4) Psychology

A major key to unlocking the requirements and possibilities for survival of the human species lies in the field of psychology. If we humans are to survive we must better understand ourselves. Humans and their mastery of technology has become the greatest threat to survival. We must come to recognize in full nature the biases possessed by both groups and individuals, which constantly impede a logical and intelligent response to the rapidly expanding and overwhelming environmental threats to our existence. That understanding might enable us to discard the procedures which have appeared to work in the past, and allow us to adopt new procedures necessary to cope with survival problems of the present and future.

The field of psychology is built around the study of how an individual or a group’s view of reality is affected by that individual or group’s own desires, interests or goals. We humans are not noted for our outstanding capacity to view events dispassionately. And, therein lies the great dilemma. We are creatures of passion. Life would seem worthless without it. Yet, that passion’s tendency to cloud our perception of reality puts us on a collision course with the destructive elements in today’s environment.

As a famous poet once stated, “Hope beats eternal in the human breast”. Possibly the answer lies in our ability to individually and collectively channel that passion into our collective struggle for survival. It’s true that too many of the human species today are in no position to be concerned about collective survival, since poverty makes it necessary to devote all efforts to day to day existence. However, the more economically fortunate, or affluent, being less encumbered by the stress of poverty are more capable of altering their philosophy and adapting this new passion.

Yet, here we must deal with “catch 22”. Although they are in the best position to affect it, the affluent in today’s world are least likely to want change. Material comforts may be likened to almost any drug or addiction around today. Although the basic change required is philosophical, most but not all, in possession of wealth, tend to oppose change on general principles, whether it be philosophical or material.

The poor or impoverished, which number the majority of human inhabitants on our planet, crave changes in the material realm. Acquisition, not cooperation, or abstract philosophy is the order of the day. Cooperation implies democracy. In lands where there is not enough to go around democracy is generally the victim. A prophet is reported to have once said, “?Tis easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. In the same vein it may be said: ?Tis easier for an impoverished society to pass through the eye of a needle than for that society to attain democracy.

In conclusion, it must be said that the burden of change to escape the monumental threats to human existence, looming in today’s environment, quite contrary to certain theories of Karl Marx, falls upon the members of the affluent societies of the world, who possess the power and possibility of philosophical flexibility to enact it.

And, even more fundamentally, we must come to realize that it is not that nebulous concept, “human nature”, which impedes humankind’s adapting the necessary changes in philosophy, and behavior, but it is really the construct of the institutions in his environment that actually shapes his so-called “human nature” and impedes his making those changes. This writing shall now examine these institutions, in such fields as economics, politics, religion, education, health, recreation, etc. delineating how they affect our adaptation of the cooperative attitude and behavior required to confront the environmental threat to our existence. In the words of a famous cartoonist,” We have met the enemy. And he is us”! Humans have become an immanent threat to all life on our planet. The question remains: have we the heart and the courage to do battle with established institutions that shape our “human nature?”

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