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About Intellectual Advancement and Emotional Degeneration

by Joan Marques

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Published on this site: January 2004 - See more articles from this month

Amazing, how a conversation that starts out on an innocent note, can suddenly zoom into something as in-depth as humanity and the reasons behind its performance.

The other day a friend of mine mentioned the fact that many of the advantages that we now take for granted, such as personal computers, cellular phones, and many more miniaturized electronic equipment, are the direct results of our efforts to put a man on the moon in the sixties. My friend was therefore quite disturbed by various groups’ current opposition toward space exploration.

My response to his aggravation was that maybe these opposing groups consider that there is still so much to be cleaned up amongst ourselves, and that we could use part of the humongous capital invested in space exploration to protect our environment, fund the economically less fortunate ones on our own earth, and reduce famine.

This prompted the conversation in the direction of shortsightedness. My friend concluded that we, human beings, are inconsiderate creatures, unable to interact with honesty and integrity, incapable of tolerating differences without institutionalizing them, and inept toward having pride for our individuality rather than for the group we happen to be part of. He stated that humanity seems to dwell in an everlasting stage of infancy, impotent to rise toward maturity.

This really fueled my pipe. I declared to my friend –and this may offend some readers even more at first impulse – that his cry was nothing new, for humanity has a herd-like mentality, which may explain the success of institutions such as the church throughout many centuries. Most of us are still group-thinkers rather than individual concluders. We seem to be incapable of obtaining a state where massive progress is key. Too many of us will try everything to prevent others from getting ahead. Instead of becoming inspired by the runners among us, we do everything in our power to slow them down. Backstabbing and badmouthing are therefore primary skills in many a corporate environment. The concept of spirituality in the workplace is a beautiful one, but oh so hard to realize given our just described tendencies.

We are in search for leadership, but our human leaders have their own set of flaws, for the human race is a fallible one. And this may, then, be the explanation for our need to find above-human leaders, which various religions name differently, so that we can gain some satisfaction from those.

A brief overview of our history teaches us that, indeed, we made progress in our inventions in order to increase the ease with which we move through life. We invented heating equipment, cooling devices, transportation tools, mass communication contrivances, various research components to explore our own world and whatever is outside of it, and numerous other cogs.

But, unfortunately, it seems that every time the quality of our life progresses, our mentality regresses. At the same time that we develop our great inventions, we also cultivate master-skills in making each other’s life impossible. Worse: we refuse to make the progress we obtain in one part of our planet available to other parts, thereby directly contradicting our religious teachings that we are all brothers and sisters, and that we should share with one another. The bare boned truth is, that we don’t trust one another, and, sadly enough, don’t have any reason to! Many authors and philosophers have stated it before: our species is moving at a dazzling speed toward self-destruction. We seem to take pride in finding ourselves in this downward mental spiral. Or maybe we just deliberately keep ourselves blind for this truth.

But regardless which one of the above described approaches you perceive as the truth; we should seriously start wondering if our race is emotionally not developing in a reversed way. Perhaps our ancient ancestors, in their unthinkably primitive ways, were the most perfect ones in emotional intelligence. And perhaps, then, the price for intellectual advancement is emotional degeneration.

Sounds like doom thinking? If you think so, just consider your work-environment. Look around you the next time you’re there. Evaluate your colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates. Consider what your gut feeling tells you about them. Do you trust all of them? Totally? Or are you one of the many members of our working-class who realize that there are numerous ones, outside our circle of acquaintances, but also inside of it, who are impatiently waiting to take our place should we even slightly stumble?

Joan Marques, holds an MBA, is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership, and a university instructor in Business and Management in Burbank, California. You may visit her web site at www.joanmarques.com Joan's manual "Feel Good About Yourself," a six part series to get you over the bumps in life and onto success, can be purchased and downloaded at:

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