Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Erratic Consistency

Having been off the grid so to speak for a week or so, now that I am back, I wondered what may have happened during my absence that may even be worth commenting on.  .............................

...........................Well, not much it seems.  The planet still spins with erratic consistency as it always has.  And contrary to the notion that we do not get along, humans continue to mesh together as well as could be expected.  So I guess I did not miss much.

Sure, there are still many places where we insist on ruining each other's day.  But that has been part and parcel of our collective experience from the first moment one cave clan encountered another cave clan.  Nothing new there.  Barring any world wide event or series of events, I don't see much changing in the near future.  We will continue to stumble our way towards the next millennium, each day increasing the odds that some future day will be our last day.  It would seem logical given the historical rise and fall of the critters that preceded us.  So far,  every top of the food chain prehistoric creature has worn out its welcome.  It would be terribly presumptuous of us to think we could beat this historical reality.


And with my second cup of coffee this AM, a leap of logic or maybe I just tripped over a tangent, but the notion of Sentience found its way to the top of the shit pile in my mind.

I thought about sentience for several minutes before I asked Wiki their opinion.  That many more intelligent minds than mine have been able to qualify, quantify, and then supply a definition much more substantial and intricate than my own feeble thoughts on the definition of sentience was I expected.  I have had many years to get used to my second banana brain.

I was not surprised though that the concept of sentience is another of those ego building notions thought up to justify our position as the species most likely to succeed.  Another rationale or excuse for the things we do to the other living things not blessed with opposable thumbs and the ability to understand the subtle nuances of "The Wives of Orange County".  Another excuse to assuage any guilt for the exploitation of the planet we exist on.  That somehow since we can reason, we have the right to do what we want to those we deem less than sentient.  It is no wonder then that depending on how much our heart bleeds, our definition of it changes.  Sort of like our views on religion, politics, and any other human action that means someone wins by making someone else lose.

Before this post becomes a condemnation of what we are, what we have done, and what we will or might do in the future, I would say that I actually think we are not a terrible species.  About average I would say.  Which delegates us as just another group of animals trying to get by the best that they can.

Certainly we exploit the resources around us.  Certainly we destroy or damage the eco-existence of other living things in our quest to survive.  That is the natural way of things.  Most every living thing does that.  But to our credit, within our collective conscience, more of us have begun to understand that our longer term survival depends more on stewardship of the planet, than the mindless exploitation that has worked so far.   Instinct is slowly being supplanted by Reason.

My only question is - Is this realization too little, too late?

Keep it 'tween the ditches..................................


PipeTobacco said...


I enjoyed greatly your essay and its biological theme. You may find it interesting to hear some of the biologically relevant "notions" or ideas that are discussed relative to the topic you mention about humans being either "exploiters" or "stewards" of the planet.

In some biological circles the idea of us being "exploiters" keeps us in-line or on-par with any other organism on the planet. The idea is that each and every organism is in a constant struggle for survival. It just happens that at this particular moment, we humans are perhaps better able to exploit resources than many other species.

But, the rub is that that as the environment changes, our "kingmanship" in exploiting the resources may go out the window. For example, if our population gets too large, the environment may alter enough to prevent us from producing adequate food for our survival. Or, our excess use of energy may put too much carbon in the environment... perhaps making our survival less certain and making the planet better suited for a different competitor... perhaps for example an algae.

On the other hand, the idea of us being "stewards", while at one level can be thought of as noble and nice and kind, etc.... in some biological circles it is coined "enslavement". The idea is that as stewards we will "manage" other species even more than we already do to fit our needs.

I am not saying that either of the above notions are wholly right or wholly wrong. I was just giving you some food for thought about these very interesting ideas.


The Blog Fodder said...

There is the conundrum. Either we are just another species blindly using resources to our selfish benefit, no different from whales, wolves or spruce trees and are no more responsible for any other species than they are for us.

Or we are superior to all of the other species and therefore owe them some responsible action on our part not to destroy them or the world we live in.

Can't have it both ways, in spite of the tree huggers who claim we are just another species but need to look after all the rest without "enslaving" them.

BBC said...

A lot of loggers hate it but there are limits to what they can cut down over here.

Result: I'm surrounded by trees, many that could and should be culled.

MRMacrum said...

Pipe - Your points are well made. We are possibly our own worse enemies now that we are closing in on 7 billion souls. Our problem is we have nowhere to migrate to should we use up the resouces we need to survive. I see our future unfolding in one of three ways. We either learn to maintain a viable self sustaining culture or we move to another planet. Other than that, we fade away sooner than later.

Should we blow it, the planet will continue to evolve and something new will end up top dog.

Blog Fodder - WHat i see happening, even though it is not by choice, we are being forced to be more responsible as the essntial resources we have taken for granted are being depleted. At least now we are beginning to smarten up about renewable resources and learning to maximize the yields we get.

BBC - I am in Maine. There is more forest now than there was 100 years ago. The damn trees grow like weeds here. 30 years ago, there was a small field of maybe 10 acres at the end of Sam Page I could look out over it down into a small valley. White pine moved in on its own and now the trees are pushing 30 feet tall.

Wild life re-introduction has filled the woods with turkeys, various types of ducks, and Salmon are once again making yearly trips up several rivers to spawn. The state,s wild lands are in better shape than they have been in a 100 years.

I have no problem with logging as long as we do it with as little impact as possible.

Demeur said...

Unlike other animals we tend to take more than what is necessary for our survival. Things may be peachy in your part of the woods but with an ever expanding population other areas aren't fairing as well. We may have made great progress with some of our trees and wild life but on the whole we continue to poison the rest of the planet. Only time will tell when there is a tipping point. As we all know or should know you can only fit five pounds of manure in a five pound bag. Ten pounds won't fit. Yet we continue to over populate this limited size bag.