Let’s see. We of the species homo sapiens currently have much to worry about. In no particular order, there’s climate chaos, fascism on the rise, a seemingly perpetual pandemic, and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation as the current “usual suspects” that likely concern people of all races, ethnicities, religions and gender. That is, among those paying any attention whatsoever. Hmm. What’s that saying? Ignorance is bliss? That would be, willful ignorance, since our local and global problems are evident and irrefutable in their existence. However, there are many who indulge in believing is seeing rather than the other way around. Which leads to:

What brought about the above noted “suspects” here in very late 2021? Well, we are “what” brought this about. The collective “we” that comprises humanity, having evolved starting about two million years ago. Evolved. From simple to complex. Simple: easily understood. Presenting no difficulty. Complex: consisting of many different and connecting parts. So, contemporary humans are much more complex than once was the case. Does complex suggest being smarter than our distant ancestors? Smart: having or showing a quick-witted intelligence. I suppose the Neanderthals had to use their wits to survive. If they hadn’t survived, one can assume that some other life form would be dominant now, depending on what species mated with what other species and so on. Maybe cave life would still be our habitat. The genetic chain, you know. That, by logical extension, would mean I wouldn’t be around–in a complex enough manner at least–to write this blog because others before me would not have been around to create our current world of technological wonders, like social media, the Marvel comic book movies, Fitbit watches, or self-checkout kiosks at a local supermarket. It would also likely preclude any of the “usual suspects” from ever having come about to fuel modern anxieties. I suppose, though, that non-complex humans would still not be able to get along well, and nature would throw some climate disasters in our faces and drive us back into the cave. Sticks and stone but no nukes. Certainly, non-complex human would be susceptible to disease treated with potions and incantations as prescriptive palliatives.

But we did evolve and have a lot of anxiety about whether we can still move forward as a species. At least those with eyes wide open have that anxiety.

Are we homo sapiens evidence of being smart or stupid, writ large? If we are apparently destroying our planet by the machinery born of our intelligence, that would seem pretty stupid. However, seeing is believing says it is so. Believing is seeing says nothing to see here. That’s unreal, no? Wait. Uh, for some it’s an alternative “reality”. Is that being simple or complex?

Facts, evidence, do not cease to exist by ignoring them. But look around. Things seem to be getting worse, not better. Aren’t there enough “smart” people who can address those clear and present dangers? Who the hell is in charge here? Well, collectively, humankind is in charge but evidently the individuals who command the levers of power don’t think collectively. That is, outside of those nearest to them, be they family, close friends, donors or your basic sycophant. Sure, every country has a supposed leader and comrades granted certain powers by the collective peoples they supposedly serve, unless that power was taken by force. Or by cunning. Bait and switch. Divide and conquer. It’s the history of the world since we started evolving those 2 million years ago. Read the history books. As someone famously said: history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.

Climate collapse. Authoritarianism. Deadly viruses. Nuclear apocalypse. Couldn’t this all have been prevented? Are we not smart enough to never have allowed these things to come about? Are we not “wired” to survive our own existence? Is our current condition not madness?

While we are all the same in form and function by nature, clearly some of us are wired such that there’s potential for danger as far as some particular wiring goes. Yeah, we’re all wired the same except we’re all wired differently, right? How else to explain peaceniks and power-mongers through the ages? Generally speaking, a peacenik embraces collaboration. The power-mongering type embraces conflict. And it sure seems that the power-mongers tend to prevail. For every Gandhi, Mandela, Madam Curie or Lincoln or new edition of Dalai Lama there are various incarnations of cretins such as Vlad the Impaler, Rasputin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler. Their faulty wiring precludes being empathic or feeling any guilt about their actions.

Peace, love and understanding is a nifty slogan, but the history of the world would appear to show such a mindset as rarely being the rule rather than the exception. Peacenik, schmesnik. Alas, poor Yorick…

The sociopaths, psychopaths and narcissists are the worst kind of human. Maybe there’s a little of one or the other of those personality types in all of us. As such, we have our truly regrettable moments, made self-aware if only we were to step back and think about how we conduct our lives, writ very small in our very big picture. Worst case scenarios are the misaligned personas who gain that power they so much monger. Writ large quite often. And writ deadly in many cases.

It’s sad to see cooperation, collaboration and a positive collectivism not seeming to be hard-wired in all of humankind. If that were the case would nuclear weapons have ever been needed be made? Would the authoritarians, dictators, totalitarians ever have come about? Would the early evidence of human contributions to climate crisis have been ignored or ever called a hoax? Would a deadly virus identified in late 2019 ever have been so poorly addressed and idiotically politicized as Covid-19?

Yes, boys and girls, kids and kiddies, sirs and mams, we are regrettably at a turning point here in late 2021. Push is coming to shove. Again, if only one chooses to see reality. Can our inner peacenik prevail over these increasing calamities? Surely, of the 7.5 billion humans on this planet, can we assume the power-mongers, the non-critical-thinkers, the dupes, dopes, saps and suckers are but a miniscule minority?

We shall soon see. Are we wired to survive ourselves or not? I’d ask Alexa or Siri, but I’m not sure either are wired properly to assess such a question.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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