Clever But Not Wise

Our current existential dilemma – intimately intertwined over-population, over-consumption, and myriad environmental quagmires – can best be understood in the light of human behavioral characteristics that have arisen over evolutionary time.  The “agenda of the gene”, is baked into our DNA:  to reproduce, to consume, to compete and seek status ensured our survival through evolutionary history as cavemen and savannah dwellers.  But our most unique trait as a species, our clever brain, has gotten us into a lot of trouble.  Chiefly through the discovery of fossil sunlight (i.e., fossil fuels), the problem has come full center.  Our exploitation of this one-time carbon bonanza has allowed humans – for a time – to circumvent the natural laws which ultimately limit all life on the planet. I will argue that humans have a “brain problem” from which energy, resource, population, and climate disruption problems emerge.  Understanding and facing up to that reality will provide our best hope for securing a meaningful future.