Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: The Earth and humanity will not be saved by technology, but by smart and caring people!

The army, as you know, brings all kinds of people together. And this was doubly true for the Soviet army, where I happened to pull the soldier's strap. A Russian boy from a high-mountainous Dagestan village served in our company. His father, a doctor by profession, taught him to hunt from an early age. He talked about hunting excitedly, and he was ready to talk for hours.

As a Buddhist, I certainly do not approve of the killing of any living creature - all the more so, a murder committed not to satisfy hunger, but in the excitement of hunting. But the boy talked about his hunting adventures with such knowledge of the matter, with such a love for nature that you couldn’t blame him. Had he been a little more educated, he could become if not a second Prishvin, then a second Vasily Peskov for sure.


One of his stories has sunk deep into my soul. This story happened somewhere at the turn of the seventies and eighties of the last century at the opening of a spring hunting season. He and his father went to hunt partridges and, as usual, parted in different directions. A partridge, in principle, is a bird of the foothills, but it absolutely does not care about tradition when it comes to survival. So my colleague in pursuit of prey climbed quite high.

I need to clarify that high in the mountains, in good weather, when there is no fog, the air is so clean and transparent that any details are visible without binoculars for many kilometres.
After climbing some rocks, my friend suddenly noticed that on the next peak, along the path that goes around it, a partridge hunter and a brown bear that had just emerged from hibernation are walking towards each other. They were still separated by a rock, but in a minute, they will face nose to nose.
So, what to do? Shouting is useless: in the mountains, sound travels far, but not that much.  Take a shot? What is the point? Firing is all around as on the front line - the season for partridges is open. In addition, if you hit a bear starving after hibernation, you will only make you angry.
“In short,” the narrator said, “I was shocked. I thought nothing could be done about it." Then the beast collided nose to nose with a man. Both froze for a while, which seemed like an eternity, and then ... simultaneously turned around and went in different directions!
Last spring, I recalled this story in a telephone conversation with another friend of mine who, I know, also loves hunting. “Partridges?” he asked me, “Uh-uh, my friend, what partridges? Now it's forbidden to even look at them, never mention hunting them!"
Even though my interlocutor did not understand the meaning of the parable, our conversation became a living illustration of a very serious problem. A recent Global Biodiversity Outlook report revealed it in its entirety.
The problem is that, as Robert Rozhdestvensky put it, "less nature, more environment."
The world around us is dying out. In 2010, the leaders of 196 countries gathered in Japan to decide how to reverse this process. The result of their joint work was the "Strategic Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for 2011–2020". It was a non-binding memorandum: the plan contained 20 points of specific tasks that had to be solved by the end of this year. However, none of those tasks was done.
Once again: the leaders of one hundred and ninety-six countries, including advanced states like the United States and European locomotives - Germany, France and Britain - could not do anything to not just stop, but at least hinder the eighth mass extinction of animals in the history of the Earth. How was this possible?!
Palaeontologists claim that the first life appeared on our planet almost four billion years ago: almost immediately after the formation of the planet by cosmic standards. And for four billion years, kingdoms and species of animals more or less peacefully replaced each other, sometimes suffering from an excess of oxygen, or, on the contrary, from a lack of oxygen, extreme heat or extreme cold, asteroids that flew from space, or from plants that suddenly became inedible. It was like that until Homo sapiens appeared.
There are many definitions of the concept of "Human Being", starting with Plato's "bipedal animal without feathers and with flat nails." But none of them describe our species in its entirety. Without at all claiming scientific primacy, I would suggest defining a modern (starting with Homo habilis, perhaps) human being as a consuming creature.
Consumption, alas, has become an ideology, a religion, the inspiring and guiding force of our entire civilization.
Thus, all the dolphins and other crabs become just a bargaining chip in the eternal pursuit of food.
That is why all presidents, queens and prime ministers, in company with the Pope and the Dalai Lama, can gather twenty times a day, adopt formidable and absolutely binding resolutions and they will achieve absolutely nothing.
Humanity wants to eat.
Of course, it is good at least that we - at the level of states’ leaders - realized that, having devoured everything around us, we ourselves will become extinct. But what is the next step? And the next step is clear: management skills are getting more and more popular in people, economics and cybernetics.
The latest achievement is the creation of artificial intelligence and robots. Moreover, both are intended only to help the average person consume more and more. Now, having met a bear on a narrow mountain path, you will not respectfully disperse in different directions: the artificial intelligence will quickly send drones at it, which will neutralize or kill the beast of your choice.
The level of consumption became equal to the level of success. I don't care that you can solve differential equations in your head, you are not smart by default if you drive a Ford Focus and not a Nissan Infiniti.
The Dalai Lama is credited with saying: "Our planet does not need a large number of" successful people." It desperately needs peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.
It needs people to live with.
Our planet needs people with morality and love, who will make the world alive and humane. And these qualities have little to do with "success" as defined in our society."
In fact, these are the thoughts of American scientist and writer David Orr, professor of ecology at a little-known college. I guess he understands well what he is saying. And I have almost no doubt that the Dalai Lama would have signed these words.
Knowing perfectly well that we are going in the wrong direction; we are still walking towards our destruction. Are we dull?
The trouble is that we (not you personally, or your neighbour, but all of us in general) are dull. Realizing perfectly well that we are doing what should not be done, realizing that success cannot be defined by consumption, but by the power of the intellect and soul, we, nevertheless, continue to strive to devour everything around us. Now we are inventing robots, quantum computers and artificial intelligence, but why? For creation? No, let's face it: in order to consume more.
I see only one way out of this impasse - the widest spread of chess. Not in order to raise new world champions: the Alekhins, Botvinniks and Karpovs, but only in order for all of us to become smarter.
To learn how to calculate the consequences of our actions (starting with purchase of an extra plastic bag) and be responsible for them. At least in front of our great-grandchildren.
Robots and AI will not save us. Only the high intelligence of each individual person can preserve both humanity and all the diversity of life on Earth.