Session 9 - The End of Evolution

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There was a time when we developed through wars—territories and nations were conquered. Afterwards came a time of land-discoveries, which resulted in additional development. Then evolved technology and commerce, and we processed things in new and special ways. Finally, we've reached the final frontier: space.


And yet, eventually, progress and development have brought us to a dead-end. It started to show about 50 years ago. In the 1960s, scientists studying the environment, the society, and the process that humanity was undergoing began to warn that we are in a standstill, that something was happening to us and we were not really seeing where we should develop henceforth. The space program helped us forget about that for a while, but that too came to a premature end.


We circled the earth and reached the moon, but then what? It didn't help us that much. Everything we found in space was still, no plants or animals, and certainly not humans, for all our fantasies and hopes of finding extraterrestrial life.


Thus, we have arrived at some kind of emptiness. We have so evolved that we have nowhere else to go. We cannot see where else to develop. Our inner nature and the outside nature, the world that we perceive around us, have stopped opening themselves to us. We have what we have, and that's that.


Philosophers and scientists who studied this phenomenon wrote many books that warn us that we have reached the end of human development. At the same time, other scientists spoke of our world becoming more "round," meaning more connected.


The human ego has inflated, we evolved, and we thought that evolution would be endless, that we would produce more means of communication, vehicles, that we would even have our own planes. But in the end, one who consumes all these products remains with emptiness, discovering that they do not deliver on the satisfaction they had promised.


But why is there no satisfaction? It's because our entire development has been out of our inherent desires, which keep growing, but which suddenly stopped growing. Instead, we feel decadence.


In the past, a man wanted as big a family as possible: many wives and many children. Then men settled for one wife, and two children, even one. Today life has become so tough, so complicated and complex that in developed countries people stay in their parents' homes until they're 30 or even 40 years old.


A person goes to work, he spends his salary on himself, and doesn't feel like he needs a wife or children. He feels free, having a good time, and his mother takes care of him. Afterwards the parents live on a pension and social security, and their child helps them out, and he feels happy that way.


We have built a society that has so evolved that you can buy ready-made food, which you only need to heat in a microwave oven and the meal is ready within minutes. I have a place that I do not need to share with anyone, and for when I grow old, I have social security, health insurance, hospitals, and even a lot at the graveyard listed on my name. It's simply not worthwhile to work hard my whole life for this. This is how we feel.

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Topic

As of the 60s, human desires are reaching a certain satiation, which leads our current development to a dead end. 

Main Points

  • Throughout human history, it was customary to believe that human development is limitless.
  • As our desires reach satiation, our social connections decline as well. 

References

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

wikipedia.org

"Today we have access to highly advanced technologies, but our social and economic system has not kept up with the technologiacl capabilities that could easily create a world of abundance, free of servitude and debt for all of earth's peoples."

"Viable Utopian Ideas: Shaping a Better World"

"college students' self-reported empathy has declined since 1980, with an especially steep drop in the past 10 years." "almost 75 percent of students today rate themselves as less empathic than the average student 30 years ago."
 

"What, Me Care? Young Are Less Empathetic"

Engage Yourself

Question 1: Tyler Cowen is a respected Professor of Economics. In this video presentation below, this talk Cowen describes the slowdown in economic growth and development in recent years in the USA, and in general. Please watch Cowen's talk and take notes on the main points. [link to video here, if needed.]

What are the main points you took away from this talk?

Question 2: Which statement best describes your feelings in relation to the topic of this session?

If you selected "other," please specify:

Question 3: Please describe the messages from this session that you identify with, those you don't, and why.