How clever, really?

There sometimes seems to be too much analysis placed over the top of some things in the recent history of our species. Perhaps this is because the historical details are indeed complex.

But this results in not seeing some really basic things.

For example, war.

One way of seeing war is that we had the Great War because the technology had arrived, and so we could. One century we did not have very good pistols, or any aircraft. The next century, we did. So the race was on to see who used the technology for dominance first; much like male gorrilas fight for group domination.

Then one decade we did not have very good aircraft, or any fitted with guns, and the next decade we did. So we had another war to continue the previous one, only this time with better weapons; maybe the challenge for dominance was left open. Again, just like gorrilas.

Then, unlike gorrilas, the capacities changed mid-war. We entered World War 2 without any missiles, and ended them with some. So came the cold war. Thankfully, for us, this particular dominance challenge still remains open – a question we hope will never be answered.

Not satisfied with this, the male members of our species tried missiles in space. Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ project was the culmination of the cold war. The arms race was really the same race for domination through strength all along.

Clumsy apes doing what apes have always done. How clever are we, really?

What’s really exciting, however, is that if looked at this way there is lots of potential opening up. The Arab spring of 2011 testifies to a new kind of phenomenon. People are still clambering over each other to use new technology to change the game, but this time it is social media being used by mass movements in order to remove certain alpha males.

Again, we are suddenly able to do something we have not done before, and so a kind of race happens and we do it. The technology is leading us.

What would be really clever would be generation of technology mapped to holistic interpretations of outcomes. But we clearly ain’t evolved enough for that yet, and in the meantime we’re busy wiping ourselves out with every move!


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