Are We Really As Advanced As We Think We Are?

You’ve heard it said a thousand times, “We’re the most advanced civilization in the history of the world.” We tout our accomplishments, however minuscule they may be, because we seem to have this superiority complex that can’t be shaken. But what if I told you that we are not as advanced as we think and that our own perception of civilization as a whole is somewhat skewed.

Sure, we are capable of complex thought and reasoning, and yes… we have achieved some scientific advancements in a world where technology has everyone by the balls, but at the core of it all, the human condition is nearly identical to civilizations preceding ours. We have not advanced very far from basic instincts, urges and behaviors beyond forming coherent sentences and grasping electronic devices in our hands 24/7. If we were truly advanced, we wouldn’t be constantly taking two steps forward and one step back when inventions/ideas that would help us advance as a society are constantly toppled by opposing forces. We are a civilization trying to ascend to the top of a descending escalator.

civilization

Image: emilysquotes.com

If you’re not quite following, here are some examples to shed some light:

Entertainment — Music, movies and storytelling have been used since the dawn of time. Our pre-historic ancestors created music by singing and using handmade instruments and told stories to give themselves a form of satisfaction or escape from reality. We do the same exact thing, the only difference is we use technology as the medium to access this entertainment whereas prior civilizations used spoken word and drawings.

Politics — Since the beginning, beings have craved power and control in a group setting; a way to organize the masses. It’s part of being human. We have an organizational structure for all of this in our current time, but even going back to the cavemen, there has always been a ruling class – or a group of people that exhibited leadership roles. Politics have been used to halt the what-would-be progress if it does not favor the opinions of the people in power and hold their best interests at heart. We see this today in our voting system where politicians manipulate results so the winner is someone that will work for their betterment; not the lesser class.

War — This is self-explanatory. There have been wars and power struggles since the dawn of time. If one group had a disagreement with another, there was a fight; a way to assert dominance and the victor would assimilate the others into their way of life or kill them. The difference in our civilization today is that we are much more cataclysmic, using weapons of mass destruction, missiles and bombs, as opposed to stones and swords. How does this make us less barbaric than cavemen who hit each other over the head with rocks? This is seemingly the antithesis of progression.

Religion — This is one of those key factors that inhibits true progress. Since humans came into existence, religion has been the cause of wars, disagreements and general dissension amongst the public. It also overflows into other issues like politics, science, education, etc. “We can’t do this because it’s not the way to be,” or, “this is not right because it’s not what our higher power says is true.” We still deal with antiquated issues that we should already be FAR beyond, but continue to run in place, having the same arguments because of contradictory belief systems that no one even knows are actually valid. This constant back-and-forth over beliefs that are completely subjective have kept us from the advancements we are capable of; especially in science. Religion is the enemy of the open mind.

These are just a few examples. Another worth mentioning is the reason behind the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Substances to alter someone’s reality have been used during nearly every era in the history of civilization to disassociate from the world, and/or used recreationally at celebrations and gatherings. In ancient times, they would use natural herbs or plants to achieve this altered state. This still very much exists today, but became increasingly risky when unnatural manufactured compounds with highly addictive properties were introduced.

A key component that keeps us from truly advancing as a civilization are the people who don’t want us to because they fear the unknown or those whom it won’t serve their best interests. This goes back to the ruling class and individual beliefs that create the conflicts that we can’t seem to get past. This constant clash of ideas and the push/pull from radicals in these groups is why we are stuck going in constant circles, chasing our tails. Governments passing irrelevant legislature when there are more important issues to discuss, like most recently in the news, making certain sexual acts illegal that honestly should have stayed in the Victorian era. It is this archaic state of mind that many people can’t seem to break free from which impedes progress concerning real issues.

However, there are influential individuals ahead of their time – as there were in history – who are open-minded and propose new ideas and theories that could escalate us to new heights as a civilization, but they are consistently knocked down by opposing forces; usually citing some religious reason why those ideas are detrimental. Religion is the root of many problems (and has been throughout human history). When people think their belief system is the one true way to be, they constantly fight against everything that they perceive as wrong when it actually might lead to beneficial results for humankind.

We still exhibit the same base behaviors as our pre-historic ancestors; we are just in a different era. The one constant is that we all inhabit planet Earth. Maybe that’s why we can’t seem to progress and the same, repeated issues are constantly resurfacing; because we call a rotating planet home in a swirling galaxy, and so our lives (and the lives before and that will come after us) are in constant rotations well. If time truly is an illusion created to keep us on a certain “trajectory,” who’s to say we are actually moving forward? Our minds cannot comprehend it. We might be able to figure this out if we weren’t stuck in the proverbial past.

I am not claiming that there have been no improvements whatsoever. There certainly have, but the concept of how we act as humans has not. The arguments, wars, rivalries, religious fanatics and extremists, societal power struggles and FEAR are keeping us in a stagnant state of mind and this is the enemy of progression. We are all just semi-behaved, cellphone toting, clean-cut cave people with the ability to travel and communicate over long distances, dancing on top of a giant turntable we call Earth. Until this changes, there will be no true and ultimate advancement.

Instead of truly advancing as a civilization, conflicting mindsets and clashing beliefs are leading us on a road to nowhere.

Jen Seifert

Jennifer graduated from Georgia State University in 2013 with a BA in journalism and a minor in performing arts. She currently works in marketing as Web Writer and Editor at the University System of Maryland. Her interests include music, philosophy and socially-relevant issues. A writer for over a decade, she cultivates her creativity by publishing original works of poetry and various articles on culture, society, music, ideology, and current events.

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