Friday, July 24, 2009

Evolution and Consciousness: The Scourge of Man

Evolution is simply change from one form to another. Generally, it must by definition tend towards an upward or forward motion. Those new ideas that don't work are weeded out, but those that do continue and prosper. In this way evolution is a good thing for the species, but as you'll see, not always good for the individual.

There are different kinds of evolution, insofar as we can group together its various forms into an undetermined number of subgroups based solely on one's perception of the change taking place. The evolution of love or friendship, for example, is perceptibly different than the evolution of the sizes of dinosaur species from the Jurassic Period to the Triassic Period. However, the same general concept of a pattern of change still exists.

Now let's take our dinosaur example. At a time there existed the large hulking masses of the sauropods. Food was plentiful, so they could individually support their sizes. They multiply and their species dominate. But many million years pass and the sauropod's environment changes. Whole climates change and what types of food (plants) which once thrived and fed the equally thriving sauropods are becoming more scarce. As, therefore, are the sauropods.

With a changing climate and less food dinosaurs that don't eat as much (i.e. that are smaller) prosper and the sauropods... go the way of the dinosaurs. For dinosaurs as a whole, this change to smaller sizes promises their continued prosperity while part of the group which was in a different climate very strong, the sauropods are now reaching extinction.

The same process occurs countless other times, even in man. But, unlike other species (to the best of our knowledge) mankind is the only species that can understand what is going on, if still unable to stop it at all.

Luckily, man doesn't take millions of years to evolve ideologically for instance. Each generation brings its perception of its own collective experiences and creates an ideology which individually and as a group is best suited, in their opinions, to their survival.

With each new generation looking to conquer the challenges of their world, older ideologies are replaced. It is safe to say that the average person will at one point in their lives be on the forefront, the middle, and part of a tired, ill-fitting ideology. Granted there will always be some who are only the 1st or 3rd.

The problem with our evolutions is that we are conscious of them and when we became outdated we tend to blame new ideologies. In this we are correctly naming the source of our ill-fate but incorrectly so in placing blame. Each generation has battles to win and ironically the price of success is to be destined to fight against further evolution. The hunter becomes the hunted. In this way it is hypercritical to blame evolution for our ill-fates. Blame our own individual consciousnesses if you must. After all, though losers in the end, large dinosaurs undoubtedly lived happier without knowing they were steadily becoming outdated.

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