There are two criteria by which human progress can be judged. The decrease in human intelligence and the lowering of the birth rate. Human intelligence in this case needs to be understood as consciousness or self-awareness and the important factor is the consciousness of pain or the awareness of suffering. It goes without saying that the reduction of suffering is the only true benchmark for judging human progress. Good dentistry, medical treatment, toilets and access to clean water and healthy food have all reduced human suffering and should be applauded. But the next step is to reduce human suffering by reducing the absolute number of human sufferers and the awareness of that suffering by the human themselves.
Projections of the increase in human population are now looking good. By the end of the century it is likely that the human population will have stabilised at about ten billion and many countries will be experiencing a fall in population particularly in the more developed world. This will enable people to migrate to more affluent societies where employment opportunities will increase as the indigenous population ages. The cause of this stabilisation is women gaining economic control over their own lives. This leads to a reduction in the birth rate. So economic development and birth control in the hands of women and education for women are not only goods themselves but will be enough to solve the population dilemmas that have haunted the world for the last century. Access to the pill, the morning after pill and abortion are vital tools as is the spread of all forms of contraception and sterilisation. But governments can do more by rewarding the childless and putting in place financial inducements to encourage people to have fewer children.
In future more radical measures will be required to reduce human suffering. Over the next few centuries mankind will begin to accept the idea that existence itself is unnecessary and will understand that only by the extinction of all conscious life forms on our planet will the true evil of suffering be overcome. One day it is hoped that death will be greeted with wild celebrations and birth will be recognised as the true evil that it is. This understanding of the liberation from pointless suffering that death entails will extend to other life forms particularly those that have some degree of self-awareness. One of the reasons that we have not been contacted by an intelligent alien life form is because they have already drawn the same conclusions and have opted for voluntary extinction. The idea seems preposterous when expressed so boldly but that it is because it is so radical. However, there is a growing anti-natalist movement and the work of the South African philosopher David Benatar has also opened up a new understanding of the harm that comes from existence itself. One day governments will be elected that will lay before the people the radical idea that non-existence is preferable to a continuation of life. Suicide clubs will receive state funding and abortion will be the norm. Attempts to reduce animal suffering will lead to the eradication of animals that exhibit some awareness of suffering. Perhaps within a millennium mankind will have voluntarily wiped itself out and by irradiating the whole earth made it unlikely that any new species exhibiting consciousness will ever evolve here in the future again.
Until such time there are measures we can all take. The most important is not to have children. The other is to encourage a general decrease in the awareness of human suffering by allowing the majority of mankind to live lives sedated by entertainments and chemicals. The television has already moved towards showing only the most banal and dulling programmes and there is no reason why mankind’s senses cannot be further dulled by the easy availability of a sedating drug. The massive fall in male fertility that has recently been confirmed is all to the good and may make pregnancy a much more difficult thing to accomplish particularly if both sexes are consuming large quantities of mind altering drugs. there is some evidence that tribesman in Papua New Guinea are by some measures more intelligent than Westerners and this is good news as the Western lifestyle takes over the world. With an ever falling population and a self-medicating and increasingly stupid human race there is every reason to be optimistic about the future of mankind and a real possibility that one day in the not too distant future the ridiculous human experiment will come to an unlamented end. If it does then it will be because mankind has progressed sufficiently to understand the aberration that is self-conscious existence and taken the brave but necessary steps to remedy a deplorable situation.