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The Ishmael Companion
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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 261)...

    I think you’re being unduly pessimistic about our population future. How do you know that some new technological breakthrough isn’t going to come along to save us?

    ...and the response:

    One day a band of strangers was found sitting in the square. What made them strange was the fact that they all had knives, which they were plunging into their arms and legs over and over again. People watched in amazement as a pool of blood formed around them, then someone said, “Don’t you realize that if you go on this way, you’re going to bleed to death?” The leader of the band spoke up and said, “I think you’re being unduly pessimistic about our future. How do you know that some super new coagulant isn’t going to come along to save us?”

    It wasn’t the absence of a coagulant that caused the bleeding in this story, it was what the people were doing to themselves. In the same way, it isn’t the absence of a technological breakthrough that is causing us to overpopulate the earth, it’s what we’re doing to ourselves. The people in this story didn’t need a super new coagulant, they needed to stop stabbing themselves. In the same way, we don’t need a technological breakthrough, we need to stop the unwinnable race between food and growth.


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