Benefit and harm all depend on your perspective. The futurist John Smart suggests looking at phenomena, trends, and events through four different lenses (the “Foresight Tetrad“):
- Organizational (=collective)
Every level has its own agenda, but their interests are rarely fully aligned.
For example: for evolution and natural selection to work, a life form must have a reasonably short lifespan, reproduce quickly, and most importantly, not clone their DNA perfectly. Because small genetic reproduction errors help a species evolve and become better adapted to our environment.
Sn an organizational/collective level (taking all of humanity together) those genetic errors are a good thing. In fact, without them, human beings in our current brain, with our current intelligence, wouldn’t even exist. Not at a species level, and not at an individual level.
But to stumble upon a couple of beneficial “genetic errors”, evolution also needs tons of harmful genetic errors.
That means that every newborn runs the risk of genetic errors that can cause medical conditions, pain, and suffering – on an individual level.
We suffer individually to evolve collectively.
Another example: in our quest to improve the condition of humanity as a whole (at the organizational/collective level), we’re harming other species and change the climate (at a global level).
Ignoring the principles the universe and the earth as an ecosystem might well lead to collapse of that ecosystem – and result in the collapse of humanity.
The universe has an agenda.
Natural selection has an agenda.
The global earth has an agenda.
Humanity as a whole has an agenda.
Individuals have an agenda.
We can’t afford to ignore any.