the dreaming tree

in restless dreams i walk alone…

Humanity and Intellectual Evolution… March 1, 2008

I posted a quote in the comments of my u4prez profile the other day —

~ “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein…

To which I received the following response from a fellow u4prezzer ~

“Without evolution (I mean in the physical sense), technology will always outstrip humanity.

I hear arguments all the time that we’ve evolved intellectually. Not when you look at the basic chemistry of the brain. It hasn’t evolved in millennia. Filling up your head with information still doesn’t negate the fact that we use a tiny portion of our brains. Our basic instincts still dominate a goodly portion of our actions. Those instincts (fight, flee, protect what’s yours, kill those who enter your territory) will always be there, but if we allowed evolution to take its course; those instincts might become far less dominant.

Those ancient instincts are what motivates people to have thirteen children when they can’t even take care of one. We cannot save everyone, and when we try we usurp nature. Homosapiens didn’t become dominant because they were the biggest and strongest. They became dominant because they evolved in their brains; developed cunning among other things.

There is a difference between being compassionate, and being a slave to every cause that comes along. Which is more compassionate; letting natural selection take its course, or in trying to save every human now alive so that they can live for 100 years? Most would argue that it’s the latter, but that’s using your heart instead of your head.”

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about this, almost obsessively… The fact of the matter is this: on one hand, I am what could be called a “strong democrat” – in truth, I’m barely one point shy of being a card-carrying socialist. I genuinely believe that the measure of our humanity is a direct result of our ability to have compassion for our fellow man. I believe that in helping others we have the power to make the world a better place. Call me naive, if you must – but I’m not. I am well aware of the dark side of human nature – as I have become well-acquainted with the darkness within myself. But, as they say – anything is possible. However, it has occurred to me, in thinking this over, that perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps this messiah-complex that some of us have is responsible for the stunted evolution of our minds… Survival of the fittest, natural selection, and all of that. Logically speaking – if we simply left the hungry to starve, and victims of mass genocide to be slaughtered – the remainder would be those who were smarter, quicker, more cunning, etc. Natural selection is the process that allows evolution to occur… And so – by being me – with my “save the world” ideals and big ideas – am I instead, essentially killing the future of mankind? A bit dramatic, I’m sure… but… food for thought. And this, of course, is where I become entirely discombobulated. Because I can’t, in good conscience, give up those ideals. I can’t sit idly back and do nothing… And yet… everything that I believe in – on a philosophical level, is based on the idea that the abilities of the human brain are limitless, and that through evolution of the mind we can someday achieve wisdom, understanding – and yes, even peace. Two similar and yet inherently contradictory visions for the future – both existing inside my one little brain. And I simply don’t know how to feel about it. However, if our current president is any indication of the future of mankind devoid of evolution, perhaps that should be my first clue. Any genuine insight would be nice… Unfortunately, I think that this is one of those questions – you know, the ones about life, the universe, and everything – that I just won’t get a decipherable answer to in my lifetime.

Incidentally – Einstein theorized that if we could ever gain full use of our brains, rather than using just a minuscule percentage of them – we would have no need for physical bodies at all – we would exist purely as energy… (But what in the hell would I do as a ball of energy?)

my question then is this ~ since, in order for evolution to occur, we must have a need to evolve – which we don’t… do we do something to create that need and move towards evolution? or do we, instead, keep going on as we have been, and wait for some apocalyptic occurrence to happen, making all of our technology useless and narrowing down the playing field, so to speak? i’ve been thinking of all of the movies and books in the last couple of decades that revolve around that idea, in some form ~ stephen king’s the stand, waterworld, the postman, 28 days later, dawn of the dead, the day after tomorrow, i am legend, some new movie coming out that i can’t remember the name of, etc. etc. etc… and i can’t help but wonder if this obsession that we have with the “end of the world” is born from a subconscious desire to evolve…