This is the first of the "Mad World" entries. The idea behind these types of posts is to discuss and analyze how the increased "flow-through" of energy, from ordered and usable to chaotic and polluting, in our current industrialized, global system may tend to create insane, obscene, destructive observable phenomena in the natural world and human behavior.
The essay below, quoted in its entirety form The New York Times Book Review, depicts a vision of a not-too-distant America. The author projects the end game for some of our current hyper-productive behaviors, such as women holding off on pregnancy until their sixties, and an chemically-induced end to sleep so we can work more. The essay is purely speculative, similar to the trend in sci-fi. But I can't help sense some bitterness in the author's tone, almost like he is scolding us to be careful what we wish for--also similar to that current sci-fi trend.
For myself, I can't get too worked up because I think entropy law prohibits our current path of development from getting too much crazier that it already is. A planet or society--like a body--simply cannot be kept alive on pills alone.
Here is William Saletan's "You:the Updated Owner's Manual"