Homo sapiens as a species evolved approximately one hundred thousand years ago, as the next logical step succeeding Homo erectus. According to evolutionary theory we as a species were most adapted to survive in those conditions. Why then have we continues to pursuit progress, at the risk of altering our environment?
One theory put forth by one of the presenters was that narcissism is the reasoning behind our progress. He asserted that the desire to continue to invent is rooted in narcissism. It was done out of a simple need to do. It is in essence to prove that humanity is obsessed with itself, and holds the belief that we are at the top of the food chain and must innovate in order to prove it.
As proof of his point the presenter examined the Judeo-Christian belief that human beings are created in God’s image. He also used the fact that human beings create awards and bestow them on ourselves in order to make us feel good. One final piece of evidence to support his point was the fact that human beings named the current era of geological machinations the Anthropocene.
I agree with his assessment that narcissism fuels some of human progress. For example in Korea and Soviet Russia the creation of cults of personality around public figures is without a doubt an example of narcissism.
I also agree that the human b being is unique in there active destruction of their home for the sake of “progress”. A truly advanced species would do any and all things necessary to protect their home and ensure future generations of people who will continue on with our legacy. This is after all the purpose of all species.
However this is not the case with all discoveries. While they may not be necessary human beings while equipped to survive in the world, were not by any means comfortable. The human brain is built to look for patterns, and so shortcuts to work are readily grasped by the brain. Thus our inventions to make the world simpler are simply a function of our brain looking for patterns.
In addition the narcissism discounts that evolution make take on a new form. It supposes that an archaic field in which humans were situated in the middle of the food chain was the ideal world. Human ingenuity is a thing, and in reality the true cause of human progress.
In addition if the world is truly one in which the most adapted species survive then is human progress simply the next step in evolution. We make the changes necessary to survive including hazards that may come about as results of human innovation. One is forced to wonder what progress is, if is not fluid.
However I agree with his ultimate assertion that we as a species must change our ways i order to survive. We cannot simply continue at this rate. If we are truly making progress for the sake of progress then we must adapt to this new challenge before progress is no longer possible.