Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some Things Progress, But Human Nature Remains Constant

The only things that seem to progress are science, technology, and wealth. On the whole, humans don't get smarter, they don't get wiser, they don't get kinder, and they don't get more compassionate than they've ever been. But neither do they get worse than they've ever been. So, while science, technology, and wealth progress, human nature remains the same from one generation to the next.

Among other things, the apparent fact human nature remains more or less constant seems to argue for the notion that something -- most likely our genes -- limits and stabilizes our range of behaviors.


ordinarygirl said...

I like your observation.

The only thing I'd disagree with is the wiser. Not that humans are innately wiser, but that they are able to build on the knowledge of past generations.

But maybe that's just science. (Although it applies to things like art and music, though in a more technical sense, so maybe that is science as well.)

Paul said...

I hope you're right, Ordinary Girl! Humans are constantly increasing their ability to destroy themselves -- if we are not also increasing our wisdom, then we are probably in big trouble.

Jonathan Blake said...

We each have to learn the same things that our ancestors learned, but we don't start from square one. Isn't that what culture is for, to transmit what works to the next generation?

Mahendra said...

I'm not sure if I get the meaning of your post, and I think I completely and vehemently disagree.

Imagine a human caveman thousands of years back, seeing another cavement brandishing a tool our cavemen had never seen. What would be his reaction? He would be:

1. Afraid.
2. Curious.
3. Try to steal it.
4. Organize his tribe to steal it.

Now imagine a person from Sudan or Ethiopia seeing a Westerner with an iPod. Would all his reactions be the same?

Technology, Science, and Human Progress affect and influence all human beings, irrespective of their race, nationality, ethnicity, and so on.

The homo sapiens on this earth are much more civilized as a result.

Your conclusions are only dependent on the range and scope of your vision. The narrower and shorter in Time you look, the more you'll tend to believe what you say. The wider your expand your horizons, the wider you'll see how human progress, science, technology, affect individual humans.