We are an arrogant species.
We believe that we have progressed to the point where Utopia is possible. We have more wealth, resources, and knowledge at our fingertips (literally) than any generation before us. From nuclear weapons to a practically digital life to the availability of education, we are ridiculously blessed and ridiculously ungrateful.
We belittle the past and laud our own accomplishments, never remembering that all mankind is flawed and just doing the best we can.
We luxuriate in a life sustained by technology we do not comprehend, unaware of what goes into creating the societal ecosystem we take for granted.
We proclaim that truth is invented by the human heart, forever chasing an elusive satisfaction that will give us completion, all but ignoring the supreme God, our Creator and King.
While arrogance is always dangerous (take, for example, the constant cycle of righteousness, decline and pride, captivity, and repentance that permeates for the Old Testament), it is especially dangerous now because we have such a greater distance to fall.
We have innovated and progressed beyond our ability to comprehend or survive. Arrogance that, in centuries prior, would make small hiccups will now make giant gorges in the landscape of our lives.
As two small examples, consider –
Invasive technology. Technology has taken over every aspect of our lives. We have computers manage our calendars, grade tests, run transportation systems, provide security, monitor our homes, and more. As I write this (on a computer), I am warmed by a computer-run heater, and serenaded by music on a platform run by algorithms. These are little things – things I usually do not stop to consider. But they are still there. They are in every corner of my life. Imagine the damage if I was manipulated by the algorithms. Or if viruses on my computer stole the words I wrote. Imagine the danger to our world… if technology was used for bad. If it was used to intentionally target, disqualify, destroy, invalidate, dehumanize, manipulate, brainwash, and blackmail. Warfare no longer needs to take place on a physical battlefield; it can run just as nicely and a million times more deadly on the technological front. And the worst part – we do not understand it. I do not understand how the keyboard I type on works. I do not understand how the heater works. I do not understand how my car works. And because I do not understand, I am vulnerable. Because we do not understand, we are vulnerable.
Global Economy. No longer do economic decisions influence a small town, a state, or even a nation. Now the economic regulations of the European Union or Laos can influence my life in the United States – and the regulations of the United States will influence the lives of people in, say, Taiwan and India. Everything is so interconnected, so entwined, that we have lost the protection of separation.
I could provide many more examples, from the automatized creation of things such as fabric and clothes, to social media, to the insane military advances, to guns, to transportation, to our legal system – and so on and so forth.
This was a major problem with WW1. At that point, mankind had reached a new level of advancement. Cars, airplanes, and the likes drastically changed life, and arrogance followed. We believed that we had advanced beyond our violent state, and that major wars were basically a thing of the past.
And then… we slipped into WW1. Still, we remained arrogant, even titling it “the war to end all wars.” Actually, though, most of the martial conflict since then can be traced directly back to the first world war. From WW2 to the Gulf Wars to the current stuff with Russia and Ukraine.
So let us go forward with more humility, acknowledging that we have not evolved to a higher plane. We are not perfect, nor can we be. We must take the time to understand our world; and, further more, proceed carefully. The actions we take today will have a lasting impact that will echo through the future.