Overshoot, Narcissus, and the Sirens’ Song

December 2, 2007 • Daily Email Recap

This is a second article by J. Anthony Cassils of the Population Institute of Canada, with some overlap with the one sent yesterday.

We humans are being lured into a state of overshoot by our own unconscious desires. Our high intelligence, sensitivity, and acute consciousness of our mortality evoke an inherent narcissism which manifests itself as the desire for limitless self-extension, for recognition of what might be called our cosmic significance.

This impels us to become heroes to our selves and our species by taking action in the world often to the detriment of other life forms. Our senses bring in so much information we are in constant danger of being overwhelmed and have to engage in active repression of many of the thoughts that terrify us (such as the prospect of overshoot and die-off) in order to maintain our equilibrium and to function well.

We face many temptations that have the potential to undermine us. The most pernicious of them speak to human narcissism and call to us with the sweetness of the mythological sirens that enticed sailors to their destruction by their seductive singing.

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