Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why does history repeat?

Last week, the following thought entered my mind: Are all crises caused by human stupidity? If so, does that explain why history repeats? I’m inclined to say “yes” to both questions.

In general, geological processes take (very) many thousands of years (eg, glacial periods, interglacial periods, magnetic pole reversal, ocean current reversal, Earth’s wobble). There’s no day-to-day change, or one that we cannot measure. Moreover, climate change is mostly predictable. Still, we do not act accordingly. One could argue that we wait until the “last minute” and then we claim there’s urgent action required.

The U.S. opioid epidemic is another example. HHS: “More than 760,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid.” Markings by HHS. This excludes deaths before 1999. In the 1980’s, I already noticed an absurd number of TV adds for opioids as if pain killers are like candy or sweets.

Urbanisation (eg, my blogs) has been going on for (at least) 10,000 years (see GIF). It has resulted in megacities of 10+ million inhabitants. The side effects of urbanisation are often ignored or neglected (eg, light pollution, noise pollution, urban health, urban heat island, urban mental health, urban water management).

Cities Alliance: “In the next 30 years, Africa’s urban population is expected to double to an estimated 1.5 billion people. Around half of the global population growth between now and 2050 will take place in nine countries, four of which are on the African continent: Ethiopia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania.”

Still, we offer (very) little support to that continent and we will thus keep on creating economic refugees. Not even death will prevent them from trying to secure a better future in Europe or USA. In their view, everything is better than guaranteed poverty and starvation. Actually, we would probably act similar.

The 2021 energy crisis is another example. Any energy transition requires a smart phasing out (eg, gas, oil, nuclear) and a smart phasing in (eg, nuclear, solar, water, wind). Else, governments need to bail out consumers and energy companies (with long-term fixed sales prices to consumers, and short-term variable purchase prices from suppliers) to prevent a political fallout.

Last but certainly not least, the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 (eg, my recent blog) has led to several waves:
0. Tools (before 1800): stronger (eg, weapons);
1. Mechanization (c.1800-1900): faster (eg, more physical output);
2. Automation (c.1900-2000): faster (eg, more processing power);
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics (2000-2100): better (eg, less errors and mistakes).

Our quest for longevity and/or immortality – combined with technological resources – will eventually result in a successor of homo sapiens sapiens, being humanoid sapiens which would equal a “machine” with a human mind. Hence, we are busy making ourselves irrelevant due to economic and technological obsolescence.

According to Albert Einstein (1879-1955), human stupidity is infinite while the Universe may not be. In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla defined The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity in his book of that name.

More and more, I’m convinced that human stupidity is the reason for all our crises and why history repeats.

Mystery Repeats (2007) by Pete Philly & Perquisite
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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