Friday, September 20, 2013

Garrett Hardin quote

For all but the last few hundred years of human history the dominant worldview was a limited view: resources were limited, human nature was fixed, and spending beyond one’s income was a sin. This essentially conservative perception prevailed until about 1600. Then science and technology shook the foundations. One presumed limit after another was shown to be, in part, false.
The “Don’t worry” theories of population control amount to a reaffirmation of the religious idea of Providence. Professional publicists know there is always a good living to be made by catering to the public’s craving for optimistic reports. Such behavior finds no justification in the attitude of the Buddha, expressed five centuries before Christ: “I teach only two things: the cause of human sorrow and the way to become free of it.” The present work, though written by a non-Buddhist, proceeds along the Buddhist path—first to reveal the causes of human sorrow in population matters and then to uncover promising ways to free ourselves of the sorrow.
Hearing the Buddha’s statement today many people think, “How depressing! Why accept such a pessimistic outlook on life?” But they are wrong: it is not a pessimistic view if we reword it in terms that are more familiar to our science-based society. Reworded: “Here’s something that isn’t working right. I want to fix it, but before I can do that I have to know exactly why it doesn’t work right.” One who looks for causes before seeking remedies should not be condemned as a pessimist. In general, a great deal of looking for causes must precede the finding of remedies.