The elaboration on the possible external threats to the humanity and generally-recognized self-threat have been made in the former two chapters. These menaces will be summarized in this Chapter to get a clear understanding of the most crucial factors that threatening the survival of mankind as a whole, and grope for a solution.
External threats is an objective reality which has nothing to do with human nature and social system; no matter if we want it, and how we choose to face it, we have to inevitably bear the whole shoot. However, the self-threat of human race is totally different, and by large extent determined by the human nature, the related social system, the history and other various aspects. Exactly for this reason, we are forced to study the very nature of humanity and main social systems before summarizing the threats ahead, only by which can we really identified all factors that possibly endanger the existence of the mankind in a profound way.
Section I Re-recognition of the External Threats
After the foregoing analysis, we might as well look at the external threat from a new higher state, even focus on road to the future of mankind from outside the threat to obtain a conclusion that benefit our future choice.
1. Accepting the Accidental Events
We know nobody can escape from some external threats like diseases, the death will sooner or later fall to every one, and ultimately we must composedly accept it. But the individual death has no influence on the survival of the whole; on the contrary, the mankind will not be able to survive long if there is no death. Because the unrestricted increase of population will exterminate the mankind by the lack of clothes and food sooner or later.
The acceptance of individual death of mankind is a common sense, even though the most of us don’t want or fear for death, we have to take the fact that we will naturally die for aging and ailing. Even so, all men with normal state of mind can not accept the drop scene of overall extinction, and as human beings, we regard the value of human survival as a whole much higher than everything else.
We are clear by the former explanation, during all kinds of external threats of which many touch on the overall existence of mankind, such as black hole swallowing, the menace of micro-black hole and antimatter planet, star collision, independent planetary collision, outbreak of close supernova, end of universe, evolution of the Sun into Red giant, collision of big asteroids, alien intrusion and degradation of the human genome, etc. Any of the above falling on us would absolutely unquestionably lead to the doom of mankind, then, will the doomsday finally come?
There are now only two external forces imperiled the overall existence of mankind being identified as sooner or later coming to us and beyond the capacity of current science and technology: one is the end of universe, the other is the evolution of the Sun into Red Giant.
According to the known theoretical cosmology, the end of universe will finally come true, but it is a matter of thousands of billions years away from us in the future.
At present, we are beyond the capacity of addressing the end of universe that exterminates the mankind, although many futurists came up with all kinds of solutions to cope with it, they are all stop at the stage of scientific fancy which lack of reliable scientific basis in practice, therefore, it is better to leave the questions to our children of wisdom.
And the evolution of the Sun into Red giant is happening late enough in 5 billion years. Although we are not able to prevent such threats today or even in the long expectable future, we can pray for the future mankind maybe in 5 million years of much higher intelligence, through long development and evolution, the mankind will be capable of keeping distance from the Red giant and building a new home in other safe spaces of the universe.
In fact, before the Sun evolving into the Red Giant, there are still two menaces that probably endanger the survival of mankind as a whole but we have been ready to defend against, one is Earth-colliding big asteroids, the other is the degradation of the human genome. But we have been ready to defend against them. An asteroid that can destroy the humanity by striking the Earth is likely to occur in hundreds of millions years, then, with more progress of our capacity in astronomical observation, we can precisely forecast such catastrophe, and little progress of our technology of nuclear, space and missile delivery, we can intercept or defuse the collision of celestial bodies through other ways.
There is great chance for the devolution of human genome as well. After long-term propagation, the devolution of the crucial organs of human body is unavoidable, which will lead to the unsustainable survive of the mankind. This will perhaps happen in millions or tens of millions of years, or even hundreds of millions of years, but sooner or later fall on us. However, the current genetic engineering technique is ready for the prospect of reconstruction of human genome, which can vitalize the human species that has survived for hundreds of millions of years if the devolution really happens. As we can see, our future is extremely optimistic.
However, the mankind facing with no unpreventable risks that endangers the external force of the overall survival right before the Sun turning into Red Giant, this analysis is concluded after excluding the black hole swallowing, collision of fixed stars and independent planets, threats of micro black hole and anti-matter planets, and alien intrusion. The reason of banishing the series of threatening factors is they are either pure academic speculation without sound practical proof, or objective reality with extremely small probability to come true. In over thousands of billions of years, they can be ignored by human beings who should move from the Earth in 5 billion years.
But the foresaid once in thousands of billions of years or more is concluded from probability analysis, no matter how small the chance is, it can not be exterminated and maybe exactly fall on us tomorrow or next year, this is the character of probability law. Therefore, even though we can give a very confirmed inference that it almost completely impossible, but we can say it is absolutely out of the question. As long as the probability greater than zero, things once in thousands of billions of years maybe realize coincidentally and perfectly in front of our eyes.
The above mentioned risky external factors are simply impossible to prevent and avoid with today’s science and technology or in the predictable long time in the future. But if the catastrophe comes to us by extremely coincidence the only thing we can do is to accept the facts.
And in turn, it is absolutely unnecessary for us to prevent the almost impossible external threat through large-scale research and investment with enormous manpower, materials and money. Because the threat we are talking about those with tiny theoretical possibility, before the Sun turning into Red giant, the mankind has a great of deal to accomplish, and do not have to go to war for things that hardly happen to us at the waste of money and labor. Moreover, even with enormous power we employed, it is can be basically confirmed that there is no way to fundamentally prevent the threats. Thus the only choice left for us is to confront this most difficult problem with the small probability calmly.
2. Determining a Reasonable Period of Early Warning
As some of major external force that threatening our survival and well-being is destined to fall on us, we ought to have the issues of precaution taken into consideration. And because the external attack only occurred at a specific time point, it is obviously unreasonable to consistently consume enormous resources on earth to guard against a collision come up every hundreds of thousands years or tens of millions of years, even every billions of years. Moreover, to prepare for something in the unforeseeable future would torpify human thoughts, which lay advert effects on the effective implementation of precaution measures.
Therefore, to prevent the crucial external menace that endangers the being and happiness of mankind, a reasonable and secure early warning period should be determined for the institution and implementation of effective precaution and countermeasures in a scientific and rational time.
It should be emphasized that the early-warning period must be reasonable and safe. For example, the evolution of Sun into Red giant in 5 billion years is a clear and realizing external threat which related to the overall human survival. To address such a danger, 1 billion years of early-warning period should be set aside.
It is decided according to the integrated adjustment from the extension of scientific measures and capacity we have today. (Maybe many years later, the judgment will be adjusted with the further development of scientific technology).Because the only solution for us to survive the threat under today’s scientific and technologic circumstances is to leave for other stars; or establish huge universe living space; or push the earth to the vicinity of a new safe fixed star. However, the above designs are beyond the capacity of today’s science and technology, further research is required to complete them or put forth better programs, and achievements by numerous scientists as groundwork, the height and depth of the science and technology is far exceed the present level. Therefore, to complete the task, hundreds of millions of years must set apart till the science and technology get ready.
At the same time, there can not be any mishap when it comes to the survival of humanity as a whole, so the early-warning period should be as sufficient as possible. And the Sun will have become instable a period before turning into Red giant in 5 billion years, regularly presented some “troubles” which will be a big mishap for the earth ecology. We cannot choose to leave the solar system exactly when the sun evolves into Red Giant, but long before it happens, we should leave in its stable combustion period. Actually the 5 billion years we mentioned is not a 100% precise estimation, enough time must be set aside for error judgment; otherwise catastrophe will befall the mankind.
But other threats needs no such a long-term early-warning period. As a matter of fact we have been closely observing the asteroids or comets that may hit the Earth, only dozens of years of early-warning period is enough to solve the problem. For with current scientific and technical methods, through several decades of preparation, a effective set of solution can be worked out and implemented, for example, sending nuclear bomb to minor bodies through spaceship, changing the orbit of minor bodies-they are perhaps very reasonable schemes. And the implementation cost only decades, even ten plus years actually.
Early-earning period reserved to address genic degradation should be started when there is obvious sign. The human gene degradation won't suddenly occur to the whole group, taking mankind as survey object, it is bound to happen firstly from individuals or particular groups. It is a slow and gradual process, not a violent degeneracy that perishes the mankind at once. So we still have time to fix for such threats.
At present we have had a better command of gene reengineering techniques, it can be accurately and easily put into operation with further advancement; and the deep-going implementation of the human genome plan can soon precisely extract the knowledge of the internal structure of all human genes and their genetic information; plus we can still make progress based on the existing clone technique, artificial insemination, gene refrigeration and preservation technique. Based on the above realities, it is reasonable to set the early-warning period when there is obvious sign of gene degeneration.
Longer early-warning period should be left previously to cope with the disappearance of terrestrial magnetism of which the specific time can’t be truly forecasted. Of course, the disappearance of terrestrial magnetism is less harmful than the Red Giant and minor bodies collapsing Earth, as well as human gene degeneration. And the damage is indirect, so maybe a relatively small investment is enough for the corresponding precautions, but the early-warning period should be spared more than adequate.
A reasonable and secure early-warning period is decided to guarantee the necessary demand of survival and well being of the mankind, either too long or too short counts against the realization of the value of human subsistence and happiness.
3. Reflection upon the far-reaching principle
The two principles of the entire research basis in the book is introduced in Chapter 2, namely “Maximum value principle” and “Far-reaching principle”, the latter one refers to our vision of research should be as broad as possible in space and as long as possible in time. Thus, we set the space that involved the entire universe, and time span from the beginning to the end of universe.
According to the conclusions from former study, we can see that there will be no inescapable external factors that jeopardize the subsistence of the entire human race in 5 billion years, and those with actual threat can be prevented with slight progress of present scientific and technological measures. This tells us, the mankind can absolutely, within several billions of years, spend more time and energy on our actual interest with peace and calm in mind, for if we invested too much on the external threat that seem light years away, we will be the alarmists who waste money and power to ruin the realization of human value.
At the same time, the confirmation of the conclusion pointed out particularly to us that there is still time for us to live free from worry for billions of years even with external scare out there; the main attention on the study of external factors that affect the human existence can be distracted to the self-threat of mankind.
With the foresaid conclusions and collection of our thoughts of the far-reaching principle, we found that to set such a long time and broad space for the study is neither for what we are going to do in the future billions of years, nor what we explore to the deepest part to the universe for, but exclude things we don’t intentionally to do, and finally set feet on the level of reality with billions of years and broad universe as reference and mirror: what we should do for the world in which we are living today and in the near future? And what kind of possible realistic problems we should carefully cope with? The conclusions obtained through the above methods are truly profound, scientific and complete.
Section II The Weaknesses of Human Nature
1. Imperfection of human evolution
The reason why human beings looks like today results from the evolution of life, on the way here, the biggest distinction between the mankind and animals is the human evolution started from brain, which means the human wisdom made us adapt to the nature and finally rule the Earth.
We learnt from the further specific analysis on the differences between evolution of mankind and animals, a survey of animals’ adaptation to the nature was made in perspective of evolution, their evolution was named by “general evolution” which manifested in two aspects, development of “body” and “instinct”.
First, animals must develop their bodies that herein refer to all other organs except brain to survive the environment. In order to ward off the cold, animals grew skin and hair that thickened with the height of latitude, this is determined by the climate; many gymnosperms were extinct with the flourishing of angiosperm, which resulted in successional extinction of gymnosperms–eating animals, for their digestive system could not get with the new food; factors that threatened the existence of rats and insects were numerous, they could die at any time, in order to keep alive, they developed the original reproductive parts to be mature earlier, faster and more productive to survive through mass mortality.
But this is not enough; all kinds of animals, even with body that gets with the environment, will still sooner or later be exterminated if they are blunt and vacant like walking corpses. There is an equally important content in animal evolution as body development---instinct. All animals have instinct; it is a reaction to survive, mate and forage, etc.
In the evolution to accommodate to the environment, animals can keep alive only by the integration of instinct and corresponding physical conditions.
The essential distinction between men and animals in addressing the environment is that men can actively fit themselves in, and have the desire to create and change the environment, as well as initiatively enhance their ability of harnessing and redeveloping the nature. Exactly for this reason, the mankind experienced not only "general evolution" (evolution of body and instinct) that similar to animals, but another kind of evolution animals hadn't gone through-- the "intelligent evolution".
Apart from general evolution, intelligence evolution is also a unique part of human development comparing to any other species, which included two parts --“creativity” and “rationality”.
Creativity refers to the ability to understand and change the nature, as well as the ability to take the initiative to fit in the environment, and it embodied in human mastery of science and technology.
Animals grab and take food in the most basic and simple form, they chase the quarries, but don’t know how to get it in a creative way, and they have no particular means to flavor the food except chew them. But the mankind was able to create; the primitive people learnt the meat was more delicious after being roasted by fire with which many inedible things were made their food. The mankind had very early come off the simple collection period and grasped the domestication of wild animals and plants. Today we use high-tech means to significantly increase the yield and variety of crop, and dramatically speed up the growth and reproduction of meat animals.
Animals completely rely on their body functions, and regulate the thick and length of their hair seasonally to accommodate to the climate change. But mankind learnt to use fire very early, in the freezing ice age, the mankind didn’t grow any more hair or thicker skin to withstand the bitter cold; primitive people had a very crucial way to keep out cold wind when went hunting—simple clothes made by fell. Nowadays, all kinds of costumes are not only for resistance of cold and decoration, but also regarded as art.
Animals construct simple lairs by their light of nature. The mankind builds houses based on their creative abilities. The original mankind made bricks by mud and roof by couch grass, today we have numerous kinds of construction materials, people smelt iron into steel, burn limestone into cement, melt and pull the quartz into glass, process the rock into stone material, make paints and wall papers through chemical means, beautifully-decorated buildings sprung up straight from the ground, air-conditions and central heating make our living space as warm as spring all year round.
However, the humanity is very comfortable to apply the most advanced creativity in war, and never hesitate to kill others from human race. And they used to extort immoderately from the great nature with our creativity, and seldom considered the tolerance of the nature and the sustainable survival of our descendents. The mankind stiffly insisted on the precipitant spirit when it comes to the exploration of nature law, but gave little consideration to the deadly revenge that the science and technology would bring, and if the one-way pursue would lead to the real happiness. This is the result of low degree of rational evolution of mankind.
Animals are of no reason; feeding cubs, never eating the same kind are all behaviors by instinct. Ration is a wisdom developed only among the human race; it is a crucial human nature that fundamentally differs from animals.
When people realized the emission of greenhouse gas would cause global warming that result in catastrophic consequences, the governments gathered to have a special conference and signed multi-lateral agreement on the restriction of greenhouse gas emissions, this was rational behavior; when people were aware of the crazy expansion of nuclear weapons would destroy the mankind, and they advocated nuclear disarmament, which was also action of reason.
However, there are two imbalanced phenomena of human ration, we call it unbalanced intelligence evolution, or unbalanced evolution for short.
It reflected firstly on the internal imbalance of human species. A minority of the human group has relatively high degree of reason, but the majority has not; the imbalance also referred to fluctuation and instability of human ration.
The second imbalance is the far slower evolution of reason than the development of human creativity. There are several leaps during the evolution of human creativity; our ancestors had learnt to use primitive tools millions of years ago, especially the use of fire, which was considered as the first leap. About ten thousand years ago, human beings came into civilization from savage, and started the second leap of creativity habitually called agricultural evolution.
The third leap began in the middle of 18th century. And symbolized by the creative application of steamer, from which people saw the great advancement in productivity brought by machines, and the ease and joy free from burdensome manual labor, the irreplaceable contributions by science and technology, as well as the enormous fortune hidden in it. We seemed to suddenly see the irreplaceable intention for mankind and the great deal of potential wealth from of the science and technology. Upon that, to start with the knowledge of nature essence, and unearth all available science and technology to make fortune became our common sense. This is the inner power that pushed on with human creativity to a higher leap to the Industrial Revolution.
Since then the world has been thoroughly transformed, we got into the minimum space of inside atomic nucleus, and maximum to the far edge of universe 13 billion light-year away. We have been very familiar with the achievements made in field of literature, art, philosophy and social society, but the numerous breakthroughs were more amazing and significant to change the world.
Our minimum cognitive space has gone into inside atomic nucleus and maximum to the far edge of universe 13 billion light-years away. Through the study of inside atomic nucleus, a power named “strength” was found can release the most powerful energy in the world, the nuclear weapons manufactured with it can easily destroy a city with millions of population; the scientists revealing the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction that can realize the transmission of all kinds of information in a second to somewhere ten thousands miles away with “messengers” of invisible and impalpable electromagnetic waves; through study of nucleus, biologists finally got double-helical molecule called DNA which is exactly the carrier of biological genetic genes, the color of flowers and physical appearance of animals can be decided as they want.
According to the evolution of human creativity, the first leap took several millions of years, the second one lasted for ten thousand years, and the third taken over the world only in over 200 years, but the changes had been created were far more than all the achievements people accomplished during the past millions of years.
From the progression of human creativity, we can see that each leap and interval were shortened than the earlier one, but the energy burst out by them was much more than the earlier ones. This is consistent with the traditional line of thoughts of evolution. The more advanced the creature is, the faster they evolve.
However, creativity is just a part of human intelligence evolution; the other part is the “ration” that manipulates the creativity. What pitiful is the speed of human ration development contrasted sharply with creativity progress which seemed quite slowly.
In aspect of creativity, the animals have been not comparable to the mankind who remained many animal attributes, some even worse than animals.
A simple example, the mankind and animals both keep the typical inner-species competition, cannibalism is the most unreasonable human behavior. Before the human society taking shape, the most developed techniques were applied to weapons that were used to attack both animals and men. When the mankind was brought into civilized society by creativity, hunting for animals is not a necessary source of human food, and raids by wild beasts were no longer a main threat for the mankind. Instead, mutual massacre inside same kind became a major threat, and the mankind manufactured the best technology in production of killing implements.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the unlimited power of human creativity was highlighted like the eruption of a volcano, however, the human ration hasn’t made any progress along with the development of creativity that made the science and technology change with each passing day, the power flared up from achievements has been more and more strong, and the ration that controls the application of power has been no difference with where it were hundred or thousand years ago.
All the most advanced fruitful results of science and technology were in the first place put into the manufacture of killing tools, the fortune they brought was as much as the hurt and pain, this trend seemed to have become a fixed rule. Science and technology is growing in a rapid speed, so are the war measures which, after the Industrial Revolution, have been upgraded every year going beyond the past 100 years.
The imbalanced phenomena well reflected the imperfect human evolution that specifically manifested in the weaknesses of human nature.
2. The weaknesses of Human Nature
The weaknesses in human nature refer to a unique inherent character of human species emerged with the formation of mankind, unless there is a significant evolution occurred to mankind, the external representation of the weaknesses of human nature is not something constant but influenced by the differences of time, region, group and social environment, all kinds of factors, however, even though like this, the characteristics of the weaknesses are not going to change.
So what are the weaknesses of human nature? Here all features that adverse to the value of the mankind as a whole are included in the range. However, there is a lot of it, it is very complicated to expound them one by one, not necessary as well, because some of them in human nature have a small negative influence on the overall value of humanity, which worth no particularization one after another. Well, the items set forth as follows are bad factors that possibly impact the realization of human value. The subsistence and well-being of the mankind are seriously threatened and the overall existence and happiness of the mankind may be ultimately endangered by weaknesses that we can not deny.
There are three major contradictions of interest in front of the mankind: immediate interest and long-term interest; surface interest and fundamental interest, partial interest and overall interest. Usually the long-term, fundamental and overall interests can not be directly perceived, some deeper thinking must carried out to get clear about them, even if they can be felt, benefits brought by them can not be appreciated right away. However, the immediate, surface and partial interests are clear at a glance, and once you get them, the profit can be obtained right away, these interest that can be felt within the filed of vision are called interest in sight, which indicate the interests we had gained and can be gained at any time, or the profit brought by these interests can be sensed straight away.
Arguably, the immediate interest is included in the long-term interest, and surface interest is contained in fundamental interest, and partial interest is covered by the overall interest. If any damage occurred to the long-term, fundamental overall interests, the immediate, surface and partial interests will definitely be affected, that proves the importance of the former must be superior to the interest in sight, once there are contradictions between the two groups, the latter must subjects to the former, which is in line with the common sense. However, the situations often go the opposite way, because of the obvious and accessible attraction of the interest insight, in most cases, people chose the immediate, surface and partial interest rather than long-term, fundamental and overall interest, and this shows the sight towards interest in the human nature.
People often trap in the habitual thoughts like this: they always think the problems they are facing are more important than that of others; and the problems they are dealing with are more crucial than what they are going to do; and the difficulties they encounters should be solved at any cost. Exactly such state of mind makes people easily lured by the interest in sight.
We consider that a person who harms others to benefit himself or always thinks for himself selfish, but there is a weakness that make a full play of the selfishness in human nature, someone even do things that bad for both others and themselves. Generally, the original intention of extreme selfish acts was to hurt others for self-interests, or give no consideration to other’s feelings, but with slight analysis, these behaviors will be bound to turn against or end up with no profit to those who are full of themselves. We here call this weakness as extreme selfishness in human nature.
For example, wars have been being there with human history and a catastrophe for both parties. Because the party who drives the war is slaughtered as they are killing and plundering other’s wealth at the cost of their life and blood.
We can imagine as well that a person walks across desert with a little water and food must properly portion out it. When a group of people go through desert with inadequate water and food, there always be someone eat more regard less of others’ condition, in fact, when all the provisions used up, they have no way out of the fate with the rest of the group. And the selfish ones have no idea about the consequences, but he won’t behave rationally once he lives in a group, this is led by the extreme selfishness in human nature.
In order to vindicate for the unreasonable conducts, people usually made up some acceptable excuses which is not only for deceiving others, but also themselves, to felt at ease and justified about what they had done. The same thing happens when there are dangers or difficulties; we are used to believe those obvious absurd things or opinions to persuade of ourselves. Here we call this characteristic as self-deception in human nature. It is an unreasonable act to console oneself and hopefully hoodwink and deceive others.
The self-deception in human nature is generally showed in the following situations, first, when people run into thorny problems that they are not willing to pay more efforts to solve, and want to find a way to release the fear inside; second, every time when there are conflicts between the interest in sight and long-term, fundamental and overall interest, people need reasons for their choosing the interest before eyes or getting rid of the guilt; third, when people can not stay calm about and make a clean breast of what they have done to both themselves and others. People would make up a lot of seemingly reasonable but actually ridiculous principles, or likely to accept those feasible from the outside but actually unpractical ways to deceive and comfort themselves and others.
The self-deception in human nature holds people back from reflection and correction of and even continuously reinforces the weaknesses and irrational behaviors. Because any major irrational act is explained by a reason seems acceptable to ourselves, which enables us to feel no qualm to do things that deviate from the overall value of ourselves, and push us step by step to the dangerous destiny.
(4) Eternal fights
The human disposition to fight originates from the competitive mentality for which exactly inside the same kind, there comes jealousy, fight for victory, vanity and cannibalism. Human disposition to fight is showed from the baby stage when they begin to perceive the surrounding environment, and continue for their whole life, at the same time, it goes along with the human society from beginning to end. So we consider the eternal fight orientation a weakness of human nature.
The irrationality of mankind for the most part due to the combative human nature, an independent individual usually tries to handle problems according to his own rational level, but the competitive groups are totally different.
Wars arise mostly for the bellicose nature of human race which involves the competition and jealousy among countries, ethic groups and religions, as well as the vanity of being leaders. In the same way, if there is only one country around globe, the reasonable emission of greenhouse gas should have been already achieved, but when there are a lot of countries coexisting at the same time, it is hard to carry out the controlling actions. Because all parties in the multilateral negotiation worried about their over plus obligation would let others off lightly, the negotiation is protracted.
The weakness reflected on individuals makes every one carry on the burden of constant struggle. A person with no intention to compete needs only adequate clothing and food to live, while a person belongs to a group may pay attention to other’s life all the time, and anxious about falling behind others deep in heart, this is the reason why people fight throughout their life with tired body and heart till the end.
(5) Endless Desire
The human desire is unlimited, people always want more on top of more, never get satisfied, and most of them are rapacious, this inherent characteristic in human nature is their endless desire.
Someone used to think, the human desire might be fill up when an extremely rich environment was established, and every one can get whatever they want. In fact, this is only people’s assumption or hope, the world may be capable of fulfilling all the need of mankind, but content their grasping greed, the day when the mankind is contented will never come true unless a major change is made in human nature.
The infinite aspiration of mankind gave an impetus to the increase of material wealth and the development of science and technology, in addition, wars and criminals, mental anguish, social turbulence, environmental damage and so forth.
Section III Re-recognition of the Internal Threat
The self-threat were originated and resulted from the weaknesses of human nature, and as long as they aren’t changed, various new self-threats will necessarily emerge under different conditions, and new influences of time will come into view.
The weaknesses of human nature are the inherent characteristics of the unique human species, before the further evolution occurred to mankind, there is no way for them being changed, and the further evolution is quite a long process that can not be completed overnight, our analysis and prospect towards future are based on these existing intrinsic weaknesses which are not counted on to be fundamentally changed.
1. The decisive role of science and technology to the self-threat
The major self-threat we known have been elaborated in the former Chapter, and through the following analysis on the threat we can find that each of them is closely related to science and technology which, directly or indirectly, played a crucial role.
(1) The reinforcing effect of science and technology
We learnt through all the analysis of the enumerative self-threats, part of them are existing problems since ancient time, for example, wars, terrorists attacks and gap between the rich and poor, and so forth. However, according to the analysis of the throughout history of human society, the existing problems and their threats to the subsistence and well-being of human race are far more serious than any period in history, with the progression of human history, all getting more and more critical, the increasingly sharpened trend led to the sudden turn to crisis in every key period. And the speed of this trend will be unexpectedly accelerated, we consider this sudden turning point as a breakthrough point. This means the science and technology aggravated the destined crisis, we believed the science and technology reinforced the self-threat, which was called science and technology reinforcing effect.
The role of this effect can be apparently seen from the developing tendency of war. When the human race started to get rid of the animal character, they bite or scratched for fight, and the appearance and the increasingly larger and crueler scale of wars are consequences of the application of instruments and advanced and destructive weapons.
Look back at the influence of science and technology on the war history, from the simple form of combats by biting and scratching at the beginning to the nuclear wars in the predictable future, with the former ones only few injured, but with the latter there will be billions of casualty; and the former only led to the slight sadness of two opposite groups, but the later will be bitterly painful for the whole mankind, so the reinforcing effect of science and technology to the war damages is conceivable.
Terrorist attacks were also emerged with the formation of human society. An important mark differed from wars is they are proceeded in secrecy, it is an action with very few persons in form of short attacks and mostly just a one-time raid. In the cold weapon age, the killing measures were limited by knives, spears, swords, arrows that only hurt one person at a time, as a result of which the terrorist attacks back then usually caused one or several deaths.
The destruction of terrorist attacks has been changed to the essence since we reached current standard of science and technology. Detonation of high explosives, highjack of plane to hit skyscraper, attacks by bio-chemical weapons, etc, such raids can result in hundreds of thousands of casualties, and science and technology has reinforced the danger by multiple times.
The gap between the rich and poor was emerged with the social development pushed by the technological progress. At the primitive collection period, even distribution was carried out in every group, so there was no wealth gap.
Technological revolution advanced the advent of agricultural age and led to the end of mass migration, and gave birth to surplus products upon which generated the gap between the wealthy and poor. The coming of industrial age expanded the gap by a much faster speed. The development and application of science and technology heightened the level of productivity by hundred and thousand times, the competition between various nations and enterprises relied more and more on the creativity of science and technology, in such a environment, the countries won the competition were far richer than the lose ones, so were the enterprises. At the same time, the income difference inside the enterprises, the earnings of enterprise leaders and senior managers were much higher than the massive workers and ordinary employees. At the same time, the change of social status brought by the expansion of science and technology accelerated the extension of the gap.
(2)The threat caused directly by science and technology
Science and technology not only reinforced the inherent self-threats, but also lay direct imperil over the subsistence and happiness of human race. For example, the successful development of biochemical and nuclear weapons was the direct product of science and technology.
Industrial Revolution lent an impetus to the expansion of science and technology, and the revolution of war arms, the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as the most destructive killing measures at present, are without exception the outcomes of scientific technology, every step-up of the damning power and brutality of the slaughtering means are all contributed by the functions of science and technology, this is very evident.
The developing relations between internet criminals and scientific technologies are also direct, computers emerged as the result of highly developed science and technology, and internet is built based on the mature universally-applied computer techniques. The damage to o-zone layer is caused by the utility of Freon which came into being with the progress of chemical industry.
The global warming, acid rain and air pollution are all related to the development of science and technology which promoted the progression of industrialization, the substantial industrial production, and the widely-used industrial products such as automobiles, planes and ships was of course caused the generation and mission of greenhouse gas, acid gas and dusts.
The abuse of non-renewable resources was also arisen from the same reason, the massive utility of resources and the products with large consumption of various resources would be impossible without large-scale industrial manufacture, which is exactly the inevitable result of the development of science and technology.
The first reason that brought water crisis is water pollution which includes industrial pollution, agricultural pollution and household pollution, under the modern circumstances, all kinds of pollutions are closely related to the science and technology. The quality of water in the river was deteriorated by all kinds of toxic substance from the discharged industrial waste; in the past, agricultural waste included only excrements and organic fertilizer, but today various kinds of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are added; including household pollution, also various types of detergents, these chemical products were results of industrialization, as well as the effect of science and technology development.
On the surface, the desertification and the loss of biodiversity have little relations with the advancement of science and technology, in fact, they were all come about for the same reason, damages to the forest, grasslands and wetland. The first thing to be affected by the destruction was the increasing distance between the rich and poor, the backward countries were eager to catch up with the developed ones, when their capacity of scientific and technological development can not be compared with the developed countries, they sought temporary relief regardless of the consequences, using the resources in a destructive way. At the same time, the poor developing countries sometimes have the most rapid speed of population growth, the food for the increasing population will be a problem, to settle the subsistence of these people, when these countries had no way out, they would ultimately choose to harm the forest, grassland and wetland. Then, both matter the gap between the rich and poor or population expansion problems are all in connection to the growth of science and technology.
The population “explosion” around the globe was mainly caused by two integrated reasons, on the one hand, the development of modern medical care and medicine technique reduced the mortality rate of babies by large extent, which greatly raised the human life span. At the same time, the enlarged gap between the wealthy and poor constantly boosted the absolute population of the poor, stagnated the education levels and the traditional view of production; furthermore, people from poor countries were not able to enjoy a reliable social security, and people were forced to give birth to more children in order to be supported in agedness; some people even can not afford to buy birth control aids to take contraceptive measures. The advanced of medical care and medicine standard, and the increased gap between rich and poor are closely in relation to the development of science and technology. The improvement of medical care and medicine was no doubt a good thing for the mankind; but the progress of science and technology also led to an enlarged distance between the rich and poor, although the mortality rate of babies were knocked down, the life expectancy increased, and the number of birth has not declined, which gave rise to the ultimate rapid expansion of population, the earth has been overwhelmed under such pressure.
2. The uncertain factors of the self-threat
(1) Uncertain factor No. 1: The ultimate destruction of science and technology
The highest value of the mankind is their overall subsistence, the key part of the research of self-threat naturally focused on the radical self-destruction which meant exactly the doom of mankind, the failure of the overall existence. Since science and technology are decisive to the self-threat, will it ultimately endanger the survival of the mankind as a whole?
So we have to know how acute the final destructive power of science and technology will be at first to find if the overall existence of the mankind will be endangered, it is impossible for us to make a clear identification to the seriousness of the self-threat if we can’t deeply understand this problem.
The reason why we are not able to decide the ultimate destruction of science and technology is because today’s mankind have just completed their evolution for less than 50,000 years, and the universal influence of science and technology on human society has just started from the Industrial Revolution at only 200 years ago. Yet, the mankind still has a long way to go, if we are willing to accept nature’s arrangement, we have billions of year to go, and upon our hope, it would be the best that the fire of human life never die out.
It can be sure that the science and technology we grasped today is capable of endangering the subsistence and well-being of the mankind, but not enough to destroy the mankind as a whole. People often say the nuclear war-head is capable of devastating the mankind for multiple times, but this is a simple calculation, according to the equally-shared detonation yield converted from the warhead can truly destroy the mankind over and over again, however, a situation like this is impossible because the explosion of nuclear bomb is to release the power at a centralized point around which all the architectures will be ruined, all life will die out, but those far away from the explosion center will be safe and sound. Even though the total amount of nuclear reached 70,000 nuclear bombs around the globe at the peak period of nuclear armament competition, it is impossible to destroy the entire human race, even plus the chemical and biological weapons. Besides, these weapons are possessed by different countries, and it is almost impossible that they are used at the same time; once they are put into use, the mankind will try to avoid the attacks in various ways, and seek for methods to keep these weapons from multiple applications. The judgment that the weapons within the existing scale of nuclear arsenal can perish the whole mankind is therefore just a description and appeal for fear of human destiny; actually, but the practical situation is quite different.
Even so, we still reached such a clear and definite judgment: the future scientific technology is by no manner of means stay at today’s level, there must be more destructive means than what we have today. Then whether the ultimate destruction of science and technology is able to ruin the humanity is the first question that must be buttoned down for researching the extreme destruction of self-treats.
(2) Uncertain factor No. 2: if the mankind can made a reasonable use of science and technology
We cannot guarantee if the mankind can make a rational use of the achievement of science and technology, each of them can be truly applied to the aspects of overall value pursuit of the mankind, but not firstly to wars or other fields that against the integral value of mankind as nowadays.
The mankind almost never completely and justly used a scientific and technological result throughout history, no matter the achievements from Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, or from Industrial Revolution and Information industry revolution, nearly all the scientific and technical outcomes, as long as they were the most advanced at that time, were at the first place put into the war. In today’s world, we can as well plainly see many countries are apparently advocating peaceful use of the nuclear power for the hidden attempt of obtaining related nuclear techniques and nuclear weapons; some countries always publicized the reasonable use of out space, actually, the resource satellites and meteorological satellites can be easily converted into military satellites by just slight alteration. The so-called peaceful development is by nature a particular level of military competition, no matter how many slogans of “peace” we cried, the science and technology will be surely used deviating from the right direction.
For the past 200 plus years, with the promotion of science and technology, Industrial Revolution has greatly enhanced our ability to change the world, but the ration to control ourselves hasn’t been improved. Then, although in the past the mankind didn’t lend much control over the utility of scientific fruits, can we be more rational in the future? The conclusion made upon this is another issue for us to make certain on the ultimate destruction of self-threats.
(3) Uncertain factor No. 3: if the mankind can accurately judge the performance of science and technology
We can clearly see the extreme danger brought by the careless use of science and technology. For example, the damage in o-zone layer was caused by Freon which is extensively used in refrigeration industry, according to research from DuPont Company after its invention, the Freon was found a non-toxic, stable, non-corrosive metal with non-combustion and other characteristics, so blind conclusions were made to use it as the best alternative refrigerant. But we didn't know then the Freon would float up with the air and directly into o-zone layer for its stability, decomposed by ultraviolet radiation, it became the biggest killer to o-zone layer.
The abuse of DDT is the same, the effect of DDT was found as a magic pesticide that only have execution to harmful insects, and no toxicity to humans and most useful creatures, the inventor P. Müller won the Nobel Price for this contribution. As a result, DDT was used around the world in agriculture, forestry and other related fields, and became the necessity for household disinfection. But problems gradually emerged during the using process, DDT made the shell of bird egg fragile and thinner, and resulted in the death of birds, some bird species were even threatened by distinction; moreover, although DDT can not dissolve in water, but it can in oil and easy to be absorbed, and its toxin to human and other creatures is increased, therefore, the utility of DDT had to be banned.
As we can see, we have unconsciously walked into the forbidden zone of science and technology, even as many presently used scientific results were found by accident, the damages and destructions were often impossible to defend effectively. The fact told us we should be firstly clear about if the mankind can completely identify the performance of science and technology.
(4) Uncertain factor No. 4: if the mankind is able to control the development of science and technology
The other factor that effects the final conclusion of self-threat is we are uncertain about if the mankind able to dominate the development of science and technology. It should be said that no matter how destructive the science and technology is, at least it won’t destroy the mankind as a whole at present, as long as the human race has the reason to realize the damage of science and technology and immediately control the development, when we stop the progress, or guide it towards a very safe direction, the science and technology won’t finally threat the overall subsistence of the humanity, the future of mankind is still optimistic, based on the situation we can also make corresponding positive arrangements for the future.
However, in the light of the developing history of science and technology, the reality is not constructive. The progress and application of science and technology can be explicitly divided into two extreme different stages by Industrial Revolution. People already felt the benefit of technology during the long-term human evolution before the Revolution, but it is limited due to the small collection of the achievements and the instructive role of science to technology. Therefore, even if there are always progresses during the progression of science and technology, but not fast.
After the Industrial Revolution, the status changed sharply, and the fruits by science and technology are enormously accumulated, the human race has seen the grand emancipation of productivity brought by technical progresses, and the great energy burst out by the combination of science and technology in evidence. Exactly for an understanding like this, people’s zeal to pursue the science and technology erupted like volcanoes, and almost developed into a wild enthusiasm and blindness, and never doubted the justice of the progress, always marching forward courageously, and rushed deeply into the science without hesitation. Based upon the basic historical facts, we have no confidence about our control over the development of science and technology.