The State of Our Species
Modern humanity risks eventual extinction from any number of causes, but the most likely will arise from a failure to manage our limited resources, or to intentionally destroy each other. Are we the next dinosaurs? Are we the next inhabitants of earth to prove unable to sustain our species and civilization?
Most scientists believe that the dinosaurs went extinct because of an environmentally catastrophic meteor strike (or volcanic event) about 65 million years ago. Clearly, it was asking much of Stegosaurus and Velociraptor to overcome a large meteor strike, but with our technology, humans may actually have a fighting chance when confronted with the same risk.
However, while dinosaurs thrived for well over a hundred million years, anatomically modern humans have only existed for about 200,000 years, and modern civilization only 10,000-20,000 years, an infinitesimal part (0.00004444%) of the Earth’s total 4.5 billion year existence. So at this time, despite our advances, we have another hundred million years or so to approach the dinosaurs’ longevity. Imagine how far we could progress if we were to last that long?
Moreover, based on our current conduct towards one another, our largest risk may not be from outside this world. Modern humanity’s greatest risk may live within our very nature, our unquenchable and incurable need to dominate one another. Throughout our entire existence, for whatever reason, we have always waged war and conquered lands and people. This natural aggression probably served us well when faced with a true survival of the fittest scenario, but would we not now be better served by the advancement of the fittest, supporting the survival of all?
Our world is a complex place, but the future is now, and it isn’t very pretty. Every day I read about new abominable conduct and senseless tragedy, and there appears no end in sight! Here are more than a few examples of grotesquely destructive, illegal, and immoral conduct that—by their sheer volume—are desensitizing our collective consciousness and reducing our outrage.
The Mother of All Rants – When Did It Become OK:
- To intentionally fire rockets into residential neighborhoods? No matter your grievance, this will clearly not solve it!
- To isolate, restrict, and blockade 1.8m people in a desert roughly twice the size of Manhattan?
- To respond to rockets fired at you in a hugely disproportionate and destructive way, willingly killing hundreds of innocent women and children?
- To negligently shoot down a civilian jet, killing hundreds of innocent people, without confirmation of the target?
- For police to choke a custodial suspect of petty crime to death? And make no effort to revive?
- To walk into a public building and indiscriminately strafe and kill strangers with an automatic assault weapon? (Apparently this is OK in the U.S. every week!)
- To argue over blocking and returning illegal immigrant children without FIRST taking care of the CHILDREN?
- To selectively ignore theÂ Rule of Law, Sovereignty, and basic Human Rights? (Invasion of Iraq, CIA Torture, Russian annexation of Crimea, undermining Ukraine)
- To force your religious views on others? (ISIS FatwÄ requiring female genital mutilation, Sudan death sentence for Apostasy)
- To kidnap and force marriage on hundreds of young girls…Boko Haram in Nigeria?
- To commit gang rape all over India, on occasion causing death!!
- To commit Honor killings of your daughters throughout parts of the Islamicmic world….for whatever reason!!!!!
- For a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice to regularly; and openly attend extremist political events? (NY Times: Justices Scalia & Thomas at Koch’s Retreat)
- To adjudicate that corporations are people to enable unlimited political corruption? (Citizens United)
- For a minority political party to prevent all legislative progress.
- To value selfishness and profit over charity and the greater good? (U.S. Republicans)
- To support Capital Punishment in any form, never mind botch it on regular basis!
- For prolific application of Solitary Confinement, often for decades?
- To incarcerate almost 1% of your country’s population? The land of the free has the highest incarceration rate in the world, consisting mostly of non-violent offenders!
All of this conduct is routinely declared “unacceptable,” but we regularly continue to accept it. For how long? When is enough enough? When are we all finally going to accept that for Homo sapiens to survive, we MUST work together to sustain our species? Just where is our civilization going? Have we lost all compassion for one another? Do we not all wake up everyday asking, “how can I contribute to the overall good?” And if not, when did it become acceptable to begin your day with any other thought?
Of course, hard work, commitment, innovation, and industryÂ requireÂ reward; but not at the price of environmental destruction nor theÂ abandonment of the less capable or fortunate. As we’re heading now, our local and global internecine disputes may relegate humanity to nothing more than a quick blink of biological happenstance.
Mark G Capolupo