I started watching this interesting set of science videos. It is a set of 24 videos, 30 minutes each, and they’re all about life sciences. The one I watched I can watch them out of order.
The one I watched started off talking about populations and natural equilibrium. They were talking about the idea of a bunch of rabbits living on a fixed piece of land with a fixed amount of food.
They were talking about this idea that there is an equation that maintains population sizes. The equation is dependent upon the number of animals, the amount of food per animal, the birthrate, in the death rate, and this kind of equation will keep everything in equilibrium.
If anything changes, if any one of the four variables change every other variable change to kinda keep the whole population and equilibrium. For example if you have a certain amount of rabbits on a certain patch of grass and for some reason the population of the rabbits increase then you’ll have less food per rabbit.
So long as that is okay to keep all the rabbits alive that new population size will be in equilibrium with a lot of times in nature for whatever reason these things kind of go out of balance and it takes a while to get back into balance.
This was one of the things that Malthus was worried about back before the Industrial Revolution. Malthus was a kind of a preacher, a scientist, well aware of this kind of for variable equilibrium system in any kind a population of animals.
Too Many People
He was watching the amount of people increase quickly noticing that by simple mathematics if you have a population size that is increasing exponentially but the amount of land they can live on can only increase geometrically, eventually you’ll get way too many people trying to live on a finite set of land and this will cause population trouble.
This happened just before the Industrial Revolution. One of the things that happened because of the Industrial Revolution was or is a lot more people happened a lot more quickly. If you look at any graph of the population of earth it was going up fairly slowly and even though was going up fairly slowly this caused Malthus to worry that eventually would get too big and there would be enough to support the number of people.
When the Industrial Revolution came along in the population just exploded, it almost went straight up one of the things that people misunderstand as they see that because the population went up dramatically after the Industrial Revolution most people kind of assume this means that Malthus was wrong.
Food Is Energy
What they don’t really understand is exactly why the population exploded humans found a way to get a lot more food out of the same patch of ground. If you look at rabbits and other animals and just feed off the grass the grass has to grow naturally and if the number of rabbits get bigger than the naturally growing grass can support.
Of course they’ll collapse but the one thing that humans learn to do because of the Industrial Revolution was get a lot more food out of the same patch of ground but the main reason they were able to do this is because they were able to tap the locked up energy that was in fossil fuels.
They started to burn coal, they started to burn oil, and this allowed them to do a lot more work. If you look at Malthus’s equation of population size the food for animal the birthrate in the death rate and you change the food for animals to energy for animal the exact same equation holds true.
Danger Still Exists
This means we’re just in as much in danger now is mouth is predicted is just at the amount of energy per person has increased significantly. Another thing that is very very interesting is that over the past billions of years of life on earth there’s been five major extinctions where all the animals to suddenly died off living within this close system competing for resources.
Each one of those animal populations still has to follow same for laws the population size the food, or energy per animal, the death rate, and the birthrate, so there’s a lot of people that believe that right now the amount of fossil fuels that is available to us is significantly starting to become harder to get.
If the amount of the actual raw amount of energy that we get out of the earth begins to significantly decrease that means the populations of humans will decrease and if there’s one thing that certain in the history of human life on earth is every time there’s any kind of even fear of dwindling resources.
Conflict Is Inevitable
This is the one thing that will guarantee conflict. I’m not going to suggest that this is happening today but if you look around the world if you look at the amount of oil they’re taking out of the ground if you look at the amount of people that are worried about environmental collapse it seems to suggest that a lot of people actually believe that this is coming very soon.
The more you think about the fact that humans are absolutely utterly dependent on a very biological dependency and a certain amount of energy per person if you understand that the energy per person is going to decrease that will cause a significant drop off in population size.
Because we are accustomed to a certain amount of energy per person this will make whoever is alive when this population finally starts to drop off that will be a very horrific and cataclysmic time to be alive. If you think about it right now we have 8 billion people on planet Earth but it could be that after the amount of fossil fuels available starts decreased carrying capacity birth might be around 1 billion or less.
Population Cliffs Suck
Thinking about a transition from a population of 8 billion down to a population of 1 billion that necessarily means there will be a lot of resource conflict and fighting for resources but one of the things that always happens is there is always a reversion to the mean.
If you can imagine a stock slowly going up and the stock is carefully gradually bouncing around its moving average is a goes up and if the stock suddenly shoot straight up far away from its moving average for any reason it will eventually return to its moving average.
If this ever happens on planet earth it will be a very very unpleasant time to be alive.
Malthus Is Still Right
Unfortunately for Malthus and his theories everyone today thinks of him as being kind of a crackpot because he was preaching doom and gloom that the population was getting too big and we were going to have this die off soon but then the Industrial Revolution came in the population exploded and saw everyone, believes that he’s wrong.
There’s this idea in biology, there’s a lot of examples in biology, we have a population of animals and for whatever reason the population of animal suddenly increases that new population size is way too big to be supported by the environment and that new population size completely consumes all the available food in that environment.
All of a sudden there’s no food left and an entire population just dies. The guy in the video was pointing out that it’s easy to think that we can control things because we are the apex predator that we can kind of control the environment.
Humans Can Become Extinct
In reality if you step back and look at humans as just another animal there’s really no reason to believe that we’ll be here for very long.
Mind Persuasion has plenty of books and courses to teach you how to speak hypnotically and persuasively.