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The facts of life don’t warrant optimism, but yes, people want to believe that their lives have meaning and that happiness. The absence of suffering is realistic goals worthy of pursuit Be the teacher who makes other teachers feel great because you always have candy shirt. Look at how many people pursue money and power in the quest to alleviate suffering and enhance happiness. Even the most famous and admired people fall into decline and suffer as they die. But by then, most of their followers and admirers have turned away. They don’t want to see. They don’t want to know. The most forward-seeking risk-analyses by the best forecasters seem to agree that humans will not survive as a species for much longer.
No evidence exists that advanced species gain long term survival advantages Be the teacher who makes other teachers feel great because you always have candy shirt. In fact, all intelligent species in the universe is likely to reach an asymptotic limit to knowledge that guarantees their self-annihilation. No one has ever seen evidence of advanced life in space, and speculation is that no one ever will because it seems reasonable to believe that the more knowledgeable and capable a species the more likely it is to destroy itself. Humans have buried enough plutonium in nuclear weapons to exterminate all life on Earth. Eventually, the time will arrive when the weapons will rot and their poisons leach into the soils.
It may take hundreds or even thousands of years, but humans have already committed species-suicide. We have no way to rid the planet of the chemical and nuclear poisons military industries have created and which must be safely stored for eternity. Of course, many other threats such as planet-baking, gene-corruption, and virulent pandemics exist and are most likely imminent. Still, I believe each generation owes the next the best possible odds to survive and thrive. We must avoid setting up conditions for catastrophes like totalitarian lock-downs by oligarchs or any one of a dozen other disasters that might destroy everyone’s optimism if that were possible.