Will Progress Always Lead To Happiness?
I’ve been wondering the current path we as people have taken in recent years. Technological advancement has automated countless things and medicine has grown vastly from what it used to be.
We’ve reached the stars and can create and manipulate nature itself. We live longer than we used to, individuals have more freedom than ever, and life is safer.
So, all these things should mean happiness, of course?
Well, I don’t think so.
Robert Nozick created a philosophical thought experiment called “the experience machine.”
This machine is basically a source of painless pleasure. You’d be connected to it after which you’d be sent in a coma, which you’ll never wake from, but during which you’ll be given all that you ever wanted, though in simulation. Nothing really happens, but you wouldn’t know that for your mind is already in the simulation and it never emerges from it.
So the question is: If the experience machine were available to you and guaranteed to work flawlessly, would you do it?
I think this thought experiment is a great thing to mention while talking about the current culture and dominant stance of science.
If machines will do everything for us if machines will keep everything working if machines basically remove all pain and suffering from the world, what is there left for us?
It is wondered if humans can even know pleasure without knowing pain. If our lives turn into painless streams of pleasure, would we really like it? Would we even want to live without having something to do, something to struggle for?
Humans need a reason for their lives. They need that experience of having an impact and meaning, and endless pleasure won’t give that to them. No amount of wealth or power won’t fulfil you entirely. It’s meaning we desire above all.
So, if science turns everything into an automated process, where you don’t even have to walk away from the couch, for a robot brings the food for you, feeds you, and clears your shit, would that really be the condition we’d love to live in.
I just don’t get the thought of constantly moving forward that the only reason for our existence is to make progress, move forward, “improve”, get more and have more. Why? Why?
I’m not saying the medieval peasant had a perfect life, but I believe he had a better life at working at a farm than wondering how many Instagram followers he has. At least he did something, had an experience, and lived his life.
There’s also the weird thing with our culture that leads people to forget the importance of marriage. Women are encouraged to get a degree instead of having children. Men are encouraged to use apps like Tinder instead of committing to a serious relationship.
Why? I just wonder why?
It’s in our very nature to reproduce and I claim that a man and a woman would be happier with two children than a two million dollar mansion in their lives.
Children bring responsibility and they also bring struggle, but most importantly, they bring meaning for life. Of course, this is not for everyone, but brainwashing people to believe commitment is bad will ruin the structure of our society.
Pointless materialism and constant focus on wealth and making more money lead to the destruction of the human soul. When materialistic desires are all that are made to matter, why have faith, why have a family, when they all just seem to slow us down and make our lives “limited.”
I think there can be too much freedom. I think that when the church and government allow its citizens to do whatever they want, think whatever they want, and believe in whatever they want, chaos will be sent upon us. Public norms are shattered in the name of freedom, common sense and knowledge are illegalized in the name of hate speech, unity among the people is destroyed in the name of individual freedom.
Here’s the thing.
Rome wasn’t built by one man, nor was the English empire. It took a people to build the strongest of empires and the most beautiful of structures. They are the work of people and no mere individual can ever match the power of unity.
These are the things I’m wondering in the current time. They worry me and make me wonder when we came into this situation, but I only know one thing for certain:
If we keep falling deeper into the materialistic indivitualistic and meaningless hole, there shall be nothing left of the glory we once held in our hands.