Nugget #3 (When Did Life Get So Complicated?)

         “Man’s population and gross product are increasing at a considerable rate, but the complexity of his problems grows still faster, and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater in response to the increased rate of activity and the increasingly global nature of that activity. Augmenting man’s intellect, in the sense defined above, would warrant full pursuit by an enlightened society if there could be shown a reasonable approach and some plausible benefits.”

         I know this is one of the first paragraphs in the passage, but it really resonated with me. The idea of populations and products increasing has always been something I was aware of, but in addition to that this passage presented the notion of the complexity of man’s problems. Which is incredibly true, problems today entail a great deal much more than they did in the “horse and sailboat days”. In the past people have had problems of building homes, scavenging food, working, and raising a family. Given those were incredibly hard tasks on which to accomplish in the days when they were at the gravest, but they are simple ideas. Housing, food, money, family…very simple ideas.

         Today, people have a great deal of problems in addition to that prior set of dilemmas. Their homes entail technological advances that break and cause issues such as flooding and A/C and heating units breaking. Those are just a couple examples of the greater complexity of housing compared to back in the olden days. Food is more complex in the sense of all the varieties and knowledge we now have on nourishment. Money is more complex because these technological advances have caused a need for larger sums of income. Those home appliances need electric and water to perform, which cause an excess in bills. Family life is also very complex because there are more options for children in the future. Getting into a respectable college is something most people strive for in their family dynamic, so extracurricular activities and possible participation in private schools become aspects parents must now deal with.

         I think this picture does a great job illustrating visually what I am trying to convey through words. Everyone has their own set of complex issues and their own way of dealing with them. Mankind is becoming somewhat of a machine in the way that we are geared to concur problems in our path in order to create a more prosperous life for ourselves. It’s true that the complexity of our problems is at a steadfast increase, and the only way to deal with it may indeed be the ideas of which are spoken about in augmenting human intelligence.

One thought on “Nugget #3 (When Did Life Get So Complicated?)”

  1. “Housing, food, money, family…very simple ideas.”

    Your comments reminded me of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html). Basically, Maslow (an American psychologist) postulated that humans must focus on fulfilling the most basic needs of survival before moving on to “higher order” needs. You rightly point out that in centuries past fulfilling basic human needs (food, shelter, etc) took far longer and far more energy than they do today (doing laundry used to be an extremely arduous task that would take an entire day…now we have washing machines!), but I still think people of the past struggled with certain “higher” needs (love, being understood, education, etc) just like we do today.

    Of course…they didn’t have texting to worry about, so life probably WAS simpler!

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