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Sustainable Society:  A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.







National Optimum Population Commission-NOPC-proposal


Controlling Circumstances

M. Boyd Wilcox, Founder
March, 1998

Population Control! Utter this phrase and for some people and groups a HUGE RED FLAG goes up; eyeballs roll, the spine stiffens, the flight or fight endocrine system kicks in; an aggressive response of some kind is inevitable. Why? It's so out of character.

For a species that has evolved to be the most controlling organism on the Planet, population control should be seen as NO BIG DEAL. It should be viewed as just another universally-accepted example. Control is what we are about. It is what we do for a living and we are uncontested experts at the game.

We control most other plant and animal species via habitat destruction or transformation; through the issuance of hunting or harvesting licenses, tags and permits; not to mention poaching and other less socially-approved methods.

The practice of medicine, from ancient to modern has largely been focused upon controlling the source and symptoms of our body's reaction to numerous organisms. We call them diseases. They are just struggling for survival too. But we will do our best to control them for our own anthropocentric purposes.

Most of our food is grown, produced, packaged, stored, shipped and prepared for consumption under vast systems of control. We call it agriculture and the various spin-off enterprises therefrom. It involves huge inputs of energy and material support from chemicals, fertilizers, machinery and petroleum to the electricity used to power modern refrigeration. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would think we were from a different planet, but we simply occupy another locus on the long continuum of increasing control.

They would wonder too where our systems of finance and currency came from. We view the concept of interest as a ubiquitous given; as an integral part of "what must have been here forever"; as a functional requirement for any fair and workable monetary system. But we should be reminded that, historically speaking, it was considered morally unacceptable to ask that repayment be larger than the loan. It eventually became OK to charge interest to those outside your own family, ethnic or religious group; to those who were not "true" friends or associates. Charging interest is one method used by those who have money, to control those without. Now that the concept and use of interest is almost universal, does this mean we have fewer friends and more strangers in our lives?

We have traveled a great distance from simple systems of barter to arrive at one where the financial lifeblood of most people operates beneath the controlling tentacles of jobs, salaries, bank accounts, IRAs, loans, interest and mortgage payments, retirement benefits, stock markets and options; even betting on a brighter future via the lottery. Many people dream of being millionaires not primarily because of the money, but because of the personal control this money would allow, or freedom from control exercised by others. We should be aware that the underlying control is there, which we attempt to master when possible or adapt to when necessary.

Up until the last few centuries, most humans learned [got their education] by actively participating with others who willingly shared knowledge and skills. It was a more informal method of controlling the passing on of cultural wisdom from one generation to the next. Nowadays, these systems of control are more complicated and require a much greater output of time and energy on the part of both teacher and student. Education now encompasses at least 12 years of formal schooling, with additional years at post-secondary levels becoming more necessary for economic survival. Again, it is a system of control that is universally accepted and one we continue to promote as "progress."

We even control how we decide to control ourselves. We call it government! Consider the Constitution, the Bill of Rights; all the laws, rules, and regulations that have been passed; the jurisdictional agencies, the judicial and incarceration systems; the National Guard; the sum total of strictures that apply to so many forms of commerce and human behavior. In a democratic system such as ours, we [for the most part] label it as "mutual coercion, mutually chosen." More autocratic or despotic regimes are less freely chosen, but the populations that live under them nevertheless are subject to controls. If they seek change, it is to a different system of control, not a system of no-control.

Additional examples could be selected from the realms of Industry, Transportation, Journalism, Media and even Religion. Those cited above should suffice to make the point. To repeat, we are a species that specializes in control. It has allowed us to occupy otherwise uninhabitable regions of the globe, and to adapt to conditions unhealthy and threatening to our long-term sustainability and survival, including the unprecedented growth in our population. But continue to control we will, and continue to control we must. Perhaps we should change our scientific name to Homo controlis universalis in recognition of this fact, and of our inescapable responsibility to exercise control in the service of wisdom, foresight and a sustainable future. Controlling population is one very important aspect of this responsibility. It should be no big deal.

To do otherwise would be ...well...out of control.

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