How Far has Modern Civilization Advanced?

24 May

Can we really claim our civilization is advanced? Advances in technology are astounding including space travel and DNA mapping, but has human potential – except to live longer – really advanced? Has our ability to reason and our understanding of subjects at greater depth increased or diminished as we become bombarded daily by diverse information (e.g. internet based) that possibly leads us to understand much, but only in a fleeting way.

Have we become one way receivers of information that we generally accept rather than debate? Is it too easy to search online and find an acceptable answer rather than think through a subject and develop well thought out personal positions and conclusions? Is there increasing acceptance of one way communication and is that contributing to the dulling of our minds?

Throughout history, regular people have been like sheep having to accept proclamations of the ruling class and spiritual leaders. Is the impact of the internet similar? Do we control the internet or does the internet control us? Will the internet continue to grow as a tool for brainwashing society? Is it all bringing us too close to George Orwell’s “1984”?

One fear I have is that we live in a fearful world. We have learned to fear and be mindful of obscure illnesses, drinking alcohol, restricting our diets, remaining slim and exercising regularly. There are so many rules controlling things and we are possibly far more capable of stretching out life a few years, but not necessarily increasing the quality of our lives.  If we constantly worry about what could go wrong, that must inhibit the ability to explore and experience life to the fullest.

On a personal level, our senses, particularly sense of smell, have been delegated to a very perfunctory role. The natural smells, particularly between people, are no longer key to mutual attraction or emphasized in other respects. Our sense of smell has been pushed into the background with more emphasis on what we don’t want to smell than what we do want to smell.

Listening and hearing, particularly natural and sounds of nature is less important as our electronic devices can occupy us constantly with ongoing communication and music. It can be pleasant, but is it lessening our appreciation of what is natural and real in life? I frequently notice babies in strollers being pushed by nannies talking continuously, it seems, on the phone. Will the baby learn to listen to birds, animals and enjoy conversation, or just look forward to having his/her own phone? Our sight experiences are similarly affected with far more emphasis on viewing things on screens than in real life.

It is not, I must admit, my dream to be in wide open spaces using our human senses to their fullest capability, but that may not be a bad idea. Our senses function in conjunction with our brain and if they are allowed or encouraged to function at high sensitivity, it may correspondingly open our minds and heighten our ability to experience. Could that make us wiser and able to understand more? Could that be a path to greater enlightenment?

Enlightenment in earlier generations was often associated with drugs. We continue to be obsessed by drugs, whether legal medication or illegal mind enhancers. In the attempt to prolong life, it is now possible to detect thousands of things (if you believe all the advertising) including dangerous foods and city-life in general that need to be treated with medication.

So, most of the “civilization” of today are on drugs of one kind or another. They obviously alter our senses, particularly as the function of many is to lessen pain and anxiety. They are used for understandable reasons, but the downside is that they must, to some extent, also be dulling our natural senses.

In a similar context to medication, we can also consider the focus of exercise programs followed by many people. There are important and logical reasons why they are followed, but are we addressing our body more as a machine rather than focusing on the control panel which is the brain? If the brain controls all the moving parts, could exercising the brain deal with aches and pains and other problems better than forcing movement of the body to try to overcome the programming of the mind? Are people more ready to engage physical exercise than to expand, understand and better utilize our brain as the holistic “leader” of our body and soul?

Are we truly evolving as increasingly enlightened human beings or has our environment and social focus put us in a holding pattern? Are we, in effect, trading some higher values to achieve longevity and more physical (superficial?) goals? In many ways our lives seem more adapted to receiving facts, dealing with physical issues and living longer than to experiencing at the highest level possible and harnessing the potential power of our minds.

What do you think? Are we advancing solidly ahead, or at most, standing still? Is it possible that our ability to experience our environment and personal relationships has diminished rather than heightened over the years! That would be very sad in spite of all our technological advances!

Thank you for your interest. I look forward to any thoughts and comments you may have.



2 Responses to “How Far has Modern Civilization Advanced?”

  1. Stewart Harding June 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    It hasn’t advanced very far in general. It’s a handful of great people and great minds that in my opinion give the illusion that it has.

  2. ianclive June 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    Thanks, Stewart. I have to agree. The face of the iceberg can be quite sparkling and impressive, but below the surface somewhat murky and often more of the same except in a different form!

    Very best wishes,


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