We are all limited by our own personal temporal perspective…
I left most of the following as a comment on an article by Chrystal Rivers, which was about the “sixth extinction” event, the Anthropocene extinction… currently well underway. I was responding to a comment often left on Chrystal’s articles… and also on some of my own articles… something like this…
This problem isn’t so serious.
Here is my reply to those who think we are not in the midst of our own human-caused extinction event.
We are all limited by our own personal temporal perspective. We are born into a world that seems to be working just fine from the perspective of our own personal time on planet Earth. We rarely compare the rate of change in our own lifetime to the rate of change that preceded us. Even when we do, we commonly think of rapid change as a good thing.
Technology and our technical prowess bring us many things that make our lives better, more comfortable, and longer. Some of these things also bring with them problems that were not well understood at the outset of their use. A good example is, fossil fuels. We are loath to forgo the benefits brought by fossil fuels and other technological wonders… in spite of the fact that serious problems are often very obvious. We are never willing to back up… to revert to simpler ways of living.
In 1975, in my first quarter as a mechanical engineering student, I wrote a paper in which I said…
“Changes that are subtle in the short run and trail-blazing in the long run are more likely to succeed. The first prehensile thumb was tried and tried again before chance led to the hand that writes these words.”
A long-winded way of making the point that rapid change is commonly problematic. We are just too damn smart for our own good.
Okay… I suppose those “two” things are just variations of the same basic problem. That being, we are just too damn smart for our own good.
As I have said many times… While the suffering we are bring on ourselves is a great concern, I grieve much more for all the other creatures with whom we share this incredibly rare life-sustaining place, planet Earth. They suffer and go extinct by our human actions… and through no fault of their own.