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I have long felt that humans are really a failed (failing) experiment. I realize God is supposed to be infallible, but perhaps the exercise was intentional. That aspect doesn't concern me too much, because I don't believe God made us specifically (the Creation story), but that we emerged from a soup he was cooking on the universal stove.
Anyway, the idea of the happy Bonobo chimps evolving is a nice one - although ANY species evolving to the degree we have - building and inventing and growing in numbers and in its impact on the environment - is scary. Even if the starting species is peaceful and innocently hedonistic (rather than angry and war-prone, scared of everything and bent on killing anything that threatens its sovereignty, as our ancestors were - just look at their cave paintings and earliest writings).
The fact that we did get so far is why we've become a blight on the planet. We can't just "be", we had to cut down trees, domesticate animals as "livestock", dig up fuel sources and scar the earth, pave and build on every inch that struck our fancy, we even sculpted our presidents' faces into a mountain, forever changing it (and not for the better).
The ONLY thing humans have done that's benevolent and beautiful is make music. That struck me recently at a concert. I realized that the desire to make beautiful sounds is one thing we've done that's not malicious or selfish. It's perhaps borne out of wanting to embellish the natural "music" our forebears heard around them. Like birdsong or the way wind makes music through leaves or across rocks. Other than that, nope, nothing we've made or done serves anything or anyone other than ourselves, and it's always at the expense of something else.
If we saw a virus in a Petri dish behaving as we do - killing and turning adjacent cells into slaves or eating them outright, leaving our waste everywhere and choking out all the surrounding cells - we'd have scientists working 'round the clock to come up with something to kill it. The president would order them to come up with a cure and a vaccine to make sure nobody ever contracted such a horrible disease again.
The planet will eventually rid itself of us, either through a disease that works so fast we can't fight it, or a series of natural disasters. I hope that happens before we wipe ourselves out with nuclear weapons, because in the latter scenario, animals and plants and much of the planet will also be decimated - and some humans would survive - perhaps enough to rebuild. Better to wipe the slate clean and let the earth just "be" for a while. Can you imagine this planet with no hum of electricity, no cars or planes or any noise from us? Just wind and birds and the sound of the ocean lapping at the shores? I feel so happy whenever I imagine it.
Go on to: Comments by Dana - 4 Jul 2009
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