There are things that I have realized recently. One of which is, what makes progress good?
You see, I just read The Lost World, by Michael Chrichton. It says that in the 1930's, the average housewife spent just as much time on average as women today do cleaning the house. We have "progressed" immensely in vacuum technology, and all those other things.
But, for whatever reason, maybe higher standards, none of those have reduced work.
It goes on to say that in 35,000 B.C., the average cave person had to spend on average 20 hours a week out hunting and gathering to feed themselves. The rest of the time, they could sit around, and pursue their interests, such as making crafts and tools, or just enjoying things. Unlike the average person today, who spends up to 70, 80, or 90 hours a week at work.
But, of course, we've "progressed" far beyond 35,000 B.C. But what have we really accomplished?
First, you'd have to establish what the goals of progress is.
Or, even before that, you'd have to establish what "progress" is.
I think it is the integrating and coelescing of technology into society.
We'll just go with that.
So what is the goal of progress?
Is is to make us happier?
Well, if it is, it isn't doing a very good job. I'm sure all of us can relate to the stresses of modern society. And yes, we're happy, but are we happier than we were before Progress?
Well, I wouldn't know, nor would anyone living, but I have a feeling that these early men were content with the simple life.
Is it to make us live longer?
Well, it does make us live longer. That is one benefit of Progress. But, think of it this way. A cave man or woman knows that they will probably die at 40. They will die in the prime of their life, while still able to provide and take care of themselves and others. And they are content with that.
Also, what is our lives but working hard, so that we can have the "simple life" in our retirement, not having to worry about anything.
Well, they lived simply, but they lived in the prime of their life.
Is it to make us healthier?
We have better medical care now. But really, are we healthier? I think not. We have evolved for the life of a caveman in 35,000 B.C. We evolved to eat what they ate, natural plants and animals, not all these grains and cereals we eat now.
Also, we have evolved for their excercise. All these things we do, such as going to work, and not moving, doing physical things, is EXTREMELY unnatural. And even for those who excercise, we go to a gym, and go on an elliptical, and do the same 3 movements over and over again. In 35,000 B.C., we had to move in all sorts of ways, all sorts of movements. But we don't have the time or the ability to do that, because we don't need to get our own food.
So, really, what have we done from getting technology? We're not any happier. Even 200 years ago, no one was wishing for some device that allows you to talk to or to send text to anyone in the world, but we invented the cell phone, and now we can't live without it.
Because, what we're doing is we're increasing our ability to do things, but at the same time we're increasing our need to do things.
We haven't been really improving anything. It gives the appearance of improvement, but everything is the same.
In 35,000 B.C., no one had yet thought of electronics. They were fine in that world, and no one was feeling pangs of loss for not having their electronics, because they'd never had them.
Now, we've invented electronics, and we literally cannot live without them.
That's why we're so scared of a terrorist EMP. Because people would die.
So, we've created electronics to make us more comfortable, but we've also created a dependency on them.
We've also created all the problems of the modern world, such as pollution in the environment, and the renewable energy thing, and that gulf oil spill, problems that were unthinkable just 3 or 400 years ago.
Perhaps most dangerously of all, we've created a world society. Cyberspace will destroy us all. It will obliterate boundaries and do away with differences as everyone becomes more and more connected together. Then everyone will be the same.
When behavior is all the same, that's when evolution abandons us, and we head on a path to extinction.
Now, I'm not trying to romanticize the past, and there's plenty of room for hypocrisy. I love swimming, and a lot of that comes from making progress. Also, people did die in 35,000 B.C., and things were not all peachy back then. Infant mortality was way up, and people would often starve.
But we've created problems different.
We solved starvation (in 1st world countries), but people get fat.
We create something, and improve on it, until we cannot live without it.
I can only hope that those after me when I am gone will figure out a way to stop our "progress" before we go extinct from too much progress for our own good.