In 35,000 B.C.

swimmerguy's picture

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.


ferrets's picture


if they were content then would they have established permanent setelments? would they have persued technological advance and and increased there power if they had been content? the point being, as far as im concerned, all time on earth has been equely good and bad. weve destroyed slavry but created weapons that can kill 100,000,000 in a second. every action has a equel and oposite reaction, whether it be force or social change.

"...I find it kinda funny,I find it kinda sad, that the dreams where i am dieing are the best I've ever had..." -gary jules

swimmerguy's picture

We progress...

Because it is human nature, not because we aren't content, but because we want more. We make cell phones, and they are pretty nice. But instead of making the same phones cheaper, we are making better phones the same price, with more features, sometimes thousands of apps, and so many things we simply cannot use them.
We progress phones because we want the "new progression".

And yes, we've made things, and had problems, and fixed those.
But, in some respects we have gone backward.
If you ignore everything else, then just in the fact that we made everything more complicated. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that simpler is ALWAYS better than needless complexity.

No one escapes from life alive

Just Dave's picture


But we live in one of the very few times in history with anesthesia, chocolate, and virtually unlimited access to information. I do not really mind working a bit more.

I also don't think cyberspace will destroy us, either. Not that it couldn't; it has a special way to bring together crazy people and undermine security. But the internet is so fragile, and we have plenty of other things that could ruin us, that I honestly believe something else will get us before.

Honestly, I wouldn't be worrying about progress continuing to much longer. I'm guessing we'll just lapse into another Dark Age, and stay virtually the same for a few more centuries.

This comment sounds really bitchy when I re-read it. It was not meant to be. I guess I'm just in an argumentative mood today.

swimmerguy's picture


Yes, we have many wonderful things, but we also have many terrible things. And, anyway, the point was that ignorance truly is bliss, to use a cliche. No one who has never had chocolate misses chocolate. They are perfectly happy without chocolate, and they feel no craving for it until after they have their first bite.

And uniformity is exactly what kills things. When all organisms in a species become the same, there's no where left to go and evolve, and they die out. However, I agree it is perfectly possible that something else will kill us first. Narcissism is another good candidate, when we try for something we never should, and kill ourselves.

And, the Enlightenment has basically eradicated the possiblitity of a new Dark Age. We have learned the scientific method of how to find new things. We may have revolutions in science where we overwrite many rules previously thought immortal, but Dark Age? I doubt it. We know too much now. Plus, we have no Great Library to be destroyed and lose all of our knowledge.

And I assure you it is not argumentative. It is nothing compared to what I have seen before, and I welcome the debate, because it shows that you are thinking, which is what the whole purpose of this thing is in the first place. The whole goal of this journal is to increase overall knowledge, and pass ideas, which cannot be done without debate or questioning. Please feel free to disagree on anything.

No one escapes from life alive

Just Dave's picture

Not in the same order

And, I'm making it into a quasi-list to make it easier.

1) Compassion has already killed our ability to evolve; we don't kill the handicapped as babies. We have what is probably the lowest infant mortality rate in history, and evolution only works when those ill suited for survival die. Human's aren't evolving, and frankly, we don't need to; we are already the dominant species.

2) This is just a wack-job theory of mine, but I think we do a "great library" of information. It's no building in Egypt; it's the technology, and it's fragile as hell. While most know how to work technology, the percentage of people who actually know how to maintain and fix cutting edge technology is miniscule to say the least. Worse yet, this percentage has a habit of all living in very densely populated areas. In a sense, we are just putting all of our eggs in one basket.

3) I cannot argue that ignorance is not bliss; it is. But I will question whether it is indeed better to live blissfully ignorant. Ack. Somehow I knew this would end in philosophy.

4) God, it's been ages since I've had an intelligent conversation with someone.

swimmerguy's picture


1) We do evolve though. It was one of the theories of Jurassic Park that while you may be able to bring back other dinosaurs, the velociraptor might not be possible to bring back and have survive. This is because they are more intelligent. So, we'd get their physcial evolution, but not their mental evolution. We evolve in what we teach our young, because if you just took human DNA and made a man, and didn't teach him anything, just set him off in the forest, he would probably die. He certainly wouldn't start a society, because no one has taught him to.

2) Well, the beauty of our free market society is that everyone knows how to perform some job. We have vast amounts of people, so there is enought for a tiny percentage to do EVERY job. It would be difficult to kill EVERYONE who knows how to do something, along with the records explaining how to do it, along with all examples of it, etc. I doubt another Dark Age.

3) I think there are no problems with living ignorant. I think you are just as happy before something, but once you have it, you would hate to have it taken away. It's because of our human tencency to want more. We get happy in getting something, but then it fades, because we don't like just having something.

4) I find it's good to sort of take out my brain and spin the wheels sometimes.

No one escapes from life alive

Just Dave's picture

1) Sure, our civilizations

1) Sure, our civilizations and cultures evolve, but we do not; physiologically, human infants are exactly the same as they where years ago. Besides, evolution of cultures really only ceases when one culture is unquestionably dominant, like Rome, or ancient China. Once there is no competition, the civilization falls in on itself, and mass communication and a free market only promote competition

2) Yes, but my point is that the true "enlightenment" only extends to a minute portion of the population. It's like concrete in ancient Rome; everyone used the concrete aqueducts, but so few knew what was actually in the concrete that the technology was lost for hundreds of years. Obviously, not every one of the people who knew what was in it died; they just had other concerns, like the destruction of their empire. Furthermore, if there is one achilles heel in our way of life, it is energy; everything in our lives depends on our access to electricity and gasoline. You can't even access most current developments without it.

3) Let me clarify what I mean by dark age, as well. I don't mean that we'll hop back on our horses with maces and plate armor. I think that IF it happened, it would be a lot like the original; they had the technology of the earlier civilizations, but there was no unified force that had enough resources to continue progress, so things just slowly got worse.

4) Like I said: I agree that people are happier ignorant. But, like ferrets pointed out, horrible things are done because of ignorance. Hell, prejudice against gays is probably one of the milder things it has caused.

5)Agreed. It's like bench press for my frontal lobe.

ferrets's picture


as gay ppl fighting for equel rights, isnt ignorance what we try to destroy, since ignorance is what alot of homophobia is born from?

"...I find it kinda funny,I find it kinda sad, that the dreams where i am dieing are the best I've ever had..." -gary jules

elph's picture


...stems from fear that comes from adhering to an ideology that guarantees that it covers all that needs to be known. This means that once it is mastered (i.e., the ideology) you become unassailable... at least if you maintain the proper delusional state.

It's so very easy to be perfect. This is what we must fight...

Am I being a bit overly cryptic? I hope not :)

Just Dave's picture


Not overly cryptic, I don't think.

What I think you said: Homophobia stems from people believing in a religion and fearing that if they are wrong about one thing, they are wrong about everything in the religion, and thus going to hell. A defense mechanism.

Dracofangxxx's picture

Wow, Chad

You should definitely join me in being a Philosophy major.
Smile real pretty for me, baby.