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What should be the focus of human progress and achievement?

I study Media and Communication studies and am fascinated by how the new age of advertisements and consumerism have affected human beings. That being said, should we allow ourselves to live in the fake worlds we create or should we be spending more time and energy on advancing our species?

Please share your thoughts, I have thought about this for a very long time and find any opinion interesting and informative.

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    Lejan .

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    Oct 16 2013: '... should we allow ourselves to live in the fake worlds we create or should we be spending more time and energy on advancing our species?'

    Well, isn't this question already a questionable result of these 'fake worlds'?

    Isn't this question in itself self-explanatory?

    To me it is.
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    Oct 16 2013: Michael,
    Based on several other conversations similar to this one....meaning of life.....purpose of humans.....etc., it appears that you could get a different answer from everyone who participates in the conversation!

    Based on the fact that some people will not even interact with other people because of race, religious and cultural practices and beliefs, sexual preference, etc., it seems unlikely that there will be a collective agreement regarding "focus of human progress and achievement".

    Perhaps the way we live (whether fake, in your perception or not) is already contributing to the advancement of our species?

    My personal goal/focus, is to learn, grow and evolve as an individual, while contributing to the whole.
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      Oct 17 2013: Colleen,

      We have very similar personal goals. Human beings are the most interesting thing to study, in my opinion.
      The things we have the ability to do, both good and bad, is awe-inspiring.
      I just worry that the story of "us" will have a hollow ending.
      Ultimately, our potential is determined by us and only us. I worry we will get so wrapped up in things that don't matter that we will miss out on the things that do.
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        Oct 18 2013: I agree Michael.....I have always been intrigued by human behaviors as well.....mine included!!!

        My curiosity about life and the human life adventure has inspired exploration of the many mind/body possibilities. I agree....our potential is determined by us, and how we contribute as individuals, interacting with the whole is important.

        The challenge with "worrying" about that which matters, and that which does not matter, is that as humans, probably different things will be more.....or less.....important to each one of us? That is why I believe it is difficult to discover, explore or name a collective "focus of human progress and achievement?"
  • Oct 16 2013: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” - Dalai Lama
    It is hard to argue with the Dalai Lama's logic. I have done it without success.

    It is like arguing with Einstein about imaginary universes and un-provable mathematics, it makes for wonderful fantasies but Einstein felt we have enough problems living in the imaginary world most of us are already living in.
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      Oct 16 2013: I think we can both agree that having the Dalai Lama's brain for even a day would be an unparallelled experience.
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    Oct 20 2013: The focus of human progress and achievement should be "unity". By unity I don't just mean brotherhood and harmoniously living side by side. The very structures of the society and it's functioning needs to transform in order to reflect this unity. The principle of unity must be reflected in our relationship with every member of the planet, relationship between individuals and institutions, between institutions in the whole world, between us and our environment. We often hear people saying that we are all members of one human family but do our structures reflect that unity? Does the way we live reflect that belief? Do all the members of the family have access to knowledge so that they can all participate in making this world a better place? Do the resources belong to the country that is found in it or does it belong to the world? Why should a country face famine while there is enough food in the world? Is it just that the policies of a country should make a few very rich while others struggle for subsistence? Is that how live in our family? I think these and many questions like these must guide the direction of progress and achievement.
  • Oct 18 2013: Reproduce and make sure you teach your kids to be good selfless and hunger for knowledge and that they have kids andv do the same. Long term goals for humanity. ........
  • Oct 16 2013: I'm not sure what you have in mind for "advancing our species", but I think cultures evolve and advance naturally. Ideas are like genes. Ones that meet our needs tend to spread. Ones that don't eventually die.

    Cultural evolution too is effected by its environment. So, if consumerism no longer suites our needs, it will die and we will adapt.

    Perhaps the Opensource movement is evidence that this is already starting to happen. It started with software, but now some Opensource hardware designs are starting to appear (for example, Arduino micro-controllers). There are currently 20 TED talks related to Opensource. There's even one about Opensource farm equipment.

    Opensource has done a lot to eliminate the "planned obsolescence" problem.
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      Oct 16 2013: I purposefully did not explain what I personally had in mind for advancing our species because I am curious what everyone else thinks that would mean.

      Do you think consumerism will die? While I hope it does, I feel consumerism will eventually overtake every facet of life unless we as a society make a conscious effort to understand what it is and what it does.
      • Oct 16 2013: I have no problem by being a consumer. Now I can buy something I do not have to make or grow myself. However what scares me very much, and especially in North America, is the influence and even control, companies have on the government.
        We moved to Canada from Europe and have seen the difference. We had more benefits there than we have here, and would have even less if we had moved to the States (which was our original plan).
        A government that is more socially responsible will advance our species more than one that only regards the economy.
        We are not in this world to be greedy and die rich, but to become loving people and die happy.
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          Oct 17 2013: "A government that is more socially responsible will advance our species more than one that only regards the economy.
          We are not in this world to be greedy and die rich, but to become loving people and die happy."

          I could not agree more.
          Unfortunately for me however, I have grown up and lived in the United States my entire life. My only real exposure to government has been from watching a relatively dysfunctional one.

          (There are many ways it is dysfunctional but for the sake of this conversation I will stay focused on media)

          Elections have become a bastardized version of the democratic process. In America, ad campaigns and marketing strategies serve a bigger role in determining who gets elected than innovative yet practical ideas and policies.

          Even our politics have been branded.
      • Oct 17 2013: That's why our daughter and son-in-law, with 5 kids, are seriously looking at an opporutnity to move to Canada.
    • Oct 16 2013: Did you know there is now also Open Source Religion?
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    Oct 16 2013: We seem to work along the lines of " Faster communication then better transportation". This may sound un ted like but hear me out. We need to get off the ground. Once we are off the ground we are one step closer to being independent from our environment and less subject to it's changing system.

    I wish i could live long enough to see our kids chase those pesky ufo's.
  • Oct 15 2013: As much as I want to say that society shouldn't be governed by the media and advertisements, I think it is inevitable. I think that living in a "fake" or consumerist society is naturally going to happen. The focus should now be on learning to adapt and live in this culture. There are stark differences between todays society and previous generations. We should now be looking to change those previous standards of living. I don't any examples of how this can be done but we have to learn to fine genuine product and spirit in todays society.
  • Oct 15 2013: To make each individual a productive member of the society they are in.
  • Oct 15 2013: Raising everyone's standards of living as much as possible, in as sustained a manner as possible, if you're asking what it should be.

    As for what it is in practice... I don't think we have one. At least not a universal one. Everyone has their own agenda, from spreading or practicing religion, to pursuit of knowledge, to making money, to making a grab for power, to simply being left alone to their own devices.
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    Oct 15 2013: Hi Michel :)

    Of course, The human itself along with humanity...
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    Oct 15 2013: "FOCUS" for entire human civilization ?
    or As an individual human being ?
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      Oct 15 2013: Human civilization.

      An individual's sense of progress and achievement are unique to whatever they value. So what should we as society value? Should we strive for comfort or creative innovation?

      I believe that the growing rate of cynicism and apathy in society is a direct result of advertisements and consumerist ideologies. From a young age we get bombarded with messages saying we aren't good enough physically, mentally, socially etc. unless we have a certain product. Once we learn that 'being gullible is bad' we put up a defense until 'we are sold on it'. While being cynical is not inherently bad, the reasons for cynicism today don't serve a very constructive purpose.
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        Oct 16 2013: So far there is no unified identity for the entire human civilization. So having unified identity can be the first goal to focus.
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    Oct 15 2013: .

    The focus should be on how to eliminate invalid (harmful) happiness.
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      Oct 15 2013: How should invalid happiness be identified? How could it be eliminated?
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        Oct 16 2013: .

        Here is a brief:

        (1) Valid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being a-step-better
        . . for keeping our DNA alive.
        (2) Invalid happiness is the short-time feeling of things being pseudo-a-step-better (actually a-step-“worse”)
        . . for keeping our DNA alive.
        . . E.g. having junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, abusing drug,
        . . .... wasting (fashion, big house, touring, .... causing environment crisis),
        . . .... making too much money (causing inequality, crimes, wars, ....
        . . .... "destroying our planet", .... humankind self-extinction).
        (3) “Invalid happiness” is out of the valid scope of our instincts formed 10,000 years ago.

        About 90% of happiness we pursue today is invalid happiness.