The Stagnation of Man



I use the term ‘Man’ in reference to the images and ideas of ‘The evolution of man’ but to be honest we’ve all probably stagnated as a species. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my opinion that we may have effectively stopped needing to evolve is complete rubbish but, and it’s a big but, I’m targeting the blame for this stagnation on the very thing that I’m blogging on right now…technology.

Curiosity, hunger, a willingness to explore, genetic mutations and many other reasons have led to species evolving. Animals, including us, have evolved in order to increase their chances of survival against the elements and other animals. They have genetically mutated in order to ward off microscopic bugs. We humans have become resilient to many forms of bacteria and have crawled from the slime, walked upon the land and even conquered the skies.

And it is in this conquest that I believe we have lost the ability to evolve. We need to eat so we farm and by doing so we have lost the ability to hunt. No bad thing perhaps in some ways but it has made us lazy. It has also made us greedy. We needed to travel distances in order to keep pace with the moving herds of animals and changing crops that we fed on so we have built vehicles that can now take us to these things or even bring them to us. Again, this has made us lazy. We no longer even need to travel by foot. In fact, we no longer even need to think about many things often. How many times in the day have you needed to go from A to B and simply have relied on your Sat-Nav to hold your hand as it guides you through every twist and turn. How often do you begin to think of a sum and then merely reach down, lift your phone up and complete it using an App?

Don’t get me wrong. I love gadgets. I love technology. I am in awe of what we have achieved as a species, if you can put aside for one moment the ways in which we have used technology to torture and destroy other humans and animals of course…oh yeah…and the planet.

But I do, I really do like my technology and I really do love a good gadget. But my question is, has our species advanced so much and our hunger for technology grown so demanding that it has stagnated us as a species?

We no longer need to hunt so we no longer need to keep fit. We no longer need to think as our computers, phones, and even cars do this for us. They even store information for us so we no longer need to remember things for long (those of you who don’t believe this, think about how many numbers in your phone you can recite from memory).

We will never grow wings as we have used our technology to conquer the skies. We will never learn to live again in the water as we can now submerge ourselves using advanced machinery. We will possibly even no longer evolve spiritually or mentally in many ways (I’m talking now as a species, don’t panic folks) as many of our thinking can be done for us. Much of our means for education and our entertainment is streamed to us so we don’t even need to leave the house and, though this is fantastic for those that don’t wish to or indeed struggle to be an active part of society, it still means that we’re finding more and more ways in life to not have to interact with other human beings.

Giraffes have long necks so that they can eat the leaves that other creatures cannot eat. Stick insects blend into their backgrounds to protect themselves from predators. Humans developed opposable thumbs and larger brains in order to allow them to create tools and to conquer their environment and prey. But, is this it for us? Have we stopped advancing? Stopped growing? Will this always be as good as we can become? If we lose limbs we are able to replace them with prosthetics. If we need to get food from somewhere higher than we can reach we use vehicles or mechanics to take us to those places. And, though this technology of ours has made us who and what we are as a species, will it lead to our ultimate stagnation. Yes we can use rudimentary technology to replace a limb or to cure a disease but nature is far better at this than we are and we will never be as smart or reliable as nature is. It was nature that granted giraffes the ability to grow their necks longer. It was nature that camouflaged the stick insect and that mutated us over thousands of years into technology wielding beasts and it is ‘nature’ which we must thank as it is the air that we breath, the sky that we look up to in awe and it is the water from whence we came. If we turn our back on nature so completely we can but hope that it does not turn its’ back on us.   And if, one day, we find that we’ve damaged our planet too much and affected our environment beyond repair or if we are lucky enough and still able to find other planets on which to settle then we can only hope that, as some smaller cultures still do here on Earth, when we reach out to nature again it smiles benevolently down at us, takes us by the hand and walks with us once more.