What’s Next?

I struggle a bit with this blog because there are SO MANY things to “talk” about, and yet, there are so many different directions to go.  Ruminations to me, is about where do things I mull over, lead me to think about… and what are the implications in the larger sphere.

Sometimes it’s about farm life but it generally expands to a larger arena.  “No man is an island unto himself” kinda concept.  So how do things connect in the broader view and what should we consider.

head-in-sandIt’s very easy to take the so-called ostrich viewpoint; it I don’t like what I see so I’ll bury my head and pretend that it’s not there, and go on my merry way. A little like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind”, “I’ll think about it tomorrow!”.

 

But of course, tomorrow never comes; there is only today.

It’s definitely a tightrope to walk.  Overall I’m a fairly optimistic person, thinking the glass is half full rather than half empty.  I believed that people generally do what they think is the best thing to do, and don’t intentionally hurt or take advantage of others. Raised in a family that held religious values as the basis for our lives, it never occurred to me that people would not work for the benefit of others, by taking the long view. Boy, was I in for some real world lessons!

Marshmallow Studymarshm

You have heard the story of a group of kids, 4-5 years olds, that were offered a treat, a marshmallow.  They were shown a treat but told that if they could just wait a few minutes while the giver went to another room to get a 2nd treat, they could have two instead of just one. The wait was 15 minutes long. That has to be close to “forever” in a 4 year old’s world.

http://youtu.be/QX_oy9614HQ

The study looked at which kids would not wait, and which kids would hold out for the bigger prize. I.E. deferred gratification. And then these children were followed for an extended period of time. This study begun in the 1960’s looked at the long term behaviors of the two groups of kids and found that those who “could wait” had significant higher live achievements (you can read the study to hear how that was defined).  http://jamesclear.com/delayed-gratification

For my purposes in relating the story, it has to do with the seemingly innate ability to see the longer term goal as “worth” the added effort. That some people only see what is directly in front of them.  Other’s can see the longer term benefit.  Now it turns out that those attributes are not “written in stone” but can be adjusted somewhat BUT it takes concentrated work to do so.  For some, it’s easy and other’s it is a challenge.

I take the biological imperative perspective: each has survival characteristics that have allowed the trait to continue in our genetic heritage.  Or at least in the last 100,000 years of our current human development process.

  • The hunter who could wait patiently,
  • the farmer who could tend his fields,
  • the mother who could nurture her children:

each one of those aspects have long-term payoffs.

Of course,

  • the hunter who waited patiently, also wiped out the massive herds of buffalo that traveled the plains, in less than 50 years.
  • The farmer stripped the soil of it’s nutrients while initiating the desertfication process and then moved on to richer land,
  • and the mother died in childbirth after having 10 babies (more or less).

How “long a view” is enough?

It’s one thing when there are 5 million people on the planet who can move from place to place (you don’t think the middle east was always a desert do you?), which allows the earth to restabilize, usually.

Think 100,000 years to reach the mark of 5 million people, 8,000 years ago at the dawn of agriculture, give or take a few (years or people).

It has taken all of human history to reach 1 BILLION people, in 1800.              The kicker is, only 200 years to reach 7 Billion.

Up to 2005

Up to 2005

39popgrowth

Short-Sided View = Time’s UP!

In 1970, only half the population of today’s population, existed. We have doubled.

We have moved into a new era… one that we are unprepared to take on.  At least most of us, will and have resisted looking at the new future. We argue about where to move the deck chairs, on the Titanic, in her last hours. We have used our intelligence, our drive, our resilience to build the world we have now, and it’s a relatively comfortable world for most of us, at present.  Somehow we are resistant to looking at where we are headed.

 

As we contaminate our water, destroy the live-giving microbial life in the soil, strip the oceans of life and foul the air… what are we thinking? Where do we think we will end up? More critically, our children and grand-children.  Is our comfort and pleasure worth condemning them to pain and suffering? You do know that is the outcome of our actions today, don’t you.

Only 3.5%, Makes THE Difference

In a country of 300 million, research has shown it takes roughly 10 million to change the direction, and make a difference.

ganhdi color

The Process

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they join you”, to paraphrase Ganhdi.

I’ve seen major sifts in policy, but it’s led by the everyday man. Not by Wall Street or government, but by people who care enough to say something. Or, to VOTE with their dollars.

From the Vietnam War, to seat belts, to helmets, to family-centered birthing units, to organic foods, to climate change is real, to smoking IS harmful and no you don’t have the right to impose that on everyone else. All of these issues were part and parcel of the “crazies”, the outliers who don’t fit in. But change did happen.

Today we are the cusp: a point of transition between two different states: 

One that looks toward the realities of our future and moves to deal with it,

and one that says, “I don’t like what I see, so I just won’t look!

Someone else can deal with it.”

Where do you stand? Because where you choose to stand will today make the choices for your children, and their children.  It’s time to take the long view.

cusp

 

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