When considering countries or regions that benefit from peace and a stable political system, like the U.S, Europe, most of Asia, Australia, NZ … it would seem fair to see us and call us an advanced civilization. Even if, objectively, we don’t (yet) have another to compare it to. If you are reading this, chances are you are probably from one of these countries. In these, it’s reasonable to say people make a relatively comfortable living. There are a lot of things wrong with the world but, let’s face it, they hardly ever pass onto this side of the screen.
It helps to think that there were once services that only a century ago where exclusive to millionaires – which you can now afford – like travelling to distant locations. And most of us, with a little luck, will live to see their 90th anniversary when, a few centuries ago, you’d be nearly an elder at 50. Medicine has also reduced child mortality to virtually zero. Again, not a hundred years ago, families were large because they knew most younglings would not make it into adulthood. You can now get a smartphone relatively cheap that allows you nearly instant access to basically anything you need. You couldn’t get that a decade ago. And we went to the moon and all.
So, an advanced civilization we are.
But are we really? We’ve created a society so complex it takes us nearly 20 years in school to earn a decent place in it. Teaching methods and tools have improved but we still take the same 20 years as we did for decades. It’s a good thing we live to nearly a hundred now. Some people are lucky enough to make it big in life and make a lot of money. To these, life will bring on different challenges. But, to most of us, we have to work hard to pay our bills. We spend a significant part of what we earn in energy (home electricity, car gas …) and in the supermarket (food et al.). And, of course, then there are the mortgages (the roof over our heads), transportation, education and healthcare. All of these are, in a way, “basic needs”. Some are more basic than others, sure, but the truth is, for most people, there is very little left after you pay for the basic stuff.
Why? Because we’re NOT an advanced civilization. Not even a rational one, it seems.
What would an advanced, thinking, civilization do, before starting to put out, say, new smartphones, smart TVs and car models nearly every year? A thinking civilization, an advanced one, would try to take care of people’s basic needs with the least effort – or, in the world we live in, the least cost. This would – should – be its prime directive! Pretty obvious, right? Apparently not. By this I don’t mean to have the Government pay for everything. Quite the contrary, actually. I mean to put the trendy word “sustainability” to the test and try to make basic goods and services as cheap as they can be for everyone. Ideally, at no cost at all.
All the basic needs stated above – and some more that may feel basic to you – should represent like 5% (at most) of what you earn. Or less. You should have 95%, or more, to invest, create or do whatever pleases you. In an advanced civilization, basic needs shouldn’t “eat up” 95% of your earnings. How’s this possible in this day and age? Some may say the world is too divided for this but, frankly, I don’t think that’s it. Any medium-sized country could take the reins and do the right thing, start walking in the right direction. Is this rocket science? I don’t think so. Not yet.
Point of fact is: that’s what our great minds should be focusing on. Is there a doubt in your mind that if the people who are working on smartphones and smart TVs were to focus on, say, solar cells, you would have a solar panel the size of, say, a tablet – irony intended -, able to provide for free/clean energy for your car and perhaps even your home? And all this probably before the end of this decade? And, of course, in the long-term, this progress would release resources for much needed and not-immediately-profitable enterprises, such as expanding our world.
We need an “intelligent” civilization. Not (more) “smart” phones. We need Future Man.
Bruno De Marques.
Future Man is available now!