At the heart of planning for the future is human altruism. Argue all you want whether altruism is inherent in evolutionary traits or whether it is inspired by soulful contemplation that transcends complex selfishness. Regardless, a healthier Earth seem likely only in a world where we humans sidestep our market force enhanced selfish desires. Humans can leap beyond these individual and societal instincts if we reinforce behaviors that enhance the world environment for the benefit of far future generations, human and non-human alike.
A planet that generates a sustainable, thriving landscape of quality experiences for all ought to be our primary goal. As noted last week, there is no place for billions of humans that devour the landscape plague-like. Because humans have the ability to be so successful, and because human life is so highly valued, if left unchecked the Earth could become a sphere of human monoculture in the extreme. Surely we want future generations of humans to have access to wild places complete with all the creatures we've shared Earth with from the start.
Passing a healthy Earth forward will take effort, to be sure. Fortunately, humans seem to have mastered in spades the technology of passing knowledge forward to future generations. With language, mathematics, ideas and all the mediums that transport them, every generation of humans can benefit from the lessons learned of the past. Just as important, we need to share the ability and desire to continuously improve this knowledge-base and the desire to effectively implement it in society, the wilderness and the boundaries in between.
Good legacy practice goes well beyond providing ever more versatile technologies and experiences to successive generations. Integrating wisdom and positive relationships into the mindfulness of the children of man is paramount, and much tougher by far than teaching them the newest coding language or genetic process. Especially, since future positive relationships may diverge from the traditional nuclear family. Gay marriage, polyamorous families, and asexual collectives may eventually provide more progressive, positive generation to generation interface than traditional culture has built to date. Extended families and professional teachers and mentors are yet other examples of where low to no progeny generational relationships can devote energy to children all while curbing population growth.
The next generation has always been the primary purpose of the previous one, humans included. Evolution has predisposed us to care a bit too much about the immediate, rather than the long term future. Transcending this genetic meme can be gradually overcome by cultural wisdom, nevertheless. Working on a multigenerational vision for global benefits that will last for centuries to come, perhaps the most important thing we want to pass on to future generations is the very desire to dream far forward both selfishly
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