“A characteristic of a primitive culture is that it regards itself as highly advanced.”
I heard this somewhere and I think it puts nicely the point which we seldom stop to think. If we look into past we can feel superiority to past centuries and generations. They were not as advanced in technology and wisdom and they had more struggle with everyday life as we do today. Still putting into aside the material side of living— are we more developed and better human beings after all?
The outset is different. We look more nicely dressed and cleaner. We have better houses and means of transportation. More knowledge and better working conditions. Sure things are better now than in the past. More drugs, better healthcare and education system, less tyranny and so on. But are we more than a primitive civilization who thinks too high of oneself?
Despite all the great knowledge and wisdom we are still killing people. Others are starving to death and most of the human population on earth is barely coping with the ordinary life. A great minority of people is ruling and possessing most of the power and richness in the world. Most of the wealth seems to be distributed purely by chance. Some happen to live in an area of natural resources or has born to a country with great wealth. Personal talents or own hard work do not guarantee success in live. It is not what you know but who you know, still.
Today people are after beauty, wealth, power and possessions. They get kicks by consuming and thinking about their own happiness and pleasures. The society is build in a way that supports and sometimes encourages individualism and egoism. We encourage and sustain behaviour that can even harm other human beings and more importantly our nature. How many animals are making a mess in their own nest and destroying their own surroundings?
What could be the characteristics of a developed civilization? My answers are as good as yours. Here are some for a starters:
First of all they would not kill each other. Also they would appreciate the environment from which their existence is dependent on. They would try to improve the surroundings and hence leave it in a better shape than they got it from the previous generation. Individuals would not focus on their own good but for the well-being of others. The greatest heroes would be those who help and encourage others to success and achieve in life. Everyone would be recognised by their talents and capabilities and supported in developing those. One would not need to be supervised by a government or collegial entity— everyone would understand the common good and behave accordingly. The focus would be in the positive development of individuals and would concentrate on progress and not on failures and set backs. A behaviour based on pure power or submission in any form would not be tolerated (against animals as well).
The above items have nothing to do with our knowledge, technology or wisdom. They are more related to the very existence and life itself. More information does not necessarily mean that we are developing to the right direction. Or even mean that we are developing at all. More data and details of more issues do not necessarily mean that we have progressed in thinking and in the basic fundamentals. It almost seems that less people are considerate and firmly having their feet on the ground. More accurate description of the surroundings do not count as creative thinking, and that’s what most of our sciences are about. In the school we are taught pieces of information, descriptive details. Seldom anyone is encouraged to raise question and develop own thinking. Our children are not taught anything really useful— how to live and become better as human beings. How could they because their parents don’t know anything better: “Panem et Circenses”.