Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Lemming Gene Defect

What is truly amazing about our species is that our “advanced” civilizations fail with such stunning regularity that it can only be compared to the rising of the sun in the east and its setting in the west.

The human brain has developed the ability to make incredibly wise choices but we allow the stupidest part of our brain to make them instead. Our reptilian brain is only concerned with the four “Fs,” Fight, Flight, Feed, or Reproduce. Our mammalian brain isn’t a lot smarter but it can discern between “this is pleasant and this is not.” These two brains regulate our emotions and have absolutely no capacity to reason, yet they are the prime drivers of our decisions.

If we objectively look at history, civilizations fail because we, the people, follow our politicians and priests into utter destruction. What is it about humans that make us so vulnerable to giving our consent to what are obvious lies? It cannot have anything to do with reason or we would not find ourselves once again on the brink of wiping out our civilization, so it must be genetic.
Our brains are indeed genetically hardwired to be altruistic. That developed because we must “care” for our young much longer than any other species. Nurturing each other is actually the most important skill a human can learn and yields the greatest rewards. Relationships are the only thing humans value above money.
Lemmings, like humans, given enough food, will reproduce to numbers their environment cannot support. At those times they begin a mass migration. When they encounter a body of water, they plunge in, driven to swim away from sure starvation. Not having any capacity to reason lemmings cannot judge how large the body of water actually is so they have no idea that it may be beyond their capacity to cross it. So we have the misconception that lemmings commit mass suicide, which is not true. Lemmings simply lack the capacity to judge how far their personal resources can take them.
Civilizations grow, flourish, and then collapse under the weight of their own dysfunctional choices. History is littered with the ruins of advanced cultures that have failed, and the vast majority have failed for the same reasons. The politicians and priests start wars they cannot win and huge social equalization programs with money they do not have and in doing so bankrupt future generations by leaving them the bill for it.

I really believe there must be a left over lemming defect in our altruism gene. Even though we are supposedly the most advanced civilization ever to have existed here we are, acting just like lemmings. Unlike lemmings, we do not have to drag our children into the water with us. How will we ever be able to look our selves in the eye again when we finally realize because of our choices to blindly follow, that our children are going to drown in a sea of debt? They will never be able to pay off that debt with money, but they will pay it in suffering and sorrow.

We have the ability to reason and to realistically decide just how far our personal resources can take us and how to best use those we have. We have lots of excuses, but can we come up with one valid reason for not doing so?