By Chris Wilson
What would we think if we saw an animal not only destroying a series of habitats in order to obtain food, water, or sustainable territory, but also doing so for no other reason than just for fun? I don’t think we would be happy, but we might accept what was occurring on the basis that nature was cruel at times so, that was that. What if we then realised the animal had cognitive mental abilities, and simply wished to be destructive for sheer destructions sake, how would we feel then? I think we would be even less happy than before, unless we agreed with such actions of course. Finally what would we think if the same animal began to destroy it’s own habitat so as to make it uninhabitable, carried on doing so with increasing fervour over millions of years, and it did so while exponentially increasing it’s cognitive and physical powers? Wouldn’t we be thoroughly perplexed, wouldn’t we wish to find out precisely what was going on, and might we not think the animal in question was exhibiting a markedly paradoxical style or pattern of behaviour?
Are we not such an animal, and cannot our behaviour be classified in a similar way? A paradox may be defined in several ways, but in this instance it is far to state that paradoxical behaviour is defined as behaviour that exhibits contradictory or inexplicable behaviour. If this definition has any merit, and it seems to fit the bill, where does that leave humanity, does it not leave us high and dry without a leg to stand on? This might sound harsh, but if we even briefly run through our developmental history, a rather sad and peculiar pattern emerges. We seem to have first hopped up onto two legs around 4½ million years ago, but such was our early cognitive awareness it is likely that limited damage occurred. About 2 million years later we began to make tools, Homo Habilis or “Handy Man” emerged in South and East Africa , and it is fair to say that appreciably more damage might have been done. Now we come up to date, and it is time to see if we have learnt from the past, or whether the paradox that we generated all those years ago is still a recurring factor. Sadly, it seems we have not only failed to correct our early errors, but we have multiplied the wretched things exponentially. Even worse in doing so we seem to have lost much of the awareness of natural forces that once served us so well.
The book will assess who we are, what we are, where we are, and what we might become as the years roll by, as well as assessing our impact on the world around us. It is not a technical treatise; I leave such articles to those more academically trained than me. It is not a divisive book about men and women, although, for convenience, the male of the species will generally be referred to; and it is definitely not a book designed to prove how supposedly smart the author is meant to be. It is, however, a book that will constantly question accepted values within our society, some of which we all hold very dear. I do not pretend that all such questions will be answered, but then do any of us have all the answers for the questions that we seek? I must also give fair warning that some might find certain ideas expressed within the book to be uncomfortable. Here I make no apology, for when any of us wish to grow and mature is not such pain almost inevitable? Finally in this paragraph not all paradoxes we face in life, or that we have created, will be addressed. Such paradoxes have been created over millions of years so how can any one book hope to possibly address them all? My hope is that, on reading the book, some readers may be tempted to explore other areas that are of special interest, or some that maybe closer to home. If any one feels so tempted, never fear, there are plenty more examples to chose from!
Who is this book for? It is for everyone and anyone with an open and enquiring mind, and a mind that has the strength and inclination to look beyond what it might already know. Although the book has been written primarily for laymen, it may also be read with equal pleasure, or interest, by scholars, scientists, and professionals alike, and it may or may not lead each reader to further individual, or group studies, to come. Its scope is to go from the cradle to the grave and beyond, and I hope its frankness, honesty, and at times sense of humour, will appeal to all who turn its pages. So now sit back, think, read and enjoy the voyage, for now it is time to set sail!
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