V. Mignerot

Vincent Mignerot portrait Dannreuther 9.2 Adrastia

Vincent Mignerot

Author in the field of Humanities, specializing in the study of perception and the uniqueness of the human mind in a global changing environment.

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The creation of the Adrastia Committee is the result of a reflection of over 15 years on the existential questions that upset humanity : why is there something rather than nothing, what is the general principle of evolution, what is the reason of the uniqueness of the human mind, is freedom possible…?

While at first the question of the end was not the subject of this discussion, some theoretical contributions obtained seem to help us today to understand how we became able to lead ourselves, sometimes consciously, to our own destruction.

To understand this paradox we must consider that our singular human mind could be the result of perceptual and cognitive improvements associated with the development of new environmental constraints which gradually occurred several hundred thousand years ago when our hominid ancestors developed new tools and learned to tame fire. The use of these new techniques, particularly successful in the competition for survival, have produced original conditions of existence to which our newborn species had to adapt : we had become able to jeopardize ourselves directly and quickly by our own actions on the environment. We became able, for example, to accidentally set fire to a forest which provided us shelter and subsistence, to slaughter herds completely or even species to meet our needs for food, skins… which could lead to famine we were accountable for.

According to contemporary models, humanity has no particular competence that does not exist in other species. But it is the only one that has managed to develop techniques that are beyond the capacity of the natural environment to regulate their use. This allows the acquisition of adaptive advantages, but inevitably entails risks.

It is the awareness of these risks and their potentially unavoidable adverse consequences for our future that motivates me to try to understand why we fail, despite our talents and our best intentions, to direct the course of our evolution as well as we would like.

But before a definitive answer to this question is found, it seems important to address the direct effects of our inability observed to avoid some pitfalls. This is the objective of Adrastia: no longer look away and admit the imminent risk of a structural collapse of our societies, in order to better prepare ourselves.

Adrastia is perhaps one of the last great humanist projects, one of those believing each human being is submitted to a strong destiny which puts all of us on the rails of ecological conditions now inconsistent with our expectations.