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Humanity and its Paradoxes

-Our species is peculiar

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01 Jun '24
5 min read


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8.1 billion people live on this planet. They live, but is that all there is to it? I refuse to believe that life is just a statistic, just a number. I believe that it is unethical to accept the quantification of life for living. The modern species of homo sapiens is truly incredulous. It amazes me that we are so widespread and varied in appearances, and that our ingenuity surpasses those of any other specie on earth. Today we are continuously evolving, making scientific breakthroughs, addressing, and solving problems. But what is the nature of these problems? Global warming, the depletion of resources, water pollution, deforestation, overpopulation, inadequacy of legal bodies and judicial systems, ignorance and illiteracy of people, malnutrition, poor healthcare delivery, the list goes on. If we ask ourselves how these problems came into existence, the answer is very evident. We are solving problems that we have created for ourselves


Take the industrial revolution for example. While it played a major role in aiding technological innovations, transportation advancements and urbanisation, we cannot overstate the negative impacts it has brought along with it. Since the beginning of the revolution, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased by fifty percent. Even if we leave the environmental impacts alone, it is almost impossible to ignore the introduction of social disparities (division of people into different classes) as well as the concept of labour exploitation since the advent of the revolution. 
Our growth as well as our impact on the world has been significant. Human civilisation has gone from being primitive foragers to being advanced enough to be able to approximate the age of the earth despite being overwhelmingly younger than it. We have gone from living in rocky caves to living in multi storeyed buildings constructed of various different materials. We have gone from using noises for basic communication, to sending mails and videos and texts over the internet to people across the globe. We have gone from discovering how to create fire, to discovering atoms, molecules, and even subatomic particles. There is no doubt that humans have evolved exponentially over the centuries. The rate of growth in humans is way faster than in any other species. In fact with the advent of human evolution, many other species have either become endangered or even gone extinct, such as the dodo, which leads me to a question- are we an intelligent species, or just an invasive one? 
Today, the planet is growing hotter every year, the climate is changing for the worse and the polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. People encroach on forest lands forcing their inhabitants- the animals out. Where rivers once ran clean and pure, now the aquatic life finds it difficult to survive. Where trees once swayed in cool breezes and bore delicious fruit, lie wastelands devoid of any life. While we humans have taken pride in our ‘supreme’ intelligence, this beautiful planet has been at the receiving end of what can only be described as our hubris. 


Well, what does this imply? Do we not give a penny’s worth of thought to our planet? Are we so indifferent to its wellbeing? Obviously not. If the planet’s temperature kept rising, it would become uninhabitable for us. If the climate kept changing rapidly, we would frequently face disasters like floods and storms. We would clearly much rather address these issues than suffer from their consequences. However, one might argue that this chain of thought seems to suggest that we only feel the need to preserve the earth to preserve ourselves. It paints us humans in a very selfish light. It does make us humans selfish, but only because we are failing to consider one crucial element- the human heart. Like I mentioned earlier, we are solving problems that we have created ourselves, the key word here being ‘solving.’  And this, my friends, is where the beauty of it all lies. Humans do have a very groovy brain, but we also have a heart. 


Let me put it into perspective. Imagine there were a last human surviving on the planet amongst animals. The animals would be indifferent to the fact that it is the last human. They do not have the moral capacity to care. However, if there were a last animal on the planet, human beings would try their best to make sure the animal does not go extinct. Humans have morals. They have a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Is that enough though? We are still considering ourselves as a separate entity, a being with higher intellect, distinguishing ourselves from everything around us. 
We must realise that we aren’t disconnected and separate from this planet. We aren’t above all just because our brains have evolved in this way. At the end of the day we are all animals as well. Sure, we don’t have sharp claws or pointy teeth or stripes or fur on our body, but we do have a brain, which is as sharp a tool as any. We cannot forget the fact that we are born of this earth and we die in it. We belong to the planet and not the other way around, and when we begin to understand that, is when life becomes meaningful.

Category:Philosophy


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Written by Omisha Singh