Sunday, August 10, 2008

Destroyer of worlds

70% of biologists believe that we are currently living through a mass extinction event caused by human actions.

We worry about an asteroid crashing into the planet, causing another mass extinction event. We study the solar system, hoping to discover the next asteroid on a collision course. We wonder whether we are better off trying to destroy an approaching asteroid or simply deflect its course slightly. And we would probably merrily destroy all asteroids if we had that ability, simply so we wouldn’t have to worry about which of them might next threaten our planet. We are, after all, the gods we imagine. We are Shiva.

I’d like to imagine that when humanity is discovered in a million years, some relic of our better natures will shine through. Writing and art, architecture and exploration, the fact that we sought to understand our world and the fact that we sought to improve our world. But it’s hard to imagine any of that outweighing the discovery that humanity was a colliding asteroid, a cause of a mass extinction event.

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