The Ecological Core Cause of all Escalations

Part 1: The unstable Foundation of Civilisation

Because the Corona pandemic and the war in Eastern Europe, two seemingly quite different crises in quick succession, have caused noticeable consequences, the previous naive optimism is now giving way to a new quality of uncertainty on the “islands of affluence” in Central Europe. In the media and discussion forums, there is a growing sense that the system of civilisation is drifting aimlessly and disorientedly towards a self-inflicted collapse. And that this will not be like an exciting movie of doom that one can watch sitting comfortably on the couch in front of the television.

Attentive readers of the publications of ZEIS Publishing have been able to recognise for some years that in the near future a disintegration of ecological and civilisational structures, which is already well advanced in other regions of the earth, will also reach the previous islands of affluence. The exact details of this process could not be foreseen, just as it is impossible to predict the exact shape of an approaching thundercloud. But many things, such as a pandemic emanating from China or the approach of the wars for food and water already underway in other continents, have been predicted here even down to the details.

In the near future, there will be many more escalations that will reach the islands of affluence and increasingly shake them. And at some point, the fundamental question could arise there as to whether there is something like a concrete causal core cause in this seemingly chaotic development. Because if that were the case, then perhaps a chance to stop the destructive process would lie in deeply undermining it. So instead of fighting the branches of evil sprouting like a hydra with their many different symptoms, the root of the whole would be cut.

In fact, there is this concrete causal core cause. Identifying it does not open up an immediate path to its direct elimination. But it does provide an orientation through which the escalations emanating from it could be successively dried up. The actual core cause of all escalations is dealt with in many ways in our publications. Nevertheless, it will be briefly reflected on in the following. And subsequently, in Parts 2 and 3 of this series, the causal ramifications emanating from it will be traced using the examples of the war in Ukraine and the Corona pandemic.

The causal ecological core cause of all escalations can be established indisputably

In order to recognise the said core cause of all current escalations, we must first reflect on the history of the development of that system which we call “civilisation”. This history began with the so-called “Neolithic Revolution”, by which is meant the cultural transition from hunter-gatherers to agriculture and animal keeping. It was a drastic ecological break that probably first began in what is now the Middle East a little over 10,000 years ago and reached most of the people on the European continent around 5,000 years ago. In addition to that in the Near East, there were other Neolithic “germ cells”, including in what is now the territory of China and in Central America.

In its core meaning, the term “ecology” designates the interrelationships between different forms of life. And the “Neolithic Revolution” was a fundamental change in such interrelationships. Whereas the pure hunter-gatherers of the Lithic era exclusively obtained freely evolving, free-born and free-existing animals and plants for food, the change towards the Neolithic era consisted of breeding food organisms by directing their evolution and subjugating them in every possible way for life. And this is precisely the causal core cause of all escalations from today’s perspective. All other conceivable partial causes are secondary to it.

Without agriculture, the number of people would have been in the single-digit millions.

The primary and argumentatively indisputable causality results from the fact that without the beginning of deliberate intervention in the evolution of other living beings and their permanent subjugation, the number of humans on the planet today could at most be in the small tens of millions. Most palaeodemografic estimates of the number of humans on the entire planet before the “Neolithic Revolution” are between three and six million individuals [1][2]. This roughly matches other apex predators. So if you research, for example, how many large land predators there will have been (across species) in the course of the past millions of years before the advent of Homo sapiens, added together, in each case simultaneously on all continents, this is only roughly possible, but you actually end up in the range of single-digit or smaller two-digit million sums. And hunting and gathering humans were undoubtedly predatory apex predators.

The reason for the relatively limited number of apex predators in an ecosystem is simple, and it can be easily understood for humans as well. The amount of food generated by hunter-gatherers from free organisms could never have increased as rapidly and initially permanently as it did once humans began breeding and lifelong subjugation of other species. True, there were often seasonally abundant periods for hunter-gatherers as well, when certain free plants and animals could be easily obtained and there was a great potential surplus of food. But on the whole, humans existed adapted to the natural and thus free life cycles of other species, and in them there are just no such exponential multiplications and constant availabilities as arose from agriculture and animal husbandry.

The method of agriculture is therefore the very foundation of the system of civilisation in its entirety. It was only on the basis of its associated permanent settlement that, in its aftermath, such things as writing and mathematics as well as the manifold technologies came into being. These achievements were also used in particular for the ever-increasing productivity of agricultural methods. This began thousands of years ago with irrigation ditches and ploughing, and it has led to the development of digitally automated systems up to the present day. Due to the ever ongoing process of increasing yields through technical methods, the current methods of intensive agriculture are many times superior to those of earlier centuries in terms of productivity. This is the cause of the recent enormous increase in the number of people on the planet.

The methodology of agriculture has never been questioned fundamentally

One thing has almost never happened in this entire period from the “Neolithic Revolution” to today’s industrial intensive agriculture: Namely, to question whether there might be some fundamental snag in the methodology of breeding and lifelong subjugation of other life forms. Certainly, such a thing would not have been easy either, because this questioning would have opened up the possibility of a painful shaking of the civilisational self-understanding.

For this reason, the civilisational collective even chose the opposite path: over thousands of years, for example, people thought up alleged commands from God in which the subjugation and domination of other living beings was even explicitly ordered. Or philosophical concepts were invented according to which only a human being could be truly free from the outset, but not the other living beings. In retrospect, these imaginative and often rather naïve bending of reality was extremely fatal. For the process of genuine enlightenment would indeed have been unpleasant and painful. But it could have slowed down or perhaps even reversed the increasingly accelerated journey towards an evolutionary dead end.

The fact that agriculture is such a dead end can be clearly seen in Charles Darwin’s theory, among others. The core of Darwin’s theory was that in nature as a whole, the evolutionary development of the characteristics of all species always takes place for their own primary benefit, but never for the primary benefit of another life form. Man was therefore doing something that deviated from the fundamental orders of nature.

One of the most remarkable features in our domesticated races is that we see in them adaptation, not indeed to the animal’s or plant’s own good, but to man’s use or fancy.Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species. [3]

The reason for the absence of such relationships in nature is not that the natural processes are too primitive for this to have occurred. Rather, it is because the evolutionary orientation, which is not for one’s own primary benefit but for the benefit of a manipulating species, must automatically lead to a weakening of the resistance (of the manipulated side) to the many natural influences and thus to an evolutionary dead end. And it is in this impasse that the manipulator, specialised in this way, also ends up. That is why not even in modern microbiology, with its millions of descriptions of the most diverse parasitic relationships around viruses and bacteria, has a single example ever been found by which Darwin’s theory could be refuted.

The main message of Darwin’s theory has never been taken seriously

If the essence of the English scientist’s theory had been taken seriously, there could well have been a first enlightenment in the 19th century worthy of the name. Many catastrophic mistakes surrounding the ever-increasing intensification of the erroneous methodology could have been avoided. But since there was no such enlightenment, even every tangible opportunity for intensification was used instead. From the 1950s onwards, not least due to the breeding of so-called “high-performance cereals” and the development of highly efficient pesticides, there was another explosive increase in the amount of food generated globally and consequently in the size of the population, from two and a half billion people at that time to almost eight billion today. Other conducive factors of this increase, such as improvements in medical care and hygiene, are secondary to the core factor of intensification of agriculture and thus the very foundation of civilisation.

The fact that such current escalations as the war in Ukraine and the Corona pandemic are also inextricably linked to the aforementioned core ecological cause can thus first be established by the fact that they could not have occurred in this way with a much smaller number of people. This statement may seem like a gross oversimplification. But with regard to the causality we are looking for, it is nevertheless undeniably correct. This is the only thing that matters when it comes to identifying the real core cause.

The detailed reflection of individual escalations reveals a finely branched net of often highly complex, interrelated causal chains that have many different facets. The tracing of such chains sometimes leads through seemingly completely different subject areas. But in the end, they all run back in the direction of the ecological core cause. In order to show this with practical examples, the next two parts will reflect on the current escalations of the war in Ukraine and the Corona pandemic.

At the end of the third part, a final conclusion of the series is added. It also deals with a probable fallacy to the effect that the collapse of civilisation, however it occurs, would be the best thing that could happen in terms of the earthly ecosystem. For the “collapse” would probably not be a sudden extinction of humans. Rather, it would be followed by a “global slum” in which humans would progressively destroy not only themselves but also the higher life of the planet as a whole over further years or decades without any consideration. Enlightenment and an orderly deconstruction arising from it would therefore be the only sensible way out.

Continue to Part 2: The war in Ukraine

[3] Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species: fourth British edition (1866), page 31