Our news cycles are a constant drumbeat of alleged omens of doom. Ebola, climate change, wars, earthquakes, urban decay and dying honeybees are only a few of dangers we face supposedly that will lead to our destruction or extinction. I have some good news. Homo sapiens is a tough dude. You think things are rough in our era of the early 21st century then you have no appreciation of the history of Man. The facts are that we have created many dangers to our existence over the millenia and Mother Nature has thrown the kitchen sink out us many times and yet here we are.
If you think ISIS is a terrible danger to our future then remember our ancestors managed to survive one way or another the Huns and Vandals destruction of the Roman Empire and what everyone would have defined as civilization at that time. The Great Plague of the 14th century wiped out anywhere from a fourth to a third of the population and left a devastated countryside. Many understandably believed that was the End Days of earth. But again we trudged forward. Each generation of Man without fail concludes that it is the most important of all ages and that if it fails significantly that all Mankind will tumble….such is vanity, all is vanity.
Was it 50 million or 100 million killed in the 20th century wars? But all was rebuilt and now we argue over the desserts on the table rather than the basic foodstuffs to sustain survival. despite the predictions of a Sartre or Bertrand Russel or Rachel Carson even more of us are here and living better, far better than anytime in recorded history.
Even if the worst predictions of climate change are accurate if will not be something that our progeny won’t be able to handle and survive. The coastlines have receded and waxed for a long time and our ancestors managed all those geographical difficulties; that is a truism or you and I wouldn’t be here today having a debate about climate. In historical perspective it was only a blink of the eye when we had our last Ice Age. Can you try to imagine what that did to our ancestors? The seas retreated dramatically. You could walk from Britain to the Continent on dry land.
The Ice sheets reached down to the Loire valley and to modern Manhattan and formed the Great Lakes. All those folks dependent on the seas for mussels and other sustenance had to relocate and then in another joke of Mother Nature everything reversed and the waters of the seas rose again dramatically and what was inland become coastline again. They had only primitive tools and their brains to survive such upheavals and yet they did. There were no canals, bulldozers, cranes and computer projections to aid them or any type of machine tools.
Next time you see some thugs on TV trying to demonstrate their toughness and give those intimidating stares do remember that they pale in resilience and courage to all our ancestors. Those past gene donors over the history of Man were the true tough guys. They figured it out whatever the challenge, improvised and fought tyranny in the end for us to enjoy the fruits of this century. The shame is to not live up to their same standard with the determination to control our own destiny whatever the circumstances of fate put in our way.
“Theirs but to do or die” Tennyson….www.olcranky.wordpress.com