Tetmeyer: Higher beings


Courtesy of Ryoji Iwata via Unsplash

Columnist Grant Tetmeyer questions whether humans are truly the higher beings on our planet. 

Grant Tetmeyer

There is an established feeling that humans are the top dog in the world, and there is a large amount of proof to back it up. We are on every continent, we have found a way to survive almost any weather condition and we have excelled at completing our base animal instinct shared by all living things, that being sustaining our species through procreation. But as climate change, vaccine wars and political upheaval threaten to destroy everything that humanity has built, one begins to wonder. Are we really the superior species? Are we really the big dogs on the block, or are we simply the smaller kid who learned how to prosper by avoiding the school bullies until he learned how to take him down no matter what?  

I know it’s hard for us to comprehend now since we have never had to live without technology or electricity or any of our modern comforts, but humans are incredibly soft. Our stature, our defense mechanisms and our diet all suggest that we would survive at a lower tier or in the same tier as some of the world’s apex predators. Our minds are our only saving grace. Our statute makes giving birth much harder and much more dangerous than other animals who can seemingly give birth with relative ease and whose offspring can walk and begin surviving on their own early in their lives. Our development is slow and takes a number of years. I mean, it takes almost a year on average for humans to learn to walk, something that most animals can do hours or days after they’re born. The only thing that makes humans “superior” is our own self-awareness of our existence. And we choose to berate our species and destroy the world that holds us.  

We have made countless wars and committed many genocides against our own species. We have become so dominant that we have divided ourselves to see who can control the most stuff at a time. World War II was essentially attempting to stop the ambitions of a few men who wanted all the stuff in Europe. And I get that “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “Final Space” and a number of other science fiction stories tell of other worlds and the life they hold. But these are all stories. They may have captured the imagination of people who wish to live their own fantasies, but there is no concrete evidence of life in space or that we will be able to survive for long periods off our planet.

Yet our big brains are sure that we must conquer this frontier because we are destroying our home. Because our big brains led us to cutting down rainforests, killing an enormous number of other species, polluting our air and making some places in our world uninhabitable. We are using those big brains to try and think past the simple solutions to present problems and simply think of the “future” we all see in movies and TV. And now, that evolutionary advantage is beginning to come full circle and may even lead to our destruction. 

So, can we really claim superiority with all this? Because one would think that if you were conscious of your own existence and had a grasp on the fact that what you were doing was hurting your home, you wouldn’t keep doing it. Would you?