What we call progress is nothing but our solutions of the puzzles thrown at us. Some of them are cosmic, some local, some biological, some social, some related with our survival and so on.
Every answer brings new questions. Matter is composed of molecules. What about the composition of molecules? What about the composition of atoms? What about the composition of neutrons, protons, electrons and other sub-atomic particles? It is a never ending alley. The journey is never going to be finite. As we find more and more answers, nature is ever ready to throw more and more questions. Every answer is a temporary relief till the next puzzle is thrown at us.
Every solution brings new problems. Our solutions to the problems of commuting has created problems for the environment. In fact most of the scientific inventions to solve our day to day problems have created problems for the environment.
Perhaps, Gods were invented to solve a host of problems. Most of the Gods of the ancient world were personifications of the forces of nature. Gods were created to instill a sense of fear and faith. Faith helped to get rid of the day to anxiety. Fear made men to conduct themselves as per set standards even when there was no external supervision. Religion, which was invented to solve a host of problems, became an obstacle to further inventions. We are familiar with the struggle of scientists like Galileo and other scientists of fifteenth and sixteenth century against the Church. Twenty first century is no better as we continue to fight against religious fanaticism of all kinds.
Communism was supposed to create a religion-less and class less society. Karl Marx created an ideology to get rid of the ill effects of religion to protect the common men against the oppression of the aristocrats and other influential people of the society. However, we have seen how the masses have suffered and continue to do so in communist regimes. The stature of Stalin, or Lenin was nothing less than that of Gods. Nothing to speak of the authoritarian and the strictly hierarchical regimes of China or North Korea.
Capitalism has done no better. In fact most of the problems of environment could be related to uncontrolled exploitation of resources fueled by competition, consumerism and capitalist greed. Today China is a communist country only in form. In the name of communism, China has only retained the authoritarian hierarchical structure. Otherwise it is as good a consumeristic and capitalistic culture as US.
The developments in Information Technology have provided solutions to a host of problems in almost all fields. But now human kind is looking at the bleak future which will be caused by developments in robotic technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Sociologists are predicting the future irrelevance of human race. All jobs requiring human effort or interference are going to be taken over by machines. So, to provide sustenance to the jobless majority through out the globe there are talks of Universal Basic Income (UBS), which in turn may bring in its own problems. Of course then again we should be able to engage ourselves in solving the puzzles. But UBS seems to be a plausible solution to the future irrelevance of human beings.
The examples of the problem-solution-problem cycle could be never ending. But nature is not content with engaging us in solving the problems created due to our efforts to solve earlier problems. So from time to time it throws in surprises. It catches us off guard. The new puzzle does not fit in to any of the old models of solutions human race has developed so far. Human race suddenly finds itself ill equipped to deal with the new puzzle.
Human race has been able to solve the puzzles so far, thus not only saving itself from extinction, but also taking a giant step in its evolution. In a cosmic time scale, how long will it have the privilege to do so?
Maybe, it is time to focus on here and now.