Monday, November 26, 2007

Evolutionary Baggage

We carry with us the baggage of countless millenia of evolution. And this heritage brings us to an odd place. For, on the one hand, we are animals driven by our instincts and emotions. And on the other hand we strive to be rational creatures, basing our judgements on our rationality.
We threw our own selves "out of the garden". For a long time since our branch of the evolutionary tree grew out from the rest of the animals we lived with them in harmony, surviving by our instincts and our emotions. But somewhere along the line we began to think rationally: basing our reactions on the questions we have about the world around us. By becoming rational creatures we separated ourselves from the animals and began to consider ourselves superior. And so we lost paradise.
Today, this evolutionary baggage creates many of the problems in our world. We still have greed, aggression, and fear. And these threaten to destroy everything we've created. Our greed drives us to accumulate ever more -- depriving others of their basic needs. Our aggression makes us hostile to one another at every turn. And fear drives the strongest wedge between us -- begetting anger and hatred among our societies.

We live at a time when we can use our rational nature to counter our dominating instincts. We can learn to think calmly when faced with fear. We can learn to live more simply -- making wise choices to reduce our consumerism. And we can channel our aggressive energies in more productive ways.
Chief among the changes we need is a new ideology. We need to understand ourselves, each other, and our world better. We need to understand that our sense of individuality leads to our isolationism, and we must seek out the ties which bind us all together. We must understand that we are all interconnected through the Web of Life.

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