Human Nature, Our Downfall Essay

1642 words - 7 pages

In a metaphor, the evolution of civilization is in many ways similar to the evolution of flight. A long story made brief – both required multiple attempts, before they were able to function sustainably. Just as the engineers in the big firms which produce the machines – Airplanes and Helicopters – used for flight, are constantly attempting to improve upon their products, we as members of our respective societies are always looking for better, faster and cheaper ways to sustain ourselves. Civilization requires three main ‘materials’ if you will; Politics – the role of the state and political organization, the spokesperson promoting the idea that might is right, Economics – the production, exchange and economic organization of society. The funds for the might, and Ideologies – the social constructs and prevalent ideas we have within society that we use to justify our uses of political and economic behaviour (actions). As a result of these three main aspects of society, civilization has been able to evolve and progress – typically something viewed as positive – like when hunters learned how to kill 2 mammoths at once. However progress quickly becomes a problem when you have too much of it – such as when hunters learned how to run a heard of mammoth off the side of a cliff (ultimately causing a shortage of food). Human nature is the sphere from which all aspects of society grow. The problem with human nature is that we are still ‘wired’ for survival, even though we have evolved as a civilization to live in societies where we no longer need to worry about survival, so much as substance. Through the evolution of civilizations past to present we have learned new ways to maintain our communities. Human nature is a double-sided sword, it is the reason for all of civilizations progress, but it is also causing the ‘train to runaway’. Because of “a certain propensity in human nature…to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another” (Smith p.18) civilization has begun to spiral out of control into what Ronald Wright proclaims to be “the biggest progress trap in human history” due to our political and economic ‘tendencies’ which are learnt and enforced by popular (or common) ideology.

Capitalism has a broad spectrum of application and has influences on many aspects of today’s society. Most notably, capitalisms influence is greatest in the realm of economics, the production and exchange of goods, as well as the organization of society in economic terms (workers and owners). In a capitalist society, the most notable division takes place amongst the owners of the means of production, and the workers. This division creates ‘classes’ within society where those of a higher class, who have more, are considered more prestigious for a number of reasons. Capitalism also creates desire in people to ‘progress’. Climbing the ladder of success and moving up in the class structure is desirable. This is good in a way because it encourages productivity of workers....

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