For many individuals, finding that one panacea answer to life’s problems becomes a central part of in their esoteric experience of life. Humanity manifests many answers to this problem, do this 5 times a day and your life will be better, purchase this item and your life will be improved significantly. All of them offer happiness and the solution but most of the time they only offer a temporary happiness that dulls over time.
What if we take this one step further, What if there is one universal panacea which would solve all of the problems of the world? The magic pill, the ultimate problem solver.
The problems of the world are numerous, from poverty to disease to war and beyond. Yet for all this seemingly insurmountable accumulation, there are still people in the world who hope against hope for a better world. Some would call them delusional; some would call them dreamers but what if their prayers were answered? What if there was a way to solve them all?
The answer implies a positive agent of change, but something can be negative and have a positive outcome can’t it?
The Second World War was one of the most horrific conflicts in human history resulting in a shocking 85 million deaths. It is not the place of this writer to call it a positive event because it is not, however it has resulted in the greatest acceleration of technology since the industrial revolution. Billions of individuals now benefit from technology inversely created as a result of the Second World War. Our knowledge of illnesses and the human body has been enhanced by experimentation on individuals detained in concentration camps despite the absolute evilness of the act itself.
Would a similar war result in a similar explosion of technological advancement? Undoubtedly, war for all its numerous faults accelerates technological change. In tandem, this technological change would be mirrored by a sociological change, populations migrate away from conflict zones, are reduced by use of weaponry and other social groups profit from this change. The reduction in population results in an increase in available resources, resources which if not taken up by the respective war efforts could enhance the lives of those remaining.
The destruction caused by a war could reduce humankind from a highly technological to an agrarian civilization, free from the trappings of technology and arguably its pitfalls. The people in this society could ultimately be happier and lead more productive lives than their forebears.
The scale of this destruction will be the determining factor in what sort of society arises from the war, indeed if any society as a nuclear war would be most likely an extinction level event. The movement of the world’s governments away from this strategy does not mean that they will not use it. The temporary problems which occur in our lives would be rendered obsolete in favour of new challenges, challenges which we may not be equipped to face in the long term.
A shared experience which brings humanity closer together need not only occur by war, there are peaceful methods by which the political and sociological world changes leading to positive results for all of the world’s many people.
One such manifestation of this could be through a massed religious experience.
Many individuals engaged in religious and spiritual services have felt the effects of being involved in a shared experience with others. You need only look at the evangelical churches for evidence of this positivity manifesting itself. Yet religion itself remains a very subjective experience on the part of the individual. But what if everybody in the world had the same experience?
Practicalities aside, a mass religious event where everyone had the same experience of it would result in a lot of common ground. Separate individuals would have something to talk about and it is possible, although a stretch to assume that this discourse would open the door to other avenues such as the ending of old religious differences and international enmity.
Whether it would reshape the human existence and determine our future happiness and stability, no man can really say. There is no doubt that it would cause a moment of significant pause for humanity and could result in introspection where the individuals affected revaluate their lives.
We cannot ignore the subjective nature of religion, no matter how hard we would like to believe that we all have a similar experience of it. The diversity of the religious experience and its effect on people is the greatest barrier to it having a positive effect on solving the planets problems. Some may gain a solution to their problems from it, some may not.
The additional question occurs: What if that shared religious experience is not a positive one?
A negative experience, initiated by an external omnipotent entity might screw us up so bad that we are forever changed by it negatively. It could result in a degradation of the human spirit, as we question ourselves and our purpose in the world.
The same principles that govern a mass religious experience would likely be the same in the event of humanity making contact with an extra-terrestrial species.
The initial euphoria of finding out we are not alone would subconsciously render us united as a species. National borders would become unnecessary as we would have to unite to have dealings with the species, which would itself be unified due to its advanced nature.
The doors would be open for technological and cultural cross pollination, which in turn could offer new perspectives and technological advances that we would not have thought of. These new things could vicariously solve many of our existing problems like world hunger and inequality.
But on the other side of the coin, if the species that humanity makes contact with is hostile our problems on Earth could be exacerbated, we could even be conquered or subjugated by the hostile species.
For lots of people, the pursuit of money is a constant struggle. The poorest in the world struggle to make ends meet while the rich are often just as unhappy as their poorer counterparts.
The elimination of money would seem to be a logical step to ending a lot of the world’s problems, but this could result in the exact opposite. We have been locked into using money for so long, that it would be a hard habit to shake. An economic collapse would likely follow money’s elimination as goods and services produced would have no value.
There would be no means of determining the value of these items, so consequently no one would be under any financial obligation to do or produce anything. Despite humanities lofty aspirations, the notion that humanity would simply continue without it would not become reality. People are by their nature greedy, the most likely result of the elimination of money would be the implementation of a barter system which would ultimately become a poor cousin of the money that was eliminated.
Elimination of money from the human experience would not necessarily result in humanity being happier or its problems being lessened or solved.
Likewise, making everyone equal in status would not result in a solving of humanities problems. If everyone is equal in what they want, there will always be someone who wants more. The defining principle of human nature, which has been reinforced by centuries of exposure to consumerism, is to want what we don’t have. Increased exposure to a consumer culture will only exacerbate this habit in our spirit. We could stop the consumerist culture exerting such an influence on humanity by outlawing it; this could be dovetailed by a medical method of eliminating our need to be consumers.
However in the removal of want we might lose something of ourselves.
It is entirely possible that human technological, philosophical and sociological advances will be achieved without the need for an external entity or motivating force. Current human society has achieved many advances without such agents.
Technology could render all desires unnecessary, as nothing would be outside of our reach. There are already signs that we are becoming lazier as a species and technological advances could continue this disturbing trend. Humans could become apathetic individuals with no goals, no dreams, nothing to strive for.
The problem is if we advance too far too fast we could lose sight of our original objectives, which should always be the betterment of human life.
The rescinding of national borders to ensure global peace and harmony is a noble idea and there is an obvious benefit to this in so much as we would be a united people for the first time in our history.
Logistically, this dissolution presents us with two very pressing issues, firstly the reduction and elimination of armies and weaponry from the human sphere of influence. Secondly the ending of enmity between nations.
The ending of armies and weapons would need to be a united experience engaged in by all the governments of the world at the same time, if one nation chose to hold back its dissolution it could use its armies and weaponry against the others who would now be powerless to defend themselves.
The current disposition of hostile nations on this planet would prohibit such an endeavour from taking place. Not everyone may agree with the course of action being raised, some may even object in stronger terms.
Sociologically, it would be hard to replace generations of hostility existing between nations with feelings of peace and brotherhood. Hostility runs deep, from governments down to families to individuals themselves.
In addition this presents concerns in respect of immigration and removals of trade borders, concerns which cannot be easily addressed. There is no guarantee that the problems of the world would be solved by pursuing this course.
Much has been made of the role that humanity would play in addressing its own issues, but what if nature conspired by acting to solve the problems of this planet.
A sudden change in global climate, a reversal of global warming or a viral pandemic? Any one of these world shattering events could happen or a combination of several.
All of which could be hugely detrimental to the human population of earth, populations could be reduced, large areas of the planet could become uninhabitable and humanity could be faced with extinction.
Human beings define themselves as being adaptable to most circumstances but any change like this would ultimately present certain challenges. If humanity met these challenges, would the practical result be a solving of the problems of the world?
If so, a potentially disastrous event could produce a positive outcome. Areas of the planet which were previously arid deserts could become fertile again and likewise populations which suffered with starvation and bad harvests could find themselves with abundant levels of food. Indeed the change in global climate could render those who currently have everything with nothing.
A viral epidemic could also result in a paradigm shift in population disposition as it would be more likely to affect populist areas than those areas with less people. These individuals now free of others intervention in their local affairs could lead happier more productive lives, lives augmented by the knowledge that they survived when others didn’t.
Both events are extremely uncertain, there is more than a significant chance that either could render humanity extinct. Again there are no guarantees.
To solve the world’s problems from a practical perspective, a “perfect storm” of external circumstances must occur. By this I mean a series of circumstances which push humanity towards a state of nirvana but without reducing or devaluing the human condition. These circumstances would need to ensure sustainability of humanity for the current and future generations of the world.
The human spirit has defined itself as triumph over adversity. Nature stood against us, we have subjugated it, science perplexed us, we understood it (with the intention of bending it to our will), the universe frightens us but we have begun to explain it. Remove adversity from the mix and we would not have left the trees, we would not have invented the wheel, we would not be capable of travelling to other planets.
Human beings constantly strive for new things and are not easily satisfied. With all of these problem solving events and circumstances care must be taken to not completely sate this primordial instinct to strive for more. If this indeed sated, there is a risk we would become complacent and this complacency could lead to our extinction.
Our primordial instincts, although sometimes problematic have enabled us to become the dominant species of this planet and if maintained will enable us to proceed further on our journey.
© R Simmons. All Rights Reserved.