Are we entering the twilight phase of humanity or can we pull ourselves together?
environment | technology | society | future | opinion
As we're all aware, the decline of human civilisation began with the election and subsequent rise of Germany's First Fascist Superstar, Adolf Hitler, in 1933, when he was democratically elected by a broken and lost German population. Before that time, humans had historically been kind and loving to each other. They hadn't tried to wipe out vast swathes of people in Africa, Asia or even the holy land of human rights and better (white) people, Europe. I feel sad that I have to say this, but I'm being ironic, extremely sarcastic if you will. Of course, humans have always been awful; it just feels like right now we've gotten even worse. Are we entering the twilight of humanity?
The Economics Of Society
The death of our humanity has not occurred in a vacuum. It can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as, inequality, lack of empathy, inability to cooperate with each other, and our obsession with gain and unlimited growth. Is capitalism humanity's biggest killer? The destroyer of people and the planet? I would argue with a strong, loud and resounding YES. Others would strongly disagree, telling us that the market will regulate our humanity and we should stop being over-reactionary scaredy cats. The effectiveness of the market's ability to regulate anything positively remains to be seen. If poor people would just stop being poor, everything would be fine and our humanity would be magically restored. But let's not look too closely at why poor people are poor. Some fragile male egos might get hurt, and we wouldn't want that.
All Hail The Great Regulator!
The markets that have been hailed as the great regulators have in fact been exploiting our planet's finite resources, and now we're ALL living on a very thin knife-edge, waiting either to be burnt alive in a forest fire because the summers are now 60+ degrees, or to be swept away in floods because the ice caps have melted and the sea levels have risen. Climate change, deforestation, and pollution have irreversibly altered our world, and we have long since passed the point of no return. Is the death of humanity mirrored in the death of ecosystems, the extinction of species and the deadly destruction of our home? When you know that the biggest polluters are the same people who have made us all victims of their ideological belief in free-market capitalism, and the biggest victims of environmental damage and disaster are the lazy poor people who don't get up in the morning, the picture starts to get a little clearer. Some people matter more than others, and the environment is simply not a priority for those with enough capital: those who can just fly off to Mars and start a new life there.
Technology Is Our Saviour!
As a species, humans are extraordinarily inventive, creative and intelligent. Our technological advances have propelled us to unprecedented heights at an incredible rate. But have we ultimately sown the seeds of our own destruction? Are the machines about to take over, as all the science fiction films and books have predicted? Are the dystopian worlds of fiction about to become reality? The unregulated (there's that word again!) pursuit of AI, biotechnology and other technologies I have no idea about at the moment, raises questions and asks us to consider what the real consequences of these creations might be. While there are great things happening, particularly in the field of medicine, such as advances in the treatment of dementia and cancer, will everyone have an equal opportunity to partake, or will our own innovations be our undoing?
Your Connection Has Been Severed
We're hyper-connected through our black mirrors, but the loss of genuine human connection is palpable. The original idea behind social media was to bring people together, but the end result has often been the exact opposite: isolation, alienation and the erosion of authentic human relationships. Violence and aggression on sites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have become the new normal, and users have lost the ability to empathise and put themselves in another person's shoes. Again, the unregulated nature of social media has given people validation for their views, whether they're based on truth, hate or dangerous nonsense - anything goes! You want to tell a woman she should be killed because she's fat? Go ahead, that's just fine! This could be considered a spiritual demise, marked out by our hollow interactions and the gaping absence of any true, lasting connection with a real person. And, I know, humans are (mostly) terrible, but we're social animals and we do need each other sometimes.
Can We Put Humanity Back Together Again?
As we grapple with the implications of our actions, we're forced to confront some important questions about what it means to be human. Questions about purpose, meaning, and the things we're leaving behind for future generations. Can we regain our humanity and work together to solve the problems we alone have created? The end of humanity is an unsettling and frightening concept that most of us do not wish to give any real consideration to. It forces us to confront some harsh realities and truths about our continued existence on this ball of rock we call home. How can we set our differences aside and work together, mending the fabric of our fraying society along the way? Is this even within the realm of possibility for creatures like us, who have shown time and time again that destroying each other is the only thing we're really any good at? I have my doubts. What do you think?