Humans have experienced a great deal throughout history – the collapse of civilizations, the discovery of the rules of physics and mathematics that have completely changed our understanding of the world, world wars, the rise and fall of empires and ideologies, etc., Yet, despite everything, we have always been moving forward. This movement might have been slow and it required a lot of effort, but nonetheless, we have been moving forward. Today, I am not entirely sure that is still the case. Efforts are definitely still present, but given the current situation in the world – and I am not just talking about human behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic – one wonders whether we are still moving in the right direction, towards the further development of our civilisation or whether we have missed a turn somewhere along the way and are now heading towards the collapse.
Already Pythagoras, and after him Aristotle, believed that the Earth is shaped as a sphere and it is not flat, hollow or cuboid as the civilizations before him believed. However, it took quite a few more centuries for people to fully embrace the idea of a round Earth. But now in the 21st century, when this should be common knowledge, more and more people are beginning to believe that the Earth is flat. The more evidence we have for the claim that the Earth is a sphere – including images from space that clearly show the true shape of Earth – the less and less people believe the Earth is round. They reject all evidence, saying it is just a government conspiracy. A story with evolution is very similar. The idea that evolution does not exist is spreading around the world almost as fast as COVID-19.
A similar absurdity can be observed in relation to failed ideologies. The Soviet Union was the first country to test Marx’s and Engels’ ideology in practice and it, like all the later socialist/communist countries, implanted its version of communism. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Soviets initiated a revolution of the proletariat, but soon realized that the system of planned economy works only in theory and that despite their “achievements” in a plethora of fields on paper – reporting record numbers of manufactured products, including food – people were massively dying from hunger and many of the goods they »manufactured« were difficult or even impossible to obtain. Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and other communist countries due to a million problems and human rights violations caused precisely by the communist ideology, people still support it today.
Not to mention how we are treating the Earth. All scientists, conservationists and anyone with common sense warns about our unsustainable consumption and attitude towards nature. But nonetheless, we continue to cut down the Amazon rainforest. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia is technically dead, but that has not stopped us from destroying nature even further. 90% of the world’s large animals are domesticated, wild animals and untouched wilderness are virtually non-existent. It is still time to take action and rectify damages we have caused, as our current unsustainable attitude is not going to get us far. We have been literally digging our own grave, and we need to do more. We need to do better.
An even more serious reversal of progress and our regression was shown by the current COVID-19 pandemic, when so many people portrayed disrespect for fellow humans, aggression and selfishness by not following the implemented measures. Riots, protests, destruction of proprety, incitement to violence, disrespect for government and the actions of the medical profession have revealed the most horrific side of our society. In Illinois, a couple of days ago, two sisters stabbed a store security guard because he reminded them to wear a mask at the store and disinfect their hands before entering. I do not even know what to say regarding the rise of lone wolf terrorist attacks.
It is hard to describe what is happening around the world in the last couple of decades with any other word than complete absurdity. Where are we headed? We seem to have regressed in almost every field – people are starting to deny the basic knowledge of our civilization, they incite ideologies that have proven inhumane in the past, we have forgot to live in harmony with nature or at least sustainably and many people have lost their sense of compassion for fellow human beings, which has been replaced by selfishness and aggression. We may be able to talk about technological progress, but hardly about moral. Now is really the high time to ask ourselves where we are headed and change the direction, but, despite not being a pessimist, it seems to me that this, after seeing the behaviour of people in a pandemic, will be extremely difficult.