Now that The Good Place is over I discuss what it had to say about eschatology.
***Warning this episode contains massive The Good Place spoilers. Proceed with caution***
In particular when they eventually arrived at the Good Place there were numerous problems. In part they were included for comedic effect, but in part they reflected real potential issues with a world were all your desires are met. Lest you think this is a pointless discussion, we may be able to create such a world with brain uploading. And even without that, we've developed numerous desire granting technologies.
In 1941 George Orwell said:
Hitler is a criminal lunatic, and [yet] Hitler has an army of millions of men, aeroplanes in thousands, tanks in tens of thousands. For his sake a great nation has been willing to overwork itself for six years and then to fight for two years more, whereas for the common-sense, essentially hedonistic world-view which Mr. Wells puts forward, hardly a human creature is willing to shed a pint of blood
Is this true? Have the number of people with a "common-sense, essentially hedonistic world-view" grown? Is that a problem?
Scott Alexander of SlateStarCodex recently declared that "nobody ever really believed [that Fermi's Paradox] was a problem. I not only believed it was a problem I still believe it's a problem, and I think everyone else should as well. If you're one of those who don't think it is, then this episode is designed to change your mind.
In 1519 Cortés began his invasion of the Aztec empire. By 1520 Montezuma would be dead, and by 1521 the empire would have fallen. Within the next half dozen decades 95% of the Aztecs would be dead of disease. But Montezuma and the Aztecs had almost no warning of the cataclysm that was about to befall them. Is there some cataclysm waiting in our future which we will similarly be completely ignorant of until it is upon us? Probably. If that's the case what measures could we possibly take?
My annual episode where I look back on predictions I've made in the past (particularly my 100 year predictions) and make some predictions for the upcoming year. As you might imagine there would be no point of making 2020 predictions if I didn't cover the upcoming presidential election. I think there's a lot going on there, and while Bloomberg hasn't made a big impact he might still do that. Also Biden looks increasingly shaky as a front runner. Whatever happens it's going to be chaotic, but I take a stab at saying what exactly that chaos will look like.
A recent debate on the dangers of pornography, and whether government should restrict things more or whether people just need to "parent better" plus an article about "total sexual freedom" causing the collapse of a nation within three generations are all tied together into a discussion of how to deal with more subtle eschatological concerns.
The title pretty much says it all, but in case you don't know what an Eschatologist is, an eschatologist is someone who studies eschatology. And eschatology is "a part of theology concerned with the final events of history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity. This concept is commonly referred to as the 'end of the world' or 'end times'.
In my discussion of eschatology I intend to broaden the definition both horizontally (to include secular concerns) and vertically (to include not merely the end of the world, but the end of the nation).