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    Lately I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea that civilisation as we know it will end and that end may be within our lifetimes.

    This may seem very far fetched to a lot of people, but considering the amount of options available; nuclear war, over population and lack of easy to obtain resources or just straight up natural disaster, it is perhaps within the realms of feasibility. Whether you consider it ridiculous or not indulge my curiosity by entering into the following hypothetical situation,

    The year is 2060, the world has become for some reason (choose your favourite!) depopulated by today's standards, let's say down to 2% of the current population. Large scale industry is finished. All municipalities have been switched off as there are not enough people to run the large stations currently used. The rule of law has crumbled away. Any form of technological progress has been completely halted and with our complex system of education in taters, all academic knowledge will be lost by the year 2100.

    In short, the entire world has entered a 'dark age'.

    Now this has been a very round about way to ask this question so I'm sorry that this post is somewhat rambling and bloated, but here goes:

    Imagining that the proposed situation is inevitable (at some point), is there any point in contributing to the advancement of civilisation now?

    Let me qualify my question somewhat, I am an atheist, I consider the purpose of life to be raising the standard of living for all the peoples of earth through technological, political and economic means. In a nutshell, the advancement of civilisation (my own definition).

    If collapse is unavoidable, why bother? Surely the only rational course of action is to make my life and those of people close to me as comfortable as possible with no regard to the deprived of the world or to future generations.
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    (Original post by Fungrus)
    Lately I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea that civilisation as we know it will end and that end may be within our lifetimes.

    This may seem very far fetched to a lot of people, but considering the amount of options available; nuclear war, over population and lack of easy to obtain resources or just straight up natural disaster, it is perhaps within the realms of feasibility. Whether you consider it ridiculous or not indulge my curiosity by entering into the following hypothetical situation,

    The year is 2060, the world has become for some reason (choose your favourite!) depopulated by today's standards, let's say down to 2% of the current population. Large scale industry is finished. All municipalities have been switched off as there are not enough people to run the large stations currently used. The rule of law has crumbled away. Any form of technological progress has been completely halted and with our complex system of education in taters, all academic knowledge will be lost by the year 2100.

    In short, the entire world has entered a 'dark age'.

    Now this has been a very round about way to ask this question so I'm sorry that this post is somewhat rambling and bloated, but here goes:

    Imagining that the proposed situation is inevitable (at some point), is there any point in contributing to the advancement of civilisation now?

    Let me qualify my question somewhat, I am an atheist, I consider the purpose of life to be raising the standard of living for all the peoples of earth through technological, political and economic means. In a nutshell, the advancement of civilisation (my own definition).

    If collapse is unavoidable, why bother? Surely the only rational course of action is to make my life and those of people close to me as comfortable as possible with no regard to the deprived of the world or to future generations.
    Nothing lasts forever. Setting aside the environmental exhaustion, transformation, degradation and toxification which our 'civilisation' is reaping right now, the earth will still, sooner or later, suffer some kind of catastrophe. Ultimately, as the sun travels towards its inevitable death it will make tempratures too hot for anything to survive on earth (before 'going nova' and swallowing our little planet in a final gasp of energy).

    In the meantime, yes, civilisations come and go and there's no reason to assume the current incarnation will last longer than those that have come before us. Indeed, given the way our current civilisation is so rapidly transforming (itself and the world) it's not unreasonable to speculate that it will blow itself out more quickly. Nevertheless, does the fact that you will one day die prevent you from seeking to enjoy life, make friends and grow intellectually? If it doesn't then I'd suggest the same should apply to your pessimism over what might happen over the next decades and centuries.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Nothing lasts forever. Setting aside the environmental exhaustion, transformation, degradation and toxification which our 'civilisation' is reaping right now, the earth will still, sooner or later, suffer some kind of catastrophe. Ultimately, as the sun travels towards its inevitable death it will make tempratures too hot for anything to survive on earth (before 'going nova' and swallowing our little planet in a final gasp of energy).

    In the meantime, yes, civilisations come and go and there's no reason to assume the current incarnation will last longer than those that have come before us. Indeed, given the way our current civilisation is so rapidly transforming (itself and the world) it's not unreasonable to speculate that it will blow itself out more quickly. Nevertheless, does the fact that you will one day die prevent you from seeking to enjoy life, make friends and grow intellectually? If it doesn't then I'd suggest the same should apply to your pessimism over what might happen over the next decades and centuries.
    I think the thing is, the needs of society and the wants of the self seem unreconcilable. No the fact that I will die one day does not stop me having fun. However I believe that to benefit society, I should make changes to my lifestyle that are detrimental to my enjoyment and comfort. For instance I think that I should buy many fewer gizmos and also eat less foreign food, and less meat. All these things I enjoy but are detrimental to society. But if society is doomed anyway, should I not simply continue with these practices and make my life as enjoyable as possible?

    When I was younger I imagined that I would happily give up personal comforts to "build a better tomorrow". As civilisation seemed something eternal to me, it became logical to devote oneself to the betterment of civilisation with less regard for the transient self. But with my new outlook that civilisation is transient, why should I devote my energy to improving it with little or no gain for myself.

    I don't want to sound like a sociopath here, or worse still a libertarian. I do have a great deal of empathy for those who are disadvantaged, and that I think will keep me trying to work for some abstract great good. It was just a lot easier to commit to this when the idea that the 'greater good' would actually be achieved one day seemed plausible. Now I know that even if my idea of a perfect society was achieved it would eventually fall to ruin somehow.
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    Many civilisations have collapsed in the past, why do we think we're special? It is ignorant to believe so, especially considering the conditions of today make the collapse of our civilisation very plausible.

    I am certain it will collapse, and when it does I know all I will do is protect those around me and **** everyone else. In those times, life is all about survival. Forget all the pretentious bull ****.
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    (Original post by Fungrus)
    I think the thing is, the needs of society and the wants of the self seem unreconcilable. No the fact that I will die one day does not stop me having fun. However I believe that to benefit society, I should make changes to my lifestyle that are detrimental to my enjoyment and comfort. For instance I think that I should buy many fewer gizmos and also eat less foreign food, and less meat. All these things I enjoy but are detrimental to society. But if society is doomed anyway, should I not simply continue with these practices and make my life as enjoyable as possible?

    When I was younger I imagined that I would happily give up personal comforts to "build a better tomorrow". As civilisation seemed something eternal to me, it became logical to devote oneself to the betterment of civilisation with less regard for the transient self. But with my new outlook that civilisation is transient, why should I devote my energy to improving it with little or no gain for myself.

    I don't want to sound like a sociopath here, or worse still a libertarian. I do have a great deal of empathy for those who are disadvantaged, and that I think will keep me trying to work for some abstract great good. It was just a lot easier to commit to this when the idea that the 'greater good' would actually be achieved one day seemed plausible. Now I know that even if my idea of a perfect society was achieved it would eventually fall to ruin somehow.
    It's a trade-off we all have to make. Let's say you want to live in a way that is broadly consistent with your desire to see a fairer, frendlier, more environmentally sustainable world than the one you arrived in, or you at least want to help prevent it getting less fair, less friendly and less environmentally sustainable. At the same time you probably want to enjoy your life, enjoy some of its modern comforts and don't have the time or energy to engage in hurculean efforts to transform society when you wake up every day. Apart from the most determined, it's not that easy to avoid some of the things which are counter to your broader aims for society; TVs and PCs are, for example, environmentally damaging leisure forms (compared to conversation or card-games with friends for example). So, you have to decide for yourself what you will accomodate and what you feel you can't. I personally want to be environmentally friendly but I'm not giving up my PC, I find it too useful in the kind of life I want to live - it's a compromise.
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    one thing this assumes is that in the next 50 years technology will remain roughly the same. which is frankly a gross miscalculation. Also the instant you decide that there's no point in contributing because it's all going anyway, all chance of keeping the world going vanishes, and makes it certain it will end. and really I think you've been reading far too much foundation. :P
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    (Original post by Jeffy91)
    Many civilisations have collapsed in the past, why do we think we're special? It is ignorant to believe so, especially considering the conditions of today make the collapse of our civilisation very plausible.

    I am certain it will collapse, and when it does I know all I will do is protect those around me and **** everyone else. In those times, life is all about survival. Forget all the pretentious bull ****.
    Is my post that rambling that it is impossible to tell that I agree that society will collapse?

    Though my plan is not to have as much sex as possible as yours seems to be, actually now you mention it....
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    (Original post by Jeffy91)
    Many civilisations have collapsed in the past, why do we think we're special? It is ignorant to believe so, especially considering the conditions of today make the collapse of our civilisation very plausible.

    I am certain it will collapse, and when it does I know all I will do is protect those around me and **** everyone else. In those times, life is all about survival. Forget all the pretentious bull ****.
    Don't sweat it bro, you and I and everyone at this forum will have long become dust before this civilisation collapses. I'm a routine critic of capitalism's inevitable doom at the forum but even I know it probably has at least a century or three before it can no longer dig itself out of its holes.
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    (Original post by Fungrus)
    Lately I have become somewhat obsessed with the idea that civilisation as we know it will end and that end may be within our lifetimes.

    This may seem very far fetched to a lot of people, but considering the amount of options available; nuclear war, over population and lack of easy to obtain resources or just straight up natural disaster, it is perhaps within the realms of feasibility. Whether you consider it ridiculous or not indulge my curiosity by entering into the following hypothetical situation,

    The year is 2060, the world has become for some reason (choose your favourite!) depopulated by today's standards, let's say down to 2% of the current population. Large scale industry is finished. All municipalities have been switched off as there are not enough people to run the large stations currently used. The rule of law has crumbled away. Any form of technological progress has been completely halted and with our complex system of education in taters, all academic knowledge will be lost by the year 2100.

    In short, the entire world has entered a 'dark age'.

    Now this has been a very round about way to ask this question so I'm sorry that this post is somewhat rambling and bloated, but here goes:

    Imagining that the proposed situation is inevitable (at some point), is there any point in contributing to the advancement of civilisation now?

    Let me qualify my question somewhat, I am an atheist, I consider the purpose of life to be raising the standard of living for all the peoples of earth through technological, political and economic means. In a nutshell, the advancement of civilisation (my own definition).

    If collapse is unavoidable, why bother? Surely the only rational course of action is to make my life and those of people close to me as comfortable as possible with no regard to the deprived of the world or to future generations.
    We won't even make it to 2013, let alone 2060.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    It's a trade-off we all have to make. Let's say you want to live in a way that is broadly consistent with your desire to see a fairer, frendlier, more environmentally sustainable world than the one you arrive in, or you at least want to help prevent it getting less fair, less friendly and less environmentally sustainable. At the same time you probably want to enjoy your life, enjoy some of its modern comforts and don't have the time or energy to engage in hurculean efforts to transform society when you wake up every day. Apart from the most determined, it's not that easy to avoid some of the things which are counter to your broader aims for society; TVs and PCs are, for example, environmentally damaging leisure forms (compared to conversation or card-games with friends for example). So, you have to decide for yourself what you will accomodate and what you feel you can't. I personally want to be environmentally friendly but I'm not giving up my PC, I find it too useful in the kind of life I want to live - it's a compromise.
    Yeah that's true, thanks for the advice. I suppose I never really thought to much about the end of society before, and when I realised it must end, I questioned my "faith" in civilisation.
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    I think well be fine. Just keep pumping out infantry and then secure some uranium to build a Giant Death Robot. then take voer the world in oh maybe 50 turns.
 
 
 
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