Monday, 10 July 2017
A solution to human developmental stagnation
The human race seems doomed to repeat the same stupid mistakes over and over again because its intelligence walks hand in hand with its stupidity. As a species the human race fails to learn the lessons of its history and therefore sleepwalks its way to ever more restrictive rule and towards the destruction not only of itself but also of the planet which is its home.
Homo sapiens sapiens is a remarkably intelligent, creative and resourceful species but the pace of its technological advancement far outstrips its wisdom to use the technology it creates, making for a dangerous situation.
This is only one of the deficiencies of the human race however. The other is its insistence in its belief that it has somehow overcome its animal nature and the darker selfishness of the human condition which leads to war, discrimination, hate and a narrowing of focus from the needs of society and species to the selfish needs of the individual.
Is it any wonder that there are so many divides within society?
One of the greatest gifts the human race has is the ability to create communities, to come together to serve the collective needs of that community, but it is also its greatest curse because, in creating the communities that it does, it also creates animosity between competing communities.
Communities, in this sense, does not necessarily mean a geographic community but also those communities that share common values or traits – religious, socio-economic, racial, ideological, etc. Each community has needs that require fulfilling and each community may need, at some point, to come into conflict with another to fulfil those needs as resources are finite but the needs of so many communities seems infinite whether that is truly the case or not.
Conflict can breed the most fertile conditions for technological advancement but also widens the gaps between communities because wisdom very rarely accompanies each advancement and enmity grows.
So called democratic nations swing between Left wing and Right wing administrations, each undoing the improvements created by its opposite because of the ideological basis upon which those improvements were founded so progress cannot be made in solving the needs of the entire human population within its borders.
To take the United Kingdom in 2017, the current Conservative government has stoked divisions within its borders, disassembled the achievements of the previous Labour administration and created a hostile environment for the disabled community through institutional demonization and persecution of that group. Under such conditions, people with physical or sensory impairments or mental health conditions have been devalued as human beings and seen, in the main, as worthless. How much the species would have lost in intellectual advancement had Professor Stephen Hawking grown up under such a government.
The only way to heal the divisions created by so many communities trying to co-exist is to make decisions based on the needs of the species rather than the needs of communities or individuals. The poor are as much wealth creators as the rich; in fact, some might argue that the poor are greater wealth creators because they are the ones who produce the goods that create the wealth. The disabled may not be able to contribute to society in some ways but they can in others, depending on their individual impairments. Skin colour does not make anyone more or less valuable to the species or society.
Political ideologies are more complicated to overcome but not impossible to do so. Left wing ideologies tend to view the human condition as social beings drawn to each other and able to work together towards common interests. Right wing ideologies tend to view the human condition as individualistic beings who need to be controlled to work together to make a society work. Both positions have some basis in truth but, as in everything, the truth lies somewhere between the two ideological positions. To reduce this to a simplistic statement, it could be argued that followers of Left wing political ideologies tend to think with their heart over their heads whilst followers of Right wing political ideologies tend to think with their heads over their hearts. Either position on its own risks the society it tries to create. One cannot use their heart to make decisions without considering the intellectual implications of doing so and one cannot use their head to make decisions without considering the very real emotional implications of doing so. The way to overcome this dichotomy is to find some middle ground between the two approaches, a synthesis that fulfils all needs and considers all variables – a species-level approach.
The species-level approach is also the way to amalgamate the needs of the various human communities by viewing every single human being as valuable in some way thereby elevating the needs of every individual to the same level. Every human being has the potential to be something greater than the current societies allow them to be, whether that be due to their socio-economic status or level of physical, mental or emotional functioning, etc. Every human being is special in some way. Every human being can contribute to the species in some way if they are given the opportunity and the resources to do so. No one is valueless. No one is unnecessary.
If the human race looked at technological advancement and ecological challenges with a species-level approach, perhaps it would advance to a point at which wisdom becomes ingrained in decisions allowing wisdom to keep pace with its ever-advancing intellect. Perhaps the human race would stop turning the planet it lives on into a toilet filled with chemical sludge and a toxic atmosphere in which each breath taken holds the potential for illness or death. Perhaps the weapons and technologies of war could be put to better use in solving the over-population of the planet rather than culling whole portions of the most valuable resource – human beings.
Using a species-level system of thought, the human race might just be able to justify its existence to whatever entity runs the Universe. It may never be perfect but the human race could be so much better than it is now.