The problem we are trying to understand and solve at SKIL Dinners

The human population is genetically programmed to spread itself into every nook and cranny on earth, consume or take control of every resource, and leave nothing for competitors,

Current human cognitive abilities result in behaviors that create for each individual the largest possible footprint.

Because the footprints are much bigger than that needed for subsistence,

they expand much faster than simple population growth. Footprints grow even when there is no population growth. As footprints cover the global environment they overlap. Resolving the overlap creates conflict.

These conflicts do not appear significant to most people. If these problems look significant, individuals can not find behaviors that can reduce them.

If they can find behaviors that can reduce them, they can't find a way to get the global constituency to take them.

Each human's cognitive abilities can value the immediate costs but not the future benefits of these behavior.

At dinners, participants bring to focus the next jump in cognitive abilities that will give value to the resolution of these conflicts and will allow selection of these behaviors.

Subsistence <<== Human Well Being ==> ever improvement

Individual human well being is lifted or depressed by collective behavior.

The behavior of an individual results from genetic preprogramming (human nature) balanced by an attained level of cognition.

Human nature would have our behavior expanding the population until the resources would support each member at subsistence.

However the combination of our genetic programing and our present level of developed cognition seems to have produced a well being far above subsistence and a well being that continues to improve.

The questions are, Is this improvement sustainable? Is it based on a technology dependent on exhaustible resources? Is it based on being able to take space and resources from the weak?

As cheap resources diminish, and the weak become stronger, will our human nature take us to the subsistence destination? Or will our cognition advance enough to attain what I have defined as "graceful survival. "

The human destination now appears to depend on what level of cognition the constituencies can attain. This seems to be dependent on what activities we can create to advance this level.

The Crux

The present level of cognitive development, can not create graceful survival. It can not balance the available resources and technology with the footprint as created by the population.

Conflict, threatens to consume the resources we have used in the past to create progress in cognitive development.

If the resources exhaust before we transition to a high enough cognitive level, we may lose our only opportunely to attain graceful survival.

Development of Cognition

a) human cognitive process evolves.
b) environment drives cognitive evolution.
c) existing cognition, being part of the environment, plays a role in the next round of cognitive evolution.

That is,
  i) our cognition has advanced enough to realize that the problems we face can not be solved with the cognition we have.

   ii) the evolution of how we gather process and value information,and thus choose behavior is no longer an elective. It is a requirement for graceful survival.

Coming to a SKIL Dinner means you can get your mind to play in this sandbox.

Jack Alpert (Bio)     mail to:      (homepage)     position papers