Climate change. Automation. Misinformation and political polarization. Antibiotic resistance. Pollution in the air and water. Water security. Food security. Insect populations dying out. Have we even touched on phytoplankton yet?
After Redditor TTToooooot asked the online community, "Currently what is the greatest threat to humanity?" many weighed in with their predictions. Tackling these issues requires a massive collective effort. But will we get to that point? Only time will tell.
"Once that ecosystem collapses..."
The ocean slowly dying. Once that ecosystem collapses we won't be able to feed ourselves. Governments will crumble pretty quickly.
"I think people underestimate..."
Biodiversity Loss. (Closely followed by nuclear weapons and global warming).
I think people underestimate the problem that biodiversity loss is. Climate change is a huge problem, but I think biodiversity loss is even more problematic.
There is a total collapse of insects populations, and we begin to see a huge decline in bird populations. Other species will 100% be impacted and I don't want to admit it but it'll sooner or later impact food production, and that's where people will realise that crap hit the fan.
Wilful ignorance. The demonisation of "experts" and academics to the extent that people are congratulating themselves for being uneducated.
Excess consumption of resources vs the planets ability to produce and recover. We consume more than we can produce. Which means any disaster could tip the scales into a deficiency. Too much and you would get a collapse, without compensation.
"The average person..."
Weaponising bipartisan issues in every country making everything a 'team sport' rather then a shade of grey. People would vote for the worst thing on earth just to be on the winning side.
The average person has no understanding that there are more bots on the internet than people. That every interaction serves only to make them more pliable to the will of whoever pulls the strings that day.
"I think a lot of our infrastructure..."
Coronal mass ejection striking the Earth. I think a lot of our infrastructure isn't designed to handle it and even just a few days of power and internet going out across the civilized world could wreck us as a society.
"A recent study found..."
Bees and other insects are dying off at faster than we've seen in decades and never at THIS rate.
A recent study found that we've had a 98% decline in ground insects over 35 years in the Puerto Rican Rain Forests
In the higher portions of tree canopies there has been an 80% lost in insects.
For reference if we lost 80% - 98% of humans in Puerto Rico, the population would fall from about 3,200,000 Million to between 64,000 and 640,000 people.
We've also lost 58% of Butterfly Species in English Farmlands. Same idea as above, imagine if we lost 58% of people in England. The population would plummet from about 56,000,000 people currently to about 23,520,000 people.
The drop in butterflies happened over a 9 year period. Imagine 32million people dying in England over a 9 year period.
"There's an increasing amount of people..."
Ourselves. There's an increasing amount of people who are actively denying science, people who deny climate change, and meanwhile our own governments are choosing profit over the safety of us.
There won't be some big disaster or meteor to kill us. We'll end up killing ourselves as a species.
Disinformation, us vs them mentality, anti-intellectualism, all the things which people point to as issues really come down to the rise of social media- or more generally, recommendation algorithms.
These are all problems that used to be issues and were dying back down with the introduction of the television and early internet, but now we have brought them right back. Recommending you things based on only those ideas which are either completely unobjectionable or what you already agree with is the single key to polarization, and when too many people are only seeing things and people who do that, societal progress on every possible issue will grind to a halt as everything stops being about improvement and starts being about rivalry.
Personally, I doubt many if any of the issues we face today will see meaningful progress until this is fixed, one way or another, and I fear we will become autocracies before we realize how to actually regulate these systems.
"The collapse of those systems..."
I agree that a post-antibiotic era, climate change, anti-intellectualism, and water scarcity are all huge but in terms of a threat we are facing right now, today, in this moment, I would argue it is the return of populist nationalism. The Long Peace that existed after World War II and the system of alliances, economics, and networks that supported it are are all directly imperiled by populist nationalism.
That isn't a threat that will take years to manifest it is one which is actively bringing us to the brink of a major regional or international war right now. If its proponents are successful we will likely see a return of a global political environment much more akin to 1920 or 1820 than anything we have seen in the past 80 years.
The collapse of those systems will also vastly decrease our ability to address the challenges of water scarcity, climate change, and antibiotic-resistant illness. Not to mention the likely hood of increased military violence all over the globe.
Let's get existential ... and argumentative.
Because this is internet, people, why are you acting like you don't know what we're here for?
Reddit user Due_Abrocoma6874 asked:
"What exists, but can't be sensed with our 5 senses?"
Which means what was intended as an exploration into the ephemeral took a sudden detour into semantics city.
Because Reddit is Reddit.
"Magnetism, extremely powerful (it saves us from the Sun) but you can't tell it's there unless you have something to tell you. I work in a electric motor shop and have to stick my hand in +4,000 horse power motors with dummy rotors to test them. I'm probably shooting blanks now, my 2nd answer, infertility."
"I think you're confusing the effects of ionizing radiation with magnetism. Strong magnetic fields have absolutely no effects on humans; MRIs are a perfect example. However, working with radioactive materials or near x-ray sources can kill irreplaceable cells in the reproductive organs of both sexes."
"Hence the burning question, 'F*cking Magnets, How Do They Work??' "
"Interesting job, bad answer."
"Look I'm not a 'magnestist' here, just an electrician which I guess could be one of the next closest jobs. But thats like saying you can't use any of our senses to sense gravity."
"Ever seen an object get affected by a magnet? That's sensing magnetism through our sense of 'sight'. Ever held something near a magnet - or even a magnet itself since you can feel the repllent aspect of the force as well? That is sensing magnetism through our sense of 'touch'."
"When anyone cops a belt (sparky for an electric shock) whether it be licking a 9v battery, touching live 240v conductors or even getting struck by lightning; we are feeling the electromagnetically energised positive protons and negative electrons trying to balance themselves out. We literally feel our body experience magnetism."
"Hahaha I did have a laugh at your second answer though that's probably true"
"Actually, both of those are the effects of magnetism. We can't sense magnetic force, just what it causes."
- Mori_564Season 3 Smoking GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
It's Technically Hearing, But We Get It.
"The difference between an awkward silence and regular silence"
"YES! Have a freebie!"
"I choose not to ever consider silence to be awkward silence and i encourage others to do the same. Yeah it's some corny sigma male sh*t but it's really made my conversations more enjoyable"
"Once knew a guy who was having difficulties with a co-worker. HR finally just told them not to talk to each other. A week later HR spoke to him because the other guy whined about him being 'aggressively silent'. Like wtf?"
"bro speaking facts"
"It is a regular silence until you mention the silence. Then it is an awkward silence."
"Most of reality."
"And yet some brilliant humans have been able to make many of the insensible things visible through their inventions. It’s incredible how many things are known even when we’re unable to detect it without devices."
"I thought this was a dark matter reference at first."
"Most of the universe is dark matter, but we can't see it, touch it, smell it, or interact with it in any way with our senses."
"This is perhaps the best and, simultaneously, most frightening answer."
"If we had 10 more senses and 1000 more IQ points we still wouldn't be able to experience even a fraction of reality."
"Here's a rough list of things that are currently all around you but you don't know is there:"
"Countless air molecules such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen"
"Light (EM spectrum) outside of our range. Radio signals from cell phones, routers, towers, planes, etc. Xrays and gamma rays from upper atmosphere particle interactions and distant stars."
" Billions and billions of neutrinos produced by the sun that penetrate the earth (and your body of course)."
" Radioactive emissions from various natural decaying elements including Carbon"
"14 found in pretty much anything with Carbon (such as your body). Also Potassium such as in Bananas."
" Billions of bacteria and viruses all over everything."
" That Klingon Warbird decloaking off starboard!"
"Nuclear radiation, plus neutrinos - they go right through us."
"Apparently it tastes like metal when there is a lot of radiation tho"
"Astronauts said they could see flashes of light through their closed eyelids, so not all radiation"
"But I do agree with neutrinos"
"Technically you could sense neutrinos since they could hypothetically interact with the liquid inside your eyes, but that happens so rarely and our eyes are so small that statistically it will never happen for anyone ever."
- Moiklefox artists on tumblr GIF by Animation Domination High-DefGiphy
You Have To Imagine The Flavor
"The different flavors of La Croix."
"La Croix flavors aren’t real, you read the can or see the color and it tricks your brain into thinking there is a flavor. I’m convinced this is true and nothing anyone says can change my mind."
"Wait... La Croix has flavors? I thought it was just different can colors"
"Ha! I have a buddy that always said La Croix is like drinking sparkling water while someone on the other end of the house whispers the word grapefruit."
"It tastes like TV static"
- chealey21Soda Water Summer GIF by LaCroix Sparkling WaterGiphy
"Magenta. Your brain makes it up"
"I'll take it if seeing it as grey is the only alternative."
"Crap how many things that we perceive as grey are actually exciting colours? I know certain birds, insects and marine life can see a wider scope of colours than we can."
"I am so confused. I know exactly what magenta is but I googled it and there are no wavelengths? Is life a lie?"
"Technically your brain makes up all colors and sight. I think what you are saying though is that there isn't a specific wavelength range that the brain directly converts to magenta. Actually now that I think of it, I'm not sure what that weird fact is about. I'll have to read more about it."
"Even crazier than Magenta are the impossible colors which can only be perceived temporarily via an optical illusion."
" 'Stygian Blue' is a shade of blue that's darker than black."
" 'Hyperbolic Orange' is a shade of orange that's even more orange than orange."
"The 'self luminous' colors look like brighter-than-white glowing pastels."
"They're kind of trippy."
"Carbon monoxide. Unless dying counts as a sense."
"All gasses except for CO2 are undetectable to the human body. Not just CO"
"Even CO2 is undetectable. It has the EXACT SAME symptoms as every other gas. An impending sense of doom, hallucinations(usually scary and violent) and finally random bouts of unconsciousness getting worse as the volume increases but thats hypoxia as well so..."
"What I mean is that CO2 is the pretty much the only gas that the lungs evolved specifically to reject. A lung full of CO2 is always going to burn and generally feel suffocating although I don't have enough experience with colder co2 vapors to know what those might feel like."
"If it's a lung of PURE CO2 yeah but in the toxic level you won't notice it cause it's not lethal."
"Why is this so far down on the list?"
- alleghenysingersleepy homer simpson GIFGiphy
I Got A Feeling Somebody's Watching Me
"When you’re being watched. You can’t hear, see, touch, taste or smell who or what is watching you. You just kinda… know 👁👁"
"I've heard that your peripheral vision is exceedingly good at detecting eyes. It doesn't tell you exactly where but it alerts that 'being watched' feeling. Technically still sight."
"Typically, the reason for this is because your brain has picked up on something that isnt quite right, wether its silence, or the absence of something thats usually there, but most times, you can't tell what that thing is, but you know something isnt right"
"My buddy went hiking on Vancouver Island a few years ago and told me he had that exact feeling directly behind him. Turned around and a mountain lion was staring at him from a distance."
"You can you just don't know you can. You as a being are too focused on random bullshit than on surviving its why we have a part of the brain DEDICATED TO THREAT DETECTION. It's called your subconscious or Instincts. Instincts are useful because they give you that gut feeling and deal with your reflexes. If you've ever gotten into a fight and grabbed a rock or something without thinking about it it was Instincts. If you've ever felt paranoid or afraid of the dark despite being 30 years old and having gotten over it that's Instincts. If you've ever looked at a ledge and thought about jumping off that's Instincts telling you have terrifyingly bad an idea that is(something to do with monkey brain and judging distances you can fall from safely)"
- MutedAd7206Interested George Clooney GIFGiphy
"Depends what you mean by "sensed". If I look at a video feed from a satellite at the far end of the Moon, am I seeing the far end of the Moon? If I look at a picture of distant galaxies imaged in infrared, watch a vapor trail in a particles experiment, listen to a sonification of data, feel a building tremble in an earthquake, do I sense these existing things?"
"What is allowed to be between myself and the existing 'thing', to still call it sensing? Do the instruments have to be part of my body? What about glasses? Implanted lenses? Hearing aids? Skin grafts?"
"Regardless of your answer, the only thing I would say with some certainty exists, but cannot be sensed, is the future (some future) because the laws of physics forbid time travel in that direction.."
"I would argue that time in that sense doesn’t even really count as existing. It’s more of an abstraction or summary of the interaction between existent things in space (spacetime would be a better way to think about it)."
"Not one thing can be said to exist without the claim being dependent on the senses."
Not Your Typical Wave
"Most radio waves"
"More like the entire electromagnetic spectrum apart from visible light and infrared."
"Up to a certain amplitude but eventually … cooked 😂"
"Most light aka most of the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact we can't sense any radio waves at all, not with our human senses anyway, as the OP asked."
"I was going to say WiFi, but that is also an electromagnet wave."
Now that you've argued your way through some Redditors thoughts, let's argue more in the comments.
What do you know exists even though you can't exactly perceive it?
Life is full of boring things.
Life is full of uninteresting things.
So... if life full?
That's a question for another time.
Let's focus on the things that leave us bored to tears.
Or numb with no feeling at all.
You ever wonder how people get so super involved and jazzed about some stuff and you look at it and all you can do is yawn?
That's our topic.
Redditorroscatorossowanted to hear about what things we all can live without.
"What's something you have ZERO interest in?"
I have a long list of having zero interest in things. Give me a few more points.
"Extending my car’s warranty."
"We have messaged you about your car's extended warranty."
Ashamed-Help-6662Chopping Video Game GIFGiphy
"All pyramid schemes should get stuffed."
"At one point my boss was hocking Herbalife and young living essential oils on the side of the business, it was a blast trying to take a sick day because she had the cure for everything."
"Commercial advertisements interrupting what I’m doing."
"Let's talk about commercial ads in cinemas. I stopped going to a certain cinema (The Space chain, in Italy) for this reason. Tickets are more expensive than the family owned cinema, and before the movie starts you have at least 30 minutes of ads."
"Unless you book online, they don't allow you in if the 'movie' has started. Online bookers can go in until 30 minutes after the booked time. For some reason, my friends love it. I deeply hate it. People usually run out of popcorn before the movie starts. The last time I went there, I paid 12.50€ for a movie that had to start at 22:30, and it started at 23:20. Never again."
"Raid shadow legends."
"I did actually download it. Played it for like 5 minutes, there was very little in the way of strategy or anything and it kept giving me new 'tasks.' Eventually I discovered a 'Auto fight' button that would literally play the game for you requiring 0 input from you. I uninstalled it."
"Shows about d**chebags dating on some island."
Kramer1812Heart Andre GIF by LoveIslandUSAGiphy
I still can't believe people get invested in those shows.
"Literally whatever my neighbor wants to talk about, everyday."
maketesSpongebob Squarepants Reaction GIF by NickelodeonGiphy
"Gender reveal parties. We're gonna find out soon enough."
"Somebody I worked with had a cringy one of these at our team meeting, after talking shop about very serious issues in suits and ties etc. At the end my manager was like 'ok so now we have a special moment where Nadine is going to reveal to us the gender of her baby.' She got up excitedly in front revealing a big box covered in glitter and s**t, slowly cut a ribbon and balloon popped out with 'it's a boy' on it. We just all sat there and awkwardly clapped like we cared."
"Praising and defending corrupt politicians like a freaking God."
"Corrupt politicians, more like ANY politician. I find it so strange seeing people idolise and put their political leaders on these untouchable pedestals while they crap on them, none of them care about anything other than their agenda and their wallets."
"I've recently been seeing a clickbait on my social media that says, 'Did Anne Frank have white privilege? The internet is up in arms...' or something like that. I cannot even describe the feeling of shut the heeeeellll up, and total exhaustion that that question gives me."
Not a Thing
"Celebrities/ Influencer Culture."
"I really hate the term 'influencer.' It just sounds so pompous and is mostly only used by people who want to feel more relevant than they actually are."
CC_KeyesSocial Media Reaction GIF by Acorn TVGiphy
I have less than zero interest in all of this.
The times do change fast don't they? Everything we think we'll know about the future is usually false.
How much of history is littered with things we thought we'd never be able to do without?
Now we watch movies in our palms. (Instead of theaters.) We send millions of dollars through the air. (Instead of withdrawing in person, or a check.) And we no longer need pennies. (Basically)
Who would have thought?
These were all going to be life essentials.
But generation by generation, the obsolescence takes over.
RedditorVictorPumpensteinwanted to talk about what truths were hidden until it was too late for each group as we aged.
"What is the biggest lie sold to your generation?"
Beepers. I was told my beeper would be forever. Alas...
You Still Here?
"Gen X-er here... we were told that the boomers would eventually retire. Still waiting for that to happen while rapidly approaching retirement age myself."
drsfmdSeth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"Don’t act up in class Johnny, It will go on your PERMANENT RECORD!!"
"I worked in records for a public school board many years ago. The only thing colleges ever requested was transcripts and IEPs if a student had one. However, the police would request full disciplinary records of someone was going to be hired. And unless a student had a disciplinary hearing at some point, most records other than transcripts are destroyed after 7 years."
"The war on drugs."
"Poverty and terror won theirs, too. Turns out, declaring war on a concept without attacking the societal roots of the problem is just a way to funnel more money into the military-industrial complex."
"Shout out to pharmaceutical companies for winning the war on drugs."
instead of cardboard...
"Plastic recycling. I remember when grocery stores went from paper bags to plastic because 'they're recyclable!' Literally everything else started coming wrapped in a ton of plastic (instead of cardboard) because it was recyclable. Single use plastics were great, because we'd just recycle the plastic, and use it forever! Turns out, it was just cheaper, and recycling had nothing to do with it. Most of that plastic can't be recycled anyway."
"Fat is bad, sugar is good."
"This is why America has an obesity epidemic. Even now, older generations tout the health benefits of low fat things, without bothering to look at sugar contents. High sugar processed foods that happen to be low in fat destroyed multiple generations. Thankfully I think Gen Z might be the turnaround. Older generations are pretty messed up."
"Medicare and social security will protect you. Based on how things are going, anyone with 30 years or more before retirement better have strong backup plans."
iteracoMedicine Pills GIF by FergieGiphy
Oh Medicare and social security. What. A. Disaster. We are in trouble.
"You will always have to write in cursive."
"I hated those cursive books and being 10 and still couldn't figure it out. My sister a year behind me never had to write cursive. I firmly believe my year was the last year to deal with cursive. This was back in 2012-2013."
chonkettesealtake notes GIF by US National ArchivesGiphy
"Climb the corporate ladder."
"It's not a ladder, it's a pyramid. Only one person can be CEO, a handful can be executives, a bigger clump can be in some form of middle management, but the majority will always be 'individual contributors' - what an amazingly corporate term."
"You're often better off with an in-demand skill set that you can shop from company to company. Unless you enjoy fighting and scrabbling and climbing over people to keep getting promoted. Sure, you may have crappy bosses, but even the CEO has to go in front of the board and be told everything that's going wrong."
“If you don’t go to college, you’ll die broke and alone on the street.”
"I wish i hadn't been pushed so hard to go to Uni at 18. I wasn't ready yet and i didn't know what I wanted to do with my life yet. Asking a 16 year old what degree and vocation he wants is just a bad way of doing it!"
"My principal in high school was upset at me because I wasn't going to college. He told me multiple times that if I don't, then I am just throwing away my intelligence. I never went to college because it just sounded miserable and expensive. I worked a few different jobs after high school and learned a lot then started my own business. Glad I never went to college."
"Work hard for your company and they will take care of you."
whatintheactualfethSeason 1 Lol GIF by NBCGiphy
So much changes over each generation. How will we ever learn?
In this day and age of sexual freedom and experimentation, why would you cheat?
It makes absolutely no sense.
Unless, the act itself is part of the fun.
No matter your decision, let's pinpoint the moment we know we're heading down that path.
Everybody can name the times you feel it in your gut.
You know it's crossed a line.
Redditorcrabpinchingmyanuswanted to hear about the moments when we all begin to fall short of fidelity.
"Redditors, where does cheating in a relationship start for you?"
You always know when it's wrong. At least I always did. That's why is called cheating.
"The sneaking around. The second you start plotting to do something behind my back. You're violating the trust of the relationship."
WarkitzSheila Canning Love GIF by Neighbours (Official TV Show account)Giphy
"Honestly it's about intentions more than anything. If my SO started pursuing someone romantically that's cheating - doesn't matter if it's lovey dovey texting or f**king. If my SO was at a party and a drunk person kissed him suddenly against his wishes, that's not cheating."
"At the end of the day it comes down to them wanting to be with another person and they aren't being honest about it. The polite thing to do, even though it's painful and hard and sad, is to break up. Breaking up is never crappier than cheating."
"If you would be unwilling to tell your partner about an interaction, then it's probably time to start thinking about what you're doing."
"Yeah I think the two basic litmus tests are..."
"1- Would you tell them/do it in front of them?"
"2- Would you be okay with it if they did the same thing?"
"If the answer is yes to both, it’s probably fine. If it’s no to either, then at minimum you’re on dangerous ground."
"It depends on what each couple would consider to be off limits. A good guide is if you're doing something you would hide from your partner or wouldn't do it if they were in the room with you, then that's cheating. It can range from having sex with someone else, to simply flirting."
"Lies. It always starts with lies. Be it texts or snaps, if one of us have to lie or hide, it's wrong and should not happen."
notyourusualladyA Lie Is A LieGiphy
It's always a lie in the beginning. Don't lie... it's a Commandment.
"If you wouldn't want your partner to know, it's cheating. I wouldn't flirt with someone else in front of my partner, so I don't flirt with people when he's not around either."
kellogg888Pondering Anthony Anderson GIF by BETGiphy
"As cheesy as it sounds, it starts with your motive, intention, and conscience. I think there's a clear cut difference between physical cheating and mental/emotional cheating, but it all relates to your honest motive, intention, and conscience. For example, there isn't anything inherently wrong with texting with another person if you are married or dating."
"But if you know in your heart that you are texting or engaging in conversation that makes you feel guilty or it would make your partner upset, you may be doing something wrong, even if you technically did not cheat. If at any point you are justifying your actions or defending your actions/feelings/thoughts from a technical perspective, you may be at the start of doing something wrong."
"Cheating starts at lying, even by omission. I am okay with private conversations, meeting people she wants to meet, going away on business trips or going out and coming back late at night. But lying to me about it or about what happened? Or simply not telling me something I don't want to hear? That's cheating."
"'I will go out tonight, to see people you don't know and talk about things you don't care about': we are in the clear, it is fine."
"'I saw X and Y last night at their place': if I know for sure that it is not true, then there is some cheating involved."
"It only works if you are not a creep, or even jealous. There needs to be mutual trust and respect. When trust and respect are gone, the relationship is gone too."
"The intent. For me, an ex of mine that would later cheat on me started a tinder profile in which she claimed she "just wanted to find friends" and she certainly found quite a few of them. Obviously, she didn't just want friends. It could be as small as reaching out to an ex to say happy birthday, but most people have the intent to do something well before it is executed."
"If there’s a grey area, it’s cheating. If you know they will be upset, it’s cheating. If you have to hide it/lie/omit details. It’s cheating."
SufficientBug5598Jennifer Aniston Friends GIFGiphy
There is never a good reason to cheat. Once you know it's starting... fess up.