In the beginning, we were just a bunch of monkeys hanging out in the forest. Then environmental changes happened, all species were threatened and only the ones who could adapt to change survived. It was Survival of fittest as Darwin put it.
There was evolution, a gradual process of change in response to external factors. Now facts beg the question, is evolution as gradual as we think it? In bio you learn that we lost our tails when we no longer had need of them, bacteria form indigestible walls to protect themselves from enzymes. For some people, their immune systems have mutated to protect them from killer diseases and conditions e.g. AIDS.
In the current world, we are not just against the environmental and physical threats, we have cultures and social circles and they play as much big a role as the others in our evolution. This presents a problem for us as humans. Cultural evolution happens so fast at mutation speeds, are our physical attributes able to keep up and generate the necessary abilities to ensure our survival?
One of the things we can owe our survival to all those years is instinct. Something that we all have, one might even go as far to call it an automatic ability in all animals. From the moment you’re born, you learn to fear and destroy your enemies. Yet this is a result of what I’d term as collectional learning. Throughout the ages, the new generations come out smarter than the previous ones. Why? Humans have been blessed with a way of passing information. Each generation affords its offsprings all intellectual property they acquired including that from the generations before them. In this way, humans are able to keep getting smarter and innovative since they don’t have to reinvent the wheel each generation.
This has kept us alive for all this time but I worry it might not be enough. Cultures are evolving a thousand fold each generation. Even the rate at which the environment is shifting is alarming. Since the industrialisation age, everything has been in chaos and our physical selves have been struggling to keep up.
Take an example, currently, cars kill a whole lot of people than snakes and spiders. Yet we never freak out when we see cars. We love them, everyone going through a mid-life crisis wants to buy a brand new Bugatti. Yet, when we see snakes and spiders, we freak out to our bones. I personally am not a fun of snakes and spiders. One could argue that a snake has a 99% probability of killing you while a car is much lower.
On one hand, this proves my collectional learning theory. On the other hand, this proves that our physical selves still fight the ghosts of our past but are sometimes late to identify new threats. The whole concept of evolution might have shifted but one thing remains, Survival of the fittest. The only difference is that survival this time will not involve fighting mammoths and giant sabre tooth tigers. We are not only surviving environmental threats but cultural ones as well.
Who knows why many threats we are up against this time? It is worrying that some of our threats are involving at a faster rate than at which our physical/mental selves can respond.