And our part in it.
Hobbes described life outside of society as, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short," undoubtably it was but with all the developments in the last few millennia we are out of the woods, aren't we? Things are good and only going to get better, aren't they? Don't be so sure, sadly I think we, the human race, are not in the comfortable position we think we are and our biggest challenges for survival are in front of us. I'll look at how "progress" is putting us in a hitherto untenable position and how all this living easy could be the death of us.
This can't be a scientific treatise, but the thoughts I've had over the last few years on this topic won't go away, and you know when this is so it's a sign that these thoughts hold meaning and must be expressed. We've all noticed that something is just not right. What's with the growing lack of social cohesion and the way progress on technological and medical fronts are raising more problems than they are curing? There has always been much in this World beyond our ability to know but things now seem to be beyond our ability to even comprehend much less, in any sense, control.
We can't deny the benefits of science but as they say "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". There is growing research that shows we are killing ourselves with our cleverness. Sunglasses have been pushed on modern humans with profit and fashion in mind, the scientific justification has it that they are a necessary defence against the sun which is growing stronger as the ozone layer (we are destroying) becomes thinner. We listened to this advice and happily went out into the world with sunglasses, smug and "protected." Only research has recently shown that natural melanin production is retarded if we don't, in the first instance, get enough direct sunlight through the eyes to start the process of production. Could we find out soon that our very efforts to save our children were putting their lives at risk?
What if introducing "Social Media," for the right reasons, is the very thing that is causing the rise of cancer or other modern diseases and that leads to our downfall? Let me explain one scenario. Our Ape ancestors use "social grooming" in ways we still don't understand. But, it's argued that without it the troop cannot thrive much less survive. What if physical contact with our fellow human beings, like social grooming in apes, is needed in order for us to survive? This face to face social contact (denied us by "Social Media") could be what is needed to turn on certain hormones and/or turn off the production of cancer producing cells.
Every breeding season salmon die on mass when after procreation a hormone floods their bodies and kills them all within a week. (There have been experiments done that show if this hormone producing gland is removed early the salmon will live on). So are we also pre-programed for death if we don't have the kind of meaningful real life social contact that we were evolved to have? Our bodies may decide that without such close human contact we may be as useless to life as a salmon is after it passes on its genes.
There are numerous incidences where we push on with progress with no real understanding of the implications. What can we do? "You can't stop progress" as they say but, there is a better way. That better way is first and foremost to understand that the further away we get from a "pure human state" the less likely we are to survive in the long run. My next blog post will look at what it means to be human and how running, the purest of human pastimes, can save us from ourselves.