Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Has human kind evolved over the last 65 million years – yes, no, maybe?

I have always been interested in animals, nature and other creations of God. National Geographic and other similar channels whet one’s interest in this area to the hilt. Whenever I have some spare time, I watch animal serials. My desire to watch these serials has increased manifold in recent times.( a big thanks to Arnab Goswami, Barkha and their ilk) Watching NEWS is a no no – it’s a #@$%# world. When one watches a serial on leopards – there is no screaming from Arnab – no Singhvi, Maroof Raza, Salman Kurshid, Manish Tiwari to offer expert comments – more importantly there is no debate – the viewer is left alone to watch something interesting and form their views peacefully and without duress. The leopard is also left alone and not subjected to a barrage of questions – “Nation wants to know why you have been repeatedly killing harmless antelopes” your channel wants to know “God” – “are you secular?” etc. Anyone familiar with the Big Fat Indian TV scene will vouch that we are used to watching ‘Breaking News’ only – it is surprising that my TV set is still intact after so many bits of breaking news flooding the scene. Fortunately there is no breaking news from Kruger, Masai Mara or Serengeti National Parks.

Coming back to the point, after repeated viewing, I have been able to summarize the purpose of all animal life as follows – the foremost being, to continue the bloodline. The rest of their activities support the main aim. Eat to survive, rest to recoup, mark and defend one’s own territory at all cost, exercise and impose one’s authority and finally find a mate to procreate and continue the blood line. Anything the animal does in pursuit of these requirements is justified by the laws of nature. They have evolved over millions of years to use stealth, camouflage, cunning, violence, opportunity, greed, stealing, scavenging, alluring, bullying, grouping, protection of offspring, social hierarchy to survive – you name it - it’s all there in the animal kingdom.  

Around 65 million years ago humans started to evolve and we are here today as masters of the world around us. We have made great strides in medicine, transportation, communication and in every field that is associated with the human species. These magnificent achievements separate us from the animals. If one looks closely at all these achievements, you realize that they are all “outside of us”.
What about the evolution of the “inside of us”? I hardly find anything changed in all these years. In spite of 65 million years of evolution, we still fight over territory more ferociously than lions. Almost all the current wars are over territorial disputes. Closer to home, India is embroiled in land disputes with Pakistan and China, draining our economy, growth and destroying any possibility of harmonious living. Land grabbing has become a fine art and so has encroachment. Property disputes ruin families, brothers are pitted against each other, husbands and wife fight over a piece of land and the list is endless. Have we evolved?

When it comes to sex crimes, we are worse off than animals. There is a strict code of conduct in the animal world. There are none in the evolved world. If the recent spate of child rapes in Bengaluru and cab rape in New Delhi are any yard stick to go by, then we are way behind the animals. Atrocities against women put a big question mark on the theory of evolution. Sex related crimes are very common in all parts of the world.

The recent incidents involving white policemen and African Americans in the US, questions the very development of our society. It is very common in India to see hate crimes against people from the North East. Recently a mid day meal scheme near Mysuru was abandoned as the food was being cooked by a Dalit. It cannot get any worse than this. All our societies are replete with such horrific transgressions.  

Dadagiri is rampant in India. Political clout is displayed with utmost flamboyance on a day to day basis. Silverback apes will think twice before they can compete with any of our Political heavyweights. Political workers can walk into any restaurant and create havoc – loot, damage and physically hurt people with impunity – and get away with it. This is straight from the TV serial ‘Animal Planet’ wherein our closest relative, the chimpanzees, attack another community for no reason. Chimps are known to indulge in wars lasting up to four years.

We as humans are yet to find a single God in all these millions of years. In his name, we shed blood and hatred without any hesitation. When it comes to religion our most basic and primordial instincts seem to take charge and possess us. The present day world is preoccupied with religious intolerance and bigotry. Half our time and effort goes into resolving these issues. 

One could deliberate on this issue endlessly. It suffices to say that the “evolution within” seems to have made very little progress. In fact, compared to our predecessors, it has regressed. Where is the equanimity with which they took the world and its problems into their stride? Where is the sense of right and wrong, the innocence of the young, and the contentment of the aged? Most of our age old wisdom and tradition seems to have been lost in transition.

If I were to take ‘Science Fiction’ as some sort of a window into the future, the emerging scene does not augur well for coming generations. Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator, Alien, Guardians of the Galaxy and others revolve around present day themes – warring nations are replaced by wars between planets and galaxies. Hatred, dominance, personal prejudice, stealing and other such 2014 attributes still continue to play a major role in the ‘reel’ future too.

Where are we headed?