Growth For The Sake Of Growth Is The Ideology Of A Cancer Cell

Georges van Hoegaerden


That statement by American Environmentalist Edward Abbey borrowed as the title of this article, communicates precisely why we need to build smarter operating-systems of humanity to in no uncertain terms, prevent manmade cancer from creeping into our societal fabric.

Manmade systems that shall not be designed to grow for the sake of growth, but instead be intended to spawn the excellence of human renewal. Nature builds all of its systems that way, the prolonging of any species predicated on the quality of the revival of said species. Likewise, the excellence of human renewal is directly responsible for prolonging human sustainability — strength, not length, as the preeminent catalyst of human excellence.

Manmade stupidity

Humanity, as arguably the most intelligent major species on earth, is now on a trajectory to live the shortest of all known species. Pause, and consider that fact for a moment. Page intentionally left blank if this were a book.

Indeed, our one-dimensional infatuation with human intelligence, translated into us being full of ourselves, is not doing us any favors. At this rate, there is no chance we will outlive a common fly, an animal with a pin-sized brain. By the dumb systems we concoct to manage ourselves we perpetuate the kind of growth for growth sake that induces the inflammatory equivalent of humanitarian cancer.

The way we build a company is based on continual growth, or else we remove the CEO. We expect the stock of a company to increase in value continually, or else we sell our shareholdings. Investment firms must produce consistent returns, or otherwise, we replace their leadership or dissolve them. We expect the GDP of a country to grow continually or deem a country a failure on the global stage. All well within the timespan of a human lifecycle. All in remarkable ignorance of nature’s model for growth.

There is nothing wrong with the demand for growth in an expanding universe that continually reshuffles the deck of finite resources available to us, but the growth to which we contribute must improve the expanding fractal of humanity, not narrow it. And be flexible in the assignment of merit that continually enhances the dynamic equilibrium with nature we depend on for survival. The stale narrow-mindedness of our current systems is what induces the kind of cancer to challenge our renewal of long.

Cheap and ill-conceived self-regulation of undesirable consequences derived from the improper cause is like a placebo offered to the dying, a cruel experiment that will never resolve to excellence. No system aligned with the inappropriate or frozen normalization of evolutionary truth will produce the desired outcomes to support the expanding fractal of human potential and discovery.

The future of humanity

Now, I know how hard it is for many of us to question the manmade systems set before us. Not in the least because from an early age we have been dutifully trained and sculpted by the playbook of limits, boundaries, and rules of those systems.

Our success in life, as we are told, is predicated on how we obey those systems, too numbed in busy conformance ever to stop and question the current merit of those systems. Our quest for personal survival and compliance much more dominant than the retention of a zest for unprecedented discovery. Michelangelo painted religious murals, not because he was religious, but because it was the only way for him to make a living and survive. The limit of his creativity similarly stifled by his need to conform to manmade dogmas.

The future of humanity as a whole is now composed of maddening convulsions of our mere collective desperation to survive.

Reality is, the discoveries, analyses, and reasonings of Galileo, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Feynman, validated by peer review, have proven the vast majority of the principles of our manmade systems blatantly wrong. Oddly enough, without us adjusting the evolution of our manmade systems to reflect those newfound evolutionary truths. Our systems remain in stubborn denial of the ingenious discoveries by those great minds. As if those discoveries never happened, with our systems remaining frozen in time.

A brighter future for humanity is, in stark contrast with our current theories, dependent on our ability to continually calibrate to discoveries of evolutionary truth – our truths no longer self-evident.

What we want is not what we need

To attempt to cure the undesirable humanitarian cancer referred to in the title of this blog, derived from the deployment of growth for the sake of growth, conveys the same ignorance as a morbidly obese person complaining about their weight while picking up a full-size Starbucks Frappuccino every day. I observe this every day.

The said obesity (in general) a consequence of an apathetic, consumerist, defeatist, enslaved, and complacent attitude on life, the real cause. Some of it induced by the narrowing standard-deviation of merit we appraise with money and thus freedom.

“We’re building a culture of throwaway people – uneducated, apathetic, overmedicated, stuffed with fat and chemicals, and convinced that bad behavior will land them a fortune through reality tv.”

Unnamed American

I cringe equally when I hear Warren Buffet in a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting proudly explain how his investment in sugar-water has managed to trap “the innocent” in previously untainted countries with more irresponsible caloric intake, growth damaging an even greater swath of human renewal.

We, humans, enslaved by desperate consumerism and generally tapped out of the difficult task of having to think for ourselves, easily confound cause with consequence, and in the words of Nietzsche, mindlessly hobble down many treacherous paths of grave depravity of reason.

Nothing will fundamentally improve the excellence of humanity until we subject ourselves to the newfound discoveries of evolutionary truth, upstream. The endless downstream suboptimizations of our current systems, dangerously running out of steam already, unable to improve the excellence of humanity, acting as aging band-aids hiding the wounds of cancer soon to appear elsewhere.

New growth

Now that we covered plenty of incriminating evidence of what growth for growth sake leads to manmade cancer we can finally begin to explore what kind of growth is needed to preserve the longevity of the human species. The answer, of course, is hidden in a new and higher-level normalization from the inversion of the slides above.

Our manmade concoctions (in red) must be transformed into the principles enforced by nature (in green). Complicated as this may seem at the level of consequential disparity, recognition and a higher normalization of evolutionary truth reveal a single causal change will instantly transform our manmade systems back into conformance with nature.

No scorched earth approach or constitutional change is needed to affect the change described above. All it takes is the leadership that values our humanitarian integrity more than our desperate vile-maxim of fleeting personal interests. Changing the name of our evolutionary game and adjusting the incentives accordingly will instantly transform the behavior of participants.

So, change is easy and can be instituted immediately yielding newfound excellence of humanity in tune with a dynamic equilibrium with nature we depend on for survival.

Growth, for once, following how nature grows: consistent, renewable, and repeatable.

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