Saturday, 29 September 2012

Our World - Progress or Pain?


The world becoming a better place? Really? Take a good look around you.

Mobile phones - We only need watch the news to see how this little gadget has provided us with so much footage of news events as they unfold around the world.

Computers have become a powerful tool in business, education and the home. So much so, that we ask ourselves how we ever managed without them.

Medicine - Mapping the human genome means that we can now tackle more hereditary diseases than ever before.
Massive improvements in cancer treatment have increased the chances of survival of this disease. We have had so many other advances in medicine it doesn't bear thinking about. 

Countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia that were once poor and had an under-educated population are now becoming richer - they can now contribute to the international community in terms of their scientific research and helping other countries out of poverty.

Thanks to a better global transport system, we now have increased access to places and products, which means our diets, communication and cultural awareness are richer and more interesting.  

So the world is becoming a better place... isn't it?


NO, it's getting worse.

Some of that crap we're eating is GM (Genetically Modified) 'frankenstein' foods, so I wouldn't be surprised if you opened up a coffin from today a thousand years from now and find the person perfectly preserved. 

Half of the world is obese whilst the other half starves to death. That's not good is it? 

Science? We are using our skills to develop more sophisticated weaponry to kill off our fellow human beings, is this what we call advancing? If we keep this up, soon there'll be nobody left! 

I'm surprised we can still breathe, the way we pollute the earth and destroy the environment and rain-forests. We are teetering on the brink of a huge catastrophe caused by our own abuse. I'm not surprised man wants to colonise the moon. After ruining the earth we're looking around for another planet to sabotage.

Thought we had advances in medicine, but AIDS is still ravaging whole societies in poorer countries, or is it that we only treat the richer countries with the good medicines? 

Mapping the human genome. Thought this was a good idea, but what about the risks of cloning? The potential for misuse of this knowledge opens up a whole can of worms.

So, I'm confused. Is the world a better place or not?

Is life really improving for people? Are we heading for utopia or catastrophe?
Are all these advances helping or hindering the human race?
What do you see in the society you live in?

Feel free to share your views and opinions.

42 comments:

  1. I have been wondering about this too. I think it's neither all good nor bad. In my opinion, progress is necessary and there will always be progress and change. And we will always strive for more, I think that's in human nature.
    There are a lot of good things about that, like the progress in medicine. Or, you know, this conversation would never have taken place without computers. Besides, I am really happy I wasn't born during World War II, for example (or I). But, of course, with all the progress come new problems. And while we are looking for new solutions and maybe find them, there are again new problems.
    So, I don't really have an answer, this is all I can say...

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    1. I would say that you have given an answer Kleopatra!
      As you said - it's neither good nor bad. New solutions definitely bring new problems. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. On the one hand the world is a better place as you said. And also as you pointed out it is getting worse. It depends on which you emphasize.
    I thought this century would bring peace and harmony to the world but it's only getting worse!
    Imagine what we could do if we used all the money we spend on weapons to cure disease, eliminate poverty, etc.
    We let primitive feelings get in the way(greed, hatred, fear...)
    But it's still better to be optimistic. The negative always drives out the positive the way the pain of a bad toothache makes it difficult to think of anything else.

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    1. You're right, what would the world be like if we did spend all the money on research for cures, eliminating poverty and such like. I can't even imagine the whole world in peace, and that says something.

      Perhaps the negative does exercise a more powerful dynamic upon our perceptions, resulting in a distorted view of an overall positive picture.
      Thanks John M.

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  3. The world just is. It only seems bad or good because of our perceptions, which are strongly influenced by the actions of others. Hopefully the human race's advances won't also be our downfall.

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    1. True. But if we had more robust ethical and moral codes in place, wouldn't we be able to explore science without the need for it to be our downfall?
      Thanks for your comment Helena

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  4. I think it is what it is. People have been asking that question for not decades or centuries, but milennia. For the most part, I think the world is better, though we've sure backslided (backslid?) in some areas. Plus we sure have a lot more work to do.

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    1. More work than you can think. Thanks Janene.

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  5. I honestly think it is better and worse at the same time. Imagination has reached an all time high, but its all focused into video games and movies. I used to ride my bicycle in a five to ten mile radius around my home, now parents don't let kids out of site, ever, for good reason....

    As fast as humanity has advanced in the last century, we are VERY lucky that the world itself is able to handle us. In the end, I do fear for the future of this world, and humanity itself.

    I think the biggest problem, in my humble opinion, is that humanity hasn't fully adapted to the advances we have made. We are practically on the verge of a global society, but all the societies of the world cannot accept the differences of other societies, so it is causing friction. We have made up all these differences between people, that really do not exist. There is no Muslim or Jewish genome, there is no difference at all between those people, they just have different beliefs, which by definition doesn't make people different at all....

    All I can say for sure is, that things are going to have to change with how people react to each other, because the human race is advancing on. Nature itself is adapting to us, though we fear every day we might push that too far. But humanity itself is resisting more. Until people assimilate what humanity is truly capable of, if we work together, then no one will ever stop clinging to antiquated beliefs and realize that they are acting specifically AGAINST those beliefs.

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    1. Thanks Dan
      Similar to what I wrote to Helena, I think you're noting the issue here of humanity's uneven development. We are, frankly, brilliant in the science and invention department, but surprisingly slow to jettison our primitive tribal tendencies and prejudices, and slower still in the development of our morals and ethics.

      Somehow, the disproportionate rate to this of our scientific progress seems to be putting us on the brink of a global disaster.

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    2. I think its odd how religion is the biggest thing holding us back. It keeps the 'tribes' separate for no reason. From my standpoint, it would see that any person that truly believed in a deity would WANT the human race to move forward, forget everyone's differences, and see what we can become. From what I've seen in life, religion does nothing but breed ignorance and keep people with their, "primitive tribal tendencies and prejudices." And I personally think they jettison the morals and ethics with excuses they can't back up.

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    3. I think the problem isn't so much religion in and of itself, but rather the use it is put to when it becomes a tool of politics.

      Politics is about gaining consensus and getting people to do what you want them to. And by dressing a political agenda in religious language, leaders have found it a very effective tool for doing this. It's applications have, sadly included prejudice, persecution and wars.

      But is it religion alone that is to blame? Look at the disasters caused by politics without religion. The terror of the French revolution, the hundreds of thousands who perished in Stalin's purges and the killing fields of Pol Pot's Cambodia etc - all entirely and scrupulously atheistic. Thanks Dan, your views are appreciated.

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    4. Honestly, anti-religious views are technically religious.... If you take religion completely out of the equation...there's been very few instances in human history where violence hasn't involved religion (if you include anti-religion)....

      In the end, I don't blame religion, I blame people for taking their own religion too far. Most religions all have great rhetoric about being peaceful, and loving your fellow human.... But as soon as I say, "Hey, my God is not your God, but he believes the same things," suddenly there's dead bodies everywhere.... Especially when you get into the idea that there is no ethnic groups, or races, we are all one race, no matter the color, or what continent.

      But anyways, my point is, people cling to whatever they can to prevent change, integration, or whatever else, and its sad.

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  6. I wouldn't be too worried!

    They were planted together and they grow together, the Scythe will put each one in his right bin!

    "The rest is silence"

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    1. Ok, the Scythe will do it's job and in the end we will all know get what's coming to us, but, in the meantime are our advances moving us in the right direction to avoid the bonfire, so to speak, or are we now just destroying ourselves?
      Thanks for your comment Untony,

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    2. There is not meantime, RP... it is all a figment of our imagination. We are not going into the right direction, neither into the eternal bonfire!

      Can you imagine how can, even the Deity, fix the MESS some of us are doing since "monkey" found out he (possibly a she, but I bet it was a he) could smash the brain of his fellow human?!! :))

      Anyway that figment, is "real" enough for the "perps" ?

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    3. Untony, I need spoon-feeding here, I don't understand..... I'm a babe lost in the woods, so please help me with this :)

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    4. Nothing quite like trying to make complete sense out of untony's odd way of saying something in an existential way.

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    5. Thank you Dan Bonser, I feel that as a great compliment! :)))

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    6. Dear Rum, it is easy as pie, look:

      We were in Paradise until we bite the Apple (not Steve Jobs's) then everything become entangle and we started to live this thing we call "reality", see?

      It is only a figment of our imagination and nothing that happens here, happens really, only the deeds of each one of us stay active to let the Scythe ripe the harvest when time comes.

      There are some of us that had swallowed some pips so their actions can be blood-curdling... But that is another story!

      Easy, ain't it?

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    7. Sounds like "No pain No gain".

      A pain (the bite) brings reality, and Scythe ripe the harvest... :))

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  7. When I was a kid, I saw older people dying of heart attack. Nowadays I see younger people dying of heart attack.
    Those days I seldom witnessed road accident but nowadays, I could see it happening every other day. Last week I witnessed 3 road accidents.
    When I was a kid, my parents asked me to take milk, eggs, veggies and fruits to stay healthy. Now I depend on food supplements to stay healthy, and I'm not really sure if they're actually doing good to me :)

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    1. Zunnur. It is amazing that if we are eating a supposedly healthy diet that we still need to take food supplements. If the food in itself was good and we ate the right amounts then it's real funny how we need extra stuff... did food supplements even exist until recently? Are we now needing to invent devices to help us cope with living in the world we have created? If so, this is not a good sign!
      Thanks for sharing your point of view here.

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    2. On another note Zunnur - I do know that you also have to be careful when taking supplements as the ingredients need to be the right consistency in order for it to have any effect, otherwise you are paying for drugs that don't really work.

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  8. In some ways I do believe our world is a better place. In the medical field, for example, much progress has been made to help the sick and chronically ill. On the other hand, I have serious concerns about much of the "foods" that we eat. Look at the ingredients on the labels. Much of it, we don't even know what they are; we just know the product tastes good. We are making our body like a dump for all kinds of chemicals, preservatives, and the like. Personally, I am convinced that this is one of the reasons for our epidemic of obesity and many of the present-day illnesses.

    Last, but not least, the world is a worse place because by and large, we continue to move farther and farther from God the Creator. He is not pleased with that, and there are ill consequences for that being the case.

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    1. Yes, you do have a point Frank. I am also unsure and confused about some of the things that are put into the ingredients in our foods. Some say organic but when you check the facts there are different variations of what organic really means, fooling people like me into buying stuff that is not what I think.

      In regards to your point about us moving away from God. This is something I have touched on above. It seems that, if in all the progress we make, we do not ensure that we put it to good use but rather selfish or destructive purposes, our advance is movement, but in the wrong direction! Leading us further away from where we should be and closer to harm.

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  9. The hope of the so called Enlightenment has faded and the harsh reality remains: we are but apes with lipstick and lights.

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  10. Hi Rum-Punch-Drunk! Well, I’m a glass half-full kind of gal and was going to say the world is getting better but after reading your post, I was ready to throw up my hands and dump that half-full glass because we are all doomed...lol! Seriously though, I think in some ways it’s definitely getting better (computers, advances in medicine), and in other ways it’s getting worse (pollution, destruction of the rain-forests). There is a pro and a con side to all human progress. I think it’s always been that way throughout history. Humans discover how to make fire, that’s positive progress; you can cook and keep warm. But fire can also destroy, so there’s the negative. The first caveman who accidently burned down a dwelling didn’t quit using fire because it was dangerous; he learned how to use it safely.

    We have wonderful advances in science, technology and medicine. Yes, there are negative components too, because whether we like it or not, there are pros and cons to all human progress. Despite all the negatives, I think overall, the world is a better place. I believe all these advances are helping not hindering the human race. We are neither heading for utopia nor catastrophe, but something in the middle. That’s why I think the glass is always half-full, or half-empty, depending on your perception, but never completely full.

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    1. Thanks for your views JerseyLil. Learning how to put everything to good use and safely is the key.

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  11. I think that the world is moving in 2 directions simultaneously, which can only result in a tearing. The rich benefit from all the advances you mention, while the price of basic foodstuffs and fuel skyrockets for the poor.

    Globalisation is like a big increasingly lavish party in which the guests enjoy a good time and the servants work longer and longer hours with less food left in the kitchen for them.

    So it's- Progress for the rich and more pain in store for the poor.

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    1. Yep, I do see the point you are making here. The divide between rich and poor does seem to be getting wider these days. Thank you Navigator for your comments.

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  12. Good question. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer! I do think technology has made things way to complicated. I often find myself yearning for simplicity, and I fear (or know, rather) that we can never turn back. I also think that there are simply too many people in this world. Just too many.

    In some ways though, I don't think things have changed all that much...not in the abstract anyway. In fact, pleasures of the past is what has caused us to be in crisis. I read somewhere recently that a car built in 2012 releases less toxins into the atmosphere driving full speed down a highway than a car built in 1980 sitting in a parking lot. The issues with the environment are not good, but in some ways WE didn't create them...those in PAST did (think of the post-war boats they called cars), and now we're cleaning up the mess. And of course, it takes time.

    Does it sound like I know what I'm talking about? Because I'm not sure I do :)

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    1. Who knows if future generations may not frown upon us in the same ways. Thanks Katie.

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  13. We have the most advanced and sophisticated world today! Awesome technology! Really breathe-taking!
    But if you would ask me, I still prefer the old, peaceful, simple life . My parents and grandparents knew nothing about these advancements today but I can see and feel the joy and contentment in their hearts. That would be enough for me.
    Anyway, we have no other choice but to deal with it.

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    1. Yes, I see where you are coming from. Things were a lot more simple and straight-forward back in the day.

      I suppose the issue then becomes whether having more and living longer really does constitute an increase in happiness as opposed to perhaps, having a simpler life and, even if it is shorter making better use of the available time, perhaps not rushing around so much for example. Thanks Ric.

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  14. it's both, everything is fast paced, you can travel the world with just a click, technology is everyday changing but not everyone can afford it. For me, i prefer the simpler life.

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    1. What seems to be coming though here, with comments like yours is that, even if we agree that advances have been made, the judgement of whether things have improved or got worse still comes down essentially to whether there are advances that are wanted or appreciated.

      There are those that can't live without facebook, television or their expresso coffee maker, and there are those that see it as a burden to bear, and just yearn for a bit of peace and quiet.

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  15. There has been technological progress, but no progress in the way we live or treat each other. I think the great thinkers of the Enlightenment would be shocked to see that we have not yet eliminated poverty, hunger, oppression, inequality or war from our world. As Dickens said: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" So for some people living today it seems like a kind of Golden Age with technology promising unimaginable advances, and for some a Dark Age with nothing but our own extinction to look forward to.

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    1. ...So even if the world has improved humans certainly haven't. A hard statement to refute. An interesting paradox. Thanks NP.

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    2. Great way to some it up NP! *sigh* I wish I was more literary, and less ranty....

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