It’s been said that if humanity (and the world, since it is within our power to destroy) is to survive, it will take a sudden mass evolutionary leap in human consciousness. Yesterday I wrote a post about hiking, and received lots (for me at least) of likes and follows in response. I’ve spent the morning perusing the blogs of their authors and it is heartening. These are, by and large, people of goodwill, people who love nature and are walking a gentle path.
I’ve often thought that there are two species of human that now exist. On the one hand, there are the kind, the thoughtful, the benevolent, the respectful, while on the other are the vile, the vicious, the unfeeling and the self-centered. Of course there are shades in between, but that’s sort of how I’ve pictured it. The latter, due to their more aggressive nature, seem to dominate, however. Sometimes when I think of them I imagine them as an alien species from another planet, so different do we think. In SciFi literature, the Morlocks and the Eloi of H.G. Wells futuristic The Time Machine is an example of this disparity taken to it’s logical conclusion.
Chimpanzees, are said to be between 95% and 99% identical to us genetically, making them our closest living relatives. Yet they, too, have two camps. The Common Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, on one side of the Congo river, and the Bonobo, Pan paniscus, on the other. The Common Chimp is an aggressive ape that lives an often harsh, violent life, while the Bonobo is much more peaceful. It’s not unlike the major right/left political divisions between homo spaiens. Some speculate that it was similarly between Neanderthal man and the Cro-Magnons, both hominids that lived concurrently. Personally, I don’t identify with either chimp group as I find both the violence of the Common and the excessive promiscuity of the Bonobo equally objectionable. Well, almost. I would lean more toward the Bonobo.
What is the point of all of this? Just this: the human race is inflicting a lot of harm on the world and other species today (see my links on the bottom right); I hope that that evolutionary leap is underway. There’s not a lot of time left for us to get our acts together.