On The Destiny Of Humankind

Destiny

Recently, conversations have come up more than once in the Memetic offices concerning the nature and purpose (if any) of humankind. Both heated and lukewarm discussion have run the gamut from amused dismissal of the very question on the grounds of irrelevence to passionate backing of the notion that human beings only be allowed to name their purpose individually. The nuance of idea has been staggering.

This, folks, is what happens when we switch brands of weed around here.

Regardless of the catalyst, all this talk sent me back to my master world-view, to review my own position on humanity and what in the hell it might be useful for. After careful consideration, some checking on the most recent science, and a healthy dose of promethazine for the inevitable spinning-head nausea this sort of philosophizing causes, I am now prepared to humbly lay out the building blocks of humankind’s ultimate purpose, as I see it. Bear in mind, this is theory at BEST, but mostly just a wild speculative notion loosely based on observed patterns. Feel free to post your own answers to some of these questions. We at Memetic Press encourage healthy debate as much as we encourage occasionally switching brands. First thing to consider:

WHAT MAKES HUMAN BEINGS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LIFE?

This is the question I answer with the most recent science, because I think the fundamentals have been conceptually as well as physically (sort of) mapped out in considerable detail. It all boils down to the cerebral cortex.

Lunch!

This is the outer skin on your brain. A lot of animals have these, but in human beings its about six to eight times denser than our next nearest kin, the lovable chimpanzee. And it is FAR denser than the cortex of, say, a seahorse, which I assume resembles Quizno’s cheap-assed sandwich wrappers. Point is, our cerebral cortex is so thick and dense that it folds over on itself, causing the brain to have that wrinkly look we’re all familiar with.

This happened because our ancestor’s primitive monkey brains started growing faster than our skull could keep up for some damn reason, densifying the material on the outside. Theories as to why this occurred vary widely. Some more interesting hypotheses include fish in the diet and/or eating a shit-ton of psychedelic mushrooms. Whatever the reason, it happened, and left our hairy forebear one super-smart monkey. He could outsmart all the other monkey-men, thereby getting all the monkey-bitches, and making lots of super smart monkey-babies. Monkey-babies whose descendants would invent Tennessee, the Butler Act, and eventually drag Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan into court to argue over whether or not monkey-men ever existed in the first place.

Damn Dirty Slut

ABOVE: YOUR ANCESTORS

And the whole process left us with an instrument which allows us a whole range of abilities BETTER than other creatures, and at least one which appears to be fundamentally unique. Basically, it gave us imagination, which is the root component of a variety of functions. Everything from long-term memory to long-term goals, and figuring out how to connect the two in the shortest possible distance. All this when the only information your senses are providing is the back of the toilet stall you got caught staring at while getting all thought-heavy about your future and shit.

The ability to imagine, to envision, to design… The core of all our technological prowess and artistic efforts. The ability not only to ask the non-sensory questions of ‘Why?’ and ‘What If?’… but to actually engineer their answers, and PERSIST in imagining them long before we had the ability to confirm those answers. That, in a nutshell, is humanity.

SO WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT THAT?

Actually a very good question. It’s quite one thing to accomplish everything that humankind (and its cerebral cortex) have accomplished. It’s another thing entirely to assign meaning to all of it with no basis for universal comparison. We have no other civilizations to compare ourselves to critically, except in our own imagination. Serious questions arise during such a process.

So we’ve developed complex tool use, division of resources, specialist society, and worldwide predominance on six of seven continents. Our presence has been felt beyond crush depth in the darkest sea and beyond oxygen atop the highest mountain. The ever-imaginative cortex aids us by providing us the ability to invent scuba gear less than a hundred thousand years after coming up with a damned rock ax. Before that, the only way a species was getting into an environment out of it’s sphere of influence was to wait several million years for evolution to give it gills. Other creatures show our practices, and we reflect other creatures predatory natures, certainly. But the fact remains: Our ant colonies are places like New York. And our scout bees have been to the moon. When humans do it, we do it big.

See How We Grow

But again: So what?

The speed of it, basically. As fast as we can come up with answers concerning natural law, the universe, or practical application of the elements thereof, that damned cerebral cortex can envision new questions. Hence the scuba gear, for example. What this means in the long run is that eventually our reasoning of potential outcomes to this thing called evolutionary process is going to hit a perceptual end… a sort of finite point for practical application of knowledge beyond which theory alone will remain dominant for the foreseeable future. Much in the same way that we can already see to the very edge of space, time, and existence with a telescope that’s actually about to be REPLACED, eventually humankind’s consciousness as a whole will have to be forced to thinking of cause and effect on a “where does the species go from here” scale.

It’s worth noting that several intellectual movements and scientific disciplines are of the opinion that this decision may have to be addressed in my lifetime.

What makes human beings ultimately unique is that it WILL be a decision. We can envision, and so we can choose. For the first time in the biological history of Earth, a species will be able to DECIDE how it evolves, instead of letting that remorseless bitch Mother Nature handle it.

GREAT, ONE MORE THING TO WORRY ABOUT. SO WHAT DO WE DO?

Well, cast your votes how you like, but I’m throwing my support to the “get the hell off this planet” approach, at least initially. It seems a no-brainer to me mathematically that every dominant species has sort of a “magic window” of a few scant half-million to a million years before some cataclysm or another delivers it a cosmic nut-shot. It would be a damn shame if we, the first with the ABILITY to see the bad shit coming, didn’t take a few simple survival steps. You financial types (the sort that ask how much a Mars’ colony is gonna cost) think of it as diversification. Set up a habitat on multiple planets in this solar system, then we only have to worry about something really going wrong with the SUN. Under those circumstance, one asteroid can no longer kill us all, if we can refrain from killing each other. And that’ll likely leave us a good four billion years to come up with how we get to another star. So we evolve into a multi-planet species.

I know there’s still a lingering “so we survive, what’s the point” to this scenario. And if you’re looking for a wild speculative take on it… Well, I’ll give you one, fuck it.

A lot of people have been exposed to the Gaia Theory. This says (very loosely) that the Earth and all its systems can be properly viewed as a single organic entity. Further researchers have suggested it’s also a complex adaptive system. I propose that the one (a biological something) automatically assumes the other in the sense that evolutionary forces must work on the ‘Gaia’ system of Earth the same as with her component parts. Even sea shores evolve. Mountains wear away, volcanoes rise, temperatures change, and the Earth evolves as much as her pieces do by themselves.

So with that being my supposition, I would put it to you brave reader that humanity’s true function is simple and direct: We are the reproductive system of the Gaia organism. Earth finally grew a pair of balls, and it is us.

Imagine a ship bringing the first terraforming engines to the surface of Mars. After scientific (and financial) breakthroughs, some human tribe or another succeeds in determining the best way to transform the planet into a breathable Earth-like environment. What just happened was reproduction… We lowly products of our planets natural processes were the biological jackpot capable of both envisioning and carrying out such a complex leap forward in evolution. Though us, our planet can now make copies of itself.

My God, It\'s Full Of Stars

So there you go… whether for holistic oneness with something higher than yourself, or simple fucking survival instinct: Anyplace human beings CAN go, we should. With bold spirit or, failing that, reckless abandon. Just get there before we all wind up like the dinosaurs.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

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3 Comments

  1. Why they gotta be monkey *bitches*, yo? Why can’t they be monkey *females*? The Monkey Man is always trying to beat us down. You’re a monkey sexist pig, you know that? 😉

  2. Any creature that still regularly resorts to poo-flinging as conflict resolution can still be referred to as ‘monkey-bitch’ as far as I’m concerned. But, taking your point to heart, perhaps ‘monkey-man’ was a bit to high-class for the male version thereof. So henceforth, all proto-human males will be referred to as ‘monkey-bastards’ to act as an appropriate counterpoint to ‘monkey-bitches’. Never let it be said again I am lopsided in my treatment of our genetic forebears.

  3. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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