Views expressed in this essay are those of the writer and are not necessarily shared by those involved in INTBAU
Is today’s consumerist society headed for collapse because of its exponentially growing, hence unsustainable needs? For some years now we have been aware of the damaging affect that the material pursuits of both industrial and developing countries have on the earth and its biosphere. Yet, despite numerous well-made rational arguments that urge us to change the catastrophic global waste of natural resources and energy, expanding agricultural regions at the risk of losing the diversity of the biosphere, etc., it is frustrating to find that human inertia overrides sound logic and reason (Max-Neef, 2010; Wilson, 2006).
Surprisingly, this is not a new phenomenon; it is a part of human nature that compels us to comply with group behavior as an extended form of self-preservation. Such conformity has its benefits when there is any chance of a genuine threat to the social group: it is better to flee than to stand around and try to figure out whether you are really in harm’s way. The problem is, such crowd behavior has a way of working against what may be in our best interest, by motivating us to cling to fixed ways of thinking rather than accept better alternatives. In the case of a human-made global disaster we ignore the rational findings of science and take comfort in the fact that our neighbors don’t appear to be too concerned. There are countless examples where humans chose to follow groupthink rather than the logic of an astute and well-founded argument.