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Mephistopheles’ version:

The little god of Earth sticks to the same old way,
And is as strange as on that very first day.
He might appreciate life a little more: he might,
If you hadn’t lent him a gleam of Heavenly light:
He calls it Reason, but only uses it
To be more a beast than any beast as yet.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Part 1, Prologue in Heaven (translated by A. S. Kline)

Mephistopheles’ version updated:

Evolution has endowed humans with cognitive abilities that enable them to explore and analyse nature (including their own) and, based on the knowledge gained, to develop technologies that not only allow them to shape their habitat according to their needs, but also to influence their social interactions. Man seems to know no limits in actually doing and making what he believes he can do or make.

Man's ability to create and employ these technologies has given him unprecedented power. A power that can be used for good or for ill. A power meant to be doing good must be matched by utmost rationality and a keen awareness of the damage it can do to the world of humans and its natural substrate.
(Characteristics of human nature: Humans can perceive themselves and - to a certain extent - understand and control the conditions of their existence. Every individual can make his or her behaviour the object of conscious self-reflection, examine it critically and change it accordingly. This includes the ability to ask oneself counterfactual questions: What would happen if I did this, who would be affected and in what way? This is what one might call "freedom". People are not predestined to be and behave one way or another, they are free to write their own life story. They are free to create an environment that meets their needs and respects the well-being of all.)
 However, it seems that man is not yet mature enough to exercise this kind of technology-based power. Neither in terms of his reasoning capabilities nor mastering his feelings. He may not be smart enough to deal with the complexity of his own creations. That in itself may result in fatal consequences. More importantly, he is still trapped in his past as a wild animal, unable to reliably control the aggressive instincts built into his DNA that can unpredictably take over - in the small and in the large. (Examples abound.)

What we call "civilisation" is only a fragile shell that barely conceals the patterns of the instinctive behaviour of our ancestors, for example in defending their territory and the resources needed for their survival, or in keeping their packs, families and tribes together, and in shielding them from attacks. Patterns that are still evident today in our economic, political and social activities. Patterns that are patently inappropriate in a world that has shrunk to the proverbial "global village" as a result of man’s technologies.
(Some people say "oh, that's human nature, you can't do anything about it, let alone against it", and they mean greed, bullying, violence, reckless unfettered power and so on. And war. And they make it an excuse for not having to change anything in the way our communities and our economies are organised and run. What they are basically saying is that we are no different from hordes of apes or lions, that raw power is what counts and that we cannot do anything about it.)
This shell crumbles when man's atavistic behaviours, inherited from his animal ancestors, take over. Given man's limited rationality, the powerful technologies his intellect has helped him to acquire have the potential to transform his basic instincts into a serious threat to the continuation of the human species.

Postscript: In fairness, we should add that it is the so-called "white man" (of European origin) who bears the responsibility for the technological recklessness that endangers our planet.

In memoriam Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Hannah Arendt, Günther Anders, Lewis Mumford, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Joseph Weizenbaum and many others who saw it coming; in defiance of all who ignore their weakness and think they are omnipotent. And also in defiance of Goethe’s optimism.

Hans-Georg Stork, 8/2022