I just finished reading a wonderful article in the NY Times about recent fossil discoveries and their meaning in terms of scientific discovery. At least three times daily I’m amazed by something I read that science has taught us. These discoveries are monumental in regard to our understanding of where we came from and where we’re going as a life form on planet earth.
Philosophically, it appears that we humans remain child-like as long as possible any time we are able to snuggle into a comfortable place for ourselves. The idea that “If this is good, more of this must be better!” seems to drive most decisions, even if the chaotic destruction those decisions will ultimately create are spelled out for us. The beauty of the match is, you get burned very soon after you play with it. The first folly here is a notion that mankind has any real grasp on the concept of time; we don’t.
We tend to think generationally, viewing the world from our personal fixed POV. If we claim to have any interest in foresight it is usually in terms of decades. Once it gets to centuries and beyond, well… we just can’t be bothered.
Many of the articles and blogs I read recently deal with this very concept. Governments claim to revere scientific knowledge and even fund it. That’s fantastic. It get’s dangerous though, when societies cherry pick through those discoveries and just use the “good” parts, the parts that are useful to us right now.
Historically speaking, it has always taken a catastrophe to shake societies from complacency. I’ll believe that we really have become enlightened as a society when we can globally acknowledge that the best course of action is to scale back our “piggy-piggy-piggyness” (to quote Lewis Black) and begin to need less. Let’s all nurture the idea that yeah, most us, like little spoiled children, could learn a thing or two about ourselves and our place in the world if we learned to — need… less. ~TH~