of trying to save it. As we saw, it is more reasonable to abandon nuclear conflict than thinking about how to survive when it happens. Of course, there are another kind of planetary threats that cannot be dropped from the agenda of humanity as easy because they are arising from the external environment. Nevertheless, the strategy to change ourselves seems far more effective than plans and attempts to change the environment. These plans and opinions are arising from the industrial culture with its specific way of thinking. Therefore, if we want to move on to another approach to survive Apocalypse, we must be ready to abandon the industrial civilization itself. This also means denial of its prejudices, the cultural stereotypes to that we are accustomed. Let us see what these prejudices are.
Man of the Second Wave changed planetary environment in unprecedented short time unseen previously. This creates the illusion that the environment is one that is changing, and the man remains the same. Logically it is assumed that the industrial man, its institutions, technologies, ideals, even his perception of his own biological body, will stay the same always and forever. Vast amount of fiction films and literature that dominate the culture of the late 20th century and early 21 century are a good expression of this prejudice. The market is the lifeblood of the community, it is seen as a constant, and there is no any alternative. In our imagination, even after conquering galaxies and alien planets, the human race still is using money as a systematic mean of economic communication. The state seems unshakable foundation of any society: between the stars in our imagination empires, federations and republics are spread. The energy metabolism of society always is considered as based on the known and established sources of energy. Even those still exotic energy sources, that the future is supposed to bring, are bound to today’s idea of normal society and its centralized consumption of energy. Most importantly, the way we change the environment is also extrapolated forward into eternity. Assumptions are that this will be most natural to fight star wars for the right to tear apart a planet with underground and surface mines, and opportunity to sow at industrial scale corn and wheat on planets in the deep Cosmos.
All these illusions of the Industrial Man exist not only in his imagination. They dominate the thoughts and attitudes of today’s politicians, strategists and business, environmental activists, fighters for civil rights and humanitarian organizations and even ordinary people. Yeah, politicians recognize that some of us make changes on a global scale, but firmly believe that the framework of the social structure that is accustomed to all of us will remain intact. Central place in the projections of strategists take matters exactly when China’s GDP would surpass that of the U.S. and Europe. Environmental activists are fighting to preserve the cozy world we live in intact, like stuffed moment of living history on planet Earth. Countless organizations ranging from the United Nations to microscopic foundations shall endeavor to establish a social idyll in which all will be as rich as the rich citizens of most developed countries do currently. Here is a paradoxical situation: humanity started to think how to survive a planetary cataclysm, but its main purpose is to preserve and transmit its illusions intact beyond this possible change on a planetary scale. Despite that everything will be changed, yet we will still be the same.
However, the changes in ourselves already begun and cannot be stopped. Moreover, they are essential if we are to survive. This is not about establishment of a better social order nor about environmentally friendly economy. It is about changing the form of the Man himself.
Let us return to the idea of information arks that each of us would carry with him. They are ineffective tool because reliance on external technosphere to be read and if the technosphere is destroyed, then the media will remain useless for survivors of planetary cataclysm. However, there is an alternative: to use our own bodies caring such informational civilizational archives. Then they can be unzipped and applied as a template for restoration of humankind. Moreover, using our bodies as arks presupposes other far-reaching consequences rather than just survival and recovery of civilization. What they are?
To enable the storage and retrieval of such volumes of data in and out of the human brain, it is necessary first to have a detailed understanding of the processes not only in the brain but also in our body. The brain is designed by evolution to manage this body and understanding of his work is inseparable process of understanding how the body functions itself. This understanding, however, will give us an immediate opportunity to do modeling which to reveal the true potential codded in its evolution. Our understanding of the engineering of our body will give us endlessly prolonging life and curing diseases. However, after arising this technology alone will tell us about the opportunities to shape our bodies according to the environment, and not vice versa – to transform the environment to the needs of our bodies. The result will be most dramatic for the civilization of the Second Wave. Imagine what would be the consequences for our everyday life if we have ability to reduce the amount of energy we need, which is preserved in food. On the other hand, what it will mean for the organization of everyday life and culture acquisition of dog smell and sonar equipment like bats. Moreover, if these abilities can be changed and replaced under current circumstances, this will mean the end of public institutions, as we know them. For the most part, they are based on the presumption of individuals with fixed properties and plasticity. The free change of the form of one’s personality will make the institutions useless.
The very fact that every person can be a carrier of all human knowledge would have no less dramatic consequences. In general, human knowledge is a product of the activity of each of us by his personal experience. However, it is unevenly distributed, with each of us keeps only a small part of it. This therefore makes necessary complex social structures for transmission and storage of individual experience and accumulation in the general human knowledge. The possibility, however, to be concentrated in each of us will, on one hand again moot institutions as we know them, and secondly, it will provoke the need for creating and maintaining communications between all individuals non-stop in real time. Only in this way it will update the individual experience of human knowledge, and each of us will keep in yourself algorithm for restoration of the entire human civilization. Imagine the implications for personal perception of each of us, our self-consciousness. The meaning of such basic concepts as good and evil will never be the same as that which is known to us today.
From the perspective of Industrial Man this looks terrible. His world will disappear: all his unshakeable illusions, small joys and great sorrows will be replaced by something completely unknown, and therefore hostile and dangerous. On the other hand, the Apocalypse of Industrial Man is the only chance to avoid the Apocalypse of humanity. However, there is something more. Once people started living in harmony with the processes of the biosphere of the planet Earth. Now is the time for people to re-live in harmony with their environment, but not that harmony of animals appropriate to the biological area. This is the harmony live of intelligence, which even the most catastrophic cosmic events are not alien to him and hostile. Only then will we know that the planetary climate is a natural rhythm of breathing Earth, asteroids and volcanoes are part of the Universe cycle to whom we belong.
Project Founder and Manager
Jordan Yankov works as a consultant for development of different types of power generation projects, energy planning and development. Jordan has experience as manager in advertising, multimedia, marketing and technology projects. He has graduated philosophy but he never persuaded an academic carrier. Despite that, he maintained his strong interests in fundamental sciences, philosophy and social problems. For several years, he helped d-r Ivan Punchev in his efforts to develop non-classic dialectical logic in mathematical form. As a result, he elaborated his own ideas in the fields of fundamental sciences, artificial intelligence and social prognoses. All of this inspired him to start The Human Future Project as an ongoing streamlined effort to create new paradigm for understanding of the human nature.