How Have We Lasted This Long?

Remember not long ago, I told you that Popeye’s had come out with a chicken sandwich that was said to be the equal of Chick-Fil-A’s?  I was happy to hear this, for I refuse to set foot in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant because of their overt bigotry, but I did like their chicken sandwiches long ago.  Well, before the girls and I got around to trying Popeye’s new sandwich, it was announced that they were sold out and would have more in the near future, so I rather forgot about it.  Apparently, though, the Popeye’s sandwich is … um … I don’t even know what word to use … controversial?  Worth risking life and limb for?  Just in the past week …

On Monday, the headlines read “Man Is Fatally Stabbed Over Popeyes Chicken Sandwich”, and on Wednesday it was “Driver Damages Own Car Trying To Jump Popeye’s Drive-Thru Line”Popeye-1.jpgThis post is not about those two events specifically, and I won’t waste my time or yours going into detail.  But rather, this post is about the thought that occurred to me upon seeing these two stories:  I wonder how the human species has managed to survive this long?

Ever since humans evolved from their simian cousins, it seems that they have been trying to kill one another, sometimes with cause, but more often for no good reason.  The more laws we make in our effort to establish a ‘civil society’, the more violent we become.  The more we enhance our education systems, the more ignorant we become.  The more we claim to care about others, the less we seem to care.

Part of the problem, of course, is that we don’t know when to stop reproducing.  The population on earth today is roughly 7.7 billion people, which is more than double the number of people on earth in 1972, just 47 years ago.  The amount of land on the planet, however, remains roughly the same, although with rising sea levels it is on the downturn.  The land on the planet is roughly 196.9 million square miles, which translates to .03 square miles per person.  But, of course, some of that is taken up by forests that are critical for the survival of life on earth.  The bottom line is that we cannot continue to double the population on the planet every 50 years and survive!  Maybe China’s ‘one-child’ rule wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

But, there is more to the problem than overpopulation.  I think that technology has a role in the way people treat each other these days, as well.  Mind you, I’m not putting down man-made technology in general … there have been many amazing inventions, as evidenced by the fact that I am sitting in my comfy chair, and within minutes I have discovered the amount of land and the number of people on planet earth without moving more than my fingertips. Then with a few more clicks of the fingertips, I was able to make the calculations I needed.  Now, I am writing words, again with my fingertips, and in a couple of short hours, people across the globe will be reading my words.  Back in 1972, nobody would have believed it possible.

However, in some ways I think that technology has made our lives too easy.  If the Internet died tomorrow, how many high school kids would know how to go to the library and look up the information I just found at my fingertips?  I’m betting very few.  And, technology has put distance between us – not physical distance, but we are emotionally disconnected from others as we text messages on our cell phones, play video games, watch movies, or troll the ‘net.  We have become emotionally isolated, and when we do have the occasion to interact with others, we have little tolerance.

We are easily frustrated by the actions of others.  Going back to the chicken sandwich example … a man was rude and cut in line in front of another, and the other was so frustrated that he pulled out his knife and stabbed the rude man to death.  Is this what we call ‘civilization’?  All species will kill if they feel their lives or the lives of their pack are threatened, but humans are the only species I know that will kill a person because of the colour of his skin, or where his ancestors came from, or because he was in a hurry to buy a sandwich.

At the same time as we are losing more and more of our humanity, we are also failing miserably to take care of the Earth on which our lives, in fact the lives of every living thing, depend.  The human species seems, as it becomes less tolerant toward one another, to either have a death wish or to believe that they are invincible – I’m not sure which it is.

There are those that will say “Well, species come and go, it’s the natural progression of life”.  Not true.  This extinction will be near-total, and it differs from the extinction of other species in the past because this one was completely, entirely avoidable.  Our fate was in our hands all along, yet we chose to take the path of least resistance, the path that gave us the greatest pleasure, but at the highest cost. It is the arrogance of mankind that has led us to the brink of extinction, and as I ponder it, the only real surprise is that humans have survived this long.

35 thoughts on “How Have We Lasted This Long?

  1. I feel that all the factors influencing us today, be it technology, society, family, environment, etc. etc. are out of balance, leaving us out of balance. By that I mean the various pressures and influences are such that we find them, as individuals, very difficult to deal with. It is all too complex for us to comfortably navigate. Sorry if that sounds a bit vague/garbled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did I tell you this before? In 1968 John Brunner released a novel in which he estimated at one square foot per person, the whole human race could “STAND ON ZANZIBAR”! I wonder where we could all fit today if we each had one square foot of space.
    Humans donot do well in cramped quarters. Watching Gail’s renovation shows I would estimate present day people would like at least 500 sq. ft. each. One older couple in a show today bought a home almost 4000 sq. ft. for just the two of them. Yes, they will occasionally have family and friends over, but 2000 sq. ft. each seems a bit much. It’s me, me, me all over the place.
    What need is there for such extravagence? Absolutely none.
    But, Jill, it will not take another 50 years to double the population of the world. It may take 30 to 35 years, barring wars and natural catastrophes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember sitting in a high school history class back in the 1960s and being told that warfare was an effective method to control the world’s population. Although we have never eradicated war entirely, we used the nuclear deterrent from engaging in worldwide conflicts. I thought back then that warfare was a horrid way to control world population levels. As you say, perhaps Communist China had the right idea after all. Although I prefer self-control, this type of emergency may require a legislated solution. Canada occupies one of the world’s largest national landmasses yet it has a relatively tiny population – roughly 10% of the US population. Since most of Canada is empty space, Canadians don’t experience the reality of over-population. Having said that, it is high time that everyone on the planet acknowledges the over-population threat and take responsibility for the solution.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I remember the same ideas put forth in high school, and I remember thinking, “How awful!” Your last sentence, obviously, is the right solution, but … humans aren’t very bright in some ways. There are families that think “the more, the merrier”. There are religious families that think it is their god-given duty to “go forth and multiply” over and over again. And, there are those who take pride in their … um … shall we say, “virility”. Sigh. But even that isn’t the real cause of over-population … it is the poor nations where family planning and birth control are not readily available. It is a conglomeration of problems, but I think it is unconscionable for people in the Western world to simply believe it is their “right” to have as many children as they wish. I also think it is unconscionable for those who call themselves “pro-life” to decide whether women should have access to birth control and/or abortions because of their foolish religious beliefs. They are not even using the brains they have in their heads! Sigh. Sorry, John … I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent there … it’s late and I’m so frustrated by the world we live in. Big hugs, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing!!.. to begin with, I would live a longer and better life by avoiding Chick-fil-a and Popeye so I would not eat either one… 🙂
    As for the rest, a element of the human race with a closed minded ideology that lives in an illusion, of trying to maintain an image while ignoring reality… they use either religion or laws (often made by them) to justify their actions to support that image… and they will put leadership in a position to protect that ideology… technology today is becoming a threat to that ideology and illusion… 🙂

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” Mahatma Gandhi

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

    “When we begin to build walls of prejudice, hatred, pride, and self-indulgence around ourselves, we are more surely imprisoned than any prisoner behind concrete walls and iron bars.” Mother Angelica

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are probably right about the fast food, though I admit that every now and then I do like Popeye’s Cajun chicken! But my friend … you have outdone yourself tonight with those three quotes! Your quotes are always perfect, but I think these three fit so well that no further words are needed. Thank you!

      Like

  5. Jill, let me state the obvious. It is just a chicken sandwich. Yet, this year’s version of the Cabbage Patch doll, serves as a metaphor.

    How we treat others matters more than what we acquire. Planning ahead to preserve a future for your children matters more than an exrra toy that will be ignored soon afterward.

    We are leaving huge US debt to our children. We are leaving a less inhabitable planet to our children. We are demonizing the pillars of democracy and cooperation to mask poor behavior and decisions a person in leadership has exhibited.

    As an independent voter who was a former Republican and Democrat, I did not agree with every decision Obama did nor do I disagree with every decision Trump has made. But, hands down, I would want my children to emulate Obama than the current president. Treating people like we want to be treated matters. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well said, Keith. Short-term thinking has brought us to this place in history, and continued short-term thinking, coupled with intolerance and lack of compassion for others, will only lead us further down the path of self-destruction. I wish I could say that I see people waking up, trying to do better … and I do see a few, but far too few. The majority are still waiting for somebody else to ‘fix’ the problems. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Jill Boojum Dennison,

    Thank you for writing your excellent post and sharing your many thoughts on various matters, including those pertaining to the future of humanity.

    Let SoundEagle quote just a paragraph from one of my fellow bloggers by the name of Robert Elessar as follows:

    Of course, as physicist and pioneer of quantum computation David Deutsch argues beautifully in his book The Beginning of Infinity, we humans—and our descendants, whether biological or technological or both—have the potential really to become significant on a cosmic scale. As he also points out, there is no guarantee that we will do so, but there appears to be nothing in the laws of nature that prevents it. It’s up to us** to decide.

    Furthermore, SoundEagle would like to add that the culture of expansion and exploitation as well as the ever-burgeoning population seem to be both the crux of, and the bottleneck to, our becoming significant on a cosmic scale.

    Since the human species has not (always, adequately and/or consistently) been a good custodian of the environment and the Earth (not to mention countless wars, atrocities, resource depletions, species extinctions, environmental degradations and so on, plus an area of rainforest as big as 100,000 football courts is being cleared or destroyed everyday), there is no assurance that once the human species migrates to another planet, the same problems would not again surface and plague us, perhaps at an even quickening and/or devastating pace as a result of better and greater expansion, production and technology. We would indeed export our baggage and problems to other worlds!

    Another blogger, Matthew Wright, commented to SoundEagle on 16 July 2013 at 11:39 pm as follows:

    I think if we went to Mars, we’d deal to it the same way we’re currently dealing to Earth. Richard Attenborough summed it up when he referred to us as the ‘scourge’ of the planet. Caused an outcry, but it seems to be true. Jared Diamond has published a good analysis of it, if a little deterministic for my liking. The reason would seem to be a faulty survival mechanism – hard-wired techniques for maximising resources that worked when we were on the ragged edge of extinction in the ice age, but now serve to create problems.

    Perhaps we could also liken humans as cancer cells on the petri dish that is Earth.

    Extinction is a euphemism for extermination, considering how many and the manner in which members of many endangered species have met their fate and untimely end.

    99% of all species that ever appear on Earth are already extinct since life began.

    The average lifespan of a species is one million years. The human species (counting the early hominids) has lasted six million years. Extinction is the rule; survival is the exception.

    Even if humanity were to survive and later conquer other planets, there will be no guarantee that humanity will not repeat its mistakes and export its problems to other extra-terrestrial worlds.

    As you probably already know, we are already in the midst of the Sixth Great Extinction. If you are interested, the main issue is twofold: speciesism and anthropocentricism. Until we critically deal with the main issue, even environmentalism in all its diversity may not suffice to turn things around, as discussed in my multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary post entitled “SoundEagle in Debating Animal Artistry and Musicality” at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/soundeagle-in-debating-animal-artistry-and-musicality/, which is simultaneously witty and serious about a number of outstanding issues.

    The said post actually ventures far beyond whatever its title may suggest or mean to any reader, especially in the very long “Conclusions” section. Please note the ISEA Model that I have devised to analyse and describe the Instrumental, Spiritual, Pro-Environment and Pro-Animal/Plant perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How many kids would know how to go to the library & look up information? Well, who taught YOU? A librarian. & I think if the internet died tomorrow, it would still be a librarian teaching these kids how to find information at a library. IN FACT … I went back to college (SUNY at Buffalo) in 2008 & I had to take an online course on how to find information in the library, both online & offline …. this is a course ALL undergrads have to take. My son, who graduated last year had to take it as well. There is always a librarian ready to help you find what you want to know. The card catalog still exists. & you still have to look through the stacks to find that book you want to use for your paper, so you still need to know how call numbers work. Information isn’t ONLY online. Anyone who goes to college … or hangs out in libraries … which we book-lovers do … knows this. Kids aren’t just online. Lots of them read. Believe me. I know.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jill, our task is to evolve beyond the cave man mentality which is in our genes. Additionally, we no longer have the ability to take our beliefs and lifestyles to a vacant continent and start an exclusive society. As you said, too many people. In the animal world overpopulation is controlled by Mother Nature. She will also reign with our species. Ohhhh, my brain is beginning to hurt – thinking too hard.😂

    Liked by 3 people

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