Friday, March 28, 2008

Pre Historic Evidence for a Collaborative World


Reuters reported today that human fossils were found in Western Europe that date back 1.2 million years (in Northern Spain). Archaelogists have previously found remains in other parts of Europe including France and Italy (clearly a nice spot of the world to travel to, even apparently back then). What’s truly incredible is that the oldest evidence of human life came from the country of Georgia, in Asia, and dates back 1.7 million years. What amazes me about these figures is how much we have both changed and yet remained the same, over this vast time span.

We have become incredibly organized animals, functioning in networks of work, family and community groups. We have created technologies that ultimately rely on man made networks that comprise of systems all their own. We have created laws that are meant to protect us as individuals and us as a group. We have established understanding as to why and how (at least in part) we get ill, die, and are born. We have come to understand how little of a speck each of us are, in the context of the universe (and the countless other universes in that vast outer space), and yet at the same we have grown immeasurably to see the value of each life as sacred, and the mysteries of our own "inner space." We have developed machinery that processes and delivers our food, built machines that fly us in the air and propels us over oceans and vast lands. In short, we have been an incredibly busy and productive bunch. Yet, at the same time, many things, have remained surprisingly utterly unchanged.

All those things that have ultimately assured for our survival persist. The fight for dominance, the competition for resources, the impulse to protect your self and your “own.” Our wiring, matched with our evolved intelligence, is ultimately what produced much of our history and the progress around us; the creation of government (to protect, defend, and yes – dominate), the creation of technology (to protect, compete and yes – dominate), even the creation of medicine (protect, compete and yes – dominate). All advents ultimately served the purpose of assuring our survival by either protecting, competing or dominating the opposition (weather it’s a person, an idea, or a virus).

What’s interesting is that in our quest for a more “civilized” and collaborative world that can overcome so many of the modern challenges we face, we fail to realize that what we are ultimately battling is not the “evil foe” but a million + years of programming that has proven successful…after all, we are here…we made it ! Finding a collaborative world and a new way of engaging with each other and our planet will only “stick,” if we evolve into a realization that collaboration and compassion helps us protect, compete and dominate some force that assures for our very preservation. I think we are heading there – in rapid order, as we have come to realize that our own individual mortality is not what is ultimately at risk anymore – but rather the mortality of us as a species. This idea is a wholly novel one arrived at by the collision of two expanding bodies of evidence over the last century; 1) Evidence that other species have become (and continue to become) extinct and 2) evidence of factors that can lead to our own extinction.

I believe that there is a swell of change coming. It’s coming from within the human wiring. We are not trying to heal our planet because of a feel good rationale (or some man made moral code) but rather, I believe, something far more instinctual…something utterly prehistoric; the need to survive.

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