Change always produces unexpected consequences even where we could not imagine it.
The interview with famous scholar Jordan Peterson, who became famous after a widespread sharing of short clips on social media, made it possible for many to meet the psychologist’s clear and apparently unconventional thinking: we are living in times of a demographic collapse.
The prospect of becoming 9 billion inhabiting this planet, for Peterson, is connected to a rough turning point: certainly, we are living in the period with the highest population density in human history, both past, and future, but it is a peak destined to create a dangerous void. These projections might leave some readers puzzled, considering that the propaganda in the ’60s seemed to have predicted them differently: we will be too many and have insufficient resources which will lead to wars over primary goods.
Peterson’s statements in the interview argue, not without a certain fervency, that those predictions were not only false but contrary to reality; as false as our existence in western countries can demonstrate.
The apocalyptic predictions about the drop in birth rate, according to the psychologist, will lead to a profound absence of young people, and so it will be for the strength of thought and the workforce; keeping in mind how innovation has always allowed mankind to contrast any calculation error, the unforeseen, and food shortages. Unfortunately, the repercussions on society that we are experiencing agree with thinkers of the revolutionary early ‘900; indeed, the perception of an individual is a sort of popular confirmation that bounces among the conversation between couples in their thirties: “we won’t have kids, there are too many people on this little blue planet”. On this subject, Peterson argues that this type of thought is the most radical genocidal one to have ever been formulated by humanity, even if masked by a sort of ethics connected to the idea that human beings are a sort of virus or cancer for themselves and the planet.
The propaganda that, according to Peterson, has been widespread, pictures a deeply negative image of humanity: so corrupted that – and I will now use an expression suggested by the TV series True Detective – we should «…stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal».
How we usually act against cancer is exactly how we can get rid of it.
The toxic consequences of this position have presented themselves way before Greta Thunberg: the first and most shocking consists in blaming the recent acquisition of rights by women, which, from one side or another, is charged with the destiny of the world and, as a matter of fact, with no apophenia, in these very days, there is a strong confrontation on the proposal of abolishing the law protecting the right of abortion in the United States. This proposition shook, even more, the beliefs of those in the world who look to the USA as the heart of modernity.
The demographics analysis confirms Peterson’s thesis and describes a significant fall in the birthrate in all western Countries with one florid exception: Germany. This is worth mentioning because it is an enlightened example of how a comprehensively built political welfare can contrast the common feeling of mistrust towards the future; because, after all, it is clear how behind this decrease there is a sentiment of discomfort that touches even the most optimist, young conservatives, and romantics and relegates the couples to a vision concentrated on always more microscopic goals, and primal needs – which could be challenged when faced with the possibility of building a family with kids.
Peterson is certainly a thinker that must be considered but he is also distant from the environmental dynamics that the uncontrolled growth produced over the past century, which we know are quite far from our present – except for when the migration routes show us the results of looking away from the negative consequences of our passage on Earth. Our comfort is not as evident as it was in London during the XIX or at the beginning of the XX century when the blanket of smog over the city made the air unbreathable. Today, the risk for a western thinker is to never look at the outskirts of more and more ‘green’ towns.
So, to our readers, who as we know are mostly between their 20s and 40s, what thought might we suggest? The magazine as a whole knows very well that change always produces unexpected consequences even where we could not imagine it, and we are the first to be split in two, between conservatives and revolutionary visions (to use an old way of saying). What I conserve in my heart is a delicate hope, a hope that the whole world will finally begin to think in a shared course, because it is clear that we have no other possibility if not by all making an effort with everything we have, conscious that on the other side there are scientific laws slowing us down. Far away from the victim’s mentality and an always valid in medias res we will have to continue teaching philosophy in school, promote the studies that encourage seeing that prism which is Truth, and warmly invite all of the sciences – physical sciences, of thought, and political – to adopt approaches that keep all of this knowledge together. To know that perfection is divine and humans are left with the undying dichotomy of its Yin and its Yang.
Jordan Peterson’s interview