Complacency is the default human response when it comes to situations perceived to be outside of one’s power to have an impact on. Climate change, genocides, resource depletion, reproductive rights – all of these draw disdainful responses if anyone should bring them up for discussion at a social event.

Observing young people on social media’s obsession with self and followers, it is ironic to see a general proclivity towards blaming “boomers” for the state of the economy and high prices and low wages. Though I do recall having the same response when I was growing up. Its a human right of passage to blame the nearest proximal generation for the ills plaguing the current society.

These responses point to a psychological precondition where the internal dialogue to effect some change in personal behaviour toward a solution to these problems is defeated by the interior voice that assigns blame and simultaneously absolves the self from any requirement for action. This is the essence of complacency.

Complacency is only possible, though, in the presence of a multitude of distractions to occupy the mind and body.

Recreational sports and activities, travel for the. sake of travel, alcohol and drugs, music festivals and theatre – all serve as distractions to our busy minds from the most pressing of the world’s problems. And so, the process we undergo is:

  1. We become aware of the problem;
  2. We assign blame to the previous generation for the problem;
  3. We deem the problem as outside of the realm of our control (absolution of responsibility)
  4. And go to the cinema or a club or a game or out for dinner.

This is the defect in the human character that all but guarantees the premature extinction of humanity in the current context. There is ample evidence to indicate that extinction is actually underway.

  1. Avian Influenza is rapidly evolving to become more effective at transmission in mammals, and could potentially become the next pathogenic pandemic. If not Avian Influenza, there are plenty of other microbial threats to human life thriving in the abundant overpopulation of humans;
  2. The global warming scenario has worsened, with scientists now admitting their 1.5 degree increase to be woefully optimistic. The intensity and duration of storms, wildfires, floods and droughts continues to worsen exponentially year after year, and the now common forecast buzzword “atmospheric river” (unheard of 20 years ago) is a regular feature of the weather.
  3. Genocidal terrorism such as that being committed by Israelis in Palestine and Russians on Ukrainians and Chinese on Uighyurs, as well as the historical genocides perpetrated by white Europeans on the indigenous tribes of North and South America – all point to an increase in the risk of death by murder globally.

And despite these acute threats to the entirety of humanity – especially non-whites – the vast majority of human beings not forced into survival mode by any of these existential crises in their day-to-day, are happy to go shopping, surfing,  dancing, jogging, weight training, etc etc etc, rather than stop the routine of distraction and focus on self to actively seek behavioural remediation to contribute to symbiotic coexistence with the ecology and the rest of humanity, instead of contributing to the acceleration toward mutual extinction.

With Google, Facebook and Twitter curtailing the ability of dissident alternative discussions toward the solutions, the repetition of the complacency/distraction feedback loop has zero chance of being broken.


About the Author

James West is the founder of the Real Economic Society and author of the Real Economist. He is an unaccredited ecologist, economist, and organic regenerative farmer seeking to reorient the values of humanity toward a rehabilitative and symbiotic mode of existence on Earth.

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