Mankind Has Not Advanced One Millimetre Since The Dawn Of History: Discuss.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by skunk, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #1
    Following a suggestion in another thread, please submit your opinions. I submit that the Idea of Progress™ is an illusion fostered by those who want us to believe they are enabling our advance.
     
  2. TwinCities Dan macrumors 603

    TwinCities Dan

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    #2
    sweet... :cool:

    Hopefully, this will spark...Interesting...
     
  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    progress in what area tho ?

    certainly life has gotten easier for the majority of us...
     
  4. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #4
    i just progressed through my room by about 20ft. man im good:p
     
  5. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    "The majority of us"? Really? As far as I can see, at least 70% of the world's population are in much the same position as they have always been.
     
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #6
    Not entirely surprising, as the millimetre was only invented in 1670.

    Well in absolute terms as a species, we have done very well in increasing our total population.
    Moderately well in increasing our average birth weight, average body weight, height and longevity.
    Of course these are not evenly distributed.

    But no matter what; bacteria win on all counts. Population, total body mass, adaptation, ubiquity, and longest track record. And they'll still be here when we're long gone.
     
  7. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #7
    i meant from a no-civilization-to-a-corrupt-and-injust-but-still-civilization kinda way
     
  8. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    And you define this as progress?
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #9
    We haven't much. We're still at a stage where we're sending robots to Mars, still only been on the moon. We have many diseases, many problems that we don't have cures for.
    We're just running around destroying our planet for kicks and throwing us into an uncertain environment that we might not survive.

    Sure we're made baby steps to preserving our species, and some technology has come out to make our lives a bit easier.

    Still so far to go. Unless we just can't go far because we're bounded by certain emotions and junk and stuff.

    A little less war and a little more unity are needed.
     
  10. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    I'm talking of mankind as a species, homo sapiens sapiens, not about technological progress. We still have the same wars, the same tensions, the same fears, the same jealousies. The condition humaine appears to be unchanged, which is why ancient texts speak to us with the same relevance and immediacy as modern ones. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
     
  11. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #11
    I think we've come a long way as a species since dawn. As the statement demands, my personal definition of progress as it applies to mankind is the attainment of knowledge. Everything else is secondary. Everything else stems from its accruement. Increases in quality of life, eradication of diseases, increased longevity, attaining wealth, moon landings, olympic athletes, rejection of the superstitious etc etc. Deficiencies in the distribution of material wealth and equality of progress points merely to a current lack of knowledge or retardation of it's execution.

    There are no downsides to advances in knowledge, only downsides in its application. How much we know in the scheme of things is irrelevant. We are learning at an exponential rate. As long as we do so we're advancing as a species.

    I don't see the contradiction here. The 'advance' of homo sapiens will be judged differently by everyone. I'm sure pretty much everyone who answers will have a personal opinion of what constitutes advance. For some it will be technology, for others eradication of disease and longer life, for others it will be eradication of wars. And the beauty of being human is that we're fully within our capabilities to contribute to these advances as we chose.
     
  12. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #12
    My personal definition of progress as it applies to mankind is the attainment of self-knowledge.
     
  13. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #13
    i believe that all of the core problems have not changed

    heck we still wage war over resources that we want, whether it be land, materials, defense etc

    we have just become sophesticated cavemen
     
  14. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

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    #14
    And you really think that today, we have only negligibly more self-knowledge than at the dawn of history?

    I think we have tremendously better self-knowledge today. Although we are still not using this knowledge nearly as effectively as we could be.
     
  15. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #15
    On what do you base this assertion?
     
  16. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #16
    Mankind has, of course, made advances in many areas. Many people don't get the benefits, of course.

    What we haven't lost, and never will lose, is what is human nature. To fight for what we believe is ours and the fight to survive. We're just animals, we're doing aright for stupid apes.

    If I've missed the point of this thread, I'd appreciate to be told what you actually meant, instead of just being told that I've missed the point. ;)
     
  17. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #17
    Surely as a question asked in the context of all mankind your own definitions make progress impossible? Surely there is no universal self knowledge unless if you'd accept progress in sociology as what one should grade a civilisation on in which case would you not consider market research and focus groups to be the forefront in our efforts to attain enlightenment?

    My own self-knowledge is certainly the definition of my own progress in life and it's a subject I've explored extensively though I would never dream of enforcing my view of myself on others as my self knowledge is entirely relevant only to me and is subjective to my own experience.

    If someone is interested then I will happily explore and discuss my own thoughts on self with them but as soon as you try to iron out a one size fits all approach to self knowledge one can only really come to the conclusion that we're just sacks of interesting biology with a few complex behavioural traits and that we're not significantly more interesting than a culture of bacteria in a petri dish slowly consuming the agar they live on marching slowly but inevitably to oblivion.

    That conclusion is not only a bit of a downer but it's also rather useless and could not really be considered progress as it largely ignores the wonder of self awareness which is again entirely subjective, for all I know I'm the only one that experiences this and everyone else only claims to, they could be robots marching around merely running on their biological programming! Personally I see the reality of things as both, consciousness just being an illusion we experience due to the way we're wired up, "free will" is frankly a ridiculous concept in my opinion.

    This leads me to consider the understanding of consciousness to be the very definition of all mankind's progress, a metric by which we've made sweet **** all progress in. Before anyone chimes in with AI research "progress" everything I've come across is frankly laughable, consciousness is not something that just "happens" when a bunch of logic gates reach a certain level of complexity nor is it something insanely complicated that'd take millennia or even years to write as a program, it's merely in my opinion a process that is capable of recognising itself.

    Once we understand exactly what our perceptions of reality are and how they work wouldn't the next step then be to dive down the rabbit hole and examine what exactly "reality" is? could that not be considered further progress? If so I'd move to redefine the progress of mankind by our understanding of self and the reality that self finds itself in or more accurately the understanding of the relationship between self and reality and thus a complete understanding of both.

    This raises an important question "what would change if we attained this", would this "progress" be mankind's saviour or just a useless philosophical head**** that would leave those who comprehend it jaded nihilists or would it lead us to a new age of enlightenment? I personally very much doubt the latter.
     
  18. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    Is that enough to count as progress?
     
  19. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #19
    Of course. It's just a reason for why we act primitively at times. We're not machines and we have huge differentiation through the species. We've had Gandhi and we've had Hitler and every possible combination in between.

    However, when looking at mankind as a whole, without caveats or provisos then we've advanced as a race massively in just the last few hundred years. Medicine, life expectancy, education, standard of living and so on, these are all areas where you can see huge advancement. As I sit at my desk, conversing with people over the internet, with the ability to say pretty much everything that I want, I find it a strange question to be answering.

    If the question was changed to; has mankind progressed as far as it should have? the the answer is that we've clearly not.
     
  20. djellison macrumors 68020

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    #20
    You are living longer than your ancestors. You are spending a greater proportion of your life doing things you want to for fun, rather than things you have to for survival. I would call that progress.

    Self knowledge - what exactly is that? You have to define it before it can be measured.


    Doug
     
  21. skunk thread starter macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #21
    For some. In most important respects, however, the elite of past ages had it almost as good. The elite is just a little bigger these days.
    People have been conversing on subjects of their choosing for ever.
     
  22. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #22
    No, they really didn't. Especially, as you've stipulated in your title, since the dawn of history.


    Of course they have, but that's not what I said ;). Communication has improved so much that we can now instantly communicate with people across the planet. Try doing that 500 years ago.

    I'm not sure why you're arguing this one, mate. Mankind has clearly advanced greatly in most respects, in most places of the world, most of the time.
     
  23. djellison macrumors 68020

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    #23
    Because he wants an argument.
     
  24. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #24
    Why on earth would you post in the PRSI section of a forum if you do not fundamentally enjoy debate?
     
  25. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #25
    And that's why we love him and/or her.
     

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