I’m No Ubermensch

Anybody know how to do an Umlaut? Nevermind. Catching up with a few of the blogs over the last few days (I’ve been posting, so I haven’t been reading, you see. I don’t have time to do both! Oh damn, I’m posting again. Never mind, I’m off at the weekend I’ll catch up then. Maybe) I came across Leg-Iron’s post regarding risk aversion in humanity. He concludes that humanity will not be able to wipe it’s own arse in a hundred years.

sheep

Two members of the general public, yesterday

He’s probably right. That’s just the majority though, and it could be very advantageous for the risk-taking minority, who will necessarily be able to run rings around the rest.
I’m thinking here of the inevitable downfall of civilisation, whether through deliberate long-term Green/Red de-industrialisation or natural causes like the much-larger-than-the-current-one volcano at Yellowstone. While the flock huddle and baa those of us with a bit of daring will clean up: The food, the shelter, the mating opportunities…

I was originally considering whether this was an example of speciation, a new, stronger, faster species of human. Better than it was before(!) evolving out of the common-or-garden variety of human, but once I gave it some thought I decided it was the other way around. Humans haven’t always risk-averse. They can’t have been, they would never have survived ice ages, woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers if they had, they’d have starved in their caves or been eaten when they discovered putting their fingers in their ears and squeezing shut their eyes didn’t keep the monsters away. Our ancestors probably wouldn’t even have come down from the trees in the first place! No, if it’s speciation, it’s the risk-averse, the huddling, petrified masses that are the new species. People who are willing to risk it all to gain what they want are just… humans.

Changes in environment are generally accepted as one of the driving forces behind evolution and the growth of large, industrialised city-dwelling societies where we don’t have to fight or hunt for our foods, together with the extinction or near-extinction of everything that finds us tasty have been a major change in our environment, accelerated by such modern ideas as welfarism and socialism where there is always some safety net to rescue us when it all goes wrong. Such massive changes were always bound to have some effect. It’s all in their heads now of course, but who knows if physical differences will follow? Morlocks and Eloi here we come.

Good news for us Morlocks…

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