Posted by Dave on November 19, 2013
I am currently reading the book “Scatter, Adapt, and Remember – How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction”. I am almost finished it, and have found it a very interesting read, regarding the history of the earth, and humans as a species interaction with the planet. I think the most interesting thing that I took away from the book was the author’s and scientists view of humans as a species overall.
Currently, there are billions of people living on earth (and maybe a handful living just outside of earth on the space station). Most people go about their lives, with the intention of getting through the day and coming home to take part in some sort of activity before they get up and do similar things the next day. North American society has “evolved” from the time of the European arrival (I’m unsure whether “arrival” is the correct terminology) 500 years ago from a subsistence lifestyle, where much of our time was spent just figuring out how food was going to be obtained for today and tomorrow. Today, I am pondering whether I would like to buy the Playstation 4, XBox One, or hold out and see what the Steam Machine concept looks like.
Family members 2 or 3 generations ago (for me) wouldn’t have any understanding of how life works anymore. Most cities right now would run out of food in 4 days if a catastrophe hit. Most people have become so specialized in their skill set that other than their job, they are unable to really do anything for themselves. These of course are generalizations, but if you were to look at the average urban dweller, they probably would not have survived very well on a homestead.
I think that part of my desire in Early Retirement is to leave this type of lifestyle to a certain extent. I would like to live a life that is hopefully more fulfilling, where I can spend time doing more things for myself, because I have more time. To trade off a lot of the casual convenience offered in most of my life and try something different.
I wouldn’t say that this book was a life-changer, it more reaffirmed and solidified some views, while widening some of my understanding of Earth’s history. I think some of the underlying questions raised (whether stated or implied) in the book were very interesting, such as:
- Do we really need more people here? My answer is probably not, which is part of the reason my wife and I (besides our admitted selfishness) decided not to have children.
- Are the people here really doing anything? There is so much time being spent in areas which do not necessarily aid humanity in any way, and in fact is creating great harm to the environment and ourselves as a species. While technology is making leaps and bounds ahead in many areas, severe pollution and the resulting changing climate is not really even being accepted as a problem by the majority of people.
- How will the world look in a few hundred thousand years? There have been (according to this book) 6 or 7 major extinctions that have taken place over Earth’s lifetime. Are we on a cusp of another one? Or is another one possible in the next few thousand years?
I found the book to be somewhat profound in the information it provided me, and the avenues it made me go down while I was reading it. My plan to “Drop Out” of the way I currently live my life so that I have more time to do the things I would like to do with my time, rather than selling my available hours making spreadsheets and sitting in meetings….This is what I keep in mind when I examine my future financial plans.
Sorry, this post was a bit of a bummer…..I think I’ll switch to a much happier book for my next read.