What is the root of all the problems in the world?
The root is human nature. Beyond that are things like greed, need for safety and simplicity. In addition, psychopaths contribute. Wikipedia says, "Psychopathy has a much higher prevalence in the convicted and incarcerated population, where it is thought that an estimated 15–25% of prisoners qualify for the diagnosis. A study on a sample of inmates in the UK found that 7.7% of the inmates interviewed met the PCL-R cut-off of 30 for a diagnosis of psychopathy. A study on a sample of inmates in Iran using the PCLV found a prevalence of 23% scoring 18 or more. A study by Nathan Brooks from Bond University found that around one in five corporate bosses display clinically significant psychopathic traits - a proportion similar to that among prisoners." .....Etc.
Every comment so far, has humans in the center. I live on an island and there are no predators. Here the rabbit and deer populations have exploded. The deer often starve in the winter and the rabbits get to a certain size and then develop a disease which cuts down their numbers. This is a problem for those species but is not human caused. Our porblems are the same as the rabbits and deer - too many of us subsisting on limited natural resources. Nature keeps trying to establish a balance and we keep thwarting her.
Yes is our drive for survival and breeding but every form of life has that same drive. We think we are smart to beat Mother Nature but we aren't really that smart and this is one woman who will win in the end. One of the emphasises of this site was to promote overpopulation (along with the Humanist and Freedom From Religion Foundation).
I would say it is due to our base animal nature. We are basically no different from our caveman ancestors, and therefore not far removed from apes.
If we look at chimps we see many parallels with ourselves. They are social and political, they can use primitive technology, they possess a language of sorts, they are capable of great compassion to members of their troop, but are also capable of great cruelty to members of other neighbouring troops. They also ‘play favourites’ with some members of their own troop whilst shunning, ostracising or outright bullying others.
Humans simply add greater IQ to the equation, which allows for planning and technology. We can then use this for the greatest acts of kindness, such as charities, disaster relief etc., but can also use it for the greatest acts of cruelty, such as war and genocide.
A lot of this boils down to scarcity - i.e. competition for resources, territory, mates etc. If everyone had everything they needed / wanted then a lot of the conflict should fade away, in theory at least. Prosperous nations, communities etc. where resources are in abundance tend to have less conflict than those where resources are scarce. Wealth inequality is therefore a big problem.
The other main cause is the human tendency to follow leaders, which again stems from our animal ancestry. A chimpanzee troop will follow who they perceive to be the strongest leader, and humans do likewise, only now with our IQ, nations, technology etc. those troop leaders may now be the heads of state. Being perceived as a strong leader does not always equate to being a just and decent human being, often it is the opposite, which is how we get the Hitlers, Stalins and Pol Pots of the world.
How we go about solving these problems is anybodie's guess. Anyone got any ideas?
Fear. Fear of scarcity leads to hoarding of wealth. Fear of being controlled leads to the desire to control others. Fear of inferiority leads to the need to be seen as superior to others, leads to the desire to control others. Fear of the unknown leads to racism, genocide, hatred of "aliens", nationalism, basically hatred of any group of people with characteristics different from yourself. Fear is good under certain limited circumstances. We need to learn to better distinguish between real and perceived threats. Humans are very very bad at risk assessment.
If there were only 2 men left on the planet, they would still fight over what the other one has! Maybe it's nature's way of controlling the population, although I doubt it could have predicted how fast we would develope ways of destroying ourselves!
The root of all problems... Reality. Important to remember when they think you take too much for granted. No reality, no problems. More reality, more problems. Increase the number of variables and the possibility of complications leading to failure increase. Most success stories are tales of reducing expectations, compartmentalizing, and managed time and resources. Not gifts from above, and not extreme suffering.
The human condition. Our thought processes are far less aware / conscious and far sloppier than most people realize, and our emotions rule us. Even the minority of folks who understand logic, logical fallacies, and critical thinking, under-utilize it (and no, I'm not satisfied with my utilization, either).
Whatever hope I have for humanity is based on the slowly (hopefully, not TOO slowly)-improving respect for rational thought and discourse and the erosion of negative systemic influences like religion.
Think the root of all the problems in the world would be the the thought of there being a root. I shall explain. Now talking of problems I assume it means problems created by humans, not problems like earthquakes, gamma rays, black holes, that are caused by natural phenomena and there roots are basically the laws of nature or physics, with the constants. Root is basically essentialism, or reductionism, one hand that there has to be a central cause or root, an essence that causes the problems. Christian religion the root would be sin, so you need a sacrifice to clean the sin, that is the eschatology and cristology, and all the religious coming to your door and spreading the good news, other religions and even philosophies have their own narratives as to roots. In Buddhism the root is desire or rather the grasping or aversion of desire, that leads to karma and this leads to suffering and reincarnation. Political philosophies also try to narrate that humans problems require political solutions, so we got the neoliberals or libertarians that the problem is a big state (forget that most of the history of humanity there were no states therefore no progress) and you need small states, lower taxes and let big corporations take care of everything, the communists is that capital is the problem, or big corporations, again the solution is political, close all big corporations and make the state in charge of everything. The problem with trying to find a root it leads to essentialism, that all objects have an essence so it difficult to leave room for a dynamic, progressive worldview, and the other is reductionism, reducing all problems to one root, so it all requires one solution, which has lead to dangerous religions and political philosophies. I prefer that rather than simple cause and effect, roots, essence, reduction to one factor, explain the world through interdependence, dynamics, complexity, emergence.