The Human Virus
In ‘The Matrix’ movie the agent smith character performed by Hugo Weaving would say ‘I would like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here….’ You see what he says in this Matrix fan poster. Except the last phrase, which happens to be the part of the plot, we could hardly deny the rest.
The theory of evolution puts human beings as the recent addition in the animal kingdom and the ability to think has made us unique and thus superior most to every living thing that has ever roamed on earth. The thinking process of human beings was further aggravated by the ability to communicate and share our thoughts and idea through the remarkable phenomenon called language, which is exclusive to humanity. Thus we claimed to the apex and reached where no other species of the entire living organism has reached.
Man is a social animal. The human civilization created a ‘social system’ and human life evolves in it. Further man is also a living organism and is connected to the rest of everything in the web of ‘biological ecosystem’. Man is the only organism which finds both of these a survival necessity. The progress in the social sphere of human race always affects the ecological sphere. Notably the magnitude of destruction grew multifold post industrial revolution and the recent technological revolution.
Of all the species human beings are the greediest and most self-centered beings. This is an unarguable fact. To man only his growth matters and doesn’t bother much about the consequences it creates in the ecological system, unless it hits back his own survival. Exploitation of natural resources is being done in more organized fashion currently by industrial giants, corporate and even by government. The imbalance between these two spheres has surged since globalization began to trend in the recent past.
The human progress in the name of development is seriously altering the eco-balance, more often irreparably. Among ecologists and climatologist the concern and urgency of holding a balance in bio-ecosystem has been more pronounced in the past few decades and we, the human race on the whole, are heading towards a breaking point on environmental balance. Something has to be done before bond yields to extinction.
Ecologists suggest two solutions- Coevolution and Coadaptation. These two are the major emerging properties in the interaction between social system of humans and collectively the whole ecosystem. Noted ecologist Gerald Marten– his website introduces him as an ecologist with fifty years of research experience- in his book ‘Human Ecology- Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development’ stresses on these two properties. He translates these jargons in layman terms as, changing together (coevolution) and fitting together (coadaptation). An excerpt of one of the chapters from this book is available in this site where he goes on to explain the coadaptation of people and mosquitoes.
The other noteworthy mention is about an article published in NY Times this January. In the article by Andrew C. Revkin that focuses on human accelerated growth phenomena and its impact on earth systems. He compares and shows how since the 1950s the socio-economic growth in the social system has affected the nature and earth system.
Earlier last May I wrote an article ‘Growth via destruction’ on a similar theme which touched the surging industrial growth that is achieved at the cost of destructing nature. This article plays the same chord at a broader level.
Man can always satisfy his needs! But never his greed!