Earth. Our planet?
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31-05-2014, 10:53 AM (This post was last modified: 31-05-2014 10:56 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(30-05-2014 12:08 PM)living thing Wrote:  I don't think the Earth is our planet; I think it is the planet on which we happen to live. But I may be wrong, it may be ours or even someone else's. What do you think?

I'm with you and the grizzled ReadyForThe SoapPlantWarHorse. Planet don't belong to me anymore than I belong to the billions and billions of critters living in my gut. I try to take care of them though. I am nothing if not a benevolent God and a gracious host. (That and if I don't keep them happy they will let me know about it. I am an ecosystem. Big Grin )

#sigh
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31-05-2014, 11:10 AM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(30-05-2014 12:08 PM)living thing Wrote:  But to what extent is the planet on which we live our own? Is the Earth more mine than it is yours? Does it belong to us more than it did to human beings living a few thousand years ago? Is it more ours than it will be our great-great-great-grandchildren's? Is it more ours than it is fishes', reptiles' or birds'? Bacteria inhabited this planet long before anything resembling a human being walked on its surface; using our "it's mine because I got here first" frequent logic, shouldn't "our" planet be theirs? And what about other planets in the stellar system where we live? We can certainly try to use Mars for our benefit, but can we claim it as our property? Who exactly writes those property deeds?

I think it would be helpful for humanity if, instead of fighting against anything for the right to own everything, we learned how to use common resources collectively and effectively, sharing them with other human and non-human living beings that not only enrich the biological diversity of this "corner" of the universe, but upon which our lives inextricably depend.

I don't think the Earth is our planet; I think it is the planet on which we happen to live. But I may be wrong, it may be ours or even someone else's. What do you think?

Regardless of this planet's ownership, I hope you'll enjoy it today.


I think the concept of property is exclusive to a limited number of sentient beings. The universe, as far as we can tell, is not sentient, so it doesn't matter who claims one planet or another. Thus, to ask questions about ownership on such a grand scale is meaningless.

Also, the concept of property has always been, and may always be, backed up by the threat of violence. Whoever packs the biggest threat of violence claims what he/she wants. Since the idea of property has been created by humans, humans (even unethical ones) may define property.

As for what is "helpful" for humanity, who can say? Maybe the competition for resources is only a function for population control, and if we began to collaborate (even more than we already do), the population would spiral out of control and devastation and extinction would occur.

I know this doesn't jive well with the ideals of an ethical humanist, but unfortunately, there's no evidence that the universe holds any objective standard of morality.
Life is chaos. Life is catastrophe.
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31-05-2014, 06:08 PM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(30-05-2014 12:08 PM)living thing Wrote:  One of the least helpful cultural influences that I find in judeochristian religion, although it is probably based on earlier neolithic traditions, is how it tends to depict the land, and non-human things that live on it, as a gift from the god thing to (his chosen) people, for them to exploit at will. Consequently, (his chosen) people often act as if the land, and anything that may roam or stand on it, were our property. We can use it, exchange it for money, give it away or even destroy it at will.

But to what extent is the planet on which we live our own? Is the Earth more mine than it is yours? Does it belong to us more than it did to human beings living a few thousand years ago? Is it more ours than it will be our great-great-great-grandchildren's? Is it more ours than it is fishes', reptiles' or birds'? Bacteria inhabited this planet long before anything resembling a human being walked on its surface; using our "it's mine because I got here first" frequent logic, shouldn't "our" planet be theirs? And what about other planets in the stellar system where we live? We can certainly try to use Mars for our benefit, but can we claim it as our property? Who exactly writes those property deeds?

I think it would be helpful for humanity if, instead of fighting against anything for the right to own everything, we learned how to use common resources collectively and effectively, sharing them with other human and non-human living beings that not only enrich the biological diversity of this "corner" of the universe, but upon which our lives inextricably depend.

I don't think the Earth is our planet; I think it is the planet on which we happen to live. But I may be wrong, it may be ours or even someone else's. What do you think?

Regardless of this planet's ownership, I hope you'll enjoy it today.

I love the idea of an altruistic planet—all life forms working together for the betterment of everyone. Unfortunately, humans are self-absorbed assholes, who would rather maximize their personal profit (not necessarily just monetarily) at the expense of anything else.

If this planet "belongs" to anyone, it's either the Arthropoda, or Cyanobacteria.

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31-05-2014, 08:28 PM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
Realistically, it's ours, we dominate it and do whatever the heck we want with it and everything on it.

Are we responsible stewards?

Nope, we torture all the other animals at will, we destroy the vegetation, and we multiply like rats destroying everything in our wake and causing immeasurable suffering.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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31-05-2014, 10:53 PM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(31-05-2014 08:28 PM)Dom Wrote:  Realistically, it's ours, we dominate it and do whatever the heck we want with it and everything on it.

Are we responsible stewards?

Nope, we torture all the other animals at will, we destroy the vegetation, and we multiply like rats destroying everything in our wake and causing immeasurable suffering.

[Image: american-cockroach.jpg]

I rest my case.Drinking Beverage

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31-05-2014, 11:07 PM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(31-05-2014 10:53 PM)ThePaleolithicFreethinker Wrote:  
(31-05-2014 08:28 PM)Dom Wrote:  Realistically, it's ours, we dominate it and do whatever the heck we want with it and everything on it.

Are we responsible stewards?

Nope, we torture all the other animals at will, we destroy the vegetation, and we multiply like rats destroying everything in our wake and causing immeasurable suffering.

[Image: american-cockroach.jpg]

I rest my case.Drinking Beverage

They may yet inherit the Earth.
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31-05-2014, 11:10 PM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(31-05-2014 11:07 PM)catgoblin Wrote:  ...
They may yet inherit the Earth.

Nah! They're not meek enough.

The cockroaches who allow me to share their apartment are arrogant little fuckers! Angry

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01-06-2014, 07:36 AM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
Hello catgoblin, how are you? Welcome to this thread, and to this forum. Thanks for your interesting view.

I think I may understand what you are saying, although I am not sure I entirely agree with your perspective. I'm not suggesting it is wrong, of course, I am simply saying that things seem slightly different from my point of view. Let me please try to explain why, but please excuse the length of this text. I'm not trying to set up a wall of letters, but I am useless at summarising my view.

(31-05-2014 11:10 AM)catgoblin Wrote:  I think the concept of property is exclusive to a limited number of sentient beings. The universe, as far as we can tell, is not sentient, so it doesn't matter who claims one planet or another. Thus, to ask questions about ownership on such a grand scale is meaningless.
I think it should be meaningless, I don't think it matters who claims one planet or another. But I do find relevance in the fact that someone, or some set of ones, may claim planets as their property. Because it is a ridiculous claim, but we have a tragic history of killing one another in our attempts to extend and defend "our" land.

(31-05-2014 11:10 AM)catgoblin Wrote:  Also, the concept of property has always been, and may always be, backed up by the threat of violence. Whoever packs the biggest threat of violence claims what he/she wants. Since the idea of property has been created by humans, humans (even unethical ones) may define property.
I agree. The notion of land property probably had no meaning to human beings prior to the development of agriculture, although some sort of royal property rights may have been enforced upon things on the land long before anyone settled down permanently.

I'm not suggesting this based on any direct evidence, so please don't believe it; learning about prehistoric procedures is difficult due to the lack of recorded procedural descriptions. I'm basing my suggestion on the fact that royals, after the development of writing systems, have often seemed to enforce hunting rights as if animals were their property, and human beings have been hunting animals since long before the Neolithic revolution; I wouldn't be surprised if the leaders of Upper Paleolithic tribes enforced hunting rights too. But the point to be made is that ownership of the land and its resources is an artificial lie, just like the gods on which that ownership is sometimes based. And just like artificial gods, we can define it and redefine it to suit our selfish needs in any discussion.

But when we discuss our properties, we do often back our positions with weapons instead of logical arguments. "Your bows and arrows make me laugh when I think of my nuclear warheads, therefore the land where you live is mine" is a typically human "logic". In a way, humanity has been hijacked by those most willing to destroy it; the vast majority of people have no say in top property discussions and have no access to big weapons, but big weapons have access to them when they go off in the crudest stages of property discussions. Luckily (for those who launch the weapons) those who launch the weapons often have solid bunkers that may protect them from the effects of big weapons going off, so there's "nothing" to worry about; let's just keep paying for the bunkers.

(31-05-2014 11:10 AM)catgoblin Wrote:  As for what is "helpful" for humanity, who can say? Maybe the competition for resources is only a function for population control, and if we began to collaborate (even more than we already do), the population would spiral out of control and devastation and extinction would occur.
I don't have any children so, even if we do overpopulate this planet, I cannot really feel responsible for it. But you've hit on an important point, at least from my perspective. Careless reproduction can kill very large collectives of living things.

My body is a cooperative effort. Billions of cells contribute, each with whatever it can, to the well-being of the whole collective. They take what they need from the common pool of resources, but they leave what they don't need available for the rest. In exchange for not accumulating unnecessary resources, they gain the effects of whatever other cells can do with those resources, which is a huge set of new abilities. For example, none of my cells can, by itself, hunt a small animal or even grab a tomato. But working together, they can do that and many other things, and they all benefit from the collective effort.

One thing about my cells is that only one set of them need to compete for reproduction. Most of my cells are asexual and many do not reproduce at all; only sperm cells need to compete in order to do something useful. So my cells don't have to spend half their lives pretending to be more valuable than they really are in order to impress a potential sexual partner. We, however, seem to really feel the urge.

It would be useful for us if we understood that we are a social animal; our individual survival depends entirely on help we receive from our closest biological relatives (other human beings). You only have to see our infants to realise just how dependent we are on the care we receive from others; killing a human child is so easy, that tiny viruses and bacteria can do it, that if the child doesn't just kill him or herself by mistake. So we cannot just afford to compete and compete and compete for a shag; we need to learn to help each other if we want the products of our shags to have their own chance to shag. If we cooperate for the benefit of the whole humanity (for example by not taking what we don't need, thus leaving it available for whoever may need it) we can gain abilities that none of us will ever have individually. Exiting this planet is a collective effort and, in the long run, it will be a necessity.

But if we do want to reproduce successfully, we cannot reproduce carelessly. Shagging is fun and we should all probably do it more often (maybe then we'd fuck less with each other), but having fifteen mouths to feed is not fun, especially if you only have three children with five mouths each, when it becomes scary. Regardless of the mouth-child ratio, the point is that careless reproduction can kill you, me, and everyone else. I'm talking, of course, about cancer.

In our bodies, it often takes one (1) cell to begin diverting collective resources to fuel its own careless reproduction, to lead to the death of the whole collective (billions of cooperative cells). As the greedy bastard's cellular line becomes fruitful and multiplies (what a stupid advice!) tumours grow and eventually deprive cooperative cells from the resources they need in order to function properly, and we need our critical organs to function propertly in order to live! Soon after our hearts stop pumping blood and our nervous systems stop propagating signals, our cells die including the careless reproductors.

Who can say what is helpful for humanity? Anyone who spends some time observing other living beings. It's not like I have spent my whole life observing them in every minute detail, but even I can see how cooperation (collective multitasking) is helpful for life at pretty much every stage. Individual genes are hardly able to do anything by themselves, but genomes (cooperative collections of genes) are able to do things no individual gene could ever dream of if genes had an underlying structure enabling them to dream. Individual cells are fairly capable of doing things, but they're quite useless when it comes to building, for example, a house; multicelled organisms are cooperative collections of cells, often able to build external housings. An individual ant is a wimpy little multicelled thing, however an ant colony (a cooperative collection of them) can build things that impress even human engineers. What could humanity not do, if we all put our abilities and efforts together for the benefit of all?

I guess immortality is our of reach, but meanwhile, we can spread life to lifeless planets. If we don't just stick our stupid flags on whatever lump of matter we may bump into, extra-terrestrial exploration may be fun, who knows? I probably won't.

(31-05-2014 11:10 AM)catgoblin Wrote:  I know this doesn't jive well with the ideals of an ethical humanist, but unfortunately, there's no evidence that the universe holds any objective standard of morality.
Well, that ethical humanist can fuck off; I don't think you should tailor your views to suit other people's likings. But you can, of course, if you want to; I'm not saying you shouldn't. It is really up to you.

I agree that there cannot be any objective standard of morality. Should human beings live or die? I don't know, it depends on who you ask. If you ask humans, or things that depend on humans for their subsistence, you're likely to get a "yes", maybe a what-the-fuck bark or even no answer at all. If you ask rhinos, or tigers or whatever, you probably won't get an answer either but I can almost imagine them saying that we can all fuck off to Mars.

(31-05-2014 11:10 AM)catgoblin Wrote:  Life is chaos. Life is catastrophe.
I'd say life is order. In a universe that is constantly changing towards a more disordered state, life is the process by which matter arranges itself into order. It is a virtual illusion, of course; every life has a beginning and every life reaches an end. Meanwhile, it can be fun.

At least, I hope you'll have it. Thanks again for sharing your view!
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01-06-2014, 07:38 AM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(31-05-2014 10:53 PM)ThePaleolithicFreethinker Wrote:  I rest my case.Drinking Beverage
Do you think cockroaches will be surprised when the outer layers of a red giant sun engulf the planet?
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01-06-2014, 07:43 AM
RE: Earth. Our planet?
(31-05-2014 11:07 PM)catgoblin Wrote:  They may yet inherit the Earth.
Inherit it? From us? So it is ours!

I'd say we haven't really inherited it from them yet, but like DLJ suggests, they share it with us; even if we don't really want to share it with them. But baby seals! Who wouldn't share the planet with them?

It's funny how there seems to be a selective pressure towards animals looking like stuffed toys.
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