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Book details
  • Genre:SOCIAL SCIENCE
  • SubGenre:Customs & Traditions
  • Language:English
  • Pages:116
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098312350

11:58

Civilization may be on the brink of collapse, but it can still be saved

by Jeb Taylor

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Overview
Ten thousand years ago our ancestors abandoned foraging in favor of agriculture. In so doing, they inadvertently crossed the threshold between primitive and civilized existences and committed all future generations to an increasing reliance on progressive technologies—and the need to adopt progressive social behavior commensurate with those technologies. We save succeeded in incorporating progressive technologies into our material cultures incredibly well, but we have failed, almost completely, to adopt progressive social behavior commensurate with those technologies. In other words, we have become materially progressive—but remain socially conservative. This is an untenable situation because nearly every problem that threatens civilization today, from suicide bombings and wars—to pollution and overpopulation, can be traced directly or indirectly back to the disparity that exists between progressive technological development and conservative social behavior. In order to resolve this problem, we must either regress technologically—or progress socially. Regressing technologically is not a realistic option, so we really have no choice but to progress socially. 11:58 is a no-nonsense guide for accomplishing this goal.
Description
Somewhere in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago, an unknown group of intrepid individuals—in an attempt to improve their survival prospects—abandoned their traditional nomadic foraging subsistence strategy and adopted a sedentary one based on agriculture. In so doing, they inadvertently crossed a threshold between primitive and civilized existences—and committed all future generations to an increasing reliance on progressive technologies—a commitment that we have wholeheartedly embraced. When they crossed that threshold, they also committed all future generations to adopting progressive social behavior commensurate with those emerging technologies—unfortunately, we have failed, almost completely, to meet that commitment. In other words, over the last 10,000 years, we have become materially progressive—but remain socially conservative. This is an untenable situation because nearly every problem that threatens civilization today, from suicide bombings and wars—to pollution and overpopulation, can be traced directly or indirectly back to the disparity that exists between progressive technological development and conservative social behavior. In order to resolve this problem, we must either regress technologically—or progress socially. Regressing technologically is not a realistic option, so we really have no choice but to progress socially. If we fail to do this, our irresponsible use of technology will inevitably lead to chronic overpopulation, the overconsumption of Earth's resources, a population crash, and the collapse of civilization. The requisite conditions for a crash already exist. Developing technologies are enabling us to forestall it by establishing increasingly clever methods of harvesting Earth's dwindling resources. However, even the most-clever methods will not enable us to harvest completely depleted resources. This is not alarmist speculation—collapse is the inevitable consequence of employing progressive technologies without adopting progressive social behavior commensurate with those technologies. 11:58 is an objective guide for averting collapse and saving civilization
About the author
Author biographies are provided so that prospective readers can assess whether authors are qualified to write on the subjects of their books. From an orthodox perspective, there is little to suggest that Jeb Taylor is such an individual. However, orthodox perspectives are proving to be extremely unreliable, so perhaps it is time to consider alternatives. At a very young age Jeb recognized that technology was rendering civilization unsustainable, and began to rebel against it. This rebellion manifested itself in unusual ways. For example, when Jeb was 18, he spent a winter alone in the Alaskan wilderness teaching himself aboriginal survival skills. And the following summer he canoed down the Yukon River to learn additional skills from Athabaskan Indians. These efforts were expended largely because Jeb was convinced that the only way for humankind to achieve sustainability was to forego modern technology and revert back to more primitive life styles. Jeb spent much of the next 20 years in wilderness settings learning to live off the land— relying on hunting, fishing, trapping, harvesting wild plants, and gardening to provide for his needs. This regressive approach even led him to spend part of a summer living in a rock shelter in northeastern Oregon where he pursued a largely stone tool existence. Interestingly, this site was later "discovered" and reported on as a potentially important aboriginal site in an archaeological journal. In time, Jeb realized that it was the irresponsible use of technology—not technology per se that was responsible for civilization's problems. He began to regard civilization as a risky evolutionary experiment whose ultimate success required that we learn to manage technology sustainably. We have clearly failed to do this. After careful consideration, Jeb concluded that the reason why we are failing is that managing technology sustainability requires a level of social awareness and sophistication that we are currently unable to attain—because we embrace socially conservative beliefs and traditions that will not allow us to. Change can be scary, but maintaining the status quo is actually a death sentence for civilization. Jeb wrote 11:58 in an attempt to encourage the adoption of more progressive and sustainable social attitudes and behavior—before it is too late. It might seem imprudent to trust someone who spent most of their life on the fringe of civilization to offer advice regarding its preservation. However, maintaining that distance enabled Jeb to develop objective perspectives and insights that few people ever experience. Besides, our social leaders are not providing us with meaningful guidance today—so it is definitely prudent to consider carefully conceived alternative perspectives.
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