Doc Hancock

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Is society as a whole in an infant, adolescent, or maturing adult stage? Explain and relate to history and current global issues.

As individuals we move through the various stages of life growing in physical, mental, social, and spiritual capacities. Infants, for example, are the centers of their own universe. Adolescents "try on" different lifestyles. Maturing adults move past self-centeredness to help others. Where are we as a society in 2013? Please related your answer to history and current global issues. Thank you.

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    Jul 31 2013: Adolescent, I'd say.

    Our room is in a complete mess, and we just don't care.
  • Aug 1 2013: There is only so much a human can learn during his/her lifetime, and much of it is through experience. If you dream of an evolving society that would eventually "understand" and stop acting stupidly, don't. Every generation needs to make its own mistakes. Every individual/society needs to make mistakes in order to learn from them. That's how we humans grow and why societies can't grow. I also find it fascinating how history repeats itself, America vs. Roman empire. We can only teach younger generations so much, and I believe we will continue to make the same mistakes. I dont consider it maturing if we (society) are forced to change our behavior due to eg global warming.

    In a nutshell -> society can't be compared to the psychological growth that a human beings experiences. Societies behavior repeats itself and the only thing that has changed (seen as evolution in history) is human gained knowledge and the nature of our mistakes.
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      Aug 1 2013: Thanks Mikael. Clear presentation with insightful thought. Let me ask you to comment further on why we are not learning from our mistakes. Thank you.
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    Jul 31 2013: This is a very interesting and ambitious question. To answer, it would mean assuming that the global human ‘society’ has a sense of identity …. (I don’t think that’s the case) May be we’ll get to that global identity when we will have a better view of the universe (most of us) , when we’ll be aware of other global societies and understand our place in the universe. For now we are divided in many societies very heterogenic …so as a ‘global human society’ I would say we are still in a conceptual stage in the uterus and our global body was formed, but not all the parts function yet to serve the unit…no self awareness yet.
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      Jul 31 2013: Thank you Anairda. You are the first to make the observation I was looking for and explain what you mean. One or two others have stated their opinion that there is no global identity but you provided further thought. Thank you again.
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    Jul 26 2013: part of the problem i have with the 'global village' concept is this desire for people to talk about humanity as if it were a single entity. of course, it is not therefore, these sorts of questions are rather academic, which is another word for pointless ;)
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      Jul 26 2013: Thank you for your opinion Scott. Let me ask you this. With your understanding of history, do you believe that there have been any great movements that affected large segments of society and move it forward? If so, do you believe that those movements started with an individual or a small group of people with the same vision. I am not a globalist in the "village" sense at all. I just believe in the power of people en masse to change and move forward. Your thoughts. Thank you.
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        Jul 26 2013: I admit, I have something of a limited view of history. In fact, it relies more and more on the versions I receive through popular culture, which tend to sacrifice accuracy for a crowd-pleasing selectiveness and emotiveness.

        I would say that the scientific method is probably one of those great movements you mention, in particular along the lines of advancing medical treatment. But again, these wonders of the scientific age can't really be applied to even the majority of the world's population, so that one's borderline too.

        Many of humanity's greatest minds are alone in their views. Thankfully, many of humanity's worst team members are also alone in their transgressions. Between the dizzying heights and the terrible lows, most of us fall in the creamy middle.

        For this reason, I could comment on where an individual is at in terms of maturity, if, of course I knew them personally and were monumentally judgemental enough to say as much, but I hesitate to apply it with a broad brush. I myself feel I change from week to week, so it's hardly fair to expect others to not.

        In my opinionated opinion, humanity is a cess-pool of talent. In a nutshell: all of the above.
  • Jul 25 2013: As a civilisation humanity is at the earliest stages of life, no doubt somewhere in infancy if not a zygote. While the usual aspects of humanity are striving forward: technology, money, business, sport etc the on thing missing is wisdom. For example technology advances rapidly but consciousness remains stagnant.
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      Jul 25 2013: Very insightful, Frank. Thank you
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      Jul 26 2013: I wrote a poem about the very point you make. Here it goes:

      10 machines get better
      20 machines get better as one
      30 people go around
      40 and around
      50 goto 10
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    R H

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    Jul 25 2013: In my opinion, we are college students with the next-morning's hang-over. We were ignorant children until the Renaissance, when we hit puberty. Then became teenagers in the industrial world. Now, we think we know everything, have divided into social sub-classes, have no patience for the old, and confidently forge ahead with our own 'informed' ideals - that's until we hit the wall of reality, and find that our 'educated' answers are glaringly incomplete. Hence, the 'hang-over' :)
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      Jul 25 2013: Interesting observations. You are the first to reply. Let's see how your thoughts compare to others. Thank you RH.
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    Aug 1 2013: A tough nut to crack, still a good question
  • Aug 1 2013: Neither honestly.
    An individual develops one way, a society in another, completely different manner. There is no comparison to be made here, the two process are too different.

    Any analogy would simply result in an oversimplification which does more to confuse the issue through inaccurate information than shed light on it.
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      Aug 1 2013: Thank you Nadav. Can you shed some light on how society has developed and progressed or regressed? Thank you again.
      • Aug 1 2013: “The ancient oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing.”

        --Socrates

        The issue is so horribly complex that nothing short of years of research will yield an accurate answer, and I don't claim to have done years of careful research. Society (which society, by the way? also something to think about) undergoes so much change over such a short time at this modern age that pinning it down at any one point is a truly herculean task.
        I suppose that makes it "adolescent" by your definition, though less by choice and more by necessity of our rapidly changing world.
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    Aug 1 2013: Like an adolescent, I wonder if the most powerful learning has to be gained through personal experience, rather than in listening to wisdom? It does seem as though the physical, mental, social and spiritual wisdom is out there - but it still gets ignored.

    It leads me to think that personal experience will be our only guide - good and bad. As an example, it is likely that we will learn about pressing global issues only after humanitarian and environmental crises have already happened. Even in the face of overwhelming wisdom and evidence from painstaking scientific research ,we still deny the existence of man-made global warming as an example.

    This is another feature of adolescence - that street wisdom from peer groups holds far more weight than the wisdom from experienced others, like parents and educators. The analogy here being that society listens to the people who are more likely to preserve the kind of lifestyle that we've become accustomed to and enjoy (politicians and economists), rather than those who are able and willing to devote time and energy into generating wisdom for the future, without 'axes to grind' (scientists, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists as a few examples).
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      Aug 1 2013: Thank you Allan particularly for your idea that wisdom is available but ignored. I also like your grouping of politicians/economists and then scientists/anthro/socio/psycho. Until we accept on the wisdom and act on it we will never move forward. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond and for providing wisdom yourself.
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    Aug 1 2013: Late adolescence. We still think we're invincible, can't plan ahead very well, and still use force as communication. But we've shown some glimmers of hope.

    The signs of hope are things like the UN, Wikipedia, our collective response to tragedies, and attempts at democracy.

    Most people are mostly cooperative most of the time. And we've created (sometimes cruel, sometimes supportive) systems to deal with the outliers. But we have a built-in biological limitation in our brains. We evolved to live with the hundred or so members of our little local tribe, and to think a generation or two forward in time. Beyond that, most populations, numbers and time scales get very theoretical.

    Because of that, we may always be bad at planning for our great-grandchildren, and we may always see leaders simply as the top warriors of tribes of 150 people.
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      Aug 1 2013: Thank you Sandy. Your assessment has great merit. Your anthropological and social insights are quite perceptive. Let me ask you to comment on one aspect of your thought - your last paragraph. Do you see any possibility that we could make a quantum leap forward as the result of some major event, widespread awareness, tragedy, etc? Could, for example, a mass spiritual awakening fundamentally change how we relate to one another? Thank you again.
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        Aug 1 2013: Wow, I would love to think so. This may be a bit off topic, but I study reincarnation, and an idea I think worth spreading is that we are all souls who have come to Earth and temporarily forgotten our true nature. When we're "home" between incarnations (Heaven if you like), we are much less fearful, we see the big picture, and we can be much more empathetic towards others.

        If you look at the literature on near death experience, it is almost universal that people who have glimpsed their true nature come back with a profound sense of peace, connectedness, and compassion. You see similar feelings from the thousands of people who have had a past life regression therapy sessions.

        Yes, it is possible. But I think it requires tapping into that higher self, and I'm not sure how to do it on a mass scale...
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    Aug 1 2013: “People like you and I, though mortal of course, like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is that we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born.”
    —Albert Einstein --- To Otto Juliusburger, September 29,1942.
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      Aug 1 2013: Great quote. Yes, Daniel, curious children, a second naivete. Thanks for your insightful comment
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    Jul 31 2013: High school teacher, Doc?

    I'll take the broad view and look at mankind as a whole. Most of our million years or so of history has been our childhood as a species. I think we can say we moved into an adolescent stage when established societies began to come into conflict around the edges, some thousands of years ago. And we're still in that stage. It's very much like 12 year-old boys in a schoolyard, who know only one way to conclude a disagreement: to fight. I'd say we'll begin to move out of adolescence into early maturity when the idea that our problems can be solved with guns and bombs are just a bad memory of a sad phase. That may be a long time away.
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      Jul 31 2013: Thank you Paul. Good analogy.

      (Doc = former professor)
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    Jul 31 2013: .

    Our society is in the stage that greed leads us to self-extinction.
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    Jul 29 2013: Thanks, Mike. What do you feel it will take for us to move forward toward a more mature society? Thanks.
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      Jul 30 2013: Doc,
      If I could only answer that question. I have a gift for the obvious. I have no clue as to solutions.
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        Jul 30 2013: Keep using the gift you do have. Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious to most people. Thank you.
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    Jul 29 2013: Today's society in America as a whole is very immature almost childish. Totally self centered, mostly involved in their virtual social groups, overly critical of others. A thousand examples of immature and childish behaviors On a global scale too many other societies are mimicking America.

    Society has shown much more maturity in the past during times of global war, economic upheaval.
  • Jul 26 2013: I believe that we are at the beginning of an infant period. Man has been on this earth for roughly 200k years and civilization started 8k to 5k BCE. Compare that to the age of the Dinosaurs, 60 million years.

    I believe the basis for society is still tribal and the veneer of society/culture can be easily torn away. Examples are the Balkan Wars, Rhwanda, Congo, Ireland, Shiite vs Sunni, Muslim vs Christian, etc.
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      Jul 26 2013: Hello, Wayne. Thank you for your thoughts. You would certainly have support from many I have talked with. Do you have some thoughts on how we can move forward toward maturity? Thank you again.
      • Jul 27 2013: Maturity takes time, trust, communication, respect and learning. The best example is the Balkan War - Yugoslavia was put together after World War 1 and stayed together until 1990 when it was broken up by ethnicity. The war broke out in 1991 along ethnic and sectarian lines. I had great hope because they had lived and worked together for so long. It seemed that there was trust and communication over time. What was missing was the Respect of the other's way of life with a live and let live feeling.

        What was needed was a force that would keep the peace until they could re-learn how to live with each other. It is starting to happen after the war stopped in 2001.

        These areas need a "peace keeper" that is trusted and give the people time to learn, trust, communicate and respect.

        Who is going to play the role of peace keeper? no idea.
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    Jul 26 2013: Adolescent. We are too self centered and lack common sense.
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      Jul 26 2013: Thank you Raymond. I'm sure that you will find many who agree with your assessment. Evidently, common sense is not so common today. Thanks again.