Evolutionary Flaws: How Humanity Has Strayed Farther

by | Feb 28, 2024 | science | 0 comments

Photo by Irina Iriser

The unrecognized flaw of evolution has led humans to stray far from their natural impulses and obligations, which have bled into our systems and societies.

Our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, is part of the world. This is undeniably so. We are as much a part of the natural world as the beetle or the fern. Yet, we occupy quite a peculiar position within this interlocking web. Through an evolutionary lens, it’s indisputable that our journey towards becoming modern humans involved a gradual change. This change is the slow disconnect from the immediate dependence and immersion in the natural environment characteristic of our ancestors. Early humans, classified as hunter-gatherers, lived a life deeply intertwined with the natural world. Their survival hinged on understanding the intricacies of their environment, from seasonal changes in plant growth and animal behavior to the patterns of weather. This intimate relationship fostered a deep knowledge of the ecological balance and the interconnectedness of species.

However, the agricultural revolution marked a turning point. The discovery of cultivation and domestication allowed us to essentially create and adapt our environment. We had the power to warp the world around us. This inevitably led to a shift from nomadic lifestyles to permanent settlements. While agriculture undoubtedly increased food security and facilitated population growth, it also led to a dependence on specific plants and animals. This fostered a more utilitarian view of nature, focusing on managing and extracting resources rather than living in harmony with the existing ecosystem.

The Flaws of Evolution 

While the development of language and abstract thinking are often celebrated as cornerstones of human evolution, they also contribute to our estrangement from nature. Our ability to conceive of the future, create complex narratives, and envision abstract concepts has arguably led to this development. This disconnect from the present reality of the natural world and its cyclical processes has made us more separated from nature. Some argue that this “future-oriented” mindset, coupled with our ever-expanding technological capabilities, has fostered a sense of mastery and dominance over nature, contributing to environmental degradation.

Returning to the Path

Despite the ways in which evolution has seemingly distanced us from nature, it’s crucial to acknowledge the complexities of our relationship. While our dependence on the natural world for basic survival has decreased, our reliance on its resources and the delicate ecological balance it maintains remains. We still depend on the natural systems we often take for granted, from the air, the water, and the food.

Moreover, our evolutionary journey has instilled within us a sense of curiosity and a desire to understand the world around us. This inherent love of life manifests in our fascination with natural landscapes, our pursuit of scientific understanding of the natural world, and the deep sense of connection with nature that some individuals still experience.

Human evolution, while contributing to a certain degree of distance from nature, doesn’t necessarily dictate an inevitable trajectory of environmental destruction. Recognizing the ways in which we’ve become distanced helps us find a way to foster a more sustainable and balanced relationship with the natural world.

This can involve various efforts, including promoting environmental education, encouraging spending time in nature as a means of fostering connection, and developing sustainable technologies that minimize our impact on the environment. Ultimately, our ability to address the environmental challenges we face rests on acknowledging the complex interplay between human evolution and the natural world, striving to re-establish a relationship built on respect, compassion, and thankfulness for the world in which we are intricately woven.

Chet Shupe’s Rediscovering the Wisdom of Human Nature talks extensively about the unrecognized flaw of evolution and ways to return to the natural path. This book is available in all major online bookstores.

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