What has humanity actually achieved?

If you wish to partake in casual "off-topic" discussion amongst spiritual friends, please do so in the Lounge at Dhamma Wheel Engaged.
Locked
User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2177
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by samseva » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:19 am

This thought came up today. Seriously, what has humanity actually achieved in the past few 100 000 years? Sure, we've become experts at survival and reproducing, but are there even that many meaningful events? Most things such as science are means to an end. What is the end that we are reaching for as human kind?

I would say the Dhamma, language and the Internet (at least the 25% of it that is valuable), but I can't come up with much more.

rolling_boulder
Posts: 262
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:01 am

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by rolling_boulder » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:37 am

samseva,

I remember reading a talk on this from one of the Forest masters, I believe it was Ajahn Chah...
He also pointed out that for all our technological advance we are still using about 99.9% of our technology and development toward greed, anger, and delusion. In this sense we are technologically, but not spiritually, advanced. I think that for our society to move forward spiritually it comes down to the efforts of the individuals, you and me... so keep it up!

RB
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

SarathW
Posts: 12459
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by SarathW » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:44 am

Managed to get rid of the tail I suppose.
:shrug:
=============
Scientists now believe that, we evolved and our closest relative Chimpanzee also possess 99% of human genes. This 1% has made a quantum change to human. So what is the real difference between animals and human?

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=15139" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2407
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by Bundokji » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:02 am

The law of nature is not purposive, even if it can manifest itself (amongst many other manifestations) as a human brain that search for meaning :smile:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 12610
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by DNS » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:23 am

EVOLUTION OF THE WHEEL

3500 BCE The wheel is invented, allowing for future inventions making work more productive and connecting people previously separated by long distances
3000 BCE Chariot wheel invented allowing for quicker travel and transportation between points
1350 CE Rail transport wheels used to allow quicker trade and transport
1600 Ship's wheel invented
1817 Bicycles and bicycle wheels invented
1885 Automobile wheels invented
1993 Mouse wheel invented allowing quicker web surfing and navigation of websites
2008 Dhamma Wheel established allowing Buddhists to interact from around the globe

I'm only half-joking. :tongue:

Technology has allowed us to connect in ways unheard of before. Here we are on DW, communicating with people way Down Under, all the way to way up there in Norway, to the Middle East, New York, etc. We also have the information-age and it has allowed us to learn more about other cultures, ways of thinking, religions, and philosophies. Not that long ago, for example, if you were born in 19th century Poland to a Hassidic Jewish family your fate was pretty much sealed what you would do, who you would marry, even what clothes you can wear -- for life. Your chance for even hearing the word Dhamma is slim to nil. Of course in some instances this is still the case, but the numbers sealed to such a fate is dwindling.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1949
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:58 am

samseva wrote:This thought came up today. Seriously, what has humanity actually achieved in the past few 100 000 years? Sure, we've become experts at survival and reproducing, but are there even that many meaningful events? Most things such as science are means to an end. What is the end that we are reaching for as human kind?

I would say the Dhamma, language and the Internet (at least the 25% of it that is valuable), but I can't come up with much more.
We have become more humane in the past few centuries. Our progress is like an exponential function. The bottom left of the graph is flat but when it starts to climb it zooms up. Exponential graph is the path traced out by this Mig 29 fighter. Last 7,000 years have been spent on the runway, preparing ourselves. Next is zoom up to 35,000 feet.

Humans are not greedy. We are in perpetual fear of scarcity of resources (like squirrels) and that motivates some to accumulate wealth. If food, clothing, shelter was available free of cost and was a non scarce resource (like air we breathe) greed would diminish greatly.

In my opinion greed would be a thing of the past in next 500 years as science makes it possible for everyone to have abundant food, clothing and shelter.

100,000 years is a blink in evolutionary time scale. We would go from being cavemen to almost perfect in less than 8,000 years (5,000 BC to 3,000 AD.) That is a real jump.

Think of an analogy from oil .. prices are less than half that two years back. Science and technology has made it possible. Chances of an oil war are now remote. Wealthy people no longer park their money in oil futures part of the freed up wealth goes to financing discovery of alternative sources of fuel. Hundreds of entrepreneurs are working on it (till now big oil to some extent was a factor in discouraging alternative fuel but with clout of oil companies diminishing rapidly that is no longer the case.)

Give it time (five to ten centuries), apply it to every sphere of life and you will see the future of humankind is bright.
I know one thing: that I know nothing

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:36 am

David N. Snyder wrote:... if you were born in 19th century Poland to a Hassidic Jewish family your fate was pretty much sealed what you would do, who you would marry, even what clothes you can wear -- for life. Your chance for even hearing the word Dhamma is slim to nil. Of course in some instances this is still the case, but the numbers sealed to such a fate is dwindling.
Isn't there a Jewish spiritual path? Having choices like "marriage" and " clothes" taken care of seems somewhat appealing to me - positive psychologist Barry Schwartz argues convincingly that having so many choices causes incredible stress. With universal knowledge & travel we are faced with the stress of choosing between every spiritual path that has ever been written down, or is still practiced. It's not obvious to me that this is a better situation than going with the path you were born with (as long as it is rich enough...)
- Mal

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:40 am

No_Mind wrote: We have become more humane in the past few centuries.
More humane than the Buddha?
... apply it to every sphere of life and you will see the future of humankind is bright.
Yes, lit by the light of 6000 H bombs exploding (Hopefully not, but it's a distinct possibility, which it wasn't in the Buddha's time...)
- Mal

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1949
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:47 am

mal4mac wrote:
No_Mind wrote: We have become more humane in the past few centuries.
More humane than the Buddha?
... apply it to every sphere of life and you will see the future of humankind is bright.
Yes, lit by the light of 6000 H bombs exploding (Hopefully not, but it's a distinct possibility, which it wasn't in the Buddha's time...)
I would love to argue with you, but if I am to give rise to mental formations, then arguing with a pessimist is not my preferred way of doing so.

But I cannot resist one line - I have been told I have become more humane in past two years .. how and why should that be compared to Buddha. Buddha is our teacher, we aspire to be like him but we are not him.

Why should the fact that humans are more humane now than before be compared on same scale as Buddha's compassion and wisdom. When we ask is the average person more educated now than 500 years ago do we compare him/her to Newton or Einstein? (rhetorical question; I am not really looking for an answer.)

It is because of this habit of some members of slipping in a comparison with Buddha in every second line that I log into this nice forum very infrequently .. about once every six months (visit every week as a guest).

This is an unhealthy obsession with Buddha and it is clinging of the worst type. It borders on deification of an extremely wise man, something he would no doubt have disliked.

Bye for six months,

:anjali:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by seeker242 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:23 am

samseva wrote:This thought came up today. Seriously, what has humanity actually achieved in the past few 100 000 years? Sure, we've become experts at survival and reproducing, but are there even that many meaningful events? Most things such as science are means to an end. What is the end that we are reaching for as human kind?

I would say the Dhamma, language and the Internet (at least the 25% of it that is valuable), but I can't come up with much more.
Global warming, deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, nuclear contamination, holes in the ozone layer. There are some others too. These are meaningful events! Not very desirable, but still meaningful. :shock:

As far as positive things, one could argue the invention of agriculture, up to a point of course and the harnessing of fire.
What is the end that we are reaching for as human kind?
It seems to me there isn't any. I think it's mostly a "I'm gonna get whats mine right now" approach. In other words, just people operating from greed and not paying all that much attention to the end result. Of course that's not true of all people. :)

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by mal4mac » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:45 am

I would love to argue with you, but if I am to give rise to mental formations, then arguing with a pessimist is not my preferred way of doing so.
I'm not a pessimist, just a realist, hence the "hopefully not",....

Are you saying all out nuclear war is not a possibility? If so you are denying reality in a big way.

Is the average person more educated now in the things that matter? Do Newton's laws make you any happier? Do Einstein's? And all this physics enabled the creation of nuclear weapons...
- Mal

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4728
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Jaroen Dhamma Cave, Mae Wang Huai Rin, Lamphun

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:58 am

samseva wrote:Seriously, what has humanity actually achieved in the past few 100 000 years?
“rising above the apes”

“conquering and extirpating the dragons and monsters of the brine”

“evolving the moral theme”

“marching forward across the centuries to broad conceptions of compassion, of freedom, and of right”


And above all, the beautiful Ciceronian oratory that allowed Churchill to put all the above into a single paragraph...


“House of Many Mansions” Speech, 20 January 1940



Transcript:
http://www.churchill-society-london.org ... bells.html
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1949
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:19 pm

mal4mac wrote:
I'm not a pessimist, just a realist, hence the "hopefully not",....

Are you saying all out nuclear war is not a possibility? If so you are denying reality in a big way.
I am not saying nuclear war is not a possibility but it is not probable.

I live in a country where I am separated from nuclear annihilation by 5 minutes of cruise missile flight time (not enough to activate missile defense systems) As we speak we are at receiving end of 130 mm mortar rounds on the border and my country men are dying.

Yet it will never come to nuclear war. No one in this forum is physically and politically closer to nuclear annihilation than me and I am confident and optimistic enough to say this.

USSR and USA never exchanged fire. My country and our neighbor have been to several full scale tri-forces wars in 1948, 65 and 71(before we both had operational nukes.) Why are you more afraid than me?

We have not had a war after we both had nukes. We have only had one large localized skirmish in 1999. Is that not good?

If both of us did not have nukes we would have gone to war .. at very least in 2001 and 2008.
Is the average person more educated now in the things that matter? Do Newton's laws make you any happier? Do Einstein's? And all this physics enabled the creation of nuclear weapons...
Do Newton's laws make me happier? This cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. All I know is I am a patient of gastric ulcer and no medicine existed before omeprazole in 1989 to satisfactorily lower the pain. It is same with thousands of other diseases and maladies. Science has brought ease and happiness in all spheres of human life. That is undeniable.

Newton's work(let us not only include his laws of motion but also his work on optics, gravity and his considerable contribution to developing calculus) made this wonderful forum possible. It made Access to Insight possible. It made possible for engines, steam ships, planes to be invented so that Western bhikkhus could visit Srilanka and Thailand to learn about Buddhism and then bring it back to all of us.

Why look at nuclear weapons only in a negative way. I know for certain I would be perhaps dead if it were not for nuclear deterrence or mutually assured destruction (MAD.) Nuclear weapons have made sure that wars are a thing of the past (not talking of civil wars or tantrum throwing by warlords as in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq and so forth. Real wars .. large nation vs large nation wars are never going to happen again. Too much is at stake.)
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
samseva
Posts: 2177
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by samseva » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:33 pm

No_Mind wrote:I am not saying nuclear war is not a possibility but it is not probable.
Incredible moment USA came within 30 SECONDS of launching NUCLEAR strike on Russia - Express, August 13, 2015
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov

We came that close.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1949
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: What has humanity actually achieved?

Post by No_Mind » Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:04 pm

samseva wrote:
No_Mind wrote:I am not saying nuclear war is not a possibility but it is not probable.
Incredible moment USA came within 30 SECONDS of launching NUCLEAR strike on Russia - Express, August 13, 2015
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov

We came that close.
That was an accident. And it did not cause a nuclear strike. It is just like saying that since millions die in automobile accidents, we would have been better off without cars.

I have two rebuttals -

1) What about all the lives the nuclear bomb has saved? Do you believe USA and USSR would never have fought it out except for mutually assured destruction (MAD) that nukes provide? Do you believe India and Pakistan would not have annihilated each other if both did not have nukes? Do you believe N Korea would not have attacked S Korea unless they were afraid of US boomers carrying nukes parked in Pacific?

2) What about all the lives science has saved by way of medicine and other inventions? What about the prosperity science has brought?

This is why I have not contributed to this wonderful forum for nearly a year. Some members seem to believe that it is the duty of every Buddhist to be as pessimistic as possible. I am sorry I cannot walk around as if the weight of this world is on my shoulders. If that makes me any less a Buddhist .. so be it.

As long as I live, I choose to live joyously, I choose to believe that good will prevail over evil, I choose to believe that truth alone triumphs, I choose to believe that the world will soon be a place where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.

I am alone and a failure in eyes of society; I have suffered in most ways possible except cancer or amputation .. but I choose to be happy


:anjali:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 87 guests