Extinct, Enslaved or Empowered?

Navigating between extinction and enslavement, brave humankind could very well avoid both to reach compelling new heights.

Neils Bohr once said that prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future. Despite the words of caution from the pioneering quantum physicist, I’d like to offer you my take on the three potential futures that we, as a species, are facing.

The first is extinction. This is where the human race is no more because we’ve wiped ourselves out in some foolish conflict or scientific mishap. Either that, or the universe conspires to eliminate us using it’s vast arsenal. There’s not a lot we can do to avoid this, apart from building peace instead of war.

The good news, despite what the mainstream media may want us to believe, is that humankind is actually the most peaceful we’ve ever been. And with the Internet breaking down mental divides and allowing us to cooperate on massive scales, the few armed conflicts that remain are fast going obsolete.

But none of that will matter if we run into the second outcome, which is enslavement. This is far more subtle than extinction, yet equally terminal. Enslavement means our world has fallen under the grip of a totalitarian regime. This happens when the system that is supposed to be protecting us keeps encroaching on our rights and liberties, until we have none left and the system really only serves to protect itself (and its leaders) from the people and what we want.

This may seem far fetched but its already happening. Fear has got the better of us, and we’ve been abandoning more freedoms for the illusion of security everyday. This leaves the door open for giant institutions, like corporations, to tighten their grip over government faster than ever before, bending the laws to maximize the efficiency at which people can be exploited.

The third outcome that we face is empowerment, which, to me, is the best of the three outcomes. Instead of the system taking over the world’s people, the world’s people take over the system. Sick of crony politics and tired of the banks robbing us, we decide to come together, staging protests and rallies, both online and off, to strike critical blows to the current injustices of the system.

Hundreds of millions of people, engaged and working together in some capacity to seize the reigns and build a more pluralist society… a beautiful global civilization where wealth is distributed far more equally, democracy actually gives everybody a voice, and transparency and openness helps keep power in check. This outcome is entirely possible, and I am more optimistic than ever before that we will be able to make this happen.

Now, not to be alarmist, but time is fast running out. The global totalitarian regime is already forming, mostly under the radar, and when it’s ready to spring it will already too late. Over the next 5-10 years (or less) the oligarchs of our current power structure – the 1% of the 1% – they’re going to be executing their one last final bid to stop this imminent uprising. But we will stop them and we will win. Because we have to.

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