Wednesday, May 26, 2010




In the spirit of a new institute at Oxford University dedicated to studying “The Future of Humanity,” this course will direct and encourage your own inquiries along the “human frontiers,” rather than into the human hinterlands of history.

“Where are we heading? Where should we be going? To what extent can we become conscious co-evolutionists?” These are questions we shall pose, ponder and pursue. More than merely speculating, though, we shall investigate what credible leading-edge thinkers and their critics propound and argue about “evolution’s arrow” and the issues involved in further human and biotic development.

At the heart of our inquiries will be our efforts to realize that which is of greatest value to ourselves and others—the wisest ways to go.

Overview / Apologia

Humanity seems to be running or galloping or driving or flying or rocketing into its future faster and faster. But in what direction and with what foresight and wisdom?

Not very long ago, “the future” befell us, as it does all hapless species; yet in recent centuries our collective ingenuity has developed sciences and technologies increasingly capable of affecting Earth’s geotic and biotic systems, often with disastrous effects (such as the current BP oil spill).

The rapacity of our appetites is now depleting not only mineral but vegetable and animal “resources” around the world (as if we owned them exclusively). Rather than serving as caretakers of Earth, we now act like a cancerous growth ravaging the biosphere. Our shrewdness overshadows our sanity, and our collective insanity wreaks havoc on the planet. Our intelligence has outstripped our wisdom.

Thinking from the assumption that decisions and actions we human beings take affect the course of Earth’s history, and that we are capable of choosing alternative decisions and actions, it then behooves us to decide as wisely as possible how we shall proceed. Human history does not just happen; we make it, and we can make it better.

But how?

That is the Big Question this course seeks to answer. Knowing that through our increasingly sophisticated sciences and technologies we are becoming more powerful shapers of events on this planet, we need to cultivate discerning foresight and devise prudent plans respecting the actions we take, holding the welfare of the entire ecosystem at the heart of our concerns.