I watched a documentary called Life After People, which explores the scenario when all human life disappears from the face of this planet one day. It delves into how Nature would react to such an event. It was shown that Mother Nature would eventually reclaim what was hers, and slowly and steadily, in a matter of 10000 years, almost every trace of an intelligent life form would be wiped out. The Earth would be green to hilt, the oceans teeming with life, and every other species except the Homo Sapiens lived happily ever after. My heart rejoiced at the end of this hypothetical yet quite possible episode. It was mentioned in the show that the possibility of us evolving again was bleak, as its first occurrence was a rather fortunate accident for humans (unfortunate for the Planet). In short, the existing chimps might not evolve into the ubiquitous omnipotent human with astonishing brain power, but would be limited to a species with a fair amount of interaction and control with its surroundings. I am not a misanthrope, but sometimes my thoughts are rather misanthropic. I wish to live a full and healthy life, but the chances of it bearing fruition seem gloomy, thanks the havoc wrecked on mother earth by its most intelligent son. I vividly remember the scene from the blockbuster Matrix, where Agent Smith , an AI sentient sentinel delivers the following dialogue to a captured Morpheus,
“I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure”,
and I sincerely believe it to be true, except that I definitely do not wish to be a bloody battery for machines. Our species did not just spread to the entire planet and is consuming every resource the planet can offer, we wage wars, we kill each other, we kill other species, we pollute, we over-populate, and our entire existence seems to be out of sync with nature. The technological advancement that we are so proud of is mostly ungreen. While I am absolutely, indubitably and irrefutably in awe of our brain, the ability of think does have its side effects.
We as a species have evolved to such an extent that we not only interact but more or less control our environment which has taken a severe toll on the natural order of things on planet Earth. Our quest for survival has put to an end the very existence of many species and the others are in imminent danger. Sometimes, I wonder where our civilization is headed with all this incessant development and advancement which does ease our lives in the short term but creates new problems in the long term. Electricity was an electrifying invention, but didn’t it lead to the burning of fossil fuels? Splitting the atom was a momentous event, but isn’t that the greatest threat humanity faces today? One slip, a genocidal maniac ends up with a nuke, and oblivion for a part of humanity. Quite obviously, every thing can be used for good or bad. A knife can be used to chop vegetables or human heads. But what is the collective goal of our civilization? Is our existence fuelled just by the need to do so, the innate genetic programming which drives us to eat, drink, sleep, breathe, copulate and ultimately die? Hindu philosophy has an answer for it called Salvation. But let’s adhere to the materialistic world alone, what is the answer then? I often cogitate on how the greatest gift we have, our brain, could someday be responsible for our obliteration. It’s quite a paradox. But at then end of this tirade against my own kind, the inevitable truth that faces me is that Life for us is indeed precious, because it comes at a great expense.