Tag Archives: environmental issues

Sapiens – Where are we headed?

The last couple of days, I have been reading Prof. Harari’s book, Sapiens. The book has a bold agenda: to hold the history of mankind within mere hundreds of pages. From my reading so far I feel it is a great narrative.

The trigger for my interest in human history rose with the recent policy changes in the company with respect to timings and food, etc. It is amazing how corporations can change rules without the consent of the majority/any of employees. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that private companies are merely tools of profit-making. We are living in a capitalist world where profit-making drives our economy. So much so that it has had detrimental effect on the society time and again. That got me to thinking, what are world leaders and thinkers thinking about capitalism: where does it stand today? Are we gonna move away from the clutches of capitalism anytime soon? Are there any alternatives for the global socio-politico-economic system?

In general, when we seek answers, we look back in the past for explanations. That seemed like the natural course for me too. I had been watching multiple videos on Youtube, which led me to Prof. Harari.

From my reading so far, my key takeaways have been:

  1. There are no fixed natural rules that apply to man/Sapiens – I have often heard how men are meant to be polygamous by nature. It is not true. Homo sapiens have evolved across multiple continents, in various tribes and bands. They have evolved in multiple ways where each chose a way of living, a culture to co-exist together. These variations are so many that we cannot possibly posit that there are only certain (right/natural) behaviors that a man can exhibit.
  2. Human beings have had detrimental effect on biological ecosystem even in ancient history, so the 19th-21st century mankind are not the only generation to be blamed for climate change or diminishing flora and fauna. If Harari is to be believed, humans had a distinctive role to play in the extinction of the Australian megafauna, which contained many marsupials that are not walking the continent today. Similar was the case in America
  3. It is our stories that has made mankind the potent super species in the world – The day human beings started to spin stories (which might have started as gossip between two people) is the day when humans rose from just another species in the ecosystem to a formidable one. You don’t expect a dog to talk behind another dog. Or, tell tales about some god that has a dog’s body (and maybe a human face?). That is because probably man is the only one who can create imagined reality. It is this quality that drives millions of men and women to fight for a common cause and create a big impact. Imagine any other species being able to do so; it will be utter chaos.

While I feel proud that for humankind, (I am someone who is a strong proponent of science and technology), I cannot but feel sorry for what we have done to this Earth. Today, we are worried about AI and robots rupturing economies taking away jobs. We are making fast progress in making our machines smarter, to the point that we don’t know how it will affect us in the next 20 years. When I think about it, I see a clear parallel in what happened in the world thousands of years ago as Homo sapiens came to rule to planet. Human beings got smarter than any of the living creatures on Earth, and the ecosystem had no time to adjust itself to the same. Similarly, we are on a fast track of development and we probably have no control over what our creations will do to us in the recent future.

As scary as the future is, I am glad I was born in a time that will evidence this change. I am proud of what we have achieved and what we can achieve more, and I hope that a large part of it will go towards undoing all the bad things we have done to the Earth.

What do you think? Does the future scare you? Are you glad you are living on the Earth in this century? If given a chance, which time period in history would you like to be born in?

Until later,

What have we done to each other?

The barren Earth, with its greys and browns, devoid of greens, looked at the tiny human beings swarming across her body. Her eyes were full of pain and a sense of helpless hatred. As the mother, she was supposed to protect her children: the plants, the animals and the men alike. Yet, millions of years after holding the first life form, she was now steadily walking towards Annihilation. When did the men become so powerful that they started poking bigger and bigger wounds on her flesh?

The first time human beings made the primitive wheel, Earth was amused. She was proud of the humans – or pro-humans, at the time. This species seemed to have an intelligence that allowed it to not depend on Earth for its own amusements – its was an independent species that required little motherly care, except the bare necessities. So Earth paid more attention to the other species. Some of the older species she slowly eradicated, bringing its their place stronger, more beautiful, more powerful species.

By the time she woke up to the dangers that human beings posed, it was already too late. The air and the seas were toxic. The forests were cut down. Sadly, nobody in Earth’s creative world was able to challenge the superiority of the humans. Earth grew more and more desperate with each passing year/

In her desperate attempts to control the disease, started the storms and the droughts and the epidemics, hoping the humans would read into the signs. They did. Some of the smart men and women did read into it. But sadly, these men were few in number and their powers were limited. They spoke to their fellow humans, urging them, reasoning with them, bickering with them to understand what they had done to Earth. Earth listened to their demonstrations with a furiously beating heart, hoping something would change.

But, as the great Creator had once told Earth, “Beware of beauty, O Earth! For what makes you beautiful, will one day cause your downfall. Everything that you do to undo it will fall short.”

So now, Earth sat silently, counting the days of Annihilation. She wondered what would the last day be like, the last day when she would not have to be mother anymore. Would the gravitational pull cease to exist? Or would she miss her path and straight fall into the burning sun? Or would it be nothing as dramatic, but only humans trying out another of their lethal weapons, wiping out entire life system?