The term “adaptation” is in frequent use by those concerned about the future of humankind and Gaia.
I find the implications of the term “adaptation” limiting to what humankind can do. Humans can be assumed to have creative agency. Through “adaptation”, this creative agency is to be applied to the changing roles of humans and humankind in their changing environments. This focus seems to preclude humankind emerging aspects for its own internal functioning that are not determined by or related to their environment. The environment must be considered, but some human changes are not done with any intent for “adapting”.
Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) is a project within Complexity Science, and relates to mutual adaptation of many systems in a general environment. “A CAS is a complex, self-similar collectivity of interacting, adaptive agents. Complex Adaptive Systems are characterized by a high degree of adaptive capacity, giving them resilience in the face of perturbation.”
In my invented set of levels & types of change I place Adaptation second:
GALDEE = Grow, Adapt, Learn, Develop, Evolve, Emerge
This focus also appears to preclude strategic actions by humankind to systemically change their environment, not adapt to it. Unfortunately, this is what humankind has foolishly been doing for millennia, and we are now on course altering our environment such as to threaten our very extinction.
It is true, that humans and humankind will always be functional within some environment, which will both limit and enable what they can and cannot do. Humans have the competencies to create their own environments (e.g., on a space station, or when I spent 14 months inside the glacier in Antarctica).
We may also think of each human person adapting to their social environments. Growing up can be viewed as an adaptation process. However, the current myth of Western Culture has each person attempting to find their “true self” through “free will”, which involves both adapting to and manipulating their environments. The powerful role on the environment on determining who we are growth-up is grossly underestimated.
Artists and musicians would resist viewing their creations as adaptation.
Although from an outside perspective, once we have worked our way through our Crisis-of-Crises, including Climate Change, it could be described as adaptation. We would have adjusted human processes to be in better relationships with Gaia and Earth. And, this appears the focus of our research today; what can humans and humankind do to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and begin recovery. But, we would do more than adapt, we would also attempt to modify our current environment, if only to repair damage done. But, it is our environment that is attracting our attention as we seek ways of adapting to more and more disasters. We seek to BOTH adapt to the consequences of ongoing climate change AND change our ways so that the causes of climate change will be altered.
THIS IS DANGEROUS, THIS FOCUS ON ADAPTATION. We acknowledge that human activity has caused the increase of greenhouse gases, and that we have done other damage to the biosphere. Why do we assume that we can significantly change the “ways of humankind” so that we can do what is needed?
Our most critical task is to rapidly and significantly change humankind so that it will be able to implement those actions needed for adapting to climate change and other challenges from our environment. If you are aware of the Theater of the Absurd springing up everywhere on this globe, you may wonder is this assumption that “civilization can be significantly transformed” might be questioned.
Some, who are deeply aware of all of the above, have concluded that humankind will soon become extinct. Their “sacred activism” is to “go out” with grace, and assist others to do the same. I would be with them if I wasn’t aware of a viable out: UPLIFT to Societal Metamorphosis
I am confident that humankind has the potential competencies to beat climate change; especially if a growing population of uplifted persons can apply their new competencies to the challenge.
What deeply concerns me is whether humankind-without-uplifting will let itself actualize those competencies. Again, we must be concerned with “adaptation”. If change agents attempt to organize themselves and then attempt to transform our societal systems and institutions – to adapt to their societal environment and change it – they may fail. Some systems get so large, complex, and dysfunctional that they can’t be saved or significantly transformed. It is possible that our corporations, governments, and other societal systems — all in turbulence — cannot significantly change to properly address climate change. As I write this, a possible next POTUS claims climate change is a hoax and that there is no drought in California. A large and growing population of humans elevate personal belief and opinion far above scientific evidence and rational analysis. Frankly, it is “the people” that concern me most, not “the leaders”; the global human population may severely lack the distribution of competencies and systems to transform. Fortunately, there is an alternative to transformation: creative emergence.
UPLIFT to Societal Metamorphosis is a hypothetical system of strategies/scenarios that proposes a way out of the above dilemma. In UPLIFT, a nu humanity self-organizes utilizing the best Sci/Tech available without attempting to transform its societal environment – the rest of humankind. UPLIFT attracts persons one-by-one to itself, and implementing an OLLO process (Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing), self-creates a nu social organism – a societal butterfly. Strategically, UPLIFT will take control of the material infrastructure of humankind away from its owners (financial and political) and then direct the transformation of that material infrastructure to dodge the worst of climate change and move on to a glorious millennial future.
I am well aware, that on first examination, this appears highly impossible. There is nothing specific I can say briefly that would convince you of the viability of UPLIFT. It will take time and your commitment to challenge many of you assumptions about “human nature”. If you accept that the best of business as usual will not save us, then it may be in your and our best interest to explore the conceptual scheme of UPLIFT.