Have We Lost the Ability to Adapt to Rapidly Changing Circumstances? by Charles Hugh Smith

We’d better not have lost the ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, because we may be facing them fairly soon. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Successful adaptation requires a willingness to accept the risks of experimentation, innovation, flexibility and failure.
The idea that the pace of change in technology, the economy and society is accelerating is increasingly self-evident. That this acceleration exceeds our built-in ability to adapt to change is the thesis of the influential 1970 book Future Shock: as the pace of change accelerates, we can no longer process the transformative circumstances and enter a sort of brain-freeze/shut-down mode.
I discussed this most recently in Future Shock and the Greening of America (June 19, 2015) and Present Shock and the Loss of History and Context (May 22, 2013).
My insightful Facebook friend/correspondent A.A. recently proposed another reason why we’re failing to adapt to rapid, systemic change: we have grown too accustomed to affluence and comfort and have consequently lost the tools and values required to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.
Here is an excerpt of A.A.’s Facebook post: “My own theory is easy postwar affluence leached intelligence from the US population. That is to say, the survival pressures that normally select for the smart and realistic were no longer operating.”
The word intelligence is of course loaded, but A.A.’s commentary defines this as smart and realistic–in other words, practical intelligence that enables successful adaptation.
This calls to mind one of the key elements of natural selection: that the ability to adapt successfully boils down to recognizing and conserving/ encouraging advantageous traits and eliminating /discouraging disadvantageous traits.
Here is Charles Darwin’s definition of natural selection: “This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.”

One response to “Have We Lost the Ability to Adapt to Rapidly Changing Circumstances? by Charles Hugh Smith

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