How I intend to impact or contribute to the world, during my life, is a question I think about a lot.
And likely will continue to do so…
This is the rationale that I have come up with thus far.
We are essentially doing two things on this planet; surviving and reproducing.
One section of humanity (oversimplification = “the rich”) seem to be doing well at the survival thing. Particularly the first two levels of maslow’s hierarchy.
The remaining majority of humanity are still working to meet those basic needs.
So the first big challenge is to help raise the standard of living for those less fortunate.
Two approaches to that – top down, bottom up. Both useful.
Then, returning to the “rich” section of humanity, we/they seem to have gone off on this odd consumerism tangent. Buying goods priced well above their intrinsic value, due to branding and marketing. Cluttering their lives with goods they don’t necessarily need. And working long hours to support them in this endeavour.
Perhaps subconsciously thinking that the issue of survival is solved.
That’s only partially the case, and actually there are a bunch of existential threats that we’ve only recently become aware of.
So I see existential threats as the second big problem worth solving/working to mitigate.
The upside of existential threats is that they can help unite humanity around a common cause. Instead of getting caught up with inter-country conflict and other more minor issues.
And solving problem one (elevating the poor out of poverty), feeds into the second (solving/mitigating existential threats), because it provides humanity with more brain power to tackle these issues.