Time For The Devil

Another unseasonal day – today it was even milder, much more so than it should be. It makes for nice riding, but …

If you look into the history of the devil in popular culture, you’ll find the notion of the devil that we have today has a lot of its roots around the 1500s; a time of both climate change and a rising population that couldn’t be fed. A notion of a devil as we have it today is manifestly irrational. There’s plenty of irrationality around today. That is not a foundation for optimism.

There’s plenty of media space being taken up at the moment by the seven billionth person being born some time around about now. Quite when this milestone is reached is neither here nor there.

In my early 50s, I know I’m old in real terms, for a human in a body that they say is really designed to stop functioning in its 40s, but it’s not as if I’ve been stalking the planet for that long. When I was born there was only a tad over three billion people. The growth is staggering.

I read a while back that you can track the likelihood of wars occurring between countries to the number of young males there are in the populations of those countries. No, it is not difficult to work out what the growth in the population of the planet has meant on that front.

A lot of the talk in connection with this seven billionth person on the planet has been about whether that many people can be fed. There’s no discussion about the quality of life, no examination of long term sustainability, no putting it in the context of a planet likely to be less able to support humanity as the climate changes.

It should be a wholly different world now, compared to the 1500s. We have a stunningly complex global interconnectivity operating in so many ways; we know so much more; there’s the simple fact of the entire body of science as it has developed since then and the fruits of centuries of empirical enquiry; there’s the so starkly obvious failing of religion of any variety to serve mankind well.

And what do we have?

We have a growth in state sponsored ‘faith schools’; we have any number of tin pot politicians harping on about national identities when the need is for a global perspective; we have a never-ended parade of cranks and quacks offering bogus certainties.

History doesn’t repeat itself, things move on – but human nature doesn’t change.