The next stage of human evolution is to transform our intrinsic desire for progress


I was pleased to discover I am on the cover of the new issue of Venture magazine!

The cover feature, titled Transformation Without End, is based on an extended interview with me. It covers many facets of how we should be thinking about the future, but begins on a very important point:

“It is intrinsically human to want to create, to invent, to make things beyond what we’ve had before, and there will be no end to this.” So says futurist, author, and strategist Ross Dawson, who advises global companies on make-or-break issues that ultimately shape the course of human progress.

This human desire for progress, wanting more, of course can and does often go too far. At this point, having manifested extraordinary technological advances, we need to temper that desire. The article goes on to quote me:

“It is intrinsically human to compete, it is intrinsically human to want more, and whilst many religions and social mediums have tried to teach us to be satisfied with what we want — and that’s a good direction that we should not always be striving for material things — part of what it is to be human is to want more. A major part of human evolution now is how we understand what it is to be human in our greed, in our desire for more, and to be able to temper that and transcend that in ways on an individual and social level so that we can indeed create better lives, not ones where we simply have more.”

We have got to where we are now in human history because inventing, creating, seeking something more is a core part of what it is to be human.

However it is clear that taken in some directions this becomes destructive. Wanting more personal wealth without end leads to disregard for the impact on others. In a highly populous world there are limits to our ability to exploit many natural resources.

It is intrinsically human to want more. But we can transform that desire for us to want better, not simply more of what we have had before.

I think we are seeing that transformation, where many people aspire to more, but increasingly their primary aspiration is that more people on the planet have the basic resources they need, education, opportunity, and human connection.

This is happening, but it has to happen faster. We can’t deny our humanity. But if we turn our desire for progress to betterment rather than material wealth, humanity has every chance of a prosperous future.

Read the article for discussion of many other big-picture frames on our future and how we can create it.