The Advancement of Civilization is Annoying

All this “green” nonsense is really annoying. Celebrities rallying around the cause pretending to really care about the environment while the cameras are rolling, but just as quickly hopping into their gas guzzling sports cars and private jets, off to their next public appearance. It’s stoopid and disingenuous. But I do take some comfort in knowing that it’s all part of the inevitable- the natural advancement of our civilization.

In science, the Kardashev scale classifies how advanced a civilization is. A Type I civilization is one that can harness all of the power of a whole planet. Type II civilizations can harness that of a star, and Type III, all the power of a single galaxy. We measly humans of course have not even achieved Type I status yet. But I have to believe we’re somewhere past the halfway point to Type I because we’ve figured out how to harness something as powerful as nuclear energy. One way to look at it is this- in the beginning, there was man. An individual human could not control much of anything really. First there was the discovery of fire, something that a single person could in fact manage. But to advance from there, we had to develop human interaction and the formation of societies. This enabled humans to extract things like metal from the earth and to use them to industrialize. How useful would electricity be if there weren’t the evolution of societies into things like states and countries? We need that degree of coordination to achieve the level of resources it takes to build an infrastructure for making electricity a massively productive energy source. Well, the same sort of evolution in societal structure needs to occur to reach Type I civilization. We need a truly global society with the wherewithal to harness the full capacity of our planet. From where we are today, that may seem far fetched, but you don’t have to strain too hard to see the signs. The formation of the EU is one form of consolidation that can be viewed as a step in this direction. Movements to curb disease and human suffering throughout the world, to address world hunger, to combat human rights violations regardless of geographical boundaries, all trend us towards a single global society. It might not be in my lifetime, but I think the formation of such a world society is an inevitability. It might be a slow natural evolution, or it might be accelerated by things like the depletion of a natural resource, the need to combat a global epidemic or natural disaster, or even something as fantastic as aliens from outer space.

But just as natural and inevitable as this appears to me, it’s just as obvious that there will always be resistance to change. And where we are today, that resistance comes most readily from the terrorists, racists and fanatical religious zealots. But it’s clear that isolation and sectism is being phased out and in favor of global integration. It’s natural. Like gin into tonic, you don’t have to do anything and yet eventually everything mellows and blends together on its own. So the next time you get annoyed at Woody Harrelson trying convince you to add hemp to your wardrobe or Matt Damon telling you how to save trees, try and think of it as a step towards a Type I civilization… or just have a Sapphire and tonic.

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