My high school biology teacher mentioned that there were tropical diseases that we hadn't encountered and really knew almost nothing about. It made me wonder what were the effects of vaccines and other medicine. I have a knack for biology as well as a good deal of curiosity so I looked into what that might mean. I'm still looking but what I've already found might amaze you. Diseases are just part of life. By using medicine to control disease, we just made another one of the great changes that have been going on since we created the farms and cities of civilization. All those changes bring with them great potentials and great dangers. This story is about how we can overcome the dangers and achieve some of the potentials that have been the dreams of humanity since before there was any civilization. To do it, we will have to create a new ecology that we can survive and develop in the long term to replace the hunter-gatherer tribal ecology we developed in but have left. To survive, we will need to adapt genetically and strategically to the new ecology. Luckily, the parts we need to do that are in place. Unfortunately, it is not an ecology that exists in nature so we must create and maintain it. May I explain?
There are a couple of parts to this. The first is to consider is genetics, partly because it is a more clear problem. We need to husband our genetics. What we have called human progress has been the removal of natural selection. Natural selection is nature's tool for keeping a species' genetics healthy by removing the genes that break every generation. Scientists call those broken genes "de novo" mutations which is Latin for "fresh". They are broken though and long ago I called them "non-integral genes". Natural selection is a blunt, stupid tool that only can work over long time periods. It is the "red in tooth and claw" part of nature. Disease is its primary tool for removing broken genes. It will remove any weakness in the genes even if we don't know about it. One of the first parts of this story is my book "Genetics For A New Human Ecology". It describes why controlling disease and for a few other similar reasons, we will need to consciously husband our genes. Our genes are the greatest wealth our species has. If they aren't kept healthy, we will not survive. If we don't husband out genes, we will weaken so that any civilization we build will fail until natural selection starts to operate again. That book tells how we can ethically and economically keep our genes healthy. This will effect everyone weak or strong, rich or poor. It also tells the underlying theme of this whole story. Nature gives all life genetic and behavioral survival strategies. They are very simple though. Nature is blind and can only create simple strategies like natural selection. Humanity can make much better strategies and needs to. We will continue to use some of nature's strategies. We will add to some of our own strategies to what nature has given us and we will also definitely want to avoid some other strategies. Obviously there are many strategies that we can't get rid of and don't want to, but we can change them such as we have with natural selection. We have reduced natural selection but you are never going to get rid of something so basic and don't want to. This all applies to our behavioral strategies as well as our genetic strategies. We can very often come up with better methods than nature provides.
The second main topic of this story is about behavior. Human behavior is uniquely more complicated than other animals have. Our behavior is both learned and inherited as instincts. The idea of "Strategy For A New Human Ecology" is to lay out the understandings, knowledge, and strategies we will need to be able to build and maintain a civilization. Civilization is our new ecology and is far better for human survival than what nature provides. It is more pleasant and has more potential. Our ecology is our life support system and without a fairly long term stable ecology, no species can survive. Since we left the tribal ecology, we've been going through short term transient ecologies. It's very dangerous. We need a good strategy to make and maintain a civilization that can support us. Luckily, we have the instincts and the knowledge we need to survive. We need some better technology to provide our resources but we are quickly developing those. We need more than technology and resources though. We need better understandings. We need to consciously know about our ancient survival and moral instincts because they are what have to guide us. The scientists and philosophers can give us great tools of knowledge but how we use them can be for good or bad. If we know about our instincts we can feel them warning us and telling us to survive, but they are from a time long before words so they can be hard to understand. We do have powerful instincts though and if you just know where to look they are easy to recognize and hear. Then you can use the great wealth of knowledge that the thinkers of history, philosophy, law, science, and psychology can give you as tools. Logic and reason can show you truth. Your intelligence can give you understanding. It is your instincts though that will guide you in how to use that knowledge and understanding to survive. You can teach your instincts as well and sometimes need to because your instincts come from an older, different time and human wisdom may be greater than what nature can provide.
Will this story be complete? I doubt it. Will this include mistakes? I expect so. Will it be enough? I think so because it is all put in an open framework. Ecology is a tool for systematically describing everything about a species and what it needs to survive. Like other sciences, it can expand and be corrected, but it is a powerful tool that is made for the job. We can not only replace the function of disease with a far better method than nature provides, but we can also solve other problems and take advantage of the genetic wealth of humanity to adapt to an unknown future. We can intelligently increase the number of "good" genes by giving parents the choice to make sure that their children inherit the best genes they both have. Nature doesn't do that. Most of nature's strategies are very wasteful win-lose methods. Humans can create far more efficient and pleasant win-win strategies that will promote our survival and growth in a way that our instincts are comfortable with. Nature has created a nice world, which it looks like we are going to need to repair, but with wisdom, humanity can garden it to be even more vital than nature has created. This is not meant to solve every problem of creating and maintaining a new ecology. It oviously can't but it is to show the instincts that will drive us and give us the strength to overcome new problems we find. This is not meant to be a perfect world, far from it. It is meant to be a pleasant, familiar vital world where humans can develop and find the challenges that will make us grow personally and as a species. It is to create a world where we will have the time to choose what destiny we want. We are infants. We need to grow up some and this describes how to get to a safe place where humanity can grow.
I hope you find this story interesting.