How the Present Intrudes on Our Past

I recently came across some interesting material. It suggested the remnants of those traits that supported the survival of our most distant ancestors still linger within us and may provide an explanation for some the difficulties we are having with organizations today. Especially in the couple hundred years or so, since the Industrial Revolution, the world around us has evolved much faster than our human minds. The hereditary changes that should eventually assist us in making this adjustment just don’t move that fast.

As a result a portion of our comfort zone remains embedded in a desire for those small independent minded groups that supported our earliest development. It really is as if the advances that brought us into today’s world, and the skills we need in order to take it forward from here are caught in a mighty “tug of war”. Consider the words of two time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson:


“Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real, has created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” E.O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth

It makes one wonder if we better understood this dilemma, whether or not our government’s “would be” leaders could have avoided the chaos they have created over the past couple months. Judging from the actions and reactions we have endured, I am afraid that level of enlightenment is still far beyond the reach of our leaders, and perhaps is still beyond our own reach as well.