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Problems Of Humanity – A Quick Outline

November 30, 2009

The other day I mentioned I wrote down a list of problems I see facing mankind, and our future.   I went to write on them, but then my entry soon spanned many pages yet I had barely scratched the surface.  So today I’ll just write out my outline, and keep the blurbs really really short.  Remember, this outline was written up one morning while lying in bed.  It’s not intended to be all-inclusive, but it’s simply what I see recurring throughout human history since the dawn of the first civilizations, and what I see in the newspapers everyday.

Violence

Due to our origins evolving from the first cells, and competing with other life for resources, we inherited a violent nature embedded in our genetics, our emotions, and our mind.  These violent instincts are manifest all over, and in civilized society are given outlet all over the place.   We also deal with wars, nationalism, theft, envy, political creeds, and more, whose causes are all rooted deep in the human psyche and these violent instincts.

Sex

Also due to our origins in evolution, we all have inherited a strong sex drive.  Our ancestors didn’t live for very long, and had to reproduce quickly in order to survive.   Because we’ve become the dominate species of this planet, we no longer have any predators and have created elaborate mating rituals.  Also, a great deal of our psychology is rooted in sexual drives, mainly because one of the primary reasons for this human body is to reproduce and spread our genes.   Sex dominates most people’s minds, almost entirely.  This process of finding a mate, and reproducing, and finding an emotional state of happiness is by far the strongest drive behind human behavior.  It leads to both happiness and misery.  Unrequited love creates difficult dynamics and what determines attraction is a combination of sex appeal as well as arbitrary and random psychological factors.  Also, emotions in human beings are fickle.  This leads to couples constantly changing partners, and homes being broken up, and difficulties for children — all in a search for emotional stability and happiness.  Most humans are pretty apathetic toward events going on in the world, but if you mess with their lover, their children, their family, their home, or their food, or anything related to these things, they are very likely to get violent.

Mental Weakness and Survival Instincts

The difficulties and trials this world brings are too much for the rather delicate human psyche.  The overwhelming forces of this world tend to damage the mind, and leave malfunctioning humans beings running around causing trouble not only to themselves, but to others as well.   Some examples of this include escapist philosophies and religion, denial of events taking place out of fear, hoarding of wealth either out of various forms of insecurities, greed, or fears of an uncertain tomorrow, all the mental defense mechanisms psychoanalysts talk about, and more.  Since humans have evolved from reptiles they also have an innate tendency to blindly follow leaders.  When uncertain as to the reasons behind their own success, human beings tend to follow tradition, which basically embodies the concept, “We’re not sure how we got here, but things are ok as they are now.  As long as we don’t change anything, and just keep doing what we’re doing, things should be ok.”  This fear makes human society difficult to manage, and even more difficult to modify.  Once a government structure is set up which has a small degree of success, the masses of people don’t want it to be touched. This is also why it’s very difficult to bring about change politically, and why people in the United States for example, seem to worship the “Founding Fathers”, yet never have read the U.S. Constitution, or anything the Founding Fathers have even written.   Humans also fear their own death, so much so that they’ll do near anything to attain immortality of any sort, even if it’s only being remembered in the history books.  They’ll also do anything to attain “eternal life”, even if that means adhering to all sorts of irrational beliefs, worshiping strange and cruel deities, sacrificing animals or fellow human beings, and more.  These are rooted in their own evolutionary designed emotions, which are designed to keep them alive for as long as possible.

Religion

In the earliest societies and tribes, religion is very anthropomorphic.  Every deity is human like, with passions similar to their own.  This is due to the human psyche’s default tendency toward economy, and energy conservation.  It’s difficult to understand new things, and very hard to ascertain the true causes of things.  So they simply assume every force behind events is human-like in nature.  Deities are assigned to every role behind what they see.  A deity is behind night and day, why the crops grow, the floods of the river, and more.  Demons are behind sickness and disease, and so on.   Out of fear, superstitions form, and incorrect cause and effect relationships are established, leading to various beliefs formed to appease the deities.  As human knowledge expands, and the reasons behind the seasons, night and day, crops growing, and so on, come to be known, the deities tend to fade and become historical novelties.  This is because the deities were only invented and worshiped out of fear, but with no reason to fear any longer, the deities no longer matter.   Later religion changes into a moral sort, and the Gods seem to consolidate.   Religion became a sort of extension of the family, and embodied the same concepts.  And today religion is a sort of catch-all toward things that can’t be explained, and events that are still feared, such as death.  Ultimately, religion is a combination of survival instincts along with fear.  People will worship Jesus on the cross, and believe such crazy things because they still fear death and want to live forever.  People also still wonder about ghosts, and superstitions about demons and haunted areas and things still persists.  As science expands human knowledge, and once the nature of life is more fully explained, and the unknown areas which are now dark become more well lit, these modern religions will fade into historical novelties as well.  The main harm in religion is its escapist tendencies, and beliefs in things which are not empirical, leading to irreconcilable conflicts.  People put unquestioning faith in the nonsense out of fear, but once people stop questioning their minds become like hardened dry clay.  Society stops progressing, and they also are unable to learn anything new.

Lack Of Knowledge

It is difficult to learn.  It takes a lifetime just to master one subject.  Understanding a complicated subject matter is a lifelong endeavor, and it seems the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.  In fact, most knowledge teaches you not how smart you are, but how dumb you are, and how little you really know.  You learn one thing only to realize you don’t know about 10 other far more complicated things.  Everything always turns out to be more complicated than you expected.  The more you learn, the more options are available to you.  A sort of union with the reality around you takes place.  Humanity’s main problem is most of their time is dedicated not toward learning, but toward reproducing, eating, sleeping, working pointless jobs, and general existence.   Because learning is difficult, and the only method available toward learning is through books, most people learn very little throughout their lifetimes.  They remain for the most part, stupid.  The less educated a person is, the more prone they are to believe superstitions, propaganda, and other exploitative and nonsensical mindsets.  Because a person can only master one subject, and human prosperity relies us all working together effectively, we’re forced to work with one another, though we do so reluctantly.  Unfortunately working together requires intelligence, and most people spend their time worrying about reproducing, eating, and want to spend as little time with books as possible.   Since the majority of the masses are stupid, getting them to progress and move forward, or anywhere for that matter, is quite an undertaking.

Individualism vs Collectivism

After realizing the benefits of organized society mankind faces an immediate conflict.  How much government?  We have complete anarchy on the one hand, and authoritarian slavery on the other.  Humans have a strong tendency toward independence, and only reluctantly come together to form anything larger than a family or a small tribe.  But complete anarchy is a terrible way of the world, so we form nations and governments.  But being told what to do on every count is also a miserable way to live, so we tend to frown upon dictators, monarchs, aristocracies, and other “elites” controlling our lives on every count.  Freedom versus organization is one of the most difficult problems and has been around since the dawn of the first civilizations.   The “right” amount of government seems to be an onging battle, and everyone has a different opinion on the proper role of government.  Monarchies seem to be the first forms of government which form, as these are the most compatible with primitive savage thinking.  People naturally want to follow the strong man out of reptilian instincts.  Later society becomes a bit more free, and merchants and the rich start to rise, and grow to power which competes with the king.  These societies lead to exploitation of the working class, and they demand more representation and say in things.   Once education rises to a certain level, democracy becomes possible, but how successful it is depends on how educated the masses are.  Communism and socialism seem to fail miserably, as they do not have proper economic incentives, nor the freedom to pursue various dreams and ambitions.  Socialism seems to show a lot more promise than communism, but requires a degree of planning, education, and magnanimity which just doesn’t exist in the masses today or in the past.  In capitalism, a system where your success in it is mainly due to sublimated greed, the ambitious members of society tend to work their way to the top, and upon getting there find things like competition a bother, so bribe off the political leaders, getting special perks, economic protections, price floors, and more, becoming parasitic leeches.  As graft and corruption slowly suck the life out of nation, the free society finds itself slowly collapsing back into a sort of monarchical, aristocratic, authoritarian rule.   After so long the exploitation and corruption become too much to bear, and a nasty, oftentimes violent revolution takes place, the rich and the monarchs are overthrown, everything is cleaned up, and society hits the reset button.  If the revolution is organized poorly the people end up with a vile dictator instead.  But if things play out, the nation gets a fresh new start.  This is why economics and money are so important to understand, but due to the economic incentives, individual groups have more of an incentive to lobby than for the public to constantly be scanning the government for small inside corruption deals.  Because of these incentives, these cycles of clean start, gradual increasing corruption, upheveal, start over, gradual corruption, and so on, seem to be repeating themselves over and over and over.

Economic Systems

Having already mentioned capitalism, socialism, and communism, many economic related problems face mankind.  Economics deals with overcoming the “physical evils” of this world.  Efficiently organizing and sharing the things we produce, while allowing freedom at the same time.  It seems the broader the economic system, and the wider in scope, the more prosperity everyone receives.  A worldwide currency, and policies which allow all nations to share goods produced, as well as services, is the ideal.  Everything seems dependent on the division of labor and being able to share the goods people produce to the widest possible audience.  History books always talk about “trade routes.”  This is because trade routes allow people to share products from all over.  This makes roads, technology in ships, and package delivery, increases in automobile transport, increased communications, book-keeping techniques, mathematics, and other technological innovations a primary mover in human prosperity.  On the other hand, these technological innovations are not natural products of evolution, therefore harnessing them depends on education, which as we said, is difficult and slow to attain.  So as mankind now (generally, in civilization nations at least) lives a life of material ease, we psychologically struggle to keep up with everything going on.  Society is advancing faster than our mind can keep up.  We used to struggle out in the fields, now we struggle in the classroom.  Those with weak minds are being left behind and feel they’re being left out.  As technology progresses, manual labor will become worthless.  Besides these concerns, economically another issue seems to arise over and over in history – debt bubbles.  Banking establishments and corrupt politicians in control of the money supply always bring with them problems, if left unchecked.  Banks and merchants have always been guilty of burying people in debts they can’t possibly pay off with the real intention of making them their slaves.  Political slavery may not exist today, but economic slavery is rampant.  If politicians are not trying to print up money, shave the gold coins, or other corruption schemes involving money, they’ve been guilty continual budget deficits, never having enough money, and war machines, with their imperialistic ambitions to take over the world.  Also, the human mind seems to never have enough, and is never satisfied.  It wants the best society has to offer, and will often step on anyone to get to the top.  Politicians seem to be more guilty of this than anyone, as they tend to be opportunists, desperate for fame, full of vain ambitions, and eager to please.  We all suffer as the result.

Environmental Pollution

This is a modern problem which has only arisen within the past century.  Our actions these days are so contrary to the natural road evolution was on, we are destroying the other life on the planet, and since we depend on them to survive as well, we’re slowly destroying ourselves in the process.  Rainforests are being chopped down for cheap profits.  Pesticides are being used on crops, polluting the water.  Islands of plastic garbage are floating in the Pacific Ocean.  Our environment is really taking a toll and will not sustain human life forever if left unchecked.

News & Sensationalism

Because of our inner vile instincts, human kind yearns for things which are utterly disgusting.  We watch movies filled with violence and horror for enjoyment.  We hunt animals for sport.  We’re rather nasty creatures, and even though the world is generally becoming a more and more peaceful place to live, you wouldn’t think that way watching the news.  Everything is always getting worse, and you’d think everyone was a child rapist, pedophile, mass murdering, stalker, backstabbing, lying, cheating… [insert terrible outlook of the world here].  The news brings people stories they’re interested in.  They deliver what people want to see and unfortunately this is all the worst of everything in the world mixed with a few technological innovations and hero stories.  Everyone could be doing well, but they’ll find the one person who’s having a rough time.   This tendency to dwell on the negative is a healthy trait, as the world is a harsh place to live, and we continually must be changing and dealing with problems in order to survive.  Unfortunately, the news profits from this psychological tendency, and exploits it in the worst possible way.   Also, complex issues are not presented in proper light and instead are given in fifteen second “sound bites”, leaving people more confused than informed.  Instead of educating and informing, they instead rile up emotions and mostly spread propaganda which benefits the big corporations.  They also tend to incite party politics and left/right paradigms, instead of uniting people on issues.  They always complain about ineffective leaders, when they themselves are more guilty than anyone at tearing away any unity mankind has been struggling to build.

These are the topics I wrote down that morning, but I’m sure there’s a lot more.  These are all I came up with while lying in my bed the other morning.  Many of these could be vastly expanded upon, but as I said, I soon find myself writing a book.

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