Apr 29, 2023Liked by Robert de Neufville

It seems possible to pretty confidently predict that our civilization will collapse at some point, given that (to my knowledge) every human civilization ever created has done so. The bottom line seems pretty easy, but the why, how, when impossible.

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It's probably a good thing that we don't see our doom clearly on the horizon, Phil. When it becomes obvious how civilization is going to collapse, we're going to be in a lot of trouble...

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Great point Robert. Yes, a degree of ignorance is necessary for preserving the meaning in life, both globally and personally.

I wrestle with this in my writings on nuclear weapons. On one hand you want to make the threat more real so that we will face it and deal with it. On the other hand, making it more real tends to push readers deeper in to denial, as they understandably wish to return to the dream of stability.

Sometimes I think about how the Roman Empire collapsed, followed by a period of darkness, followed by a renewal that took humanity to new heights. I see that cycle repeating over and over for a long time to come. The thing about new heights is that they are new, as yet unexplored, not yet understood. And so mistakes will be made.

Next there is the question of whether death is really doom. It's interesting to reflect that we actually have no proof of that at all.


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