Tag Archives: evolution

Evolution’s Payback: My Qualms about Humanity

Taking my cues from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the following post is inspired by the misanthrope Gulliver would become.

All in all, my life as a human being has not been dull or terrible by any means. The simple fact that I can type to you and analyze myself as a living creature is enough for me to be grateful. Sadly, I cannot ignore the major evolutionary flaws passed down over the years. Given the fact that we’re a relatively new species on the planet compared to say, alligators or sharks, I will allow for a margin of error on the side of evolution. As a collective, though, comparing humans to pretty much any other animal on the planet is depressing. Why, you ask? Because we SUCK! We lost the game of genetic roulette based on the simple fact that we came into the game with every other creature having the best traits.

Prometheus and Epimetheus deciding what animals should have what traits.

I may be taking a page out of Greek mythology, but the facts are clear-humans did not have the natural ability to survive. We may have had some skills at one point, but in 2012 we have lost almost all forms of survival abilities. Like the story of Prometheus and Epimetheus, humans were left with nothing when the animals were given important traits.

My recent obsession with survival tv shows has provoked an internal struggle in me. How can humans be the top of the food chain if we can’t even survive in the wild without being close to death almost every time. Anyone outside of a developed nation understand the hardships of living off  the land, and respects Mother Nature for all her terrible/beautiful ways. Man vs. Wild/Dual Survival/Survivor Man has taught me how truly vulnerable and weak humans have become.

The following are the somewhat rhetorical questions/comments I would like to ask Mother Nature as to why she screwed our evolutionary progress.

1.)  Out of all the animals, humans have the least amount of protection from bacteria and parasites. There are so many things we can’t eat, and even if we can eat it there is no guarantee that it will still be good for us. Take for example common pork, which can lead to trichinosis, parasites, flu, and cysts. Something as simple as pork can lead to so many problems inside our bodies. Other animals have bacteria and enzymes in their body to eat what has been provided by Mother Nature. We aren’t physically prepared to handle eating in the world around us. So, I want to know why?

Great proof how evolution can help an animal survive

2.) There are parts of our body that we don’t need and haven’t needed for a long time. Animals have evolved over a short period of time (in relation to the age of the world) is astounding.  Lizards have evolved to regrow their tails as a way to protect them if a predator attacks. Elephants are shedding their tusks to protect future generations from poachers. Humans? We have an appendix that researchers believe was once used for roughage, and now it’s a waste of space (possibly fatal). What I don’t get is why it stopped being used.

Yes, we “evolved” to use our brains to hunt instead of starving. However, the world is not all civilized, and it shouldn’t be. Therefore, if there is uncharted wilderness that some of the 7 billion people in the world can stumble into, then we should still have the capability of going back to our good survival days.

In addition, we have silly aspects of our body that we haven’t gotten rid of and we should. We don’t need our pinky toes anymore, but still have them. We get goosebumps to let us know that we are cold. Since we don’t have feathers or fur all over (shed all our thick body hair), there is no point in having goosebumps because it doesn’t do anything. WHY, Mother Nature? WHY?

3. Then, our outer body has evolved to become soft, vulnerable, and weak. Dual Survival has taught me that our feet used to be completely capable of working without shoes, and now we can’t walk a mile without proper footwear. Cody from the show has lived 20 years without wearing shoes. There is something truly amazing about the decision to get back to our survival instincts. I’m sure over decades our feet could be trained back to that level again, but people are too comfortable being weak.

Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin on Dual Survival

Also, think about the other predators or dangerous animals in the wild. Poisonous snakes/spiders/sea life have developed venom cocktails that are easily designed to kill us within hours. Most of the animals use this venom for small animals that become their food and protect against animals half our size. So, what defense do we have against a mix of hemotoxins (destroy blood cells/stops clotting), neurotoxins (paralyze your body), and any other toxin you can imagine? Other than weapons (probably not likely in the wild), you can run. More often than not, you will end up falling prey to these predators and not reach a hospital with anti-venom. This notion of not being the top of the food chain is not new to the animal world. However, to invincible humanity it is still a shock that we cannot protect ourselves against small animals.

Will kill a human in hours!

Ultimately, the worst aspect of our evolution has been–our brain. While many will argue our ability to rationalize, think, and speak would be undeniable asset. Yet, we suffer from fear, stress, and distractions rather than focusing on surviving. We constantly distract ourselves with superficial things while other animals know how to survive with the clearest actions and goals. How is that we can have superior intellect, and be outwitted by simple “beasts”?

The questions baffle me every time I watch some person trying to survive in the wild. The vulnerability of humans is so astounding that I wonder how we have survived this long. I know that I wouldn’t survive a few days in the forest of Belize or the Sahara Desert, but recognition is the first step. It may take the apocalypse for humans to get back to the basics. Maybe that is what we need as a species to realize how out of touch we are with nature.

 

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Evolution of Storytelling

Although I have stated before that I am eternally devoted to print books, I give props to technology foremost for its innovation. Therefore, in the video below,presented with the iPad, I am in awe at what the technology is doing for storytelling in its essence.

Books tell stories about people and by people, but the key here is the people. The storyteller or bard has been a crucial aspect of telling stories centuries before anything was written down. The key to the success of writers is how they can bring the storyteller to life in their writing without actually being there in front of the reader.

Part of the magic is hearing the story read to you from someone who knows the story in and out. Although the bard is dead, there is a bit of a revival left in the theatrics of storytelling with the help of the new technology.

The presentation I watched discussed the innovation of, you guessed it, the book. In this case, the presenter discusses Lothar Meggendorfer, the creator of pop-up books, which in itself is an innovation for books. I am immediately drawn in to the slideshow, music, and interactive aspects of the presentation. One could say he is hiding behind his technology, but the presenter still knows how and when to speak to give the best effect of the speech.

He credits the growth of storytelling to this man and showed how storytelling has developed. To be frank, it altered my mind a little and made me relax more on the whole change of books. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of something new. While I still prefer my silent, battery-less paperbacks. The world of books is blossoming into a form of entertainment no one can fathom, yet. So, before I jump down off my soap box, I will confess I’m excited to see what’s in store for e-books. How will they affect teaching, entertainment, and ultimately the craft of storytelling? I know it’s scary, but at the same time, it could be fun if we give it a chance. ; ) Check out the link below to see what I’m talking about and be open-minded!

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_sabia_the_technology_of_storytelling.html

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