‘A great deal of our math, science, philosophy, and everyday behavior presupposes that stability and equilibria are the “default” states, and everything else involves some “perturbation.” This is a mental model, a conceptual frame, a tacit belief, a presupposition—whatever you want to call it. We live on a restless planet in a violent universe. Most of what we think of as distinctively human has occurred in the last 10,000 years in the Holocene—a period in which the Earth was abnormally quiet. If we’re interested in the continuation of the human experiment we need to focus on resilience and coping with change (whether natural or anthropogenic) rather than living as if God or nature has given us a nice, orderly, calm, Babbit-like existence.‘history repeats
‘The problem is that the Enlightenment dream may make too many demands on poor African apes like us. We may just not be up to it. In the last few centuries we’ve managed to reduce how much we kill each other, we’ve learned some basic lessons about public health, and life is relatively good for more people than ever before. But since we’re not very good at something as basic as controlling our reproduction, life is also really bad for more people than ever before.’
‘One of the real dangers of our time is people’s indifference to history. Let’s just be blunt: People with long memories and a vivid sense of the past have an immediate understanding of politicians like Trump. They are not surprised by the behavior of Google, a corporation that notionally (until recently anyway) espoused the slogan “don’t be evil” and then runs over individual people and even entire nations in the pursuit of profit. Even our own discipline has become dehistoricised.‘
Michael Lind of New America has a Theory about why politics is so screwed up. It’s worth quoting in extenso:
Science fiction traditionally has had the task of providing us with alternative visions of the future. For the most part, it has done a terrible job. The main reason for its failure is that it assumes global uniformity. …
so confusedIn optimistic visions of the future, there is a liberal and democratic world government, or perhaps an interplanetary federation. In dystopias, there is a single global tyranny. … The assumption of uniform conditions in the world of tomorrow saves science-fiction authors and screenwriters the trouble of explaining the Sino-Indian dispute of 2345 AD, allowing them to concentrate on the plot and the main characters. But it is completely unrealistic.Well, in fairness, it isn’t nearly as creepy as blaming it all on international bankers or the Rothschilds.
At one of the links, 2005 -earlier than I'd thought- he quotes Marc Sageman.
"Al Qaeda’s members are not the Palestinian fourteen-year- olds we see on the news, but join the jihad at the average age of 26. Three-quarters were professionals or semi- professionals. They are engineers, architects, and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented, and quite surprisingly very few had any background in religion. The natural sciences predominate. Bin Laden himself is a civil engineer, Zawahiri is a physician, Mohammed Atta was, of course, an architect; and a few members are military, such as Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, who is supposedly the head of the military committee.""Science Fiction was created by men trying to get away from the alien environment populated by their wives."