Dan Brown’s Inferno

What a delightful read! The Inferno blends the worlds of Art, Historical Inquiry, Travel, Architecture and Literature with the sciences of computerized tracking systems and Genetics.the-inferno-cover What it raised for me, particularly for this blog, is the issue of overpopulation. A lot of people are resistant to the idea of life extension due to the associated fears of overpopulation. They wonder how can we continue to feed, house and medically attend to the needs of exponentially rising numbers of people on the planet, especially seniors that are already overburdening the medical system? Wouldn’t increased human longevity just enhance the likelihood of Nature creating a plague in its own defense?

Well, in my opinion, here’s the best way to control population growth: education. People in democratic countries with easy access to higher education have fewer births; countries that give women the opportunities to get a graduate education (and therefore, land important careers) have fewer births, and people with adequate education to avoid disease are less of a burden on any medical system. It’s all about education, particularly the kind that raises consciousness and awareness, encourages intellectual curiosity and demonstrates how love and cooperation improve the mental, emotional and physical health of all concerned.

I have often chuckled at the bumper sticker that says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” education vs ignoranceIgnorance is really what keeps people in the dark about whether or not to have children. Ignorance also keeps societies stuck on the idea that life extension (longevity) is going to hurt the planet. Really, isn’t one of the main reasons we have children is so we can vicariously enjoy them doing what we could not do? But with education, good health, fair economics and political freedom, we can do for ourselves what we would want for our children.

The Inferno isn’t a plague of disease; it’s a plague of dark emotions and a closed mind. I have referred earlier in this blog to the HIND factor that keeps us stuck in a hurting place: Hate, Ignorance, Neediness and Denial. HIND keeps us beHIND. It is dark and, like a proverbial Hell, almost impossible from which to extricate ourselves on our own strength. But with public education and free college level courses on the Internet, education is spreading. (Coursera, Khan Academy and elsewhere.)

I see that the darkness is slipping away due to increased availability of education and information. Traditions that kept people mentally blind are being exposed and tossed aside. And false education (government propaganda, big business media, religious myths, superstitions, etc.) is giving way to the light of truth. With computers virtually everywhere, we are learning to think beyond the confines of our own safety zones by using logic, comparison, and broad-scope intelligence.

We don’t really have to worry about overpopulation as much as we need to worry about losing the educated and wise ones that can help us see our future (like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and let go of our dark past. We need our educated old ones; and we, ourselves, need to live long enough to become wise. Then, with us as a more intelligent species, Nature’s course and our course don’t have to go to war.

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