Friday, June 22, 2007

Call me a Pollyanna if you like...

{This post is a 'reply' to vrroom's question: Are we evolving or degenerating? You can find the original post here.}

This is actually a very pertinent question - depending on who you ask, we as a generation are either at the pinnacle of human achievement or in the deepest possible abyss of human depravity... I actually think it's neither of the above - IMHO, if you set up a report card of sorts to measure the progressiveness of one human generation against another, all the generations would perform identically on a sum total basis, provided you picked a just set of metrics! :)

So while the current generation is probably one's best bet if you want a life expectancy greater than, say, 30 years - almost every other generation before ours lost millions to scourges like plagues, cholera, typhus... and yes, war - we still leave much to be desired in terms of general 'happiness' quotient. I think, almost every generation has contributed immensely to our understanding of science and the evolution of human art and culture. If we consider ourselves as stewards of our planet, it is undeniable that the current generation has made a royal mess of the ecosystem - but, on a relative basis, I don't think we have performed much worse than the guys who pumped the first toxic pollutants out there during the Industrial Revolution. And yes, things like reservations and intolerance and hunger and poverty do make one wonder if we are still in the Dark Ages, but no generation of the past was ever devoid of social maladies.

In summary, I think as a civilization, the human race has flat-lined for centuries. On a relative basis, it's hard to make a case saying that we have truly progressed... but it would be equally hard to make a case saying that we have regressed. That being said, history needn't necessarily be the crutch we use as an excuse to do nothing... We have all the tools we will ever need to become a 'progressive' generation - to end poverty in our lifetime... to remedy the 'climate' issue for good... to find cures for several deadly diseases... to bring people of different races, nationalities, social classes and cultures together in a dialogue like never before. All we need to do is believe that we can, and then take some goddamn action! :)


Saumil said...

Agree 100%

Great blog - keep up the good work!

The Falstaffian said...

Thanks Saumil! :)