Progress

Looking at the current global position reminded me again of the truism that states that, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” History has a funny way of repeating itself and the world seems to go round and round until we come back to the position we started in, in the first place. The nineteenth century began with great hope and expectancy that humanity had progressed and developed so much that man had finally come to a place where he could solve all his problems through the exercise of reason and scientific discovery. It was an age of extraordinary and rapid change. People believed in progress and the future. It was an age of expansion and transition. The world had move from a Greek-inspired view of a static, unchanging universe to a Hegel-inspired view of an evolving and progressing world. Of course history records that all of this proved to be nothing but a false dawn. From the optimism of the 19th century, we entered the 20th century which was the bloodiest century ever in the history of mankind, with two World Wars and countless numbers of revolutions all over the world which claimed many innocent human lives. In fact more people died in the last century through war and revolution, than had died cumulatively in the previous 19 centuries. So the Age of Enlightenment and progress ended up being nothing but a damp squib. The early part of the 21st century has begun with renewed optimism that we can create a better world, with greater co-operation and solidarity between nations. It has been a time of great technological progress and invention. The world has become increasingly linked and there are rapid changes occurring in the global geo-political sphere with new powers and alliances emerging. Yet again we stand on the precipice, with the hope that humanity is progressing and evolving, that the world can become better and that we can solve all our problems through greater co-operation. How realistic is this though? A glance at history shows that despite great scientific discoveries, technological progress and incredible inventions, man still faces the same problems that he has always faced. Nothing has really changed. Each generation faces the same challenges. Different faces, different levels of comfort yet similar problems. Why is this so? Because despite the great advances that have enabled us to master our external environment to a great extent, man still has not found a way to master himself. Despite all the great changes that have made life more comfortable, man’s nature still remains the same. We have found a way to change everything around us yet we don’t know how to change ourselves. This is the fundamental problem that has caused conflict right throughout history. Until we can find a mechanism, a method, a system, an outlook that will change who we are fundamentally then we will keep going round in circles, facing the same problems and battling to come up with workable solutions. Man is doomed to repeat the same mistakes unless he can find a way to transform himself, to change his very nature, the core of who he is. This is the challenge that we are faced with if this century is ever going to be any different from what has come before. Every problem that you can think of that we are faced with today can be traced back to the fundamental challenge of the problem of human nature. As the Switchfoot song goes (and I paraphrase here), “you can tell that we are the issue. It’s our condition. We are ammunition. We are ammunition.”
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Mugabe Ratshikuni

introverted, shy, nothing to write home about

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