Vices may have fueled human progress

Looking at the course of human events in terms of the theory of evolution, the question is: Why are the lazy, voracious and aggressive ones still around following centuries of natural selection? Can the vices have played a role in the progress of humankind?


Many an inventor admitted quite shamelessly that the desire to make their lives easier had been a principal motive for inventing various gismos. In other words, laziness provided motivations for designing a remote control, food processor, washing machine and other household equipment. Aside from devising automatic machines, the efforts of the world’s best brains are focused on the building of robots, which should spare humans the indispensability of pushing buttons. State-of-the art computer-aided gadgets can turn your house into a “smart home” where lights go up once you step inside and the tap water always has optimum temperatures.

However, the picture is not as rosy as it may seem. Modern humans have to pay the price for modern amenities by growing more susceptible to the “diseases of civilization” e.g. cardiac infarction, stroke, and osteochondritis. The sensitive issue can be addressed through the creation of special training equipment that spreads a necessary load over the muscles of a person in supine position.


Despite certain drawbacks of the sexual liberalization, the sex urge was a powerful driving force that enabled humankind to make use of numerous important inventions. For example, contraceptive devices were designed for the purpose of birth control. Perhaps contraception caused some damage to a demographic situation, by and large. On the other hand, the condom was not only widely used for the prevention of pregnancy; it also became an effective means of curbing sexually transmitted diseases.

Sexual revolution also helped shape up the emancipation of women, another important development in the course of human progress. As it turned out, women had ambitions similar to those of men’s, and therefore the rights of women could no longer be limited. Pliable and reserved housewives fell out of fashion. The woman tried to play the part of a strong and independent “female” following the sexual revolution. She opted to be a “hunter” after playing the quarry for too long.


Avarice is one of the most common human vices. At the same time, the vice gives man an impetus to work harder. As a rule, an average wage of most people is larger than the so-called living wage, which stands for enough money to support oneself and one’s family, but at a low standard. Yet a worker wishes to buy more consumer goods, and therefore he asks his employer for a pay-raise each year.

Psychologists have long noticed that a small amount of money paid to members of a psychological study is the best motivation of all, no matter how small the amount may be. Once avarice is handled expertly, it can give a boost to productivity.


Envy is yet another driving force of human progress. Envy is the cornerstone of competition that makesboth individualsandcompanies strive harder for success. Despite numerous cases of self-esteem that was badly dented and career expectations that got botched, the human race in general cannot but benefit from an increase in the quality of products while the consumer gets more goods to choose from.

An envious person is thought to be more capable of overcoming his laziness thanks to the flaw of his character. Consequently, he takes action and becomes goal-oriented. Well, tragic accidents happen sometimes. The story of Mozart and Salieri is one of the examples. However, a hostile attitude of one person toward another is often the key to success.


Once upon a time a peasant found out that several of his chickens had been stolen by his neighbor. The peasant put the blame on his neighbor. But the latter was a sly fellow. He threw cold water on the angry farmer by asking just one question: “How can you prove that you had more chickens than you have now?” The case reportedly gave rise to jurisprudence and bureaucracy, which resulted in the establishment of legal procedures pertinent to title to property, claim and delivery etc.

The more suits were filed by small-minded and fussy people; the more detailed laws came into being as a result. Nowadays the legislature can benefit from crimes too. For example, various tax evasion scams draw attention to loopholes in the tax code.


The skill of lying is hardly the biggest human virtue. It is unlikely that anybody would dare brag about his talent for lying. Well, the ability becomes more marketable once it is labeled “diplomacy” or “political correctness.”

It is an open secret that cleverly designed misinformation can win a battle during war times. Politicians tell lies to manipulate the public opinion. A terminally ill patient could feel better if his loved ones make an effort and show a great deal of feigned optimism about his condition. A white lie could be the pillar supporting a child’s self-esteem in a single-parent family.


Every person regardless of sex and age can be affected with the vice thatemanates from pride, egoism, egocentricity, and vain. All of the above are based on various degrees of the idolatry of the self. Egotist has little or no thoughts about interests or feelings other than his own; he can do anything that can be to his advantage. On the other hand, a milder form of vanity is rather beneficial for the development of fashion, arts, and creativity.

Some persons have always taken special pleasure in defying the establishment and breaking the rules in terms of social conduct and fashion. They would prefer fancy low-cut dresses to stiff corseted outfits, or faded bell-bottom jeans to neat pressed pants etc. Most persons get swayed by creativity when they feel a strong desire to stand out in the crowd and make a point of showing off their individuality.

Translated by Guerman Grachev

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Author`s name Alex Naumov