With regard to population, when the 6 billionth person was born, one of the writers for National Review tried to put this into perspective and reveled that if all 6 billion people lived in the state of Texas, each of them would have an eighth of an acre to him/herself. This doesn’t seem like too many people to me. Any comments?

Ishmael says that to feed a starving people will only perpetuate their suffering, and I agree. However, Ishmael also offered as a solution “moving the starving people out, to a place where food is more abundant.” Beg your pardon, but unless I misread what you are saying, I cannot possibly understand this logic. What is the difference between sending food to the people, and sending people to the food? Is the result not the same? Would they not simply multiply in the area to whence they were moved, and eventually exhaust all those resources, as well?

OK, I understand that there are biological mechanisms that are inherent in species that allow them (via instinct, not awareness) to keep their populations at levels that tie in with the availability of their food supply. But what about the notion that humans can consciously choose to have or not have children as a way of population control? I contend that if we don’t use conscious awareness as a means of limiting our population, the mechanisms that other animals use (ie, those animals who do not have the same level of conscious awareness as humans) may not work or be enough.

In Ishmael, Alan comes to the realization that our Taker culture has violated fundamental rules of life. But in violating these stated rules, have we not followed the most important rule of every living creature — “Above all else, make sure you reproduce so that your genes are passed to the next generation?”

Yes, we have decided which species will and will not live, but in so doing, we have almost assured (up to this point in time) that every person who wants to reproduce in our culture can? This point is made again in My Ishmael.

The culture which arose from the agricultural revolution broke the rule of erratic retaliation because they could. Julie determines that the erratic retaliation strategy is preferable to the total annihilation strategy because if a tribe took the annihilistic strategy, others would team up against them and destroy the subversive tribe.

So, only the threat of destruction is what prevented tribes from adopting the annihilation strategy. Once a tribe found a way to have unlimited resources, did it not make sense for them to destroy those around them, securing those tribes’ resources for their own progeny?

I guess both of my questions sum up to this–although our culture (and our species) is on the brink of destruction, did we not just take a logical step in terms of reproductive success?

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