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Dangerous Philosophy: The Curse of Comfort

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posted on Dec, 18 2015 @ 10:39 PM
There are several philosophical pillars upon which Western society is built on, pillars which I believe are not all too stable. Western thought has progressed off of unstable pillars and weak foundations, and I have made it my undertaking to identify some of these pillars. Read on, and risk having the foundation of your views taken out from underneath you. Choose to stop reading, and be forever enshrouded in curiosity.

Part 1 had to do with our faulty conception of Nothingness. Part 2 was about the illusion of free will. This part is about the backwards evolution that modernization has caused humans due to a culture of comfort.

Over the past 100 years, the world has seen many advances in science, technology, medicine, etc. We now have automobiles, airplanes, computers, radars, televisions, tremendous industrial capability, and a myriad of new medicines and medical practices. The question is, have any of these advances actually been beneficial towards the human race?

When I say the word evolution, what comes to mind? Your first response most likely is to revert back to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, a system that leads to the survival of the fittest. In this system, animals must continually evolve to become stronger, smarter, or faster in order to survive. It is a good theory, one that seems to accurately describe all living things with one exception: humans.

As a species, the number of humans grows exponentially, so there is no threat to our existence from the natural world. However, as our numbers grow, our abilities are diminishing.

Are we faster now than we used to be? Yes, the best athletes in the world today can sprint 100 meters faster than anyone ever could. But while our ancestors could run a marathon a day in order to hunt down game out of necessity, and just 300 years ago soldiers marched 30 miles a day for weeks with heavy packs, primitive footwear, and drinking beer instead of water, I estimate that 99.9% of the American population would be unable to do the same today.

Are we collectively stronger than our primitive ancestors? Yes, the strongest men today can probably lift more than our ancestors. But collectively, 90% of our population does not work out regularly, and even with those who do work out, the natural strength that our ancestors possessed is often replaced by strict workout regimens and artificial strength aided by supplements and steroids.

Are we smarter? Look around and you tell me. Is our education system and mainstream culture really cultivating a generation of kids smarter than the previous generation? Or are we getting dumber and more ignorant?

This is my hypothesis: we are getting slower, weaker, and dumber with each passing generation.

I would be interested to see anyone disprove my hypothesis, as I did not present many supporting facts, but instead presented findings from my readings and experiences. If my hypothesis does hold true, then something very worrisome is happening to the human race, one that perhaps justifies the ideas of brutal dictators such as Hitler. That is, the human race is in fact evolving, but evolving backwards. We are evolving to become weaker than ever before.

Why is this happening? As I mentioned earlier, our natural world presents no threat to our survival, thanks to the work of the generations before us. Since we do not live on the brink of death and survival, we do not have the need to outrun antelopes, wrestle boars, or outsmart a rhino. All we have to do is exercise our mind and body just enough to stay alive. We have adapted to lives of comfort.

As an example, just look at our running shoes. While 50 years ago, shoes were flat, simple shoes with thin soles, now our shoes have rubber deposits in the heel with the option of adding custom orthotics to give our feet additional cushioning.

But what are we really accomplishing with this additional cushioning? We succeed in feeling more comfortable while we run… until we get injured. Believe it or not, modern running shoes with additional cushioning and special orthotics have not decreased the injury rate, it has actually increased runners’ injury rates significantly. However, shoe companies will never tell you this. Most runners could not tell you this. However, if you stop and think about it, it makes perfect sense. The more you cushion something, the weaker it gets, and over time this leads to more injuries.

My running shoe example is just one way we are becoming weaker by being more comfortable. There are multitudes of examples of us becoming weaker by adapting to lives of comfort. The question is, how can we stop this? Should we even be worried about this? Is this an issue for society or is it an issue for individuals? I agree that what Hitler did to kill millions of their own people was morally wrong. However, I can understand his fear of his own people getting weaker and weaker.

My final question is, when you look at businesses making people weaker by selling them comfort, is there anything wrong with this? Killing people in order to advance the human race is morally wrong, but I guess it’s ok to deliberately weaken the human race in order to make money.

This brings me to my conclusion... When you start looking at our society from an evolutionary standpoint, individual lives stop mattering as much as the collective. Hitler starts to make more sense. But on the other hand, Darwin's Theory of Evolution is one of the pillars of modern science. You can't walk into a room of scientists claiming to not believe in Evolution without them looking at you sideways. Despite our collective belief in Evolution, we still hold onto some internal moral belief system that says individual lives matter, even the weak ones... which seems to directly conflict with Evolution. While our modern society is built on both Evolution and a moral belief system, if we continue down this path, we will only see the further degradation of human capabilities.

edit on 18-12-2015 by Wang Tang because: secret

posted on Dec, 18 2015 @ 11:09 PM
link sum it up in one word for everyone...


posted on Dec, 18 2015 @ 11:17 PM
a reply to: Wang Tang

i like your idea about the shoes. I personally try and go barefoot when ever i can, which usually means i wear them to the store and work and if im swimming in rattle snake country

edit on 18-12-2015 by DOCHOLIDAZE1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 18 2015 @ 11:22 PM
Yes, it's commonly known that modern human evolution tends towards neotanisation, the selection of traits typically associated with juveniles, such as our physical shape. This is also seen in dogs, when they were first branching away from wolves and people first started selectively breeding them, the favoured traits were those which was more typical of pups.

You can read more about that here, this article is pretty good -

Neoteny and Two-Way Sexual Selection in Human Evolution: A Paleo-Anthropological Speculation on the Origins of Secondary-Sexual Traits, Male Nurturing and the Child as a Sexual Image

It's not just our bodies, but our minds are also changing. Such as the Google effect - while our ancestors had fewer books and less access to resources of knowledge, we no longer need to retain a lot of information. We are essentially outsourcing our memories to the internet - why commit to memory a big load of information when we can just Google it in a couple of seconds?

Unfortunately a lot of people believe the claims made by shoe companies, and will spend lots of money on expensive shoes with all these special features, when in reality the best thing for our feet is to go barefoot, or wear those weird looking shoe-gloves. I read somewhere that wearing thongs (flip-flops) is particularly bad for our feet because of the way our feet move to sort of keep the thong on the foot. This is bad news for those of us living in Australia where it's too damn hot to wear enclosed shoes.

Despite our collective belief in Evolution, we still hold onto some internal moral belief system that says individual lives matter, even the weak ones... which seems to directly conflict with Evolution

Altruism seems counter-intuitive, but it's been present throughout our development.

Altruism can be explained by natural selection

It will take many more years for our bodies to change in accordance with our increasing reliance on technology; evolution doesn't happen overnight. But you're right, if current trends continue and our species doesn't die out too soon, we will become more adapted to using technology than for running after prey. This is reminiscent of the popular image of an alien - big heads to contain larger brains and typically thin, weak bodies, which coincides with their vastly more advanced technology. The way they're depicted, they generally lack genitalia, implying that their merging with technology has eliminated the need for sexual reproduction, which would be about impossible given the size of their heads - already human women have a huge disadvantage in giving birth compared to animals, because of our increased head sizes for our bigger brains. Intelligence is generally valued higher than physical ability.

Fatness and obesity have never been major problems until modern times, thanks to our easy access to pre-prepared food and lack of need to hunt, and even when we do hunt, we typically use guns or arrows rather than running down a deer or whatever. The Masai people can still do this, they can literally run all day after an antelope, to the point where it becomes exhausted, not the hunter. So modern humans do still have this capability, we just don't use it, and if you don't use it, you lose it.

posted on Dec, 19 2015 @ 12:13 AM
a reply to: Wang Tang

Our humanity may eventually spell the end of our humanity.

We help people who are infertile conceive children, because, well, what a wonderful thing it is. A loving couple, crushed by the realization they can't bring a child into the world, given the joy of being able to do so by modern medicine. Of course we're going to do so if we can.

An even greater example: a child with a rare genetic disease which would kill her within days... Except we can provide the medicine or operation which will allow her to live a long and healthy life. Of course we're going to do so!

These are literal survival & ability to reproduce examples. That's not to mention our generic disposition to tolerate heat or cold not mattering in the modern world, or those of relatively weak immune constitutions who would otherwise die or be too sickly to reproduce were it not for vaccines and antibiotics.

All of these traits which would, in a "natural state" result in at least some of the weaker or those with fatal generic defect to die and/or not be able to reproduce are now enabled to thrive and multiply. The weak or defective genes can survive and propogate in continually greater numbers.

Our humanity rightfully helps everyone to survive, or be enabled to reproduce. I'll never argue that it shouldn't. But we ultimately lose our humanity either way.

If we went the eugenics route, we lose our humanity right away. Not to mention, in "eliminating undesirables", we would be Monsanto for the human genome - messing with the genome with consequences we don't understand. Possibly throwing away mutations which could eventually benefit humanity, even if they may appear to be overshadowed by undesirable traits at the moment.

With the path we're on currently, I believe we eventually become so full of defects and infertility issues, that we become entirely dependent on external aids. First medical help as we use today (and future advances) - eventually, cybernetics, and ultimately, full robot. As I'm sure everyone is aware, you should never go full robot!

Perhaps we will manage to advance medical and genetic science fast enough and smart enough to be able to "fix" the genome before it's too late. In the process, I believe we'll face another crossroads, where we can easily erase our humanity in other ways. Either in our application of said advances (too much "fixing" of "undesirable" traits, erasing natural diversity) or massive errors in applying the technology without a full understanding of the consequences. Maybe we end up being the "greys" and eventually we're time traveling back to the 20-21 centuries, abducting farmers in an attempt to fix the gene pool again.

Phew, stream of consciousness. Anyone who read this far, thanks for reading. Just my thoughts on the potential pitfalls, which seem like they're going to be there, one way or another, however long this thing we call humanity lasts.
edit on 12/19/2015 by dogstar23 because: Auto misspell

posted on Dec, 19 2015 @ 12:25 AM
a reply to: Wang Tang

Are you implying that the causation for humanities collective decline is technology? Or our morality? Correct me If I'm wrong.

In a way you could be right, we rely today much more on the tech and cognitive abilities that we have developed than our physical abilities and however again this implies were declining as a species...We may actually be evolving into a species whom relies on biotechnology such as prosthetic limbs which have significantly helped war vets and amputee's the world over. You say helping those whom are weaker conflicts with evolution? Sure that's only if we don't have the resources to maintain the exponentially growing human population and those who are considered 'weaker'.

I could see biotechnology and other tech's becoming more than just the foundations of humanity, Instead humanity merging with technology. In essence the singularity and trans-humanism.
This change will have disadvantages but that doesn't mean were devolving. Were just growing out of our organic shell so to speak.

edit on 19-12-2015 by NateTheAnimator because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-12-2015 by NateTheAnimator because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 21 2015 @ 05:31 PM
Good point about the Masai people hunting down an antelope, I've heard about that, I think it's called persistence hunting. Hunting animals by running them to death instead of shooting them.

True, evolution doesn't happen overnight, and most of our bodies are still capable of tremendous physical endurance. But what has happened overnight is our lifestyle has changed. As you guys have said, we now rely more on external aids to keep us alive when we get sick instead of living a healthy lifestyle to prevent these illnesses in the first place.

It seems society as a whole accepts the premise that saving someone's life is a GOOD thing, regardless of the circumstance. But with our increased medical capability, coupled with degrading lifestyle, it is putting both a strain on our medical capabilities as well as our pocketbooks to continue along with the premise that saving someone's life is always a GOOD.

Now I wouldn't say our morality is the cause of our decline, because I believe it's ingrained in us as humans that saving a life is always a GOOD. It absolutely is a function of technological advances allowing us to live more comfortably, exercising our minds and bodies less and less.

The idea of us becoming the greys in the future and abducting 20-21st century farmers to fix our gene pool, now that is a fantastic plot for the next big science fiction book

posted on Dec, 21 2015 @ 08:32 PM
True say, it not like we can go to river, and just drink the water without getting sick, but then that thanks to pollution too. It literally like someone took a crap in the only waterhole for miles in the desert, everyone know to respect that waterhole, or die.

Op, like you said, that now a days almost all physical activity is usually just recreational and almost artificial, instead the strive or intent for survival. They say give it 110 percent, where as survival instinct would it make 220 percent, as well as being constantly exposed to those challenges and elements daily.

Thing is, if we that obsessed with natural selection, and purebreds, like Hitler believed, we'd be like the Spartans throwing weak, tiny and sickly babes to a pit to die. Where those babies could of Wizards and Healers in the Raid Party.

And good help is so hard to find these days.
edit on 21-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 21 2015 @ 08:55 PM
a reply to: Specimen

It's interesting that you bring up the Spartans. For them, it was not good enough to live. You had to be able to live a certain way or else your life wasn't worthwhile. By overriding their basic human instinct to keep everyone alive, they created the one of the greatest warrior nations ever.

However, our society is built on the premise that everyone is entitled to life. It was one of the philosophical pillars our country was founded on. This entitlement to life, combined with our advances in technology, are changing our lifestyle to become weaker and dumber.

I realize that entitlement to life is not something that can just be taken away in the western world, as shown by Hitler's attempt to do so. But I feel as if we are raised to believe that life is good without really understanding why this is so. We are taught that if someone tries to kidnap your children and you shoot him, the right thing to do is to get him to a hospital and save his life, even though his future most likely will only hold life in prison. If we are at war and we wound an enemy, the right thing to do is to get him medical attention and save his life. But why do we always blindly go about saving everyone's lives regardless of what their future holds? While I would not go as far as to say our society should toss sick babies as the Spartans did, I think there may be times where we are justified in saying "we can let this man die."

posted on Dec, 21 2015 @ 09:41 PM
a reply to: Wang Tang

Boy, did the Spartans love their enemy.

I get where your going, and don't really have much to say about wounding, then healing. It like what they say, everyone dies, but not a lot people get to chose how to....

I thought about that one scene, from Terminator 2, where Connor getting stitched by the terminator, and she assumes, that the reason why the terminator has medical knowledge, is because it makes it a more efficient killer. I guess destroying wouldn't make one a better healer...Less it Cancer Cells.

To create life, one must first destroy, so it won't be again, or maybe so it can be put back together...I guess.

Idk, maybe the Meek have inherited the Earth!?

edit on 21-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2015 @ 12:01 PM
Your Spartan example reminded me of another example... the samurai. While they didn't toss sickly babies, they did have a concept of life as a responsibility, and not an entitlement. The samurai would take their own lives if they were not able to live up to their responsibility for life. I think this is fascinating in that with this system you don't have people arbitrarily tossing babies that they deem to be "unfit," instead it was the individual samurai who would end up deeming themselves fit or unfit. I think it is truly remarkable that a human culture developed in such a way that it had a self-correcting system to eliminate those that could not live up to their responsibility.

I may be getting off track with my discussion of life as an entitlement or responsibility, so let me try to tie this back into my OP... I do believe that our technological advancements have caused our dramatic change in lifestyle. However, it is our cultural belief in life as an entitlement that has allowed our technological advancements to affect our lifestyle so dramatically. When we live as if we are entitled to life, we tend to view technology more as a means to live more comfortably, more lazily. But when we live life as a responsibility as the Spartans and the samurai did, we will view technology as a means to achieve our goals in order to fulfill our responsibility.

The question is, in this day and age, what is our responsibility in life? Islamic extremists, as much as we all disagree with their methods, they do live for a cause they are willing to die for. What do we have to live for in the western world? How can we defeat these extremists in a war if they are willing to die for their beliefs, while we are not?

posted on Dec, 22 2015 @ 03:47 PM
a reply to: Wang Tang

Yea, the Samurai are up their too, with self entitlement and warrior views of honor, thing is about them, one would have to be born into tradition to become one. Another example, which popped into my head, are the European Medieval Knights, where as like the Samurai, are trained since birth in different forms of combat again, they have to be born into royalty or noble status due to the price tag of their equipment. Supposedly knight armor back in those days would cost as much as a farm.

Spartan were hand picked by the day they were born, and if 300 somewhat correct, trained at an early age, and thrown into the wild to fend for themselves, granted the title of being a "Man" by coming back, then thrown into the ranks. Spartans would probably live with mental condition that dying on the battlefield is the greatest glory one can have, where as the Samurai ether live up to the Bushido Code of Honor(like the Ronin), or serve the Emperor mentality. For knights, God and their country, but thats the thing I love about these legendary warriors, they hold to tradition as not be cowards, or avoid picking on those who can't defend themselves to attain glory, for nothing could be gained by doing so.

Viking might be up their too, due to their own honor and religion system, and putting up a good show on the battlefield for their God to watch. Seems like win or lose, as long as they put ona good show, they are happy, but history might say otherwise. Even the Mongols who followed Genghis Khan had theirs, like never turning your back on your Khan till the victor decided. Streets gangs follow similar suit, albeit far from being considered Heroes of Renown tho, or 2pacs definition of "Thug Life".

Mayans or Aztec would play a game representing the battle of the, or the movements of the universe, where they'd have to kick a ball throw a hoop on the wall. Thing is the MVP would be sacrificed if I'm correct.

Thats the problem with the West I guess, is that tradition is now fallible, and festive, rather then a mental discipline, and how easy it is to throw self entitlement out there. In tribal cultures, one would have to pass test or rites to be entitled being a "Man", where these days it just reaching a certain age, and you'd be surprised as to how easy some people would call themselves one. In the west, being a man just mean being responsible for your self, as well as dependents making sure they are insured.

There another problem with that though, is that some guys work way more hour and get paid less and have way less social interaction, while others worry about their appearance to much, and work, with all the gold diggers that will die old and ugly.

Who really da dependable man?

I'd leave that to woman to be the Judge, but then again alot of them don't know what they want...Hahaha.

edit on 22-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 22 2015 @ 03:51 PM
a reply to: Specimen

The only thing that the West could do, is to avoid being reckless and complacent, and maintain self discipline. But it difficult to do with the 24/7 machine that we are integrated with these days.

posted on Dec, 23 2015 @ 11:22 PM
a reply to: Specimen

That's another interesting discussion... when do you truly become a man in this day and age? The U.S. seems to believe age is a sufficient measure in most cases. You are held legally responsible for your actions at 18, but you are not allowed to buy alcohol until you are 21. So it seems like the U.S. government would say boys become men just by turning 21. But as you said, many women would probably disagree

My short answer is we have no definitive measure to determine when a boy becomes a man. But I think a woman usually knows the difference between a boy and a man when she sees one... but oftentimes she realizes too late

posted on Dec, 24 2015 @ 11:44 AM
a reply to: Wang Tang

Yep, it gets tossed around a lot these days.

For a father to a son, using the word "man", when the boys down there drop, and start getting ready for war, for law, 18 years old, where as you could have older guys laugh at you for calling yourself a man or an adult, close to the age of 30.

Actions speak louder then words I guess.

edit on 24-12-2015 by Specimen because: (no reason given)

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