Do you ever wonder if we are the only species on this planet that has used its mind to do things beyond the need for survival? If you believe in the theory of evolution, humans then were just like other animals. We evolved from apes who lived in the jungle and were covered with protective layers of hair. They had a highly developed immune system and to top it all, they lived in harmony with nature. We killed the animals that fed our stomachs and we too could be eaten by another animal to satisfy its hunger. That was the law of nature. Things changed for good – or did they?
We transformed into our modern forms, shedding the fur that protected us. This transformation brought with it a settled life. It took us several thousand years to be at par with nature and outdo it. We learned to light a fire when it got dark. Then came the bulb and then the neon lights. Soon, the stars became invisible in the night.
We invented wheels and engines, and within a few years, we began to mark our presence with black smoke smothering the air and noxious canals flowing into rivers. At the time when every other organism was looking towards nature to feed their stomachs and waiting for the rain to quench their thirsts, man had started to dig wells and cut forests and manipulate the earth to pump out food. Everything was made more predictable because if we could predict things, we could save ourselves. Of course, this prediction could ensue only when we could control the things around us.
This instinct to control things pushed us to where we are today. It was not an effort to survive that made us create nuclear bombs (and eventually bomb a beautiful country), it was the thirst to control the events around us. The human race has done many things, and will continue doing those things, until this supreme faculty sitting upon us – the one known as our ‘brain’ – is not exhausted. The question is – will it ever get exhausted? I pray to god that it does. But I am not very hopeful.
However, the picture is not as gloomy as I may have portrayed it. Thanks to some people, there are some events in human history which can be treated as silver linings – people like Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Mikhail Gorbachev, John Muir and Mrs Carson, who tried to undo the damage that the human race had done. Sadly, such events and people have been few and the silver lining among the dark clouds is shrinking by the day.
Well, this is how I personally I feel. Not everyone reading this will agree with what I have to say. You may definitely feel that the developments in the field of science and technology has made our lives far better than it used to be. All these development have centered humans, so it’s basically for our betterment. I would only ask, “Really?”
It’s true that now we have the cure for various illnesses, and due to various drugs, life expectancy is higher than it has ever been. But if you ask me, millions of people are struggling to get two square meals a day. People may have medicines and chemotherapies available for them, but if they don’t have money, these things remain out of their reach.
So, again, I ask, do we really have the cure for diseases unless we have some cure for poverty? You create medicines first but then you support patents and protectionist policies. Later, you may give a lengthy speech at the United Nations about human rights. Isn’t this a double standard?
I would say go ahead with your researches on what lies in outer space, send a spacecraft to Mars, make reusable rockets and settle a colony on Mars. I personally don’t give a damn about all these things. They might add laurels to the image of a country but how are they going to help my wailing countrymen? Do we really need a $73 million ‘Mangalayan’ to know what lies in the barren landscape of Mars, which anyway America will tell us? Or do we need to satisfy the hunger of millions of farmers who produce food for us but are themselves forced to die of hunger?
Humans should have gone to sleep a long time ago. Humanity is already in a coma. Or maybe we should think of rebaptising ourselves with some new name. Maybe something with lesser worth than the word ‘human’.