I am now approaching my seventy fourth year and I have seen, and been royally ticked off, by quite enough mankind has done to date, thank you.
It has led me to long wonder if we “civilized” human beings are, in fact, merely a virus, perhaps the most viral parasitic species on the planet. I think ample evidence exists that it is possible we have always been this virus upon the earth cloaked in the guise of a highly evolved, positive, and creative life form. Scientists have long sought the missing link. Is it possible that we are the missing link? Is it possible that we are an imperfect species in the process of morphing into something other than what we now are…if we don’t completely destroy our planet before we get to whatever it is our next stage will be? And this is a very large “if”.
I am sure most, if not all of you, reading this have already decided that there is no question about it. That there is no way on earth that you are a virus and that what I am positing here is ridiculous at the very least, and that I am somewhere around the bend at the most. Perhaps, but what is a virus? A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. They affect the behavior of their hosts profoundly. We humans are made up of many trillions of these cells grouped into specialized tissues and organs and thus are quite capable of hosting viruses. Luis P. Villarreal, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine writes: “When a virus enters a cell (called a host after infection), it is far from inactive. It sheds its coat, bares its genes and induces the cell’s own replication machinery to reproduce the intruder’s DNA or RNA and manufacture more viral protein based on the instructions in the viral nucleic acid. The newly created viral bits assemble and more viruses arise, which may then infect other cells”. It seems perfectly plausible, and fair to me, in view of the fact that viruses cause disease, infection, cancers, etc., and that man-made climate change has brought about the sickness of our oceans now made manifest by so much of our sea life dying out, by these same oceans and the all the continents they surround growing increasingly warmer, by all the death, drought, famine, pollution, and damage we have created, to ask – since we seem to be acting in the very same way that a virus acts, and bringing about the same results – are we a virus? And as far as a virus being a “small” infectious agent; relative to what we are attacking aren’t we minute?
Simply because we do not look like what science knows – and what we suspect a virus looks like – does not make us not a virus. One thing we do know is that appearances can be quite deceiving.
And to what end is our vaunted creativity? Doesn’t it appear that we have become the architects of the systematic destruction and wanton waste of our planet’s resources, even though there are so many among us who know better? In the face of all we’ve come to know about the terrible damage we do why do we continue to defile the only home we can possibly live in? Why do we seem incapable of changing this situation? It is as if it is inherent in our nature to destroy, to wantonly suck the life out of our earth without mercy …very virus-like.
The aboriginal peoples who came before us had a reverence for our planet’s nature far beyond anything we exhibit. They considered the trees, the waters, and all of nature, Godly – and imbued with a powerful spirit. They worshipped and protected nature. They were smart enough to fear nature. They were in constant dread of her just as they should have been. It’s a measure of how far removed we now are from the true nature of things that too many of us dismiss aboriginal peoples as childlike and simple, as if those are bad things to be anyway. If we humans are, as I suspect, nothing more than a virus, then of course they too were a virus. But there are bad viruses and good viruses. If we are a virus then in becoming “civilized” we have devolved into a bad virus. Instead of living with, and among, nature we strive mightily to control her. Unlike aboriginal peoples we think of ourselves as separate from her, as her lord and master. We are no longer in awe of her as befits her omnipotence, nor do we worship her. Not only do we not worship her, we have disrespected her, defiled her, infected her. And what we now worship is far from Godlike.
Even the way in which we worship is suspect. To my mind it is laughable to consider a building more holy than a tree, or a lake. Need we be reminded of how much war, death, and destruction our man-made religions have produced while serving all the while to keep us separate from one another, and asking us to believe we’re different and therefore better than one another? Is this more of the viral toxicity that has been spread by humankind?
The age of the Earth is some 4.54 billion years. This figure is based on evidence from radiometric age dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the ages of the oldest known terrestrial and lunar samples. I mention this in the context of my prior hypothesis that humans may only be an imperfect species on a journey to another, as yet unknown, form. Homo sapiens ancestors Homo antecessor came along around eight hundred thousand years ago, and Homo heidelbergensis, likely ancestors of Neanderthal man, appeared around five hundred thousand years ago. Homo sapiens, or wise man in Latin (if only), came into existence some one hundred fifty thousand years ago. Because as a species we Homo sapiens are so egocentric, because we create so much “noise”, because we have such an impossibly huge carbon footprint unlike any other life form, it seems reasonable to us to think that we humans must be the most important life form ever to inhabit the earth, and that to our minds we have been here for such a long time. But compared to the age of our planet, man has existed for only 0.003% of the time. Compared to the enormity of our planet and its solar system we are, individually, a puny life form as well as a relatively very new life-form.
Measured by the life of our planet we are but a microscopic blip of matter on the radar of time…far less important than one-cell bacteria, and as infinitesimal as any virus when juxtaposed against the background of the entirety of our planet’s known life forms. In view of all that, and the fact that 99.9% of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct, I wonder if it is not too far-fetched to think it entirely within the realm of probability that our life form will come and go in the relative blink of an eye simply by obeying nature’s law of the survival of the fittest, which will find us wanting just because we are so destructive, and that like the life form Paramecium Bursaria Chlorella to pick one, we too are a toxic virus…just, maybe to us anyway, a little prettier?
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