My cognitive dissonance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

I have beliefs, and then I have beliefs. The problem is that the two are not compatible.  I have beliefs, and I have behavior. And those two are also inconsistent. It makes me anxious about my existence and guilty about my actions, and I lose motivation to change my actions or beliefs. This post is just a way for me to put these thoughts down so I can think about the issues more clearly, and maybe get some input from people whose opinions I value (perhaps you, dear reader).

My worldview holds that people, not things, are important, because only they continue to matter after death. The universe will end, and civilization much before that, and all our accomplishments and things will go with it. Skills won’t matter much: I doubt anything we learn to do in this life will be applicable in the next. But people and relationships will last. So I want my other beliefs and my actions to jive with this worldview.

Within that worldview, applicable to my lifetime, I believe that the world will get itself into some trouble that it has never foreseen, never prepared for, ad never encountered in such a massive scale. Specifically, global overpopulation and starvation. When that happens, we will learn that most people can’t sustain their own existence. I’m thinking specifically of “financial services,” insurance, and cultural (art, music, TV, video games) industries. Like an inverted pyramid of sorts, where more people live disconnected from the realities of food production/consumption than not. And that’s when it hits the fan. I’m not sure how society will survive, or whether it will. The only thing that’s certain is that things will change dramatically.

I believe this will happen soon. Perhaps within my lifetime. Perhaps early in my lifetime. Based on this belief, I have decided that the only reasonable course of action is to begin preparing for that. I don’t mean to stockpile food inside a shelter, but rather learn how to produce food and defend myself.

Very well. Those are the beliefs. Then come the actions that don’t match with the beliefs.

I’ve been educated in technology. Grew up with it, love it, want to work with it. My thoughts for the immediate future always focus on what I should study, how I can develop my professional skills, and where to begin/continue my career. It’s all diametrically opposed to my aforementioned beliefs. People who only have tech skills know nothing about how to sustain their lives apart from the stable continuation of the current economic system. A reasonable person would at least try to balance this with “real” agricultural skills, and at most switch over completely. I am doing neither, thus the tension between beliefs and actions, and thus my anxiety about my future.

What to do? Generally, I’d rather change my actions than my beliefs. Practically, I should start looking into how to do urban farming, or actual farming, even as I learn programming and search for a job in a doomed industry. If anyone is interested in urban farming, or has another, potentially better idea, please let me know. I’m all ears.

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