#11 Write ups – Being human (2013)

Have you watched the ‘Planet of the Apes’ film franchise? I find the concept of humans being dominated by another superior species very tempting.

But in reality, why exactly, do we control the planet?

Science provides some useful insights. Let’s visit our distant cousins, chimps. A recent study showed that our genes and the ones in a chimp are 98.6% identical. So theoretically speaking we are 99% chimpanzee and 1% human. All of it, that makes us human, accounts for that tiny one percent and yet it makes a huge difference.

1.Chimps don’tknow “me”

If you put a mirror in front of a chimpanzee, it fails to recognize that it is his own impression. It takes a chimp a lot more time than a 4-year-old child to understand that the image is not another chimp. Self-recognition doesn’t come naturally to chimps. And neither does the need to improve beyond physical being.

2.Chimps don’tknow “you”

We have achieved positive results in making them speak through gestures. Dolphins are even more sophisticated in this matter. Apes solve puzzles efficiently and can find answers. But if you put two apes together with a puzzle with only one of them knowing the method to solve it, the other one would not ask him the solution. And that’s theproblem. Unlike humans, every animal fails to understand the possibility of other better, intelligent mind. No laboratory has made an animal ask a question, till date.

And that’s how we evolved, didn’t we? Making a long story short, every new step was a question. A creative interpretation of a possibility! We make use of the knowledge bestowed upon us by our ancestors as a stepping-stone to climb up and move forward. We have learnt, not only from humans but from our other co habitants as well. (Remember Da Vinci’s glider inspired by bats?)

We very proudly assume that we control the world. But do we?

We are self-proclaimed masters of the universe. At the moment, here on planet Earth, there are just above 7 billion (7,000,000,000) human beings. But the number of insects is staggering. It is estimated that there are ~ 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000)insects. Imagine if all of them unite and plan a counter attack on us.  We are critically outnumbered and gravely endangered.

No matter what level we reach, it is essential to keep learning, growing and sharing wisdom. And very importantly, not considering any person or any thing for that matter, inferior. Because that’s a part of the tiny 1% that makes us human.

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