Man, Nature and "Convenience" Ignore the typos in this rant as it was written in a mad dash of typing, and I haven't gotten around to proof-reading it yet. what makes man truly human There is no distinction in classification of human vs animal. The only thing that makes human human is our uncanny ability to drastically alter our environment intentionally on a rapid and wide scale. I think that we have that ability because we evolved out of necessity to address our mulitude of vulnerabilities that became more of a detriment when we came down from the trees and out of our natural element. We do not have the ability to survive in a wide range of climates, so we had to make clothes and housing. We do not have an exoskeleton, natural camoflague, built-in weapons, exceptional speed and agility or any number of other traits that make good natural hunters. We can not survive in many enviroments that other animals can, and without our (whatever you want to call it; intelligence, cleverness, abstract thought, etc) we are a highly specialized species with severly limited adaptability. Our minds developed to counter all these limiting vulnerabilites intrinsic in being human. This allowed us to relocate, which caused us to develop further. The result is a species that is a parasite of nature herself, rather than a particular species or family. We, who were perhaps the weakest and least threatening animal of the animal kingdom have become the dominant species on earth and a threat to the very survival of nature herself. Agent Smith had it dead on. So, what is "Nature" as opposed to "Human"? I have heard the argument many times that humans are a part of nature, not seperate from it. Some people *gives a sideways glance in Erin's general direction* have even argued that there should not even be a distinction between "natural" and "man-made" since man is a part of nature. I wonder, though... Is man (modern man, that is) still a part of nature, or have we evolved to a point that we are no longer a part of nature? Many humans would argue that we aren't "animals" because we are above them. I don't know about above, but I certainly do lean towards seperate from. Look at who we are (again, modern man, not tribal cultures that have stood basically unchanged for centuries) and what we have become. How many people do you know that could truly survive in the wilderness for an extended period of time armed with nothing but their wits? How many people do you know that could survive for an extended period of time without the majority of modern "conveniences" that would have been viewed as superfluous at best a hundred years ago? What would you life be without: Hosptals, Medicine, Doctors, Telephones, the Internet, Electricity, Mass produced clothing, Laundry machines, Conveneince stores (stores at all, for that matter) etc etc? Could YOU survive as a "natural animal"? The more we indulge in man-made "conveniences" the more reliant we become on them. Eventually we depend on them on a regular basis, then we take them for granted, then we become addicted, in a sense, finally, we our lives become dependent upon what was once considered a luxury "convenience" and we can't live without it. We have central air conditioning, central heat, we close our windows, pave our streets and driveways, uproot nature and replace it with symetrical landscape art?? Most people don't spend much more time outdoors than it takes to get from the building door to the car door (and maybe a few hours on the weekend). We are no longer a part of nature. We don't live in nature anymore, we live off of nature. Yes, I keep putting "convenience" in quotes because I disagree that they are convenient. In addition to making us less self-reliant, they actually make our lives much more complicated and difficult. Computers are an ideal example of this. People talk of the "conveniences" of communication, although, to be sure, they are a helluva lot more complicated, expensive, tempermental and time-consuming than telephones (which, of course, are less "convenient" than letters. Oh yeah, they are irreplaceable in medical science, right? Exactly! They are irreplaceable, indispensable even, although they were unheard of 50 years ago. And don't talk about the medical advancements made due to computers. Were things really THAT bad 50 years ago 100 years ago? Sure, people died more often of diseases, but, you know what? They are SUPPOSED TO. That is what diseases are for. Besides, I really don't think that quality of life has vastly improved over the past 50 years at all, let alone as a result of medical advancements. With all the stress and loss of personal/family time that inevitably comes along with unchecked industrial development and "progress" I think the quality of life has dropped. How many times have your heard, or said yourself, "It was a simpler time back then" and meant it as a compliment ot times gone by? I have heard it countless times from countless people, but people still embrace technology, progress and our seperation justifying it as "conveniences" to make life easier, when as more "conveniences" come out life invaraibly gets more complicated. I just don't get it. How many times have you fantasized about living in a "Gilligan's Island" type deserted island paradise far from modern "conveniences" and the stress of living in a modern society? Maybe you haven't, maybe I am just weird, but I have dreamed about a life like that for as long as I can remember. If I am not the exception, then why does everyone embrace modern technology like it is mother's tit? Why do people strive to create entirely new industries that have no real purpose other than its own survival? The industries we create are a lot like the human race itself, except we design them to feed on us. It boggles my mind, it really does. We create industries that survive by and have no purpose other than feeding off us. Then we create other entire industries that have no purpose other than feeding those OTHER industries! What the **** am I missing? Or is it that everyone else is missing something. The other excuse we tell ourselves is that we are working to make a difference. We take these jobs because society tells us that everyone has to do their noble part for society to make it productive and efficient. I don't buy it. I'd rather live in Walden Woods. Let me just ask one most important question that I constantly ask myself to keep myself in check. Would you rather live to 50 years old in a free state of living off the land and your own wits alone (like Gilligan's Island), or live to 70 or 80 in a modern society that is full of crime, danger, stress, false ideals, pollution etc and likely live the last 20 - 30 years of your life in poor health and dependent (to at least some level) on medical care? I think my answer is pretty clear by now. What's yours?