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What we are doing now to solve global problems—climate change, inequality, widespread violence, wars—is just not working. Instead of moving to a new paradigm, we’re doubling down on the old and clinging to the same ways which have brought us to the edge of extinction. We urgently need to stop fixing the old and start building the new.

(This post is sourced from the Rethinking Humanity YouTube video. It includes text, paraphrasing and screenshots from the video transcript and notes.)

Stop Fixing the Old

“These are profoundly disorienting times for humanity as political earthquakes rumble, inequalities deepen and our environment crumbles'” is the opening statement of the Rethinking Humanity video. These are other statements gleaned from the video:

  • We fumble desperately for band-aid solutions but the bitter truth is that our industrial civilization has reached its end game.
  • Collapse is inevitable, as it has been for every civilization hardwired to breach its limits.
  • The road ahead is not an extension of the past. Instead of projecting yesterday’s solutions onto the problems of tomorrow we need to leave behind our old mindsets.

As we stand on the brink of existential transformation, we’re blind to the deeper processes of change. To recognize the mind-blowing possibility space of the next decade, as well as its catastrophic risks, we must grasp the patterns of history to understand how they can illuminate today.

The following video is based on the book authored by James Arbib and Tony Seba (co-founders of RethinkX), available for free download from

Rethinking Humanity – a Film by RethinkX
November 4, 2021

Rethinking Humanity takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of the rise and fall of civilizations through a powerful lens that makes sense of the past, so that we can step into the present and create our future.

The Age of Extraction

On its evolutionary path, humanity has unwittingly ended up in the current age of extraction, a model based on the exploitation of scarce resources and people that created a world of zero-sum competition to survive. In this world, growth itself became necessary for survival. It’s grow or be outgrown. This growth imperative has hardwired environmental degradation and inequality into the system. Anything which might slow growth is rejected by our leaders.

  • Our global industrial order representing the pinnacle of the age of extraction is on the edge of chaos and reaching its own limits.
  • Like every leading civilization that passed before it, we now stand at the precipice.
  • The signs of fragility and collapse are everywhere — in our environmental crisis, increasing inequality, escalating debt, social upheaval and ideological polarization.

Our political systems, our economic systems and our social structures have co-evolved from industrial-age technologies and mindsets and are no longer appropriate to deal with the problems we are facing in a post-industrial age.

The Age of Creation

We’re witnessing the dawn of the age of creation. During the 2020s, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors that underpin civilization, and with them every major industry in the world today. In information, energy, food, transportation, and materials, costs will fall by 10x or more, while production processes an order of magnitude more efficient will use 90% fewer natural resources with 10x-100x less waste.

  • The age of creation brings a dramatically different production system.
  • Instead of it being centralized, hierarchical, extraction and exploitation-based, it’s actually based on the network of collaboration, information technologies, and on global design and development with local production and participation of human beings.
  • Technologies across the five foundational sectors of the production system—energy, transport, information, food, materials—have opened a window into an unprecedented new possibility space.
  • For the first time in history we can see this convergence and discover a pathway to a whole new production system and the inevitable collapse of the old.

The Great Transformation – Start Building the New

Trapped by their tunnel vision, our leaders are blind to the possibilities. While they see small scale incremental change, we see epic cascading disruptions that can trigger a tsunami of change that will transform civilization say James Arbib and Tony Seba.

As the age of extraction reaches a terrifying conclusion we’re all searching for desperate answers. But while others see a foggy tunnel there is a route to success.

  • The technologies converging across our five foundational sectors of production offer an unparalleled possibilities to completely reimagine how we feed and power our global population.
  • For the first time in human history we could avert imminent collapse and attain new heights of prosperity, safety and freedom.
  • This emerging system is unconstrained by industrial age limitation.
  • Instead of relying on breakdown and extraction of scarce natural resources like coal, oil, steel and livestock, the DNA of this new system is built up and created from the limitless building blocks of photons, electrons and molecules.

The knock-on effects for society will be as profound as the extraordinary possibilities that emerge. For the first time in history, we could overcome poverty easily. Access to all our basic needs could become a fundamental human right. But this is just one future outcome.

The alternative could see our civilization collapse into a new dark age. Which path we take depends on the choices we make, starting today. The stakes could not be higher.

We are standing on the edge of chaos, a place that feels terrifyingly unstable, but it’s also the place where real change can happen. We need a north star to outshine the craving for stability.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License

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  1. I campaign to have all countries cede all of their armed forces in agreed stages, to a democratically elected United Nations, until war becomes impossible; as discussed in the peace treaty between the USSR and USA that ended the Cold War by the US agreeing to cut WMD in return for democracy in Eastern Europe.


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