In his brilliant book ‘The Sapiens’, Yuval Noah Harari explains how Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised. He says, people who do not believe in same God or obey the same King are willing to use same money. Hence, giving rise to a new kind of religion… The capitalism.
And in turn, this Capitalistic creed have given birth to new kind of money called ‘credit’. As he puts it Credit enables us to build the present at the expense of the future. It’s founded on the assumption that our future resources are sure to be far more abundant than our present resources. Imagine the endless opportunities that’s presented if we can build things in the present using future income. Now, its imperative for a society which bases itself on future income, to continuously expand in order to service a surging ocean of debt. It depends on the ever burgeoning exploitation of natural resources. Because we live on a planet of finite resources, and the two ends no longer meet.
However, I’m not writing about capitalism and over exploitation of resources. My topic is a bit more personal. Do we need to procreate anymore?
The over exploitation of resources is an issue, however there is also the problem of our ever increasing numbers which adds to the pressure onto this planet. Within just 50 years, the number of people inhabiting this planet increased from 250 crores to 700 crores. It’s like a boat where 5 people can travel comfortably, 5000 have climbed in. The boat is sure to sink. If we just look around we can see the problem for ourselves… water scarcity, alarming number of vehicles on roads causing insane traffic jams which have becoming part of our lives, over crowded metros and buses and trains, increasing cost of living, increasing number of unemployed people around us and eventually conflicts between groups which might lead to wars. Open newspaper any day, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Regardless of how we look at it, it seems, there is no future for most living beings on this planet if us humans are to continue like this.
We have had no real consideration for the negative consequences of our discoveries, inventions and our lifestyles, until recently, when we, or rather a few of us stumbled on to the inevitable realization that our kind and our actions are making our planet uninhabitable for ourselves and for other living beings.
And now, it is high time we started reversing all the negatives, including our numbers.
Before you guys start judging and write me off as a wannabe supervillain, I’ll make it clear that I’m not suggesting mass murders. We all wish to not die (before our time) and it is what we wish for others of our species as well, I guess. Now, had we thought of the same for other lifeforms as well, we would have stuck only to causing damage to animals for the most basic necessity… food. Alas! The present economic institution does not allow for us to nurture such thoughts. While it is still debatable the morality of where to source our food from, let’s prioritize the greater issue we have to address, which is our population.
I believe the solution is to refrain from what we term our ‘natural’ urge of procreation, and to choose or prioritize what is relevant. We all use excuses and logic to our convenience over such thoughts because what is relevant is inconvenient and contradicts with what we believe in, in most cases.
Such is the case with how our numbers have increased exponentially. There is no validity in embracing the reasoning of what’s ‘natural’ when we have made such use of all forms of science to increase our life expectancy and numbers, destroying habitats for innumerable other lifeforms, which could be considered not only unnatural, but also anti-natural.
We should start acting based on relevance of the issues all living beings on this planet face, most of which are results of the ignorant actions of our own kind. While we may never be able to perfectly revert the situations, we should definitely try making up for the wreckage caused by our species, because eventually, someone has to. If we won’t be responsible for what we have done till now, the future for everything on this planet is grim.
An alternative to procreating, further irresponsibly, is maybe to adopt if we feel the need to have a child. To provide for and love a child who may not have received the opportunities and care in life that we are able to provide but due to circumstances has been born into this unforgiving world. When it is evident that the world is running out of children to adopt or to continue our specie, maybe then, the people who so desperately need children could consider having their own.
This sticks to addressing what is relevant and would cause significantly less damage to everything around us than otherwise. Of course, there is no rule to adhere to, but it’s all about what we all can contribute to such an important issue. Such a method of support or care does not necessarily have to be confined to adopting children, but we could go a long way further and support people of all age and situations, preferably ones who are in need of it. This happens to be the solution for a lot of the most critical problems humankind faces today, ranging from starvation to our impact on the planet. While there are issues people raise about adoption or such support systems, plenty of people across the world have overcome such issues with the right mindset and aligned actions.
This is what true love is. True love transcends all forms of classifications and is inclusive of not just our kind, but also other living beings, and maybe even further, to lifeless aspects of the planet as well.
In such a perspective, the worst we can do is to live a consumptive, indulgent, resource intensive life and give birth to another being who will, probably, be raised to live the same way with similar goals since we don’t know any better, and term it all ‘happiness’.
Such ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is probably what is going to put, maybe not us, but our children or our grandchildren into an insufferable existence on a planet which was once so beautiful, and they’ll curse us for not having lived a considerate conscious life when we knew the truth and we could have chose to live more responsibly.
While we choose to resort to further exploitation to prevent this catastrophe, the cries and wails of a million other species and their young drown in the pandemonium of the selfishness of our kind.
Majority of this post’s inputs has been provided by Sharon Roy. He is just somebody who loves this planet too much and will go the extra mile to protect it from his kind.