Posts Tagged ‘Nature’


Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

September 30th, 2009
Living out in the boondocks I’m on a very open stretch of land, sprinkled with a few trees and houses, and the juxtaposition between human edifice and weather seems stronger here. I enjoy that contrast, particularly with inclement weather, as long as I’m not out in it for long. Massive forces and bodies, shifting and colliding over the surface of the planet, and yet these tiny human specks are often not even bothered enough to stop what they’re doing. We’re so fantastically small in comparison, so fragile seeming, and yet with that wonderful spark of intelligence we can shape our world around us to suit our desires. Beyond the strength the house affords I sometimes like to step out under the towering dark clouds, into the thick of the rain and the wind, and feel both the exhilaration of them beating down and their effective powerlessness.
These massive forces also hint at those greater ones beyond the surface of Earth, those that really would kill you in a few seconds, without hatred or compassion. Human beings are wonderfully ecumenical but we cannot survive exposure in our upper atmosphere or under the oceans, on any other known planet or outer space. Even there intelligence has already accomplished amazing feats, taking this soft skinned prairie-dwelling species into the air, through the vacuum of space and onto another astronomical object, something it was ridiculously not evolved for.
Yet intelligence may not be the final victor in its fight with these massive dumb elements. A volcanic eruption already nearly finished us, and future asteroids or gamma ray bursts could end our adventure with all the moral deliberation of an acid neutralizing a base. By including those massive effects less intelligent than us, we might consider the endless march of technological progress, or of evolution – biological, memetic, or upload reproduction. None of these systemic effects have dreams, hopes, loves or joys, and to achieve an appreciable chance of a world we find meaning in we need intelligence to continue its triumphs*. It’s the reigning champions Monkey-Brained Savanna Creatures vs The Universe, final round.
* Of course intelligence won’t always primarily mean human intelligence, but for now we can consider it as Us against the unintelligent march towards creating such beings.