Monday, July 14, 2008

Are We Evolving?

From the Age of Enlightenment, secular humanism arrived basically rejecting the belief that a relationship with the divine is necessary to bring out the best in human beings. Once we achieve a certain level of prosperity -- education, adequate supply of material goods to meet our needs, good health etc. -- the more our humanity will emerge and cruelty and oppression, something that will always exist, will fade into the background. However, if the last century is an example of how far we've come, as the 20th Century manifested an unprecedented scale of evil juxtaposing what could be referred to as the height of civilization, it appears the secular humanists could be wrong and that we have not evolved.

Currently, we have the technical and material capability to see that everyone's most basic needs are met, yet two billion people live on a diet of rice alone. Destruction and violence are widespread all across the globe, and the more technologically proficient and prosperous we become, the more our humanity seems to hibernate.

Intensified progress seems to be bound up with intensified un-freedom. Throughout the world of industrial civilization, the domination of man by man is growing in scope and efficiency. Nor does this trend appear as an incidental, transitory regression on the road to progress. Concentration camps, mass exterminations, world wars, and atom bombs are no “relapse into barbarism,” but the unrepressed implementation of the achievements of modern science, technology, and domination. And the most effective subjugation and destruction of man by man takes place at the height of civilization, when the material and intellectual attainments of mankind seem to allow the creation of a truly free world. -- Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization, 1955
Could it be that with prosperity comes complacency? The better off we are the more smugly conventional we get. We assume a morality that doesn't exist and that our own existence is proof of that "morality". Presuming we are moral just because we are is one of the reasons so much evil exists in a world of plenty, imho.


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