Saturday, January 23, 2010

Intelligence and us


We woke up one day and found ourselves at the top of the heap. As a species I mean.

Think about it. The Food Chain. There is vegetation at the bottom of the heap. Above this are the, for lack of a better term, vegetation-eaters. Above this grass-munching, cud-chewing bunch are the vegetation-eater eaters. These are better known as predators though I am yet to find out what they 'pre date'! And among this top level of 'predators' is where we find ourselves. Lording over the rest of them. If this heap were compared to a mountain, we have not only scaled the peak that matters the most but also have made the top our very own stronghold. We are, by self-proclamation, the masters of earth because we are the 'intelligentest' of all which is what enabled us to come to the top.

But are we really all that? Extreme prejudice is key to how we reached the top but is our intelligence worth the definition that we ourselves have come up with?

Think about it. Our genesis. In an ancient (50,000-BC-and-before kind of ancient) community of chimps and monkeys, we must have been nothing more than an abnormality; a small group of 'chimkeys', infuriating the adults of the community by being able to walk on two legs. Over generations, we must have slowly grown, in numbers, in relative intelligence and in 'bipedness', till we were ready to start striking out on our own. And from then on, via fire, wheel, stone tools, metals, fossil fuels and artificially designed weapons, we have reached where we are today. The top of the food chain. But - of course there had to be a 'But' - we reached the pinnacle only on the basis of being the biggest brutes. Not because of intelligence.

If we did have 'Intelligence' - which means "The faculty of thought and reason" - we wouldn't be dealing with what are referred to as 'endangered species'; we wouldn't be talking about an 'ozone hole'; we wouldn't be desperately looking for an alternative to fossil fuels; we wouldn't be automatically thinking about annihilation when we think of a mushroom. We, most definitely, wouldn't be calling all this development and progress.

Naysayers of the "Intelligent Life existing elsewhere in our vast universe is extremely probable" theory usually counter it by asking, "If that is so, how come they haven't contacted us yet?". What they don't seem to grasp is the fact that if the life form were intelligent, it would know better than to contact us.

2 comments:

MetroRimJ~ said...

Heh. I never thought of it that way before... did this place change or something???

VIshnu said...

Are you talking about Noodle House or the planet we live on? The planet has definitely changed. Noodle House is still trying to figure it out. :)