Humans are a strange species. No human alive today has any idea what it was like to live 100 years ago, or 10,000 years ago. Most humans wouldn’t care to obtain such knowledge either. What we know about our past has been recorded in our history, records that we still have today. We can learn a lot from these data sources, but what we can’t learn is what it was like to live 100 years ago, or 10,000 years ago. We lack the experience in other words, what it really meant, and what it really felt like to live life in those days.
Humans make decisions based upon emotion, emotions which drive us daily to become something more then simple beasts. An emotionless world would be a sterile world for the human race; nothing would be done, nothing would get built, nothing would be destroyed. There would be no love, no hate, no strife, no joy and no pleasure. We would not look to the future nor to the past for anything, we would just be, existing each day in what is and taking no thought or concern for what might come to pass. We would be animals, simply existing, procreating and performing our biological duty to survive.
In that world, the ancient world of the past, before the age of human consciousness, we did manage to survive as beasts, albeit in a different form then what we are found to be today. I won’t speculate when consciousness came to be (self-awareness), but clearly we developed this ability somewhere along the way. This is the source of our strangeness as a species. Nature produced an aberration with self-awareness and a big brain. I’ve no doubt that during this evolutionary development, the world itself was a very different place, free from the toxins, pollutants and carcinogenic chemicals that we’ve now released into the environment by the millions. What we know of the past is that the natural world did not suffer from any of these accumulations during our evolutionary development.
It wasn’t until homo sapiens sapiens had long mastered fire and bronze did we begin to change the world around us in a chemically-induced way. And it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution did we spread these chemicals and toxins throughout the entire world. Prior to that, during our entire history dating back hundreds of thousands of years, we were limited in how far we could spread these poisons we unearthed and combined into the natural environment. There were exceptions, but they were generally localized due to our own numbers and ability to spread out. Sailing ships eventually plied the worlds oceans and the real exploitation (and destruction) of the world began in earnest. In the meanwhile, we stopped evolving as far as we can now tell.
The real measure is in our DNA (versus IQ which is generally increasing) and whether or not we are still evolving or are we in fact, reversing our abilities, i.e, our consciousness. Consciousness is a byproduct of our DNA structure and if our DNA isn’t improving then our consciousness won’t either.
In November 2012, Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Gerald Crabtree published two papers in the journal Trends in Genetics suggesting that humanity’s intelligence peaked between 2,000 and 6,000 years ago.
The years are quite interesting and have confirmed something I have been contemplating. As we polluted our environment, we have changed the biological development of life on Earth, including our own. The notion that humans are going to “continue to advance” may simply be untrue.
What we don’t know is what we are yet still capable of. If science and technology and medicine (just to name a few major disciplines) have yet to experience any kind of “bottoming out” due to our intelligence and even deeper still, our DNA. We are obviously capable of much, much more still. But this doesn’t mean that we are getting smarter, because in some ways we remain incredibly dumb and we certainly appear to be getting dumber as time passes by. The most notable example is our complete willingness to destroy our environment which every living thing, not just us, depends on for survival. We’re also doing this faster and faster every year with the full knowledge that this will lead to our collapse, demise and eventual extinction.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Our consciousness is capable of holding conflicting events and values in separation. We are not machines simply following a program and we choose what we value — and when we value it (because we often change our minds). Actions and activity that conflict or compete are evaluated for their present need and utility and one (or more) is selected to have a greater expediency or weight, usually with the measurement(s) being defined by and for our species.
This is where the logos of the future arises. Humans are (now) hard wired to move “forward”, but this is a definition that carries some debate. The advancement of the human race is meant for humans to gain greater control and abilities over their environment (and even our DNA as modern medicine tinkers). But this is not a natural process at all, nor is it evolutionary. It is us making direct changes to the natural world without a healthy respect and regard for any consequences.
Nearly everyone believes that moving forward is a good thing and nearly everyone supports this, even if they can’t articulate it clearly (just watch what they do and demand). We know too that this is counter-productive to the many internal conflicts that this generates within us, but our adaptive consciousness is quite capable of keeping this in separation and away from internal conflict (cognitive dissonance).
There are also many aspects of our society and civilization that are specifically designed to keep this internal conflict from arising and becoming too troublesome, thereby ensuring wide-spread compliance and cooperation with this agenda of advancement we’ve adopted. Sacrificed is of course, the evidence revealed in the real world by our actions, and how this affects us and every living thing in the entire biosphere in a very, very deep way.
So we evolved into conscious self-aware beings, who then proceeded to dominate and pollute the world we lived in, causing a cascading domino negative effect throughout the entire world, even at the DNA level of every species (most likely, as the toxins and pollutants we’ve generated and released are ubiquitous through the whole environment now). We’re not aware of this because nobody ever talks about it, and science and technology don’t seem to be slowing down revealing it, and because our consciousness has created this false “logos of the future” meme that we’ve come to embrace as the model by which we live. But as I’ve often said, it wasn’t always this way. There was a very long time during our existence when we both advanced genetically and without irreparable harm to the biosphere.
Forward is not the only way we can live as the historical record actually shows. There is no physical or emotional need for humans to always demand more, but this would mean for us to give up our logos of the future — the demand that we must always advance despite the evidence that advancement will cost us and every other living thing life itself (extinction).
We have clear evidence now that this is what we are all facing. More now means a future of less, i.e., a futureless existence eventually disappearing into extinction. Not only have we harmed our own DNA, we have harmed the environment that sustains us and most likely, the DNA of every living entity of the planet. Even when we are gone, our residue will still be here for over a million years affecting whatever life that may remain (if any).
Consciousness does not seem to be evolving into a greater capacity or awareness, but self-absorption certainly does. They’re not the same thing, but are often described as being the same. We’ve probably reached our limits of consciousness already (thousands of years ago), but have chosen to “think” we can yet achieve more through artificial means. If consciousness is a product of evolution, and we have now seriously interfered with our evolutionary development, then how can we expect advancing consciousness to also be a part of this logos of the future?
Some have suggested that we have now taken over our own evolutionary development, but this is doubtful because we are not changing DNA through procreation. If we cannot pass this down to our children, then any “success” that there might be has a lifetime limit. But even if we could, where is the evidence that points to consciousness advancing? This too has the prerequisite of progeny inheritance (versus being “taught”) and the evidence doesn’t seem to be there yet. The species is getting stupider in other words and most of us simply lack the awareness and perhaps soon, even the capacity to recognize it.
I’ve found that diet and distraction and distance from civilization “helps” mental cognitive abilities. The more civilization and society embraced, the less thoughtful I was. The more junk food and poisoned supermarket fare one consumes, the less clear your head. Living apart from all the hive activity and embracing a quiet life also made a large difference. It’s an age-old recipe prescribed by seers and ascetics and ‘masters’, but I sort of stumbled on this all by accident (disgust) that caused me to create a buffer between me and the world. I just wanted some peace so I went looking for it. I created a space that permitted both time and distance and I discovered this recipe. Anyone who really wants this can do it, you just have to be willing to pay the price (abandon your logos of the future).
Humans don’t need to advance. We haven’t solved most of the issues that we’ve already created with our technology. But we have finally realized that this forward momentum is killing us and every other living thing. It may be too late to hope for anything better now, but we should at least be aware of where we’ve been and how this all came to be. And if we are running out of time, there is still the ‘recipe’ I’ve mentioned for those who would like something else while they still can. I’ve raised too many points in this piece to detail them all sufficiently (sorry, but got to keep this short). Humanity isn’t progressing in meaningful ways, humanity is regressing in exchange for toys while destroying the world.