Thought for the Day 14 September 2017
I woke up this morning with the word “profound” in my head. Where it came from I don’t know, but I took it as a sign that I should come up with something profound for my thought for today. Just to make sure I understood what this word means I looked it up. I got the following: ‘very great or intense’; ‘severe’; ‘showing great knowledge or insight’ and ‘very deep’.
I followed that up by trying to come up with some examples. I thought the first guy who said the world orbited the sun instead of the sun orbiting the earth had a profound thought. I was surprised when I found out that this idea went right back to an Indian philosopher called Yajnavalkya, nine centuries before Christ. He didn’t get much support and the same fate befell ancient Greek astronomer Aristarchus, who brought up the idea again. Next came Copernicus who actually produced a mathematical model in 1532 that proved the case. Such was the opposition to this, particularly from the Catholic Church that Copernicus delayed publication of his work until 1543, when he was on his deathbed. His work was banned by the church after Galileo used it for the foundation of his own ideas on the subject. (In 1616) For his support of the idea, Galileo was convicted of ‘grave suspicion of heresy’, forced to recant and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. I think all of this shows that the idea that the earth orbited the sun was pretty profound. The same goes for the thought that the earth is round rather than flat. It was profound at first also. So what modern thought can be considered ‘profound’?
Well I have just been looking at the facts of the human population explosion and there are some disturbing things there. Consider the facts.
From the origins of modern man it took until around 1850 for the human population to reach 1 billion. By 1930 or so it was 2 billion; then by 1975, 4 billion; by 1987, 5 billion; by the year 2000, 6 billion and by 2011, 7 billion. So we are increasing at a rate of about 1 billion every twelve years. We are consuming the world’s resources at an alarming rate and causing a whole bunch of side effects like global warming, resource exhaustion and species extinction. Recently, scientists have started predicting that we cannot sustainably continue to increase at the current rate. Some give us only another hundred years before we will become extinct due to our own activities – the combination of global warming and ‘consuming ourselves out of house and home’. So my profound thought for today is a question:
“Will humanity become the agent of its own destruction within the next century?”
And on that somber note, have a great day.