Alternative Culture Articles
Homo Sapiens Clemens
By Royce Carlson
About 200,000 years ago the fossil record
indicates the first appearance of Homo sapiens as a species. At some
point since then Homo sapiens diverged into two sub-species. Homo
sapiens idaltu (means elder or first intelligent human) existed
about 160000 years ago but is now extinct. Modern man is called
Homo sapiens sapiens. The name means intelligent (twice) human. Some
translate sapiens as meaning wise. I prefer the word "intelligent."
Homo sapiens sapiens is the only living subspecies under the genus
Homo. That's us. Modern man.
Besides homo sapiens, are there any
un-domesticated species of plant or animal on earth that have a
growing population? I'll bet not. Humanity has won the game of
proliferation. We have been able to successfully compete with
all other species for territory. We have practically eliminated
predation on humans. We have made many other species subservient
to us, and we have spread our species all over the globe and,
occasionally, into space. Our biological instincts combined with
our intellect and opposable thumbs have made us practically invincible. The only remaining enemies to the
survival of homo sapiens sapiens are the very instincts that
brought the species to the top in the first place.
The biblical phrase, "Be fruitful and
multiply." is not a commandment. It's a description of the
activity of all life. The purpose of life is to perpetuate
itself. At least that's what observation tells me. The
individual creature is expendable and the survival of the
species is paramount in the hierarchy of life's goals. For any
species to collectively and consciously decide, "There are
enough of us now, let's not reproduce so prolifically," would be
truly unique. Yet that's our potential as human beings. We
actually can decide that, if we choose. We can also decide that
fighting each other over territory is not that productive or
good for the species. Our ability to destroy ourselves on a
massive scale necessitates a new way of looking and thinking
about the natural competitive and territorial urges. Once again,
we have a lot of potential to think and act differently.
I see the potential for a new human of the
future. Envision a conscious transition from a humanity
dedicated to the biological imperatives of reproduction and
territorial conflict to a humanity that understands that more is
not better and that working together is more satisfying than
working against each other and against nature. The transition
implies overcoming, or at least moderating, the instinctual
urges that have driven all life over the last couple of billion
years. This would truly be a major change..
If we are able as a species to consciously
moderate our biological urges to reduce our population to a
sustainable level, that would be something. It would, to me, be
the beginning of a significantly new development in nature, not
to mention humanity. Although the designation of species and
sub-species is based upon physical differences, I think a change
in consciousness like this warrants a new name for our subspecies.
I propose that the humanity of the future be called Homo sapiens
clemens. The name would mean, wise, compassionate, humans (clemens
is Latin for compassionately)
Homo sapiens clemens could be the first
species to evolve consciously, because we decided to do it. We
can establish a population level that does not decimate it's own
food supply. We can learn to live with each other without vying
for power and territory. We can work consciously with
nature. This is what will be necessary if humanity is going to
make it into the next millennium. So let's give it a go, eh? Why
not? Let's evolve!
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