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In 1651, Philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote that in his observation, the life of the common man was, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

He was not exaggerating. In all previous history, the majority of human beings lived their lives as subsistence farmers. The average life span was less than 30 years. There were no doctors or dentists. There were no cures for most diseases, nor reliable repairs for injuries.
Most people were uneducated and illiterate. Neither drinking water nor waste were processed under sanitary conditions. There were no roads, only rough trails. The only libraries were in religious institutions. Monarchs and petty tyrants dominated political life. The diet was not nutritious; plague and famine were common occurrences. Only a rough outline of human potential resided in the short duration of the lives of many, and was all too rapidly extinguished.

But at the end of the 18th century, a new age of enlightenment began to take hold. With steam engines, factories, canals, world trade, electricity, well ordered cities, and a burst of scientific discoveries, many more people became educated, and for the first time began to assume in their majority, the aspect of full persons. With the discovery of methods of utilizing new energy sources, coal and oil became powerful instuments for the realization of the cornucopia of material prosperity that has made our contemporary consumer culture a reality.

Now our life, and the affluence that makes it possible for us to grasp the atom, and reach out toward the stars, is threatened. The traditional energy and material resources that sustained us and fueled our growth over the last 150 years, is rapidly becoming economically unfeasible.

The consequences of what we have done to the natural environment demand immediate and concentrated attention. Too little have we prepared for alternatives to how we reproduce our civilized way of life. We must adjust with some urgency to a new natural regime. Nothing less than the survival of civilization, and even the biosphere is at stake.

Join with us and help our region, society, and world, maintain the flourishing of the humanity whose existance gives us meaning, pleasure, and purpose.


A project of the Humanist Society of the Suncoast 2007, Rev. 4-2014 ©