reply to post by SystemResistor
Are you saying we're so spoilt by all the labour-saving technology we've invented, we can't come up with ideas to solve our problems any more?
Think back to when human beings first began to control and use fire. That happened far back in our history,
before we'd even evolved into modern humans
. Fire makes a lot of things easier – from
hunting wild animals to chewing their meat – but its use also brings all kinds of dangers and complications, such as securing a fuel supply, keeping
it safely under control and dealing with the smoke and cinders and ashes. A million years after learning to use fire, we still haven't found ways to
cope with some of those problems. No, I don't think the answer is that we got more stupid over time. It's always been like this.
reply to post by hastur
I agree with you that our problems seem to increase in proportion to our achievements – and of course, our sheer numbers. The question is, why does
that happen? Why does every blessing bring a curse in its wake? Is it a divine law, or a law of science, that every rose must have its thorn?
reply to post by unityemissions
Is it really just lack of cleverness?
See my reply to SystemResistor above.
We're pretty clever as individuals, even as teams, though we behave stupidly in large groups. But the cleverer we get – and we do get cleverer, even
though we don't get any more intelligent, because our knowledge and skills and cultures build upon themselves – the bigger the problems seem to
become. How is that?
reply to post by ganjoa
The answer is simple: just change human nature, eliminate selfishness and greed and we're all good to go. Otherwise the law of unintended
consequence is going to play a big part in the results achieved.
So it's a result of human nature? Let's go back to the fire example I use above. Certainly selfishness, greed and other human frailties can increase
the number of problems created by the use of fire – we can use it to kill other people in wars, or to destroy rainforests in Sumatra and give
children in Kuala Lumpur bronchitis just so that we can make money out of palm-oil plantations. But even if you left all that stuff out and just used
fire to cook food and keep warm inside your cave, you'd still have to keep the kids away from the hearth, fix up a vent for the smoke and sweep out
the ashes in the morning. Those obligations are not part of human nature; they are part of the nature of fire.
So I don't think it's just human nature, though I agree that it can make things worse. Anyway, we'd better hope the answer isn't
since human nature is something that never seems to change.
reply to post by zroth
Are you saying the problem is money, or just the desire to make things better for ourselves in the first place?
Wasn't money also something we invented to make things easier for ourselves? And we all know the kind of problems money creates. I don't think the
root of the problem is money, or even the love of it, whatever the Book of Proverbs says.
As for wanting to make things better in the first place, that's the motive, but it doesn't explain the result.
reply to post by NewlyAwakened
Do you mean the problem is greed? Why can't we be greedy without making things harder? What prevents it?
reply to post by Kandinsky
I'm don't believe I understand what you're getting at, Kandinsky. Would you care to run it by us again?
Hmm. Most of the answers suggested so far seem to be variations on 'it's our fault, a kind of punishment for being stupid or greedy.' Karma, or divine
retribution, or something of that kind.
But think about how these problems arise. Yet again, consider fire; however sparingly and responsibly we use it, fire still burns, still demands fuel
that must come from somewhere, still produces smoke that makes us cough and choke and get lung cancer. These problems are not caused by us. Enjoying
the benefits of fire means having to cope with them, but does that mean we should simply stop using fire? At the terminus of that line of reasoning is
the demand that we give up all our technology and live once again as naked savages. That's not a conclusion many of us would endorse.
You certainly can say that all the difficulties created in the world by trying to make things easier are somebody's fault, but that doesn't explain
why those difficulties arise in the first place. There seems to be some principle at work, some kind of natural law, perhaps, independent of human
Let's dig down deeper and see if we can find it. Any ideas?
edit on 20/2/11 by Astyanax because: of the fumes.