By Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
I return to this subject over and over because is a matter of life and death for our species as humans.
The story of our origin as a species is not a long one by geological standards. We started our journey in this planet about 6 million years ago along with similar species to ours, from still long line of lowly animals, while life itself appeared 3.5 billion years ago! (From microbes called cyno-bacteria– we actually found their skeletons — which produced oxygen for one billion years to make ordinary forms of life possible.) In our present form we have been around for only 500 thousand years. Measured with geological time, it is only yesterday, as small bands of our kind, numbering perhaps a few thousand, were running barefoot in the savannah throwing sticks and javelins at each other. We barely made it.
For the last one thousand years, though, things have changed dramatically. Thanks to our creativity and cooperative efforts, we are now seven billion of us and counting. Piling on each other, as it were, communicating instantly, traveling on a moments notice, by ever faster flying machines, sharing technology, information and resources , and we have the bomb (THE BOMB, able to instantly kill whole cities. Idiotically, several nations hold thousands of bombs — we really need just twenty to bring our planet to its knees — like they’re sticks or javelins from the savannah.) Tragically, we have not changed in our nature.
Along with kindness and altruism we also we aggressively compete. Ready to kill each other, and we often do in a massive way. We have rapacity and eagerness to start wars defending or ready to grab territories. Worse, like modern biblical Sampson, we often are ready to die for the ever-changing ideologies. We defend our follies by building monument for our killed victims and then calling them heroes. Each tribe clothes the savannah attitudes and habits still with us, with statements like, “My God is a bigger God then your God”, and “I’ll kill you for it” or “My nation first” — ironically defending the ever-changing national boundaries constituting Nations; such as the Austria-Hungarian Empire of old morphing in the present as Austria and Hungry.
Since many of the traits that make up our nature have multiple functions and usefulness, it is important to note that loyalty to our own local group should be encouraged, for cohesiveness of the group-identity reinforces a sense of security and belonging. This also smooths relationships between the individuals making up each ever-changing group, and harmony and cooperation.
We should foster these tendencies, but when it comes to extending them to other nations — with hatred and Xenophobia now named the enemy by the leadership — we should be thoughtful, and question as a participating citizen the motivations and rationale of the leaders — as we should have done with a stronger collective voice to prevent the tragedy of the recent “War of Choice.” With Iraq or the criminal religious leader named Jones several decades ago, who succeeded to persuade his almost 800 followers to swallow Kool-aid laced with cyanide resulting to their death, we tend to follow-the-leader very often with blind obedience to our peril, while the leader cares not for our welfare but only for perpetuating his power.
Fortunately, more and more people from all over the world, in addition to the local needed loyalty, they are also developing loyalty to our planet, which when seen from a distance of a few million miles away, looks like the head of a blue pin — the famous blue dot, lost among the hundreds of billions of stars that make up our local galaxy.
One more thing: 99% of the various species that appeared on this earth since 3.5 billion years ago are now extinct. So, either we modify our attitude, stopping brandishing the bomb and other lethal devices, stop snarling at each other, and abusing our planet, or we too will become extinct.
It will be of our own making.
Copyright © 2018 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD
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