I believe that the next great advance in civilisation will be not from some political or religious movement or from any scientific discovery or a technological breakthrough. I think the next advance will be in the area of psychology, specifically emotional intelligence. Perhaps "spiritual" intelligence would be the more apt expression.
It seems to me that development in such intelligence is very backward, possibly about as advanced as intellectual progress was ten thousand years ago. Brains were as evolved then but practices and knowledge base were not. People knew little compared with now. Pre civilisation there would have been no formal framework whereby ideas and insights could be exchanged and formulated for useful integration into how lives were lived. That would be a long time coming. In fact fruition in the intellectual world (i.e. education and its dissemination) beyond for the fortunate few is relatively recent and still has a far way to go.
I contend that the same goes for the understanding of psychological make-up. We are only at the beginning of the road toward being able to apply some knowledge in this field constructively. Both Jung and Freud thought so. So did David Hume a hundred and fifty years before them.
I suspect that the majority are ignorant when it comes to having a sense of how their feelings work. Few are even aware or conversant with what feelings they are having. Of those who are, most have little insight or the wisdom to know what to do with it if they do. The smallest progress here could have far reaching effects. With a better comprehension of what makes us tick emotionally we would be better able to temper action more appropriately for mutual benefit.
If this were possible then the quality of relationship life would escalate and as a consequence influence every area of experience, in personal life as well as in society. Our performance is so poor to date that any headway would have considerable and immediate benefits. A substantial advance could completely revolutionise the way humans behave with respect to each other.
Doctors discuss the theoretical possibility of eradicating disease totally. Being able to eradicate the problems stemming from ignorance of the emotions, problems which have been handed down the generations, would be even more dramatic and just as useful. It could possibly, at a stroke, bring about the greatest increase in quality of life ever known. No small order.
an advance in emotional intelligence
could revolutionise relationships