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Knowing Yourself: to better our species

How would you describe your views? If you had to put it into words, what words would you choose to convey what your point of view on the world really is? Has this image of yourself remained static (unmoved and unchanged) since you were young? Do you think your description of yourself within the world might change in the future?

I hope that most of you are open to change and to new ideas. Choosing one side of a debate, whether political, ethical, religious, or any topic with polarized sides can be daunting when a person is young. In most cases, we tend to argue on the side of our parents and family. However, as we grow older, we develop our own opinions and self-identity. We might grow up without straying from the opinions of our parents, but with education and a growing understanding of this complex world, it isn’t unusual to begin to disagree with our elders about more and more topics. Allowing yourself to change in this way, whether in-line with your parents or completely out-of-line with them, is a natural and healthy way to go about life.

If people tended to agree with their elders on every topic of conversation and never vary their opinions as they grew older and wiser, the world would be a very different place. We would experience more wars, less progress, and for all we know, the earth might still be thought of as flat and America might still be “undiscovered.” (Of course a population of native people to that land would be developing in a way that we can’t even imagine today and that would truly make the world different than it is… but that’s better left for another article.)

My point is this, developing one’s self-identity is a human process that is a necessary part of evolution and biology. The process of evolution works because of change. Small, almost unnoticeable alterations in a living thing over a long period of time (thousands and millions of years) are what brought us into existence. And if we, as a species, think this (human beings) is the end of those changes, I’m sure we are seriously wrong. The existence of many different nations (whether friendly or not) in this world is evidence that we have a lot of room for improvement and change. Am I saying that one day the world can be a unified body without opposing governments? … not necessarily, but I am suggesting the possibility of something resembling that idea much more than we can see in the world today.

Where does this change come from? Obviously (unless you don’t believe in evolution, then I suppose it’s not so obvious) all organisms are changing into new species. So how can having different opinions make any difference to this biological evolution? Well the whole process of thinking and having opinions and a kind of “free will” is a part of our human biology. While our environment, food, and sexual mates alter our species over time, so do our choices (for many reasons). Our decisions pave the way for a progressive … or a stagnant future. If we open our minds and continue pursuing information and knowledge, then we will allow ourselves to change and develop, and if we close our minds and believe things without skepticism, then we will not progress.

Luke Hanson  -

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