I feel that in much of civilization throughout history we have strayed further and further from what is truly the true nature of things. Modern civilization has deviated so much from the natural order of things that we have lost sight of what is the essence of being genuinely human in a world in the absence of the artificial amenities we think we enjoy and need in life.
In fact man has been civilized for only a small fraction of his existence. By scientific estimates our species has existed for 130,000 years, perhaps even 1.5 million years by some accounts. In the last 20,000 years we have changed little including brain development. If we were to transport through time a human being 20,000 years ago to today that person would likely be capable of becoming a modern-day man just like us dealing with all the complexities of modern-day life. Civilized man has been traced back to about 7,000 years. Compare this to our existence as a species more than 130,000 years ago or even 20,000 years ago civilized man’s development is only a fraction of his existence. And the development of modern man after the industrial revolution, when science and technology took off only 200 years ago, is only a tiny fraction of man’s 7,000 year of civilized history. So modern man and technology represents only a dot on the timeline of human existence.
Since we became civilized 7,000 years ago and especially after the industrial revolution only 200 years ago we have violated just about every natural law. 15,000 years ago when we were still living in caves we did not have the benefit of medical science or technology. We didn’t even have wheels and all the things we consider the essentials of living. We had to hunt and gather our food or starve to death. Our bodies were tough and able to endure what we would consider today the hardships of daily living but what they likely considered normal everyday living. Women were much tougher then and did not suffer the long and painful labor of modern mothers. This would have hampered their ability to survival as women in labor can not run and escape from attacks by prey or other tribes or take care of daily chores. Likely only one in three babies lived for more than a year. The rest died at birth or from malnutrition, disease or became the meals of another species. More than likely only one out of three children grow up to adulthood. It was a cruel world for the young and sick. But that is the way it is for other species in the wild even today. It is simply in the nature of things. That is why overpopulation of other species doesn’t occur unchecked. Nature is too wise to let that happen.
However civilized man has devised clever means of getting around the natural order of things. Man has devised skills and sciences and technologies and medical miracles and communications and knowledge that have enabled him to do far more than his physical body or limited mind are capable of. Genetic strengths have been bread out of humans and replaced by beauty and other social qualities of little intrinsic value to improving the bloodline. Science and technology have allowed man in any state of physical and mental health to survive and perpetuate. Through science man can even perpetuate artificially. Genetic traits of strength, endurance, and survival have been replaced by man-made and often arbitrary social norms.
In spite of the many inherent genetic weaknesses, our species is able to survive far beyond any other. Rarely does a child die for any reason other than war. We have extended the life of the aging to the extent that they spend 10-15 years in non-productive existence. Consequently our population has exploded from a few million over 7000 years ago and beyond to over 7 billion and growing today. We are by far the most prolific species of mammals on earth by a very large margin. We are also by far the most hungry and demanding living organism upon all earth’s resources. In the process of consuming resources we destroy much of what is natural and pollute and poison the earth unnaturally big time with our excesses. We are starting to directly kill ourselves with processed and artificial foods, sugars, carbohydrates, and pesticides.
We are like a virus ravaging the body and producing toxic wastes that are killing the host and ourselves, but though we have the brains and knowledge to do otherwise we don’t have the will to change our assault on the nature of things. However in the end we will likely pay the ultimate price. Nature has a way of getting back at those who abuse her.
Perhaps it is in the nature of intelligence to transcend the nature of biological life. Non- living chemistries existed for billions of years and then all of a sudden life sprang forth (here on Earth and perhaps elsewhere). Once life began it took its own path and changed the “natural order” of things, or perhaps more accurately, defined a new order. So it may be with intelligence and consciousness . Humans may represent the current state of the art in these new “natural” domains but our perspective of deep time is very, very limited. It seems only “natural” that there is a lot more to the evolution of consciousness than we can currently perceive or imagine. It may well be that humans are simply the springboard for consciousness, just as single celled organisms were for biological life. Sure we screw with mother nature (the patterns of biological life) but biological life changed forever what simple chemistries (nuclear and atomic) could do. Just look how it scewed with entropy! I’m not too worried about our impact on Mother Nature. It’s how we treat ourselves that worries me the most.
The problem Paul is that man did most of his philosophical, religious, metaphysical and conscious development about 2000 years ago in just about every culture both in the east and in the west. He has advanced only very slowly and incrementally in conscious development since then. He has made quantum jumps in science and technology which in a sense has artificially aided his creativity leading him to believe that man is making dramatic intellectual progress but he has ceased to develop true original thinking. So I question that we are continuing to evolving to higher levels of consciousness. I think that genetically we are probably regressing. We are quickly breeding out all the good genetic material and inbreeding defective genes because we don’t let the weak to be pruned out of the genetic pool. Machines are starting to take the place of the common man so he no longer has to think or create. Before people learned a trade through long apprenticeships and became masters of their trade truly skilled intellectually to create quality goods. Today people follow procedures and mechanically do tasks. Technology does all the complicated and skilled stuff. We now put a lot of useless knowledge into our brains and do very little original thinking unlike the tradesman prior to the industrial revolution or the philosophers much earlier. Now our technology is destroying our environment at an extraordinary and alarming rate as we mindlessly ignore the warning signs because man has ceases to progress intellectually or consciously to this understanding. We need to use our intellect to see how we are destroying mother nature and ultimately ourselves but we are becoming oblivious of deep thought. Thinking is now microthoughts through social media and text messages. No, I don’t think we are evolving to higher levels of consciousness.