In defense of my species
Hello dear Bicycle Buddhistas – apologies for my sparseness in posting over the past few months. Simply being at Upaya, plus preparing for jukai, has been mopping up all my “free” time. I vow to get back to semi-regular blogging soon. But for the moment, here’s a piece i wrote for a nifty project called Global Chorus. Enjoy! And comment, if you will. Please and thank you for your patience. -Carmen
I have had it with people shit-talking my species.
Listen up: humans are no more greedy or evil than any other critter. Just like dogs or whales or paramecia or tomato plants, we just want to be warm, well-fed, and well-laid. In a word, we want to be ‘happy’. Most especially we want to get laid, because we are motivated to perpetuate our precious DNA above all. This is hard-wired survival instinct, and to this end, like all animals, we will tend to feed and breed until our population reaches carrying capacity—at which point, we execute a dramatic mass die-off, and the cycle begins again.
It’s not a very pretty pattern, and we’re not more worthy of survival than any other beast—but. Neither are we execrable slime who ‘deserve’ to be wiped from the planet.
In spite of our careless behavior we mean well, and even when we act just as crudely as our fellow carbon-based life-forms, heaping insults on poor homo sapiens will not help to address the perilous global situation.
We hairless primates are unique among animals in this: we have the capacity to act for the greater good, even if such actions might be painful or inconvenient. We have somehow managed to develop these huge frontal lobes, and in the face of the next great wave of extinction, we might just be able to use them to override self-destructive animal behavior. We are starting to reject the ancient biological imperative to care only about our own blood and tribe. We are shutting down nuclear plants, feeding hungry strangers, and deciding to take a pass on procreation. That’s a new thing. You won’t see dogs or amoebas doing that.
We are very clever critters indeed, and I figure, if we were smart enough to get ourselves into this mess then we might be smart enough to get us out of it. What are the odds? Who knows? The odds of a fish crawling out of the ocean were pretty slim too. But there is no time to be wasted in working out the numbers—we either do something, or we do nothing. The Doing Something camp is where the most fun people seem to be hanging out.
So I say, let’s shake off the ashes of species-self-loathing and get our collective ass in gear. It is time to stand by our species.
Image by Barabente, borrowed from www.fromquarkstoquasars.com