A third person view on humanity
Posted Mar 18, 2012
Without a doubt, the most interesting animal on earth is the verbal. In a span of less than ten thousand years, verbals have gone from an inconsequential little species to a world dominator. They now exhibit more control over the environment than any other creature by far. They have eliminated their natural predators, systematically harvest other creatures for consumption, and have created technologies that are radically changing the whole ecology.
Verbals are named as such because perhaps their most unique feature is that they have complicated systems of symbolic-syntactical communication. That is, in addition to the neuro-information processing systems of other animals, verbals can symbolically represent thoughts, and transmit them amongst themselves, so long as they share the syntax.
These novel information processing systems are functionally organized into systems of justification that coordinate and legitimize action. One of the most interesting and amusing thing about verbals is the enormous variety of justification systems they generate in order to explain things. Indeed, it seems verbals can construct justification systems about anything and everything. And they passionately pronounce these justifications, often trying to persuade others of their legitimacy.
The problem with verbals really is their success-they are causing all sorts of extinctions and changes to the planet they live on. The other problem is that because verbals really believe the narratives they tell themselves and because the stories are different, verbals have all sorts of conflicts. The combination of their ability to successfully control the environment in the short term and the rampant conflict they have between various groups of them makes the future of the species of verbals uncertain.
(I believe it is important for us humans to be able to take perspective on our lives, and this essay is offered in that spirit.)