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.