Something disastrous has happened to the Human Race – we now like our things more than ourselves. And we do not consider this to be a problem – only the natural state of affairs.
As far as I can tell, this development started with the Industrial Revolution, although its roots must go back further than that – to the beginning of the Modern Era, a development we do not understand in the least – even though it made us what we are.
Be that as it may, all we can do right now is take a good look at where we are – and try to get a dim understanding of the last two hundred years or so. Or even the last fifty years or so.
Over this period, we paid more attention to, and put more energy into, our technologies than in ourselves. While not being aware of this at all. It just seemed like the right thing to do. We became obsessed with our sailing ships, then our railroads, and then our automobiles.
We have the natural ability to concentrate on the raw materials in our world, and consider how they might be improved to become more useful to us. This is part of being human – but only part. Being human is much more than this – but we have gradually forgotten what those other parts were. And the result has been a progressive negative feedback situation – as we concentrated more and more on our technologies, we kept forgetting more and more about ourselves.
Until we got to the point where we developed a strong dislike for ourselves – sometime in the late 19th Century and early 20 Century. Now this dislike seems normal, and we can no longer see it.
One of our abilities is our ability to get used to almost anything – and consider it normal. This allow trends to become permanent – and trends can be either positive (things keep getting better) or negative (things keep getting worse) – or, more commonly, combinations of the two.
There are two important things to consider here – our limited attention span, and our habit of developing habits – collectively, as well as individually.
Our latest technologies, the TV and the Computer, grab our attention and will not let go of it. This is most commonly seen in the young, who can only pay attention to brief, intense stimuli. But it affects all ages. I have been shocked by the deterioration in people who become used to interacting with the latest hand-held devices (which are nothing but miniature computers with attractive, clever displays). Some of our smartest minds have concentrated on making them addictive. Because this would make them profitable.
Which immediately brings up an important point – the profit motive, and how our technologies have become enmeshed in it. There is nothing wrong with the market, is is an all-to-human activity (as the Good Book kept reminding us). But we have allowed it to control us – instead of us controlling it. The result has been an economy that is self-destructing. We like it so much, we have forgotten how to like us. Forgetting that we have made the Economy – not the other way around.
The recent hassle about the American health plan is a case in point. It was designed to help us – but since we don’t like us, we don’t like it either. Here again – not being aware of this unconscious decision at all.
One more thing – Religion, another important part of us. It too has become enmeshed with the Economy and our obsession with becoming better. Which means being technology-enhanced – super-human, in fact. When, in reality, we have become less than human – empty beings.
We have put so much of ourselves out there, there is nothing left in here.