"Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Pondering Human Intelligence
That dot is Earth!
One of the ideas that I have toyed
around with for years is the philosophical question as to whether
Homo sapiens are a true intelligent species. My overall point
being that most animals have enough sense not to crap in their homes,
fight to the death, or practice fanatical or fantastical beliefs when
there is no evidence to support them. Yes, I know some exceptions
exist, such as chimps who have shown disturbing human-like behavior
such as organized group warfare and murder.
If humans were truly intelligent it
seems to me that we wouldn't totally trash the planet for resources
nor destroy whole ecosystems for short term gain. But yet we are
still doing both of those things all in the name of capitalistic
profit even though we have ample information that those practices
cannot go on for much longer. For Americans, water shortages are a
relative minor pain in the ass that stop us from washing our cars or
filling the backyard pools. In many regions of the world there is a
real possibility that countries might have to go to war in the
decades ahead to secure enough water for basic existence. And as for
ecosystems, the world's oceans were once thought to be inexhaustible,
but some species of fish are now commercially extinct because of
decades of industrial scale fishing.
Nor would humans instinctively divide
the planet into competing ant hills. Yes, world government is foolish
wish given that our species can't really shed our primitive tribalist
tendencies. That being my whole point, evolution has forced us to
cooperate for the benefit of our individual groups but we can't seem
to connect the dots and realize our species is just one big tribe. We
gleefully divide each other into countless groups for the benefit of
economic exploitation or outright genocide. If a starship full of
intrepid alien explorers discovered our planet and after some
observations realized we had divided the planet into over two-hundred
omnipotent, self-serving nation-states the best thing they could do
would be to quietly get the hell out of Dodge before we notice them.
On the matters of faith, while numerous
religions have promoted the ideas of serving the greater good and
that all men and women are brothers and sisters, you can't ignore the
fact that many people believe that only they know the will of God.
That delusion has brought about some of the bloodiest wars in
history. Even now fanatical and self-serving devotion to various
invisible friends causes otherwise decent people to commit monstrous
actions. You would think that an intelligent species might be able to
realize that if some A-hole religious leader commands his followers
to kill their neighbors because that is what God commands, they wound
just find a new holy man.
I was raised Christian, but the idea
that God would only let the followers of Jesus into heaven while
truly saint-like Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and countless others have to
burn in Hell because they practice a different faith is ridiculous.
While officially agnostic, I still follow what I was taught in Sunday
School as a young kid. As long as people treat each other decency and
respect and don't trash the planet, they should get their Heavenly
ticket punched. Yes, I believe that would even allows atheists and
sorry ass agnostics like me through the Pearly Gates. Screw it, not
to insult anyone but given the hypocritical and even monstrous
behaviors of supposed “holy” men and women in all faiths, if all
they have to do to wipe the slate clean is whisper a halfhearted
prayer of forgiveness to get into Heaven, otherwise decent idjits
like myself should be in like Flint.
Given my criteria on what it means to
be an intelligent species Homo sapiens pretty much fails across the
board. Yes, there are personal exceptions, but overall I tend to
agree with a character from a science fiction movie, humans are more
like viruses than mammals. No, this isn't some John Lennon-like
lament over an imagined Utopian society, our species will never
achieve such perfection.
On a personal level, what supports my
idea is that we live in a wondrous universe filled with mysteries and
intriguing possibilities but can't stop our squabbling for very long
to explore it. There are questions that beg to be answered but we
seem content to continue to crap in our home, fight to the death over
stupid shit like who has the better ant hill, and obey the commands
of delude psychopaths who believe they and God have one-on-one
Mudskippers, humans are little removed from their behavior
This is sad to write, but my one of my
few hopes is that Elon Musk succeeds in getting his dream of a
permanent human colony on Mars established. I firmly believe that in
such an alien and hostile environment where survival is the primary
concern the age-old human sins that have kept us bickering like
little mudskippers will be burned away. That over time humans would
evolve into an intelligent species, not gods by any means, but
a species that could look beyond their primitive desires and
delusions and find a worthy purpose for our existence.
Well shit, after rereading this it did
get a little John Lennon-like. Frak it, I'm getting a beer.
You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.