What forces have shaped humanity most?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

D. Quinn Mills: The most important thing that shapes humanity is human nature. In my view, it is a complex combination of good and bad--of altruistic impulses and impulses that are fundamentally selfish and difficult, and that's the most important thing. Now, in addition to that, shaping the history of the recent past by which I mean the last few thousand years, rapid growth the technology, which is very important, the improvements in our learning and skills and that things, so that the population has grown enormously. It's very interesting about that. When I was born, and I am not that old, there were about two billion people in the world. When I die, I expect it will be eight. So, that will have been a four-fold increase and enormous numbers. I think we underestimate how significant that has been, but those are the major factors I think that so there are demographics, there are technology and there are our basic nature. Those would be the factors I say that really shape us.

Recorded on: 9/27/07

A combination of human impulse and human innovation have shaped us, says Mills.

Norman Fischer (poet, zen priest) – the only way out of the catastrophe we’re in

"Body, breath, awareness…that's your life. Every problem you ever have, every joy you ever have, depends on that." In this week's episode of Think Again, host Jason Gots talks with acclaimed poet and zen teacher Norman Fischer about the imagination as a tool for living a good life.

Think Again Podcasts


Keep reading Show less

'The West' is, in fact, the world's biggest gated community

A review of the global "wall" that divides rich from poor.

Image: TD Architects
Strange Maps
  • Trump's border wall is only one puzzle piece of a global picture.
  • Similar anxieties are raising similar border defenses elsewhere.
  • This map shows how, as a result, "the West" is in fact one large gated community.
Keep reading Show less

Will robots have rights in the future?

Perhaps sooner than we think, we'll need to examine the moral standing of intelligent machines.

Videos
  • If eventually we develop artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to experience emotions like joy and suffering, should we grant it moral rights just as any other sentient being?
  • Theoretical philosopher Peter Singer predicts the ethical issues that could ensue as we expand the circle of moral concern to include these machines.
  • A free download of the 10th anniversary edition of The Life You Can Save: How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty is available here.
Keep reading Show less