Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Human Experience (from my book, Voice of the Ages)

Ereshkigal is the protagonist for a book I'm writing. She's several thousand years old, from the Paleolithic Era.

The human experience is fluid, not static. We move through time like water flows through a river. Though many individuals may be stubborn and try to stick to "traditional ways of life" (whatever those may be), humans as a whole are highly adaptive. I have had to constantly change myself and my mind, as I adapted to my surroundings through the ages. I've had a few theories, learned several things, many of which I've had to rethink and relearn after a while. This adaptive behavior is sometimes known as being "open-minded." An individual sho is capable of living for centuries must be open-minded in order to survive.

One might expect me, a creature from a more "primative" era, to be somewhat of a primitivist, in the sense that human beings must return to their primative, tribal roots, no matter what the cost.While I agree that the society in which I was born had many advantages, I do not believe we can replicate that society completely. I think the steps we would have to take as a global community to create such a "primative" society would, at least initially, cause more human suffering, not less.

If the purpose is to simply reduce our impact on the environment by suddenly and dramatically reducing our population, then the means we use to get to that end are highly counter-productive. For, even in smaller numbers, it is dangerous to have a society that believes it does not hurt the environment to hurt other human beings. And the way to choose which human beings live and which ones die would likely result in having a higher concentration of wealth, and erradicating the poor.

This would amplify our problem, as opposed to erasing it. Contrary to what some believe, the wealthy are not the most adaptive individuals of our race; many are some of the most self-destructive, disconnected people in the world. To manipulate the world so that you get everything you want is a highly destructive form of cultural evolution, that has resulted in the very resource shortages that have threatened our species.

A common misconception among people, including some scientists, is that evolution means bettering yourself, or becoming more enlightened. In truth, evolution is simply change through adaptation. It is neither good nor bad; just change. The "me for myself" philosophy may have once been an adaptive reaction that people used to survive hard times. Its continuation, however, in a resource-rich world where the wealthy grow wealthier and the poor become more destitute, is no longer an adaptation so much as a habit, or cycle.