We, The People

Those people. I’m sure you’ve met them. Pedestrians who stop in front of the red light with not a car in sight. Travelers who still don’t realize the train doors are automatic, pulling frantically on them. Who don’t know what a scroll wheel is for. Who have accepted “I don’t know” as their reality.

You wonder how they survive, sometimes. How Darwin’s theory could possibly explain a breed of human who couldn’t survive for longer than two days if their prefab food supply ended, who seem to have lost all capability of reasoning, or slightest curiosity.

What a terrible place the world must be for them. Things happen all the time and they can’t explain why. They are good at their jobs because it’s what they’re trained for and it’s all they know- they need help doing anything else, from fixing a tap to developing a political identity. What a confusing place this must be, where magic seems to dictate the course of events.

Truth is though, that we’re all clueless to some extent. Unless you can claim to know how a touchscreen or gearbox works, you have accepted large chunks of reality as something that just works for no obvious reason. It’s a shame though, because realizing how things work is knowing how to manipulate them to work the way you want them to. It doesn’t just make life easier, but more fun and interesting.

I already knew we all walk through life with a different viewpoint, but I think I previously underestimated how different these viewpoints can be. Since we build an understanding of the world from scratch, our intelligence and experience creates us a subjective horizon that can fundamentally differ from the person next to you. And yet, they seemed to have made our society so forgiving for different methods of handling things, for better or worse, that everyone seems to get by.

Imagine what would happen if aliens landed on earth. If they wouldn’t unleash a full-scale annihilation (which is statistically very likely) and if we would manage to bring up the decency to welcome them peacefully, they would probably be greeted by our world’s top intellectuals. We would be represented by the world’s most intelligent 1%, and unless they have the superior intellect to understand that we’re basically a planet-sized scam, they would get a very distorted idea about our average intellect. They probably wouldn’t be very impressed with our juvenile race to begin with, but some of us don’t really give the impression we’ve come all that far since we stopped walking on our knuckles.

I recently read an article on a scientist who doesn’t only believe that we will take evolution into our own hands through artificially altering our genes, but actually should. Regardless of ethics, he claims, we will fade away if we don’t- and I think he has a good point. Natural selection still occurs today, but it’s headed entirely the wrong way. Maybe it’s an effort of Mother Nature to restore the balance that was upset through some freak accident of monkeys eating magic mushrooms, but if we’re not careful we’ll be drawn back into the animal kingdom like a primate bitch on a leash.

I wonder if anyone will have the Nazi balls to take this problem political and propose some selection or alteration to steer things. A blind man can see the enormous impact that would have, but if we don’t get over our moral issues regarding karma and playing god, we risk retracing our steps in the evolutionary cycle. Sooner or later, this taboo will need to be broken and I’m curious to see where it will lead.

If we’re all going to be X-men, I want to be Nightstalker.

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