Friday, 14 September 2012
What a Piece of Work is Man
I was walking in the garden the other day in the evening - playtime with the cats, and I stopped to marvel at them. I'm not talking about cobby bodies and big eyes and fluffy tails, but rather how they interact with each other. Nobody tells mother cat how to raise her babies - she knows already. And when she abandons a kitten, it invariably is ailing and is not going to make it - survival of the fittest. Nature knows how to ensure the vitality of the species.
And their play has only one objective - learning to hunt and kill. Bloodthirsty cats? Not at all. This is nature, red in tooth and claw. This is nature doing what it does best - surviving the fittest and letting the devil take the hindmost. This is the cat learning to use the tools it has been given to ensure it gets the next meal, for if it doesn't and it is incapable of successfully catching a meal, it will eventually die, so that the business of living can be left to the best survivors. The objective of course will be that the best surviving females mate with the strongest surviving males, and the resultant offspring share the strongest genepool.
It's only when man gets invoved and starts trying to save the weaklings who would otherwise die, that the genepool starts to decline, since a weakling's genetic line should never be allowed to exist.
Which brings me back to man - that wondrous species who has assumed dominion over the earth and everything in it - you know, the one who has managed an a relatively short period of time to screw everything up in his quest for "civilisation" and "modern living". Space doesn't permit me to list exhaustively man's greatest blunders - there are just too many of them, but let's just note a few:
- enhancing medical science. "AArrrgghh!" I hear you cry "what about the wondrous medical achievements of the past few hundred years which have extended our life expectancy?" Exactly. Medical science has created for us humans, a means to spend on average 30 to 40 more years on this planet than was the case a little more than a century ago. And at the other end of the scale to dying, we have birth. Medical science has managed to improve the mortality outlook of infants who would have died in the past. So at the front end we have more babies surviving - including the weak and ailing, and at the back end we have an average human lifespan which is now far longer. Which means more humans for longer, which means overpopulation. Sex is fun, but it's just far too easy to do and be successful at. Result - too many babies who are born, rescued by medical science and who go on to produce yet more babies.
The blunders below fall into the category of what we do with our extended extra time we've been given on the face of this planet:
- we systematically decimate the natural environment. We plunder and pillage for minerals, we deforest, we exterminate animal and plant species all the time, at a frightening rate. According to an article in the Telegraph in March 2010, as at the last biodiversity report in 2004, the Earth was losing species at a rate comparable to the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs - extinctions were happening 1000 times faster than the natural rate, and far too quickly for nature to respond by evolving new species. This extinction is being driven by destruction of natural habitat, hunting, increasing numbers of alien predators, disease and climate change.
- We pollute everything. Air, water, land, noise = i.e. the lot. Our industry is ruining the environment with its waste products, carelessly pumped into the sea, lakes or rivers, or binned and dumped in waste sites. Nuclear waste is rendering the Earth toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Oil spills decimate natural plant and animal species far too frequently. Hundreds of tons of toxic gases get pumped into the atmosphere every year by industry. The list goes on. We are incapable of living in harmony with the Earth and the natural ecosystems. Oh no! We're too busy "taking dominion" or whatever it's called in our wonderful holy (small h) books. And do the world's industrialized nations come to the party and do anything? Not really. We love having meetings, but nothing much really comes of them. And the United States is the only signatory which refuses to ratify the Kyoto protocol on Greenhouse gas emissions to address the global warming threat. The reason? It will cost too much for American Industry to adapt processes to reduce emissions by the agreed-upon targets. Somebody please tell the dickheads that if they don't do something now nobody will be around in 50 years time to adapt these industries anyway. They will be as dead as we all are.
- We kill things. Mostly ourselves, but also anything (flora or fauna) that gets in our way, and many others that are quietly minding their own business. Doesn't matter to us. We find 'em and kill 'em. We are the only animal on Earth who kills for pleasure. Tell me, who is mentally challenged enough to gain pleasure from hunting animals? Plenty of us, apparently. We gain especial pleasure from killing each other - most often because we want others to either agree with us, belong to our club, or become our followers. This is called power, domination and control and it is achieved through wars, politics and religion. Not sure why we want to control everything and everyone, because the overwhelming evidence is that we are singularly inept at it. And our killing and controlling behaviour is encouraged by our religious rites of passage which we have adopted for ourselves. Everybody who doesn't believe what we do, must be killed, maimed or tortured into compliance. And depending on your beliefs, you're commanded to have as many babies as possible- or at least, prohibited from doing anything to prevent conception. Good old Catholicism.
This discussion is getting too depressing. Mankind (with the exception of the so-called "primitives" who were the only ones who actually had any idea of how to live in harmony with his ecosystem) is a tragic mistake. With a bit of luck we will die out soon and the planet can go about the task of erasing all trace of us and repairing the damage we have caused. As George Carlin said :
"We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake."
I think he's right.
Posted by Mike at 07:51