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Memories of the 28th Century

Might It Be Hubris?

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As a species, humans seem to think they are something special, and maybe they are, but the available evidence doesn't show them to be as marvelous as they would like to think they are. What have humans done that is truly something for the whole universe? Are the fine arts any more than emotional outpourings? Is their literature universal? If humans disappeared tomorrow, would anyone (thing) notice the loss, ever?

The topics of the visual arts are things that interest humans: people, landscapes, etc. They are pictured from the point of view of the human, and presented as seen by humans. Humans are restricted as to what they can see and what they bother looking at, so those restrictions are not surprising.

Human literature is about humans, even when it overtly is about "aliens". Authors are sometimes indignant about this fact, but humans have no idea how aliens actually think, act, and so on; although a good argument could be made that they are much like humans in many ways. But that is quite theoretical and will remain theoretical until we encounter some actual aliens.

Scrub humans off the Earth and in a few hundred years there would be little to tell that they were ever hear. Wait a few hindered million years, and there would be damned little evidence that humans ever existed. All of the electrical and other energy that humans amount to a couple percent of the energy flux through the atmosphere. Even with all of that energy output the change in temperature of the Earth's atmosphere resulting is zero. Except for the premature deaths of some animals as a result of human activities, humans have little effect on the Earth.

NASA has sent off interstellar projectiles that advertise the existence of humans, but there is little chance that any living thing will ever see them. The search for extraterrestrial life continues, but we can't be certain that we would be able to recognize many forms of life as living things, but we are only interested in things like us. Perhaps those who theorize about aliens are looking at it in a self-defense way. Aliens are only interesting if that are enough like us that they would compete. If that's the case, then we shouldn't bee looking very hard, just hard enough to notice them before they spot us, and we should hope that we will have weapons that might defeat them.

There are people who think that humans are unique among animals and unique in the universe. We won't be able to prove that humans are not special cases in the universe until we meet at least one alien species, and that may take a few hundred more years. Among Earthly species we are slightly unique, because we have developed technology, while other species haven't gone as far along those lines, but the great apes all show signs of considerable intelligence, and, if they made the mistake of moving to foreign lands, they probably would be able to cope with the changed conditions. For all we know, Bonobos or other anthropoids may already have philosophical discussions.

But we can be quite certain that we haven't done anything that materially altered the atmosphere, except in small, local areas, where there are urban heat islands. Even the emptying of the Aral Sea was only partly assisted by human activity. But for some reason some people seem to think that humans must be the causes of everything wrong with the Earth. They dreamed up a mechanism whereby humans could have caused massive global warming, but the mechanism doesn't fit the evidence, nor could it work in the real world. Maybe they want to think that they control things. I don't know, but it looks like that sort of pride.
Tags: hubris, pride