Merry Christmas

by Liaus Horatius

On the eve of this Christmas Day, a day in honor of the salvation of humanity from it’s faults and fears, I wish to convey, through some essays, quotes and ideas, rather than a poem or joke, a feeling of ’Future’ of humanity.

I feel with the current media attentions and distortions we’re broadsided with… many a hype and hyperbole …that MAY have justifications….even in ways the sources do not intend or we do not immediately see…

So in the light of this holiday season that is, at least originally, devoted to a dawning of humanity…

To a new beginning…

“Not to go on all fours; this is the Law.
Are we not men?
Not to suck up drink; this is the Law.
Are we not men?
Not to eat flesh or fish; this is the Law.
Are we not men?
Not to claw bark or trees; this is the Law.
Are we not men?
Not to chase other men; this is the Law.
Are we not men?

.. The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells

In the past 100 years we have seen the standard of living of the average industrialized inhabitant of our planet go from living in stove heated, candle/fat lit, filth infested squalor to a style not dreamed of by Kings of antiquity. The advances of the last century in information distribution, health care distribution, scientific innovation and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, population (travel) distribution has been unprecedented.

As more and more the masses of population access mass transportation we will see an ever increasing incident of disease (outbreaks of AIDS, SARS, Influenza’s and even MAD COW) and conflict (culture clash, eg: war on terrorism).

But are these things unprecedented?..are they reasons to panic?…or just unprecedented in the level of awareness of a crisis rather than the nature of the crisis itself?

Biological/Geological history teaches us that catastrophic occurrences are a necessary part of species growth.
There is even evidence that WITHOUT catastrophe induced variation a species may specialize itself into EXTINCTION!

There is a possibility (I came across through Freeman Dyson) that there are three FUNDAMENTAL biological inventions made by LIFE before the evolution of higher organisms began:

Death
Sex
And Speciation

Death, to enable the future to be different from the past.
Sex, to enable genetic characteristics to be rapidly mixed and shared.
Speciation, the forming of species isolated from each other by genetic barriers to make possible the evolution of diversity.

The 1st two, I doubt present a current problem but, it appears that the last speciation phase for humanity happened 25 – 50 thousand years ago when, we know, at least 3 different human forms existed (us being homo sapien sapien and Cro-Magnon and neanthethal).

Our next speciation may come from our current experiments in genetic biology or nuclear/biological warfare/terrorism.

Believing that change is inevitable and necessary ... call me a control freak ... but I’d rather see us start the next speciation from experimentation rather than somebody in White Hall Street opening a powder filled envelope.

These arguments can be used as a way of justifying a form of isolationism. Or to put it in the more popularly expressed terms…

We must protect our borders.

We must protect our industrial base and go back to manufacturing things…if you don’t MAKE something what have you got to sell?

I can only see these as backward looking rather than forward looking arguments…

Arguments that doom themselves on the side of extinction…

It may be true that the advances of the last century or so have come from industrialization but that does NOT mean that industrialism is ALL we can achieve….

Just as our civilization developed through hunter/gatherer to agrarian to industrial, I believe we have already started the move to POST-industrial.

We cannot UN-make the steam engine, the printing press or the wheel…nor should we want to.

So we must boldly put our faces forward toward the changing wind and stand tall towards adversity and remember what the biologist J.B.S. Haldane said in ”Daedalus, or Science and Future" ... while discussing what a post-industrial society may be like (and pardon the poetry) ...

Synthetic food will substitute the flower-garden and the factory for the dunghill and the slaughterhouse.
There’s many a strong farmer who’s heart will break in two.
If he can see the townland that we are riding to
Boughs have their fruit and blossom at all times of the year
Rivers are running over with red beer and brown beer
An old man plays the bagpipes in a golden and silver wood
Queens, their eyes blue as ice, are dancing in a crowd."

So on this day of hope and faith…this festive time…let us look to the future with our eyes OPENED and not, like the hobbled workhorse, with blinders on

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Pan Historia