How it began
Through all living beings we can identify a process of evolution. Over billions of years, plants and animals have been evolving to optimally survive in their environment through a process called natural selection. Natural selection, in case anyone is unsure, is when things will live or die based on their traits. This results in allowing all surviving plants and animals to pass their selective traits down to their offspring. The traits that don’t do as well, however, have a harder time being passed down and are put at a threat of extinction. We, like all other living things, have gone through the rigorous process of evolution, however this question remains. Are we still on the same natural selection path, or has consciousness, society, and better living conditions changed how we evolve?
This question may sound difficult on the surface but when you break it down the answer is simpler than expected. Before we were conscious beings, human evolution was based on many survival traits especially living together in small communities, hunting and gathering. When the preconscious humans procreated they didn’t choose like we do, it was more of a natural and instinctual choice that they knew they had to make. An example of this in the current animal kingdom is the lion. Male lions will murder another male’s cubs, this may sound awful to us, but the reaction of the mother, to those decimated cubs, is to have more cubs with the lion that killed her children. That is the reality of evolution, the more powerful animal was what the females were drawn to. Now, being conscious changed the way that humans interact with evolution. We no longer need to be worried about hunting, gathering food, creating shelter, and all the other aspects of life that encompass natural survival. Women aren’t subject to uncontrollable mating, like the lions, and they now have the ability to choose what traits are passed down by simply picking their partner in life. Knowing this, what are the traits that are currently being valued the most in our society today?
The easiest way to answer this question is by asking yourself what you like. More likely than not, the traits you find attractive in people are things other people find attractive as well. What we socially and culturally find amazing are the traits that you will see make up our world over a long period of time. It all breaks down to this; the people who we find desirable in life, the people we look up to, the people we admire, and the people we want to reproduce with are going to be the ones who pass down traits. We aren’t subject to the traits that natural selection determines for us anymore. We are lucky enough to be able to adopt those traits on our own will, to make a better world around us.
To conclude, the path which our civilization goes down completely lies in our hands. We get to choose what gets passed down time after time again. Humans can be fully aware of what we find awful and what we find amazing, but we have to be careful when trying to choose how our offspring will turn out. Some of the most disturbing leaders in history attempted to control what genes were passed down. What makes an amazing society is understanding that you have the ability to choose traits while also being conscious of the fact that everyone also has that same ability.
And it might not line up with you…