So aboriginal Afirans, Austrailians, Inuits etc. are living "in the muck", I'm not sure what that phrase is supposed to mean but whats wrong with a
It's a figure of speech to describe conditions where one is living with no barrier between the elements, natural predation, using no tools, creating
no art, experiencing no comfort and so having no time to think about anything more than survival. Art, philosophy, music, these are luxuries that can
be afforded by very few animals indeed. They have value, and we should seek to preserve the small measure of comfort that allows us to experience the
range of experience our intellect allows us.
The amazing thing is that we have paid a stiff penalty to get this far, but we now have the means to put a stop to many of our more destructive
behaviors, while still realizing the benefits of them. Examples being inefficient fishing methods (lines and spears), replaced by industry-driven
overfishing (drag nets), replaced by renewable, controlled sources (fish in a barrel). Ineffficient farming (hoes and wooden hand-plows), replaced by
dead soil created by overfarming, replaced by renewable, low-impact methods with higher yield (hydroponics). An inability to move quickly across the
terrain to escape natural disasters, replaced by fast vehicles that produce toxic emissions, replaced by fast and clean vehicles. Do you see where
I'm going with this?
We are within a hair's breadth of destroying Eden, but the ingenuity we've so sorely abused has given us a chance at salvation. Not only can we
stop doing so much damage, bringing our impact down to levels not seen in probably millions of years, we can even reverse some of the damage already
People like to think of technology in one of two ways - the destroyer of all that is good, or the creator of all that is good. I think it's both -
depending entirely on how we see fit to use it.
I firmly believe that humanity has never been closer to salvation and damnation than we are in this age - this moment.
Its a very sensible, productive and environmentally friendly way to live.
What's sensible about it? Why would anyone give up a longer lifespan, more comfort, adequate food, entertainment, and all the rest, and for what?
Spend a month eating grubs out of rotten logs, chasing after squirrels in a loincloth, getting swarmed by gnats in the swamp, and let me know if you
wouldn't rather be a responsible user of technology, rather than throw it all away for the noble dream of living like the animals we eat.
I don't think man is inherently superior to the animals. We've fought hard to get here, we've suffered a lot. We've paid for our progress with
blood enough to fill the Atlantic basin. Why on earth would we want to give Prometheus back his gift now that we've paid for it a hundred times
over? I can't understand that anymore than I can understand why we seem so intent on killing ourselves with it!
What's productive about it? Human history didn't begin, for all intents and purposes, until people stopped living the life of the hunter-gatherer.
We don't know a thing about the cultures that preceeded agriculture and city-building (for the most part), because they didn't keep records, they
rarely created art, they made no lasting structures and they left no legacy. There is something noble about that, I agree, but there's also
something very foolish, and more importantly, very SELFISH. We humans benefit from the mistakes and triumphs of our forefathers, that's the benefit
of living in a community that remembers the past. We can learn from our mistakes. The fact that we choose not to do so as often as not is an
entirely different matter that's in no way connected to the current discussion.
And how, exactly, is it environmentally friendly? Wood/charcoal cooking fires are no better than cars, and hunter-gatherers ushered an untold number
of species into extinction to support a growing population, before mankind realized it didn't have to follow the herds around in circles, but could
stay in one place and harvest cereal grains and fruits and vegetables year after year - not to mention animal husbandry.
I ask these questions because it seems to me that human beings struggled for a very long time to get where we are today. Just because we're screwing
it all up and misusing beneficial technologies left and right is no reason to become a Luddite.
Fix the behavior of the guy with the hammer, if he's using it improperly, don't take away the hammer or worse yet, destroy it - especially when
there are plenty of people who know how to use the damn thing with a modicum of responsibility!
It's not my intention to berate you or attack you - I hope you can agree that reasonable men can disagree without it becoming a fight.
In fact, if I understand your points correctly, I used to think a lot like you do. I wanted to throw off the golden shackles of civilization and head
for the hills. I see now, though, that it's not an all or nothing affair. Our choices are not limited to a.) destroy technology or b.) get
destroyed by it.
We can be stewards of this planet without destroying it or giving up the advancements that have raised us up.
Before you say we haven't been raised up, show me a dolphin who has broken the bonds of gravity and seen the stars clearly. Show me an elephant that
can tamper with the threads of creation in a lab, splicing traits from some animals into others. Show me a chimpanzee that can communicate instantly
with billions of other chimpanzees across a vast network of light and electricity that spans the globe.
We're on the brink my friend, we can run away from it in abject terror, fling ourselves off of it in desperation, or we can back up slowly, with
purpose, stand at a safe distance, and admire the majestic view.