Humans are frail creatures. Their expanded consciousness on one hand is a great advantage. Instead of following their prey, they can make a mental note of the target’s routine and set up an ambush. They have the means to devise bigger teeth and stronger muscles out of available resources, and if that’s not big enough or strong enough, then can craft even more impressive implements of destruction out of more abstract resources.
Humans’ prowess goes beyond hunting efficiency. When an animal tires of its routine, it sleeps, fights, or plays. Humans can devise their own amusements, this blog for example. It’s what we claim sets us off from the natural world. We are the straight line in Mother Nature’s garden.
Yet our frailties are also enhanced. Lions don’t lie about and worry about their offspring, whether it will rain tomorrow, what the Lion King said in his annual speech from the rock, or who will win the World Series this year. They don’t worry at all. They live and they die.
Humans know they live on a fixed timeline. They can’t see the end, but they know it’s there. They don’t want it to come early. They want to stretch out every last inch of line drawing. A human will do almost anything to keep his or her line extending forward. A human will try to break the rules, will try to disassociate from Mother Nature and define his or her own set of rules. They will go so far as to deny their humanity.
We see evidence of this behavior in our health care practices; after all, health care is where we are able to extend our timelines as we’ve grown as a species, or perhaps civilization is the more correct word. We are too advanced or too holy to be called a species. As we’ve grown to dominate the natural world, we’ve extended our timelines and expanded their signatures. Our impact on the world as individuals and as a civilization has grown in length and depth. We are living longer and our quality of life has improved.
Yet our denial of our place in the natural order has its consequences; it has to. Natural laws were not made to be broken. Maybe we can postpone our date with the Devil, but we cannot excuse ourselves from the meeting. We cannot deny our existence.
Should we move back to our natural ways? Should we no longer treat natural infections and diseases? Should we not treat manmade diseases? 16% of American GDP is spent on healthcare, and it’s all about making our lifelines longer and wider. We fret over e-coli infections, drowning, leaving babies in hot cars, and not wearing seatbelts. Are these good precautions or should we let Darwin run the show? Should type 1 diabetics like me not be treated at all, left to die so that I don’t breed and pollute others’ lifelines?
I don’t know where or when the reset will happen, that moment of truth when Mother Nature decides it’s time for her truant child to come back to the fold. Perhaps it will never happen. Many I talk to believe we are on a divine journey of dominance, and we will find a way like we always have. We will find new, endless sources of oil, global warming is bad science – it’s the natural variability of this wobbly planet, and all disease will be conquered, eventually. Isn’t it ironic how on one hand people can deny nature and on the other convict it of existence?