Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
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11-02-2013, 11:23 PM
RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense?
If theories like those presented in books like "Sex at Dawn" accurately depict what life was like before we figured out that we could plant a seed in fertile land and eat the result, thereby paving the way for regional, resource based conflict and the need for ownership of everything from inanimate objects to land to mates, I say hit the reboot button and forget all of our supposed achievements.

Aside from that impossible solution, happiness at this point in time is a state of mind that has more to do with overcoming one's fear of all the nasty things that can and do sometimes happen. It has to do with our perception of the things that happen in our lives, not whether or not we can micromanage the things that happen in our lives.

Ultimately, we still have many of the same worries as we did several thousand years ago, except in many cases those worries have been magnified. We are dependent on even more types of rare resources, increasing the need to fight for our privileged lifestyles. The form of slavery that existed not long ago at least required one to put forth a lifetime investment in his or her slave(s), which meant they had something to gain from keeping that slave relatively healthy. The ones mining for the things we need halfway across the world now, however, are cheaper to maintain and replaceable. Fear of death will always be there. Before it might have been from swords, common sickness, and yes the occasional plague. Now it's from chemical and nuclear weapons that can kill you from thousands of miles away or bacteria that is evolving faster than we can counter it.

The number of people who have access to new technologies and supposed improvements, and the degree of access they have, also varies greatly. I could argue that life is awesome because I can sit and play video games all day and, when my legs or heart start to atrophy from disuse, someone will operate on me or pump me full of meds to extend my pointless existence. Someone in Darfur whose family was raped and murdered in an attempt to demoralize the rebels fighting for them so the Sudanese government can maintain better control of the resources ultimately being used to make things like those video games might disagree about how great life is these days.

I'm not saying any of it is right or wrong, I'll leave judgement to the religious folks Smile I'm no poster child for morality. I simply believe in cause and effect, and that rule is the same as it always has been.

"Character is not made of sunshine and roses. Like steel, it is forged in fire, between the hammer and the anvil." Zhu Jin Ning, Thick Face Black Heart.
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RE: Has there been progress in human history in the 'absolute' sense? - yakherder - 11-02-2013 11:23 PM

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