Wednesday, July 3, 2019


As the citizens of my fictional simulated world "Hikeyay" begin their transition to a healthier life based on the best recommendations of my multi-year effort to model humanity's past and future, I am attempting a transition of my own in a world that is headed in a very different direction.

For more than twenty-five years I have sporadically attempted to identify my own values, related goals, and means for realizing them after mostly disappointing results from studying and trying others. As I near my sixtieth birthday, that attempt is mostly complete, and I don't have much time left to act on the result – the equivalent of Hikeyay's execution of a global strategy to delay extinction as long as possible.

The competing responsibilities I've grappled with for more than a decade and wrote about in Death Stoppers Anthology are still in play. Global responsibility, anchored in humanity's survival and defined by our relationship with the rest of the biosphere, is – I know now – best served by helping other species survive and thrive by decreasing ecological impact, which reverses the drivers of extinction (habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, population, and over-harvesting). Personal responsibility, tied to maximizing individual happiness and longevity, is served by increasing personal ecological impact up to a point (the happiness peak); and is served by decreasing ecological impact if beyond that point. 

My simulations show that a globally significant number of people began passing the happiness peak after 2001, meaning that human pain and death became a consequence of not serving global responsibility. Now two-thirds of the world's population is past the peak, and the rest could be past the peak by 2030 under worst-case (and what I currently consider most likely) conditions if action isn't taken. Even if aggressive action like that contemplated in Hikeyay is taken, any delay would add more casualties and risk that consequences could multiply far beyond what even the most optimistic technologies might be able to manage.

Based on measurable variables like age and wealth, I estimate that I am at least as close to the happiness peak as the world total (a "phase" of 5.7 in the graph below). That matches my subjective experience in the realm of personal responsibility. I have always felt global responsibility, but it has grown exponentially with knowledge of my role in the future and the waning of confidence in the judgment of leaders who claim they know how to make that future better. 

The future is the result of a collaborative effort. Until now, I have chosen to mostly develop and share my own insights with others, look for ways to contribute to a comparable reality, and do what appears right until and unless it shows signs of being the opposite. With the equivalent of a better roadmap for identifying appropriate action, my new transition involves interpreting that map and trying what it suggests. 

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