Homo Artificiosus: Why Humans Have Stopped Evolving
Every time a human being wakes up from sleep we all do the same thing. We take a basic assessment of our condition. Sometimes this is conscious look at our faces while we are brushing our teeth, shaving, or applying make-up. Other times it is just our bodies natural process of getting our mind out of the sleep state. When we make this conscious assessment though, we notice new things, a pimple, a new freckle or signs of aging. It is easy to qualify most of these things, age marks are bad. Saggy cheeks, bad. Dark circles around the eyes, bad. So we put cosmetic utensils and products to use to maintenance, augment and cover up those imperfections.Everything rom your eye brow curler, to your nose hair trimmer is man made, it is those little interactions with technology that we don’t notice. They are hardly seen as invasive but we use them every single day! On the larger scale, we go in for surgeries. An appendix removal is done to sustain life, a facelift is done to improve the quality of life, if only in a cosmetic way.
Those of us that have cats, easily note that they don’t need any of these tools to maintain their hygiene or health. Aside from food, water, and shelter their bodies provide everything needed to protect itself. A cat has evolved fur, to stay warm, it cleans itself with its own tongue and has powerful immunities to protect it from the germs it may lick off. Looking back at how humans address those same issues, the answer is always the same, technology. Some may say that humans have evolved these large brains to solve our problems and we have opposable that allow us to make things. But we’ve ceased to evolve our bodies to adapt to our environment anymore. We’ve gone from homo habilus, to homo erectus, to homo sapiens, and each species is less physically adapt at survival in nature. We don’t need hair to survive the cold, we don’t need, claws to climb or kill, why because we’ve made clothing and spears to do that. Homo sapiens today don’t have too many natural enemies to threaten their lives. If you happened to catch ebola you’d be done for, cancer, heart disease, and alzheimer’s are all killers but on the average people die from constructs of society not nature. We’ve been relatively successful at transitioning our environment to a man made one. Even from of a food chain, and a social ecosystem, there are lions of society, and there are antelopes, but we are all human.
Within our man made environment we have yet to evolve new physical abilities, but we continue to create new ways of augmenting and supplementing our abilities. Where that common house cat may be a descendant of a lion or tiger, it is the objects we create that are descendant of old. There are new strains of technology popping up every year. Mechanical gave way to analog electrical, which gave way to digital, which is now threatened by even further advances in technology. What has remained constant is us.We developed complex computer systems to facilitate our extrinsic evolution instead of letting the evolution take place inside of us.
Dr. Harvey Fineberg at the Harvard Institute of Medicine calls give a great talk on what is called neo-evolution, by many progressive sociologists. With neo-evolution we see that the development of a species is also social. In our case, it means instead of evolving fur, we evolved spoken language. Instead of evolving claws we evolved written language, and in some way computers are a manifestation of that evolution as well. In some ways our bodies have been devolving, as we have continued to outsource the responsibility of keeping us alive to technology. The question seems to be if, or when, we will stop and what humans of the future will look like.
Perhaps we will progress from homo habilus (handy man), to homo erectus (upright man) to homo sapiens (wise man), to homo artificiosus ( articial man).