My experience has taught me (not without pain) that it is more likely, than not, that people are obnoxious, arrogant, mentally lazy, aggressive, cruel, and above all – stupid. We are not the gloriously, noble creatures that are usually presented in TV serials like StarTrek! Most humans eat too much, talk too much, and do not nearly think enough of what the consequences of their actions are (I am not excluding myself either!). We have completely overpopulated the earth, and we continue with our daily lives as if there will be no consequences, or implications, no payday! Well, big cities can nowadays at least boast virulent wildlife – that is, they are full of party-animals, the emptiest of empty humans!
Culture? Culture is socially learned patterns of behaviour. In human terms, you can say culture is the manmade part of our environment. The word ‘culture’ comes from the Latin root colere (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honour). In general, it refers to human activity; different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing, human activity. Anthropologists use the term to refer to the universal human capacity to classify experiences, and to encode and communicate them symbolically. They regard this capacity as a defining feature of the genus Homo.
Because our species chose to rape Mother Earth, are we mentally better equipped to live, and survive, in our natural environment than for example apes (and especially pongids)?
Apes do not outstrip their resources knowingly, and then have to rely on, sometimes-destructive technologies to save their bacon (figuratively speaking). They live, and survive, in balance with Mother Earth. In good times, apes flourish and procreate and in hard times, they endeavour to endure and expire.
Yes, we should regard earth as our Ultimate Mother (like many ancients did and some still do) and not as a possession of ours to be misused, and mistreated, in any way we see, or feel, fit to. We are not the ‘masters and possessors of Nature’ as Descartes wanted us to believe.
There are people like the British physicist James Lovelock (1919- ), the controversial, and much maligned, author of the books Gaia, and The Ages of Gaia, and his views on Gaia, for example. His work is highly recommendable, though people like him are very much in the minority. He is an excellent mapmaker of reality.
Our science and Technology does affect our Mother Earth’s wellbeing! Therefore, I listen with growing concern, and fear, to some influential people and their views on aspects that concerns us all. I most of all fear human specialists generalising. To me that is possibly humanity’s greatest threat!
For example, there are people like the late Heinz Pagels (1939-1988), an American nuclear physicist, in his book The Cosmic Code (1986). While studying subatomic particles of all things, he then haughtily extrapolates his conclusions to make comments on life, and ‘God’. He ‘did not find God among subatomic particles’! Thus, according to him, there is no God! (Pagels, 1986:320.)
The Australian physicist and author Paul Davies (1983: vii) wrote in his book God and the New Physics (1983) the following: ‘Over fifty years ago something strange happened in physical science. Bizarre and stunning new ideas about space and time, mind, and matter [Mind? How did physical theories influence theories on mind?], erupted among the scientific community.
“Only now are these ideas beginning to reach the general public. Concepts that have intrigued and inspired physicists themselves for two generations are at last gaining the attention of ordinary people [physicists are extraordinary – ‘gods’.], who never suspected that a major revolution in human thought had occurred [Really? It rather sounds like the thoughts of physicists! There is a difference; there are other types of humans too!]. The new physics has come of age.”
Davies has probably never heard of the American meteorologist Edward Lorenz (1917- ), although he certainly must at least have heard about the Lorenz Attractor. It is the same Edward Lorenz, who asked, “Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”
The Lorenz Attractor is a solution to a set of differential equations that displays some rather remarkable behaviour and represents one of the landmarks in the field of Chaos (see Chaos, Gleick, 1998). Lorenz was looking for a way to model the action of the chaotic behaviour of the gaseous system. He took a few ‘Navier-Stokes’ equations, from fluid dynamics. The equations describe the 2-dimensional flow of fluid in a simple rectangular box, which is heated along the bottom. This simple model was intended to simulate medium-scale atmospheric convection.
However, that is not all; Davies (1983: vii- viii) continues as follows: “In giving lectures and talks on modern physics I have discerned a growing feeling that fundamental physics is pointing the way to a new appreciation of man and his place in the universe [Really? Physicality is now equated with spirituality and physics has become religion!].
“Deep questions of existence – How did the universe begin and how will it end? [Physical science cannot even predict tomorrow’s weather – well, not most of the time!] What is matter? What is mind? [Well, what IS mind, Professor Davies?] – are not new.
“What is new is that we may at last be on the verge of answering them [Ha, ha, ha!]. This astonishing prospect stems from some spectacular recent advances in physical science – not only the new physics, but its close relative, the new cosmology [What else?].”
If this is not unadulterated arrogance (bull excrement), what is? Pagels has not found ‘God’ among subatomic particles and Davies has found ‘mind’ among the stars! Well, please do not drink (alcohol!) and practice physics simultaneously!