Monday, July 4, 2011

For a while yet

Don't kid yourself: we have many tools at hand.  We have scientific investigations, many different arts, history, philosophical investigations and discussion, observation of fortuitous breaks and events, play, spoofing, satire.  Just one of the odd tools is computer simulation, a sort of combined play, theory, science and discovery.

I have read that we have brain parts that are built very much the way reptile brains are built but that we also have mammal parts to our brains and habits.  Beyond that, we have the human parts that can weigh ideas and plan.  I guess the cockroaches and the dinosaurs have lived as species much longer than we have.  Depending on the definitions and what you are looking for, current thinking in paleoanthropology dates humans starting up between 2 and 4 millions years ago.  That is a much briefer period than 150 million years for the dinosaurs or the 350 million for the cockroaches.

Yet, even though we have been here for a shorter time, I wouldn't bet against the continuation and survival of the humans.  True, we face overpopulation, warfare, water shortage, climate change and other astronomical bodies colliding with our only accustomed planet.  But, we see those problems and are working on them.   We still have to watch out for viruses and bacteria and other small enemies.  I have no doubt that new threats will emerge but we may outwit or outlast them.  

In our current state, we may not appreciate how tough and resilient we are, not even counting our various tools.  Our good-sized life spans, our inventiveness, our ability to communicate and realization that communication pays off, our hands, our height above the ground - we still have all those valuable characteristics and they matter.  With a little luck and patience, we may last for quite a while yet.

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