I know it is said that worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen, and to a large extent, I agree. So I am not sure where to file this:
Charles Darwin was a great man, and I am a firm believer that he pretty much nailed it with most of his theories and rhetoric.
Two of my favorite quotes of his follow:
The issue I have, however, is that by everything I see in our world, Darwin’s logic above, and pretty much throughout his oeuvre, seems ironic at best, and flat wrong in our worst case scenario.
My logic, if you will permit me to ascribe it with such a flattering term, is rather simple.
Our world is flooded with intolerance, prejudice, violence and ignorance. Those who hold dear to any and all four of those horrific schools are not a waning minority by any means, but rather a growing scourge on society.
Please consider the following examples of my troubling hypothesis below, and these are all symptomatic of the American populace:
A large and vociferous population refuses to believe in evolution, does not want it taught in public schools and feels that the bible trumps all in terms of the law and basic human rights;
Many continue to subrogate females in our society for no apparent reason other than archaic behavior patterns that evolved in a world that admittedly was once dominated by men, and refuse to wake up to the misogynistic and ludicrous reasoning that continues to cast an ugly pall on society. This manifests itself most egregiously in: a government of men continually trying to stick their hands, minds and influence into the bodies of women; a refusal to enact serious legislation and better educational programs for the far-too rampant plague that is the assault, battery and abuse (physical, mental and sexual) of women; and double standards that still find women earning considerably less than men in most industries, with far fewer women in positions of power than men.
That someone with views like Rick Santorum (see all of the above points) can actually get as close as he is to a nomination by arguably the most powerful political party in our nation, and that Sarah Palin did get the nod by the same party, albeit as a running-mate add-on;
The tragedy that is Traymon Martin, and the countless other racially charged senseless murders and crimes that continue to occur way too frequently.
And America is far more tolerant, just and educated than the rest of the world…by leaps and bounds (maybe Americans aren’t more “evolved” than every single nation and society around the globe, but we are among the crème de la crème, overwhelmingly). Unfortunately, the goal is not to be less awful than everyone else. A child whose hands and face are covered in dog shit still smells, even if less so than a child covered in feces from head to toe. America still has a long way to go, even if it is mere miles compared to the light-years the disgraceful global populace must journey toward enlightenment.
So what does all of that have to do with Darwin?
Glad you asked.
From my vantage point, the populations increasing most rapidly in our country, and throughout the world, are the ignorant and the religious zealots, many of which, unsurprisingly, overlap.
I realize Darwin’s theory that the fittest will survive rings true in the near term as the poorest people, who tend to dominate the ignorant and zealous populations, do have the shortest life expectancies.
But long-term, these ignorant and zealous peoples will continue to multiply and thrive, further eroding the evolution of our society as a whole as backward ideas become or continue on as consensus by the growing masses. And unlike in prehistoric times or even a few hundred years ago, mankind has made such incredible technological and medical advances (whether the ignorant and the faithful choose to believe it or not), that even the poorest, most ignorant and most fearful of science benefit.
As a believer in democracy, I can’t help but see stormy weather up ahead for those who cling to the hopes that tolerance, justice and enlightenment will eventually win out over ignorance, prejudice, violence and intolerance. As our global population continues to grow, unfortunately, it is the intolerant, ignorant and overly faithful that are multiplying at exponentially faster rates than the rest of us.
And so, the reason I fear Darwin may have been mistaken, at least in terms of our own human society, is that I am not sure the most responsive to change will survive. And it does not seem likely that those who have learned to collaborate or improvise will continue to prevail, either. In fact, our fastest growing populations seem to be those who refuse to change at all and are completely anti-collaboration and/or improvisation. Ignorance, bliss or not, is multiplying like Danny Zuko’s chills.
I am not sure our society will ever evolve in a positive direction toward enlightenment, but rather it seems far more likely to devolve into darkness and anarchy. Or perhaps humanity was never poised to survive long-term in the first place. And if things don’t change on a grand scale, we probably won’t.
I apologize for being so bleak. I really am a cheerful person with a positive outlook on life. Just trying to stir the giant pot of crap that is simmering on the back burner.
Hope you are all well.
Thanks for reading. I promise more upbeat, positive, and likely trivial entries to come.