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The Financial Crisis, Positive Thought, and Progress

The Financial Crisis, Positive Thought, and Progress

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The financial crisis in the USA and worldwide makes us wonder how long our incredibly fast rate of scientific progress can last. As global warming accelerates even as the economy slows, our dreams of leaving Earth and spreading life and culture throughout the universe seem ever more distant.. The news of recent days makes us realize that we have not reached a level of prosperity from which we can make impartial judgments about the future, because we are still struggling to manage the present.

How can we possibly hope to wake up as a species and collectively act to preserve future generations when we are stuggling just to make ends meet, to keep from choking ourselves on our own emissions, to keep our house of cards from collapsing?

There is no doubt that immediate action is needed to solve these problems, and the precarious state of the global financial system makes taking any action much more difficult. But we cannot sacrifice our distant future for our immediate future.

In plentiful times we have the luxury of considering our higher purpose, and in time of stress and doubt we are too busy. But considering humanity’s long term goals and place in the universe can help to comfort us, which assists in making difficult decisions free of the influence of panic.

A religious person will tell you that honoring God is important whether you are rich or poor, and they say so because it is true that religious practice is helpful no matter your status. Likewise, the practice of positive thought, and earnest introspection about what truly matters, are important even as we fall into hard times.


If we as a society recognize that taking the long view is important, perhaps we can cultivate the foresight to avoid problems like the one we currently face. After all, everyone knew that credit is not infinite, and at a certain point you have to pay the piper. Our failure stems from our shortsightedness, which stems from our lack of introspection about the fundamental questions of life.

You can’t be shortsighted if you spend time considering the big questions. In order to answer the question “Why am I here,” you must consider the longest of time scales. Only by contemplating the future and the past can we avoid the mistakes of the present.

If scientific progress is truly the key to our ultimate destiny, then we cannot succeed without a functioning economy. So our ultimate destiny and our basic needs are intertwined – without one, we cannot have the other.

 

 

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