Are Humans Natural?
It’s a big thing with food, the notion of “natural” food products. I’m a big fan of things being made of components that came about via natural processes. So I’m not saying I don’t understand the idea of nature, I certainly do and I admire it. What I’m wondering is if people are just an extension of nature.
Whenever I look at maps of cities or towns they always look to me like constructs from nature.
I find it unusually difficult for me to find nice cross sections of ant farms in their natural habitat. But an ant farm gets the point across.
This isn’t always the case, you can just as easily find a city that is geometric. Generally rectangles upon rectangles upon rectangles. But then geometry too finds its way in nature.
I understand the popular reasoning behind the shape of the honeycomb. That the hexagon is the best shape for maximum area and stability, if it weren’t the bee would be building whatever shape was. This comes from natural selection, something I poorly described before. The most efficient system discovered by random mutation is the one that becomes the norm because it is the most efficient (that’s just how efficiency works).
It makes me wonder then are ants and humans living nearly the same lives because we are both tied to nature or are we living nearly the same lives because that is the best system available? Are these things mutually exclusive? Is there really any system better than networks connecting the important bits together? Routing multiple paths to the more important locations and less to the less important?
Those extra pathways built to provide more optimal flow of bodies (or cars) don’t come about because we actively plan for them, they come about as a reaction. Can we really escape the functions of nature? I feel like we are trapped in it, we are like the beaver or the leaf cutter ant. We use the brains we have to modify the nature around us to suit our needs.
How much of our idea of synthetic or man-made things is hubris? How much of it is us giving ourselves too much credit?
Look at the internet of all things, it acts like a giant brain. Literally the way it functions is analogous (to a haunting degree) to the brain. Now is this because we are trapped in nature or because this is the best possible system? This is what I don’t know. I know I’ve already got a preconceived notion about the topic, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this.
But I wonder what is? Are we truly unnatural in our endeavors? Are roads, cars, buildings, and polyfibers all truly unique from nature? We create new things that do not readily break down in nature but that is only a matter of time. To us it seems remarkable and dangerous but on a geological timescale plastics will be dissolved in a blink of the eye.
New life will spring forward and consume this new massive resource and thrive. Perhaps some of them will become prolific and start eating plastics we use in our everyday lives. Regardless they will come.
How much of these patterns are just a result of the human need for patterns? If I had to guess I’d say that humans are just another branch of nature and in a way another branch of evolution. We are a new challenge for life to exist within, it remains to be seen if we will create an environment we cannot survive in.
We are currently living during a major extinction event. Diversity is vanishing from the planet at record pace and I don’t suspect it will slow anytime soon. It is not a question of if life as a whole will survive, it will in some fashion, but if humanity will survive is entirely up for debate.
I wonder if we will survive in very small numbers after some great destruction. The new humans being so different mentally and physically from their ancestors that it ends up like Neanderthals and Homosapiens.
I’ve lost my train of thought, currently adjusting to a fairly potent medication for my pain. Even this drug which is “synthetic” acts on systems already present in my body. Is the anxiety and the damage it caused any less natural because I got it from the very human experience of an office job?
I sit here in my little pod chipping away at time. Not unlike the bees up top. But for them there is music, speech through dance. For me the music comes from headphones. Nobody dances here.
I guess in closing the real point to be made is not whether or not we are natural, but whether the changes we make are ones our bodies at this very moment can survive. If we are making changes that we, the individuals reading this (or indeed myself) cannot survive they are things that must be stopped.
Life and progress should be thought of on the most micro of levels, it should not be a matter of 90% surviving a change, but of the individual impacts of each change.
Nature is just as able as we at ending life on the grandest of scales, death is certainty. I’m curious if on the macro level we are able to use our natural brains to unnaturally push against the snuffing of life.