[quote=Mark Cochrane]You are exactly right that any species gifted with a windfall of resources goes into a 'boom' of growth right up until the resource limits bite and the inevitable 'bust' occurs. What appalls me is that we pride ourselves as a species on our big brains and supposed consciousness when collectively we cannot behave any differently than a colony of bacteria on a nutrient-rich Petri dish.[/quote]Well, yes, we like to think of ourselves in that way but our behaviour shows that we're not, as you point out. We are barely driven by our conscious side – if at all. Why do you think the contrarians always seem to win?
We are just animals after all and just having a big brain, in proportion to our mass, doesn't alter that. Other creatures have bigger proportionate brains than many other species but still act in their characteristic ways. We are really no different.
This realisation can be very disappointing but it does mean that I don't get excited about every movement or every new president or some small "victories", or whatever, because I know that won't make any difference to our collective behaviour. I may be wrong, but I don't think so (obviously!).