At the fitness studio, I thought about what I was doing: lifting weights. I do this regularly to stay in shape, something I have been doing since my first attempts at sport. Because I can no longer find 19 other guys to play lacrosse or 11 to play hockey, not that this is possible where I live, I am reduced to individual exercise. That’s better than nothing.
Today, I wondered what someone from the past, who labored all day, every day to survive, would think of humans exercising muscles for fun or health or to keep busy or for whatever reason. A visit to a fitness studio would astound the visitor, although the scantily clad women would surely appeal to his baser instincts.
The basic animal activity of muscle movement has evolved a long way...
I noticed an article about a report on how technology is reversing...or changing...evolution of humans.
I think that posture is the least of humanity’s problem.
Computers, calculators, smart phones, etc. are taking over simple tasks once performed by the brain. Humans are less able to do what even a child could do in the past. Children are already not learning proper grammar, because their language is dominated by texting, and they think spell check can solve awl problems. Who needs to learn vocabulary, if you can look up words on your iPad? Who needs to learn multiplication tables, if you have a calculator on your phone? Brain are being less and less challenged.
Before printing was invented, people memorized stories and information. Books spread knowledge, but the average brain no longer needed to store as much. Nor can it. This explains, perhaps, why the most common passwords are “password” and “123456”.
One of the more interesting facts I once noticed (and have since forgotten) is the curriculum of a high school student in the late 1800s in the United States. No child today--or even college graduates--could master the requirements. Schools have been dumbed down to make everyone a winner and help them acquire student loans and never-ending debt. Only those lucky enough to attend an elite school or obtain a scholarship are permitted to excel. People are becoming dumber, easily satisfied with cheap flatscreen televisions, and political leaders are happy.
The move to have computers and robots run the world bodes badly for humans, who are evolving backwards and giving up the keys to their castle...
Have you ever wondered why humans love to sit outside?
No, you probably have not...
I did. Yesterday, while sitting on the terrace. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and doing nothing useful...besides thinking useless thoughts.
I wondered why humans build balconies and terraces and gardens. Why restaurants place tables outside at the first suggestion of pleasant weather...and even add umbrellas and heaters to extend the experience? Why are beach vacations so beloved?
I figured out the answer. Humans love to be outside, usually weather permitting, because we are animals. An animal’s natural habitat does not include structures, plumbing, triple glazing, air conditioning, and central heating. Evolution might have pushed us up from the apes, adding such handy features as opposable thumbs and the ability to gossip, but basic attributes have remained unchanged from our distant ancestors in the animal kingdom.
I am a fan of BBC science and art programs. I wish that, when I was a student, I had been as curious and interested in learning as I have become. I was a lazy student, who did enough to obtain decent grades and excelled only when properly motivated. If I wanted to, I could excel. The problem was that little offered in school or college interested me.
I have no use for the knowledge I can now, beyond broadening my horizon and understanding of the world in which I live. As a student, I recall not seeing a need for the knowledge I was forced to learn by rote for a test. Practical application was never an issue, perhaps because no one could offer any. I moved forward with the glacial movement of life from one checkpoint to the next. Now, I can choose what to learn and what to forget, because application is not necessary.
Earlier, I never would have read for pleasure and/or enlightenment Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins story of evolution or watched a program like BBC’s Wonders of Life, which brings to life much of what I learned in that large volume (all of which is rejected by Evangelical Christians and Republican geniuses). Such dullards could never accept, much less understand, that three small bones, which permit human hearing, evolved from fish gills. That would be one more bone of contention...pun
And, the programs fill the hours, keep my brain moving, and provide occasional topics for discussion with others. That’s enough...
The following headline in Forbes magazine caught my attention (perhaps due to its absurdity):
Why Hostess Twinkies Must Be Saved
I might have eaten one of these “things” in my life, but not many more. Although I have always had a sweet tooth, a Twinkie never appealed to me. If I think back, the texture could have been the decisive factor, because I had yet to learn about food/chemistry.
People believing in the biblical creation myth are convinced that humans roamed with the dinosaurs. Scientific facts have proven this to be garbage. I wonder what creationists in the future will claim about Twinkies. Fossil evidence will not be available, be enough written tosh will be maintained for posterity....
The only bit that surprised me was to learn how some people do not know that evolution continues. Perhaps, those are the same dolts that do not know it has operated since time immemorial. Or the geniuses that deny climate change, because winter still features snow and summers are warm.
Each day, I check Arts and Letters Daily for interesting articles and links. I would not read this book reviewed below, but was attracted by the reviewer, who I respect. John Gray is one of the most intelligent writers I know. I have enjoyed and been impressed by his books, such as Straw Dogs. He was professor of European Thought (isn’t that a great title!) at the London School of Economics (who knew that economist thought!).
The book’s subject interested me, because it’s about something that shows up in some of my books. My take is certainly hot not as erudite and not in the least bit based upon scientific research. I wrote about what I observe and what I think. Morality, individual and group. play a major role in Flying’s Easy. After reading this, I find it easy to see why the main character did what he did, did not feel part of larger group, and did not betray the smaller one.
I was also attracted to the argument, which points out the failure of blaming human evolution of state of US politics. Mr. Gray hits a number of nails on their heads. But, his key conclusion is about the book. Too many people fall for fallacy presented in doubtful books, just because they are in a book.
“Looking to science for deliverance from the tragicomedy of history is part of what it means to be modern. The tracts that come and go in airport bookstores, promising solutions to problems that have baffled the greatest minds, are symptoms of a confusion that is incurable. We may expect many more books that offer to extricate us from conflict by sprinkling the magic dust of science on our disorders.”
Once upon a time, the pinnacle of American technological prowess was putting men on the moon. Now, it has come to this...
I could not help but think of primitive man, who marveled at the slightest show of strength and probably also worshipped rocks. This “event” speaks worse for humans than the pet rock craze of a few years back. The Egyptians build pyramids; Americans move a rock. Hurrah!
As the author of the above article concludes...”it reflects a growing incapacity of many Americans to distinguish between events which are appropriate occasions for reaffirming social bonds and experiencing exhilaration and those which are meaningless and wasteful spectacles.” And, money is available for such frivolity, but not to treat the sick, hungry, and indigent.
Suffering from a mild case of aggravation at other drivers and traffic lights, I had a strange thought. At what point in human evolution did impatience develop...and why?
It is known that humans had a common ancestor with apes, monkeys, chimpanzees, etc. I wonder if those creatures also suffer from moments of aggravation. (I’m sure that those made to dress in foolish costumes and perform for humans must become slightly pissed off.)
Anyways, what good would impatience or annoyance have done for early humans? Perhaps, waiting hours for dinner to show up and willingly fall into a pit or let hairy little men poke them with pointed sticks might have led to aggravation. But, what good did that do? If no animal showed up to be killed, impatience did not relieve hunger.
This is an important scientific question, which surely will not be answered.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.