Actually, it’s not just good. It’s great. People don’t tend to improve as challenges decrease. Look at the studies on American retirement and how it worsens people’s health. There are only a handful of statistical outliers whose internal wellbeing are amplified when they reduce demands. Mental health problems have linear relationships with affluence and wealth. Maximal options and unbridled freedom itself is perilous. Think about a time when you were presented a vast array of food options when already tired. Did that infinite number of choices REDUCE your fatigue? No. Endless freedom without palpable consequence is the opposite of good for us. On the contrary, when things get dire and options few, that’s when humanity shines most brilliantly.
A few years ago Lawrence Livermore Laboratory attempted to make sense of a multi-year trend in the OPPOSITE direction from predicted climate change. For a several year span, the warming decelerated or possibly reversed. Global temperatures cooled on average for 3 or more years in a row. Before the climate deniers laugh contentedly and before the alarmists dismiss this verifiable fact, listen to what the Lab discovered: increased volcanic activity placed more sulfates in the upper atmosphere, thereby reducing our capacity to accept solar energy into the lower atmosphere.
We can replicate this effect. We can aerosolize sulfates into the stratosphere to reduce solar energy to whatever degree we like in variable increments dependent on our appraisal of where we are in a given climate trend.
Without the first alarming notion, how would we have ever studied this problem and concocted the possibility of climate/weather engineering? Even today it sounds a little sci-fi. But so does every breakthrough beforehand.
In supreme comfort we see the worst of humanity. Think kings, and slaveowners, and lottery winners. Ugly.
In supreme challenge, we see the best of humanity. Think peasant uprisings, and enslaved people who escaped, and underdogs.
We know this intuitively when we observe any other animal. We pity a creature in captivity, even in a comfortable enclosure, cared for by humans, with every natural predator and danger removed. We pity their safe, stress-free, sterilized life. We stand in awe while we observe animals in a natural habitat with every danger at their doorstep. Yet, somehow for humans, we think we’re going to get more fulfilled in our spirits by putting ourselves in a safe, stress-free, sterilized life. No. It corrupts our sense of self-worth. It deducts our motivation and creativity.
The sky may or may not be falling. But if it is, it provides an opportunity to be the best version of ourselves possible. And that’s a good thing.
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