DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
What is a “Progress Trap”? Do you agree with the concept? Why or why not? Give several examples to support your convictions.
A progress trap is a harmful human condition, cycle, or trend throughout humanity, begining since the dawn of civilization and agriculture. It is when civilizations pursue progress, or the betterment of society, (for comfort, power, resources, etc) and use human ingenuity or technology to do so. Inevitably and inadterntly, however, they begin to introduce issues in sustainability: they do not have the means to continue progress or solve issues in overpopulation and pollution, because they fear the loss of stability, comfort, or status. Eventually, society hits a wall, and we cannot continue to progress because we have run out of resources, or have overpopulated the world and succumb to disease. The collapse of society is the ultimate concequence of the progress trap.
Society (especially American and western societies) are living in the reality of a progress trap - its not much of an opinion as it is a fact. I agree with the concept because it truly exists, and because we are already living amongst the concequences of our actions: loss of species, rainforest, resources, and clean air and water. We have thousands of years of history behind us - and scientifically backed analysis of the future - to back the validity of the progress trap.
Thousands of years ago, humanity put into motion the pursuit of knowledge, power and control over our own destinies. If our very first ancestors had been content with living simple, nomad lives - or rather if humans were not capable of such sophisticated consciousness - than perhaps we may not have achieved modern medicine, artifical intelligence, and the joys of plumbing. But we not have ruined our planet, and taken down thousands of species with us.
There are many examples of the progress trap's effect throughout history and the present day. Agriculture, for the first and earliest example, is an amazing invention that has allowed humanity to better feed and control our population and destiny... for a while. Until we overfarm and take over most open land and forests for grazing. Until we inject most of our foods with toxins and consume GMOs. Until we poision the enviroment in pursuit of raising more cattle for more meat. Then, and quite soon if we cannot invoke a moral change in humanity, we all die because we run out of food and options. Agriculture runs its course, but humanity is too large, stuck and dependent upon its limited resources to abandon it for a more sustainable way of gathering nutrition. We hit a wall: a progress trap.
There's also that same fear in technology: that we enjoy our iPhones, computers, and artifical intelligence so much because they make our lives easier and more comfortable. We spend millions on improving them, on teaching us more, on giving us more, on stimulating us more. Until they begin to make us depressed, or spy on us, or lead us into another world war.
Antibiotics are another prominent anxiety facing humanity today. In the begining, of course, they saved us, and we continue to depend on them to survive against ailments, disease, and the common cold. Yet as our bodies and cultures become immune to antibiotics, so do the strains of disease. Eventually, as many scientists, researchers, and even doctors predict, humans will risk death because of the flu, because antibiotics are resistant and helpless in the face of disease.
As this week's reading, the Trajedy of the Commons, writes, there is no technological solution to these issues facing humanity. There is no cure, system, or app that will be created to curb overpopulation and consumption. The only solution comes in the form of moral improvement, or a moral reworking of human priorities. We must sacrifice some form of comfort, enjoyment or identity to continue the human race, and to lessen our impact upon the rest of the world's enviroments and species. I agree with Garret Hardin that this ends and begins with the lessening - and eventual even stopping - of human procreation.