Monday, June 4, 2012

On the Missing Link

          On the Missing Link

          According to evolutionary theory, species descend with modification due to natural selection acting on inheritable variation, and this genetic change suffices to breed new species from old. This process applies to all living things, including human beings.

          One consequence of this is that there must be a Missing Link – that is, a hominin species linking ape to man. The Missing Link’s ancestors are apes, its descendants are human. What must such an animal be like?

          I propose that humanity’s ancestors must have evolved the lower aspects of true humanity before the higher. The missing link would be partially human, in the more deeply rooted parts; but it would be deficient in the higher, more advanced characteristics of true humanity.

          I propose, for instance, that the missing link would possess the technical and analytic powers of a truly human being; but that it would abuse those powers, for lack of foresight and intuition. Missing links would treat friends, family and acquaintances with compassion and wisdom, and would save its cruelty and folly for all outside the immediate circle. It would create customs to compensate for these deficiencies; these memes will almost suffice, but they can get lost in a generation.

          A missing link is a species in transition; selective pressures are strong and constant, and fuelled by the animal’s mismatch between instinct and environment. Though genetically adapted to small-group living, missing links will form vast colonies, rife with dysfunction. The creature will suffer from persistent destructive warfare, recurring despite uselessness obvious to the missing links themselves.

          Missing links suffer selection pressure towards true humanity; an experience unknowable to their apelike ancestors and to their truly human descendants. A beast would commit crimes against its own kind, but not regret those crimes afterwards; and a true human would not commit those crimes at all, and again not suffer pangs of conscience; but a missing link would do the crime, and then regret.

Only a missing link would decry its own kind’s inhumanity to itself; and then right away affirm its kind’s humanity, despite having just offered evidence to the contrary. For the missing link would take it as a point of pride that it is already human; that pride itself being part of its remaining beastliness.

          Missing links can call themselves humans while acting like beasts; and call themselves beasts while acting like humans. Missing links would persecute those more human amongst themselves; then worship their victims after their victims are dead. They would obey those more beastly amongst themselves while they live; but afterwards defy them.

          I think it should be obvious by now that I am referring to ourselves. Look in the mirror to see the Missing Link.

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