First of all if you read Dr. Samuel Epstein's research he takes into account increases in life span when considering cancer. But regardless of
squabbling about statistics and the correlations which medicine is based on, there is a deeper issue involved.
Certainly there is a high rate of injury from industrial accidents -- cars, work, etc. -- probably higher than 5% of the population. But when we
define people by statistics then we are harming people just by our way of defining reality. Plato did this by stating each citizen is the ratio 9/8
which must be averaged or "compromised" for the good of the state -- through mass ritual sacrifice -- and this was based on science developing from
harmonics. In other words when 9/8 as each citizen (or harmonic ratio) is cubed it creates the square root of two also called the Devil's Interval
or tritone in music, but still the basis for equal-tempered tuning. Modern science then developed from this concept of alogon or the irrational
geometric magnitude. Plato integrated the law, the state, medicine, mathematics and philosophy of science as the foundation for Western
So, for example, you state that average life span has increased and continues to do so -- but, in fact, average life span depends not just on how long
people individually live but also on the death rate of new borns. So a culture could have a fairly high rate of death of new borns but also have a
very long life span yet this is averaged out so that the culture appears to have lifespans which are "short, brutish and nasty" to quote Hobbes --
or was it Locke?
Doesn't matter because the fact is there's been a huge population explosion of humans due to Western materialism which at the same time has
drastically decreased the quality of life. So people may live longer but they live a life of drudgery doing repetitive work in sweatshops after they
survived feudal colonial slavery, etc. Whereas 90% of human history -- particularly the Bushmen culture -- was a hunter-gatherer culture which
rotated work based on the seasonal lunar cycle. This was the case in the U.S. just 250 years ago.
So as Western "progress" spread there were many "victims of progress" as the excellent book by Professor John Bodley is titled:
And it's not just people that suffer -- Western civilization has utterly destroyed the "quality of life" for ecology as well, as Professor Alfred
Crosby's excellent book "Ecological Imperialism" details:
So that the modern longer life span of Westernized humans should be more readily compared with the life of a virus or pestilence. Dr. Vandana
Shiva's book "Monocultures of the Mind"
captures this type of "averaging out" mentality quite well.
Admittedly Western science and imperialism are good are creating "lots of things" -- lots of people, lots of products -- but at what cost?
Marx called it "primitive accumulation" but in terms of ecology it's a boom-bust cycle -- you get population explosion and then collapse --
and this population explosion which enables a longer AVERAGE life span for those who can become Westernized -- again at a lower quality of life --
comes at a great expense for the "victims of progress."
Noam Chomsky's book "Year 501: The Conquest Continues" is a more accurate depiction of the Western model for the rest of the world -- not exactly
based on the principle of
"do no harm."
[edit on 27-1-2010 by drew hempel]