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Humans ... feh.  
09:08pm 20/10/2003
 
 
Benjamin
I woke up and got to work on an assignment for my speech class, due tomorrow. Yeah, it's me - Captain Procrastination! It's a speech (no big shock there), complete with outline, bibliography, and 3x5 index cards. For a topic, I picked the Industrial revolution, and how it's had many negative effects on the general quality of life of the human race. However, when I started thinking about it, and reasoning with basic headology and simple cause and effect type logic, I found that we've really royally fucked ourselves, and it'll be a miracle if we don't all go completely bugnuts and gnaw off our own ears before too much longer. I'm not done by any means. In fact, this is the roughest of drafts, but

Thesis: The industrial revolution has had many detrimental effects on the quality of human life that are not commonly recognized.


I. Human psychology and sociology have spent tens of thousands of years becoming adapted to pre-industrial circumstances, and are therefore ill suited to the current age.


A. Emotional ties with one's immediate and extended family were, from the very beginning, reinforced constantly by the fact that they were necessary for survival.

B. These ties had become, through natural selection, fundamental parts of our psyches, tightly integrated with nearly every aspect of our emotional and social well-being.

C. Thanks to recent (last 4-500 years) technological advances in the areas of medicine, transportation, and communication, these relationships are no longer reinforced by necessity, and so the intimate social structures which we, as a species, have become adapted to over many thousands of years are crumbling.

D. Having been adapted to pre-industrial circumstances for the vast majority of our existence, our minds are quite understandably destabilizing as their evolutionary foundations deteriorate.



II. Psychological illnesses are increasing in both number and severity, as our minds are now being forced to address issues evolution has not prepared us for, and to address those issues without the mental structures and basis we have been prepared to use.

A. Before the industrial revolution, people understood and trusted their environment intimately, because they usually did not leave it, and so knew it very well.

1. This stability evolved into our sense of "home", heredity preparing our minds to be comfortable in a well-known place.

2. New places and people are much more frequent and common now, and so we have to adapt to new surroundings and social microcosms much more quickly and often than evolution has prepared us to.

B. The number of possible vocations has been increasing exponentially since the industrial revolution, as has the degree to which people are dissatisfied with their vocation.

1. For high school seniors nowadays, the odds are very good that the job from which they will finally retire does not even exist yet.

2. A thousand years ago, the choice was not usually a source of doubt and uncertainty, as it is almost always now.

3. This uncertainty is usually quite poorly addressed, as is evidenced by the percentage of people unhappy with their chosen occupation, and the increasing rate of career changes.

4. Since one's occupation is a fundamental part of one's identity, one's identity and sense of self are weakened.

C. Our base, visceral instincts were previously very important parts of our psyches before the industrial revolution, highly valued and necessary for survival, but now they are seen as unnecessary and dangerous, the source of many problems,

1. Previously, when these instincts were used daily, we understood how to focus them appropriately, by virtue of experience, and so we were much less likely to be overcome by them.

2. Now that we do not need them for survival, we do not know how to appropriately focus them, which leaves us without the degree of control of them we ought to have, so when they come to the surface, we are ill-equipped to handle them, and they take control, simply because we do not.

3. Like any tool, our base instincts are neither good nor evil, but, like any tool can be used for either and become dangerously unpredictable when in the hands of someone that does not understand their proper application.

4. Because most people do not understand their proper application, most people will not be able to use them safely, and so will "learn" that they are dangerous and should be avoided.
mood: Disgustipated
music: Android Lust - Cruelty
 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
02:41am 21/10/2003 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
Ah, so you'd rather go back to living in unheated caves at the mercy of the local sabre tooth tiger, eat raw meat and wear smelly hides? Me? I tend to prefer hot/cold running water, A/C, and this wonder thing called “electricity.”

The Industrial Revolution is like most tools—neither good nor bad but what you make of it.You are correct that its accellerated development has us scrambling to catch up with the implications and that is the cause of most of our problems; outdated social conventions we haven't adapted to. At this point in history, it's not feeding the six billion people on our planet that is the problem, or of power generation, or housing, or any of the other traditional bogeymen that plauge our minds but underemployment—we simply have too many people for the jobs at hand. Manufactoring has improved to the point where you don't need thousands of people to man the assembly line. And advances in agriculture has freed millions of people from the drudgery of farming (that is, unless you like breaking your back day after day in the hot sun).

Also, I must counter point II.A—we don't fully understand the environment now, and we didn't in the distant past. Exhibit A: the Fertile Crescent, now known as Isreal and Lebenon, both of which aren't exactly well springs of agricultural output (unless you count “dirt”). Exhibit B: Easter Island. The inhabitents there decimated the island (it used to be heavily forrested, now grasslands) to the point of unsustainability and this happened way before the Industrial Revolution.

There are, of course, unintended consequences for sure, but I suspect your viewpoint comes more for working at Negiyo than with the Industrial Revolution per se. And I suspect you will have to extract springdew's George Forman Grill from her cold dead fingers.

 
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(no subject)
 kires
 
04:10am 21/10/2003 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
++ Ah, so you'd rather go back to living in unheated caves at the mercy of the local sabre tooth tiger, eat raw meat and wear smelly hides?

With all due respect, (and really, I do not mean to condescend) did you actually listen* the points that I presented? I ask because your response seems to be in defence of the honor or merit of the industrial revolution itself. Your points are all fine and good, but they're also about 75 degrees to left of mine, not really opposing or even contrasting strongly with any of the notions I'm trying to get across. My outline relates only to the negative ways in which human psychology (and by direct association, the quality of our lives) has been and continues to be impacted by it, and the fact that this is largely overlooked. I didn't say the IR was a bad thing. I said we're getting solidly fucked 'cause the rules we've been adapting to since we fell outa da trees for the most part no longer apply, and that many of the psychological and social assets we spent thousands of years developing are now liabilities, and no-one seems to find that disturbing, or draw connections between this and the social and psychological ills we're creating for ourselves today.


As for point IIa, by "environment", I meant one's town or village, their surroundings and the degree to which they know their way around, in keeping with the psychological/ sociological theme. I made that point mainly to illustrate that people then did not have to adapt to new surroundings anywhere nearly as frequently or commonly as we do today. I wasn't referring to the ecosystem present in those surroundings. Although I had thought that this was at least partially indicated by the sub-points I used to clarify it, I probably should use the word "milieu" or "surroundings" instead in the speech, though. Thanks for the feedback.


*If there were a word that is to "read" what "listen" is to "hear", I'd use it instead.
 
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(no subject)
 spc476
 
05:03am 21/10/2003 (UTC)
 
 
Captain Napalm
Points taken—my reading comprehension could probably use some work here, although you may want to clarify your point of view when you give your speech to avoid anyone else having a similar reaction to the one I did.

Now, having carefully reread your outline, I have a few more comments. As for point I, the lessening need of the family for survival is (I think) a very recent development—within the last century or so, and even then, I suspect it's really only in the West (i.e. here and Europe—I know my Mom's side of the family were very close and until the 70s still lived in close proximity of each other (same town if you will, even though it was a sizable town), and the majority of my Dad's siblings still live less than four miles apart); it would be interesting to know if your point holds true in the East and mid-east, say, India, China and Japan (my gut feeling is that you still have a strong family/community in India and China and less so in Japan; does that have any relation to the level of industry?)

Overall, I can understand your viewpoint but I do think more people are beginning to see that. I know that for the past few years that humans developed in a more or less tribal (huge family, small commuity) fasion and we to this day, still form tribes of some form or other (gang warfare in L.A. can be understood better if viewed as a form of tribal warfare, albeit with guns instead of blow darts).




 
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(no subject)
 kires
 
10:41pm 04/11/2003 (UTC)
 
 
Benjamin
Rage, Love, Terror, Lust, and probably a few others. Rage and terror made one stronger in those few crucial moments that decided who ate and who died. Those that "felt" more strongly drew more strength from those feelings, and guess what that does to the species when a few thousand years of natural selection are added to the mix? Love gave one reason to protect those held close, and suspicion gave one pause when dealing with new things that might or might not want to kill you. Lust... well, that was like the activation energy for love, to "get the ball rolling", so to speak. Now, we've evolved... but not so very far as most people seem to think. By the way, I got an A for the content of the speech, but I bombed on the delivery. Not a lot of smooth, heh. Story of my life, I guess...
 
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