This is a Spin Doctor special. It is going to push the envelope on the human condition with the aim to address the paradox of humanity on grounds of common sense, logic and fact; without reservation or inhibition; without being limited by propriety, etiquette or wishful thinking.
Defining Humanity By Its Impact On Other Life
Humanity has been doing pretty well for itself for the past few thousand years. From just another species among many, it has grown into the dominant life form on earth.
One of the natural drivers behind humanity’s success was a diligent obsession with self-preservation. Humans uber alles. Humans above all.
Yes, the motto rings ominous. There’s a darker side to humanity, which we readily omit because it’s too unsavory and distressing. But the results speak for themselves, despite the gloss and varnish. We can’t pretend we don’t see them.
Let’s examine human growth at its core.
Human growth. That’s the key phrase. It once stood for progress, the kind that generates a future, but over the years human development slipped into sinister territory. The term ‘tumor’ comes to mind. Yes, we’re talking about that kind of growth, the type that kills everything around it in order to feed itself.
Exaggeration? I don’t think so. Fact of the matter is that for humanity to become Earth’s hottest product, or by-product, we’ve sacrificed loads of stuff. Most of it involves other living things, on which we feed.
It also involves the destruction of our some of our core qualities, such as our innocence, benevolence, simplicity, and carefree-ness.
Let’s start from our sacrifices and work our way through.
We enter adulthood with fear and trembling, but with an unmitigated sense of excitement
Our innocence and benevolence, our simplicity and carefree-ness. We sacrificed an enormous part of these qualities over the millennia. From simple hunter-gatherers, we’ve turned into sophisticated farmers, urban dwellers, traders, organizers, believers, warriors and expeditionaries, scientists, philosophers, and children of stardust.
That achieved, we now stand on the cusp of our next leap, like children who’ve outgrown adolescence, looking back on our past fondly, wishing to remain innocent and simple and carefree forever, regretting that we can’t. Time has moved on, and so have we. The world has come to greet us with fanfare, and so have our actions. We enter adulthood with fear and trembling, but with an unmitigated sense of excitement.
In The Name Of Homo Sapiens
Let’s focus on the other part of the sacrifice, life on earth.
Life on earth has suffered in our wake. Our cohabitation has not been good for them. We’ve subjected all living creatures to our whim, an energetic, enthusiastic, childish impulse to entertain ourselves, the rambunctiousness of which is matched by our inventiveness.
Call it a zesty onslaught, driven by an impish lack of consideration for our surroundings. Like kids on the loose, we show little regard for the repercussions of our actions, focusing our energy on what we’re good at, leaving the worrying for later. The aim is to play, have fun, win and feel good about ourselves. We want to prevail, act like the honchos we are, the top player and predator.
Like the kids we are (deep inside those predatory instincts, immature and inconsiderate of others, ignorant of the big picture), we pulled it off. We crunched our way through the years, developing at the expense of everything around us, and no one can blame us for it. We did what we did because we were growing up, learning how to incorporate ourselves to the world, finding our way through the maze of possibilities. We had no one to teach us the ropes so we taught ourselves, learning how to make omelets by breaking plenty of eggs and cutting up plenty of chickens, making a right mess out of things.
The problem was that with no supervisors to guide us, we broke an egg too many. We killed countless creatures, a true holocaust, and here we are!
It might have been worth it, all of it, had we attained a perfect understanding of life in the process. Life is harsh, we survived, what more can we say?
But we’re nowhere near to understanding the bigger picture. We have little idea of how things work, and that is evident in the way we apply ourselves. Our surrounding environment still suffers. We abuse it like always, as if we’ve learned nothing.
What does this mean in practical terms? Let’s see. Fact is, we rule supreme over life on earth. Be it conscious and deliberate or unintended and consequential, our dominion is undeniable, and so is the collateral damage we inflict on our surroundings, both to its detriment and ours. No matter how one looks at it, one can’t deny that we have:
- Razed a vast area of forest, tampering with the planet’s ability to process CO2 and regulate climate.
- Saturated the oceans and soil with non-bio-degradable material, tainting the planet’s natural infrastructure.
- Developed an industry that stacks “farm” animals in cage superstructures, in their millions, in brutal conditions, so that the voracious human appetite may be fed.
- Subjected “lab” animals to an array of torturous procedures in order to test drugs, cosmetic products, and every conceivable element we apply to our lives.
- Annihilated ecosystems en masse by our actions, making way for new projects, developments, cities and technological infrastructure.
Humanity advances like a tsunami… on which billions of jaws are attached
The picture is clear. Humanity advances like a tsunami. It blasts through everything it comes in contact with, followed by smaller waves on which billions of jaws are attached, devouring life so that humanity may be grow into an adult species.
See what I mean about growth?
Know Thyself (Oh my God! What’s going on? Are we the bad guys?)
Staring in the mirror and finding out that we’re a vicious lawnmower isn’t much to be proud of. It’s horrendous, de-spiriting, and leagues away from the ideal image we’d devised for ourselves.
So why reveal it? We could just as well hide it, pretend we never saw it, never realized. Just stick to the mythology of noble humanity, and paint our existence romantic and benevolent, like we’ve been taught to, and feel good about ourselves, and
But it’s not that simple. We can’t hide from the facts anymore. We need to face reality. Like it or not, our voracious feast is an undeniable and indisputable phenomenon, to which all the numbers and data testify. Let’s acknowledge it, and fast, so that we may start looking for solutions. No use complaining about the narrow-mindedness of fanatical religion, or the callousness of corporations and their special interests, if we insist on overlooking the biggest dogma of them all: Homo Sapiens, the Despot. The Tumor. The Disease.
I mean, if we’re going to be sapient, let’s get serious.
Spin Doctor, signing out. For now.
Related article – Being Human: A Thought Experiment