Darwin, and the Evolution of Civilization
edited: Thursday, February 22, 2007
By Brock A. Shaver
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, February 22, 2007
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We are an evolved species. But what has really evolved in us? Evolution is a positive adaptation to one's environment. But we have altered our own human environment, and adapted to ourselves. Do we understand what we have done to us?
Watching a nature program on TV, it is fascinating how modern, civilized humans are so different for their forebears.
Our contact with non-human life is so sparse. It reflects the evolution of mind culture, civilization. We have now created a society that isolates the human so completely from Nature, animals, plants, natural life planted and born, our life and death with them, that generations have now past, fading the memory of how far humans have come in creating this artificial, human environment. Numbers, through money, business and science divides up our lives, isolates workers in their cubicles, stores, and factory machine station. We live a manufactured and purchased life. And we think it is normal.
Worse, we think that it is a positive thing. Look at the comfort, security, and pain-free existence that we live. It is incredible. Who wants to be a hunter/gatherer when you have this feast? Who wants to live as peasants under abusive aristocrats? We have solved so many hierarchical and physical problems, why question all these positives?
We are a mind culture. We have built this environment from the knowledge we have gained, not the wisdom we had. We have evolved and adapted to this new environment we had created. Charles Darwin would recognize the pattern. Too bad it will destroy the real human habitat that makes our illusions believe we are in control of our security.
Darwin has been translated into 'social Darwinism,' where the savagery and survival-of-the-fittest has justified capitalism's competitive mantra. And it supports religion's view that humans are the center of the conscious universe. Everything else can be treated as inert matter, including the life of animals and plants. Nothing deserves respect like the reverence we give to human life. We are special.
Our human-centeredness is going to destroy us. And we are defenseless to stop it. We believe we are the pinnacle of evolution, the food chain, of existence itself. Atheists may claim that we are ultimately just dust like everything else. But they live like everyone else does, with the same effect. It is the thrust of 6 billion human efforts to survive and live life to its ultimate. We have no choice. And we are not aware what our attitude and actions concerning ourselves is actually doing to us. The positive evolution and adaptation to the effects of mounting knowledge will lead to our extinction. We are addicts to our dependence on our artificial survival system. And no one is paying attention. We think it is 'natural,' the natural evolution of humans, when it is really the evolution of the human addicted to the mind and knowledge.
Even if we can conceptualize what I've just said, there is little we as individuals can do. The problem is too huge. It involves the weaknesses of 6 billion humans.
Darwin applies. Let's see how the next adaptation goes for the civilized human.