Are we devolving? Where are we headed towards?
From a Biology perspective, there is no such thing as devolution. All changes or mutations in the gene frequencies of populations, quite often in traits those genes influence, are evolutionary changes. The concept that we humans may devolve only presume that there is a preferred stage of structures and functions. For example, having opposable thumbs are better than having fins. However, organisms that possesses those functions or structures, each of has an effective function.
A misconception of many is that the ultimate evolutionary quest of any non-human organism is to achieve physical adaptivity and mental capacity of a human. But the ultimate misconception of evolution, is that organism tend to change and mutate in order to adapt to their ever-changing environment. Initially, I thought that this was the case as well for evolution generally, however, the known extinction of 99% of all species that lived on Earth are evidences of this fallacy. This shows that there are no guarantees that species will adapt successfully.
Extinction in itself is a natural part of being and is quite a common response to the changing of the conditions of the environment. There are evidences of already 5 mass extinctions in earth’s history, the worst being 250 millions years ago when 96% of marine and 70% of land species on the planet were wiped out. Are we headed towards the same fate of these unfortunate species?
Looking at the current state of the society we are living in, it clearly depicts that we are headed towards extinction. As our biological evolution takes place chemically with the deterioration of the environment from the use of fossil fuels to the genetically modified food we eat, the ever-growing consumption of non-biodegradable materials and the clearance of the earth’s lungs is building a mountain of destruction that some have predicted will be the cause of our demise.
Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the Human race will be extinct within the next 100 years, in his interview with the Australian paper. He further explained that the human race will not survive the population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption’. Read the article in 2010 here. Some scientist have also announced that we are actually living through the sixth mass extinction. There are many other prediction of our own extinction and it is scary to actually have these scientist, who are renown in their field of studies, predict the demise of the Human race.
Studies done by the Global FootPrint Network shows that we Humans utilize the equivalent of 1.5 planets to supply the resources we consume and absorb our waste. It means that now, it will take Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we consume within a year. It has even been suggested that if our current population and consumption growth continues, by the year 2030, Humanity will need the equivalent of two Earths to support ourselves. It clearly depicts that we are turning our resources into waste faster than waste can be recycled back into resources. This puts us in a Global ecological overshoot which is depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depends on. This will result in the disintegration of fisheries, the decline of forest cover, the exhaustion of fresh water system, the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and so on, which only add in creating problems like global climate change. These are just the few noticeable effects of ecological overshoot that will only create a compounding effect that pushes us closer to extinction. This overshoot also contributes to conflicts in resources, wars, mass migration, famine, disease and many more human tragedies. These are already apparent in some countries and has an inordinate impact on the poor.
What can we do? How can we change the course that we have set ourselves up for?
There is always hope. Although it is apparent that we are in the twelfth hour of our own demise, there are still actions that we can take that will move us in a different course. We as Humans, tend to show great ingenuity, creativity and imagination when it comes to scientific and technological advancements which can be seen in our machines and crafts of war. In 2011 alone, the world’s top 10 military power spent $1.19 trillion on defence. And today, 795 million people on this planet do not have sufficient food to lead a healthy active life. That is approximately one in nine people on Earth. Clearly, the main agenda is to not help the needy.
Planet Earth provides sufficiently of all that we need to thrive. This means individuals and institutions worldwide need to recognize our ecological limits. Every decision we make as an individual or organisation will need to have these limits taken into consideration. Our ingenuity and creativity have to be put to greater use like discovering new and better ways to thrive together as a collective within the boundaries of earth. Change has to start on an individual level. Before we can manage to save humanity, we need to look at our consumption and take responsibility of the path that we are headed towards and change the course of direction for a new way of living, thinking and thriving. As individuals, we hold a lot of power that most of the population does not know about. In this society as ours, we create the demand and have purchasing power to choose corporations and companies we see fit. In a 2011 documentary called ‘Thrive’, more suggestions and solutions are provided to assist us to move away from the disparity we have in our home, we call Earth. You can watch the video on this here.
So where are we headed towards?
We need to look within ourselves and recognise that each and everyone deserve equal rights and freedom to thrive with happiness and bliss. It is an exciting time we are living in and our story depends on each and everyone of us. We are more than any city or country, any race or religion. We are of the human race. Living on our very own spaceship that provides for us. And for now, the only home we will ever know. Although we are considered to be a type of organism that inhabits this Earth, we humans, seem to have not only a biological sense of evolution but also a spiritual sense of it. We have plenty of biological evidences of adaptation in our specific environment, but very little in the sense of spirituality. Spiritual evolution is a theory of which nature, human beings or human cultures adapt to its changing environments and time. This extends from either the established esoteric system of thought or in compliance with certain pre-constructed potentials.
These concepts of a spiritual evolution is complemented by the notion of a creative impulse within us. These concepts are very diverse. It may be of the largest form of existence (cosmological), existence of self or both. One way it can be characterized is by the belief that parts of existence are intimately intertwined and understood only by the reference of the whole. It can also be characterized as a non-dual, which hold no ultimate distinction between the physical and mental reality. In whichever beliefs an individual chooses to hold on to, the concept of spiritual evolution still remains a theory of which is only defined by the perception of the conscious mind. This very much shows that we have much more to learn in time and through our mistakes that have been made. There is not much time to change the course of Humanity and it all starts with you.
Below are a list of websites and information regarding the world today and its current state.
Article written by Fariq Yusoff