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The Human Animal

16/10/2010


The opposable thumb took us from the trees to the keyboard. But will our differences take us back to the trees? If there are any left of course.

I remember a point a old biology teacher I had in high school made one day. He stood before the class and he held out his fist and waved his thumb in circles announcing this and only this is why we are here today.

Scientifically it made sense. The opposable thumb allowed us to formulate tools. These tools allowed us to control our surroundings. We were able to gather crops that none of the competition could get to. We were able to bring down prey. And this control of our diet allowed us to evolve and to think and to not only dominate the competition, but to construct structures where none were before. We were able to shelter in areas where other animals could not without millions of years of evolution. And we competed with them and drove them away from resources such as water.

Many species we wiped out. Others we domesticated. It did not seem to matter at the time as it all seemed so abundant.

We then began to have time on our hands that we used to spend trying to survive. Our better diet had allowed our brains to develop and we started to think.

We created art. We created music. And we created spirituality. Very shortly came consumerism and trade. This was quickly followed by war and the domination of other humans and the control of ideas. And of course class structures.

You probably thought I was not going to go near Life of Brian with this post. Think again.

This is my favourite scene. Well… one of them. It beautifully sums up the progress of humanity. Be sure to watch it all.

Jesus is seen preaching at the sermon on the mount. But those on the fringe are so far away, they mishear and even misinterpret. We see the Romans in the background as crowd control and we see class structure in the crowd. We see the use of words that instigate violence. We see political interpretation of what some have heard for their own purposes. We see the attraction of the sexes. We see the control within a religion that divides man from woman. We see consumerism of a product that is really lying on the ground. We see the stupidity of strict laws. We see the attempt to control and direct violence by authorities who are blind to what they are doing. And we see the disregard for authority that wishes to rule by every single fundamentalist word.

All in a few minutes. And all with a healthy dose of humour. It is a brilliant parody of us. Or maybe I see too much.

Of course, we have long since thrown aside rocks for weapons that pack a bigger punch, but there are still people pointing out the blasphemy of others and ignoring their own. We still have consumerism. We still wage wars. We still try and control ideas and incite others whether that be with book burnings, or laws designed to maintain the status quo.

We still see politicians interpreting ideas for their own personal gain. We still see laws that are one size fits all. And we still mishear and misinterpret ideas that make sense because we choose to stand at the fringes.

It is clear that the only reason we have become so predominate on this planet is out of sheer and bloody good luck. That and copious amounts of breeding.

I have had it said to me on numerous occasions that we are animals. Its all about survival of the fittest. What utter crap. In a battle of physical might, the winner is seldom the smarter. In a battle of weaponry on the other hand; well that is a different story.

We mark our histories with technologies. Stone. Bronze. Iron.Steel. Long bow. Gunpowder. And most recently the atomic age. Luckily that opposable thumb has not been the only thing that has gotten us through. Somewhere our brains became a weapon too. And with that came ideas that shook countries to their very roots. However we are still inherently stupid beings. The same brain that made us realise the use of atomic weaponry would be disastrous, made us instead think gunpowder is a much better option.

And we still continue to cherry pick ideas and denigrate others without hearing or understanding.

Right now, we face new challenges. It would be interesting if we succumb to our animal natures or over come those and given in to our human nature. Because that is the beauty of who we are. Physically we are animals. But we are so much more than what we see. We are human.

And with that realisation, we can do anything.

It’s really simple thing for us to come to grips with some of the problems we create and nurture.

Is it a case of thumbs up?

Or thumbs down.

 

A. Ghebranious  2010    All Rights Reserved

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3 Comments
  1. I can’t get the search to work right on this site? I’m looking for a post from a while back, but nothing is coming up. Does it work? It was a great write-up.

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