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A Danger to Ourselves and Others


Instead of simply being called crazy, I’m about to show it. My letter is not likely to help anyone sleep at night. It doesn’t help me. I’ve been thinking—which, you see, is a dangerous habit these days. And I’d like to know what others think.

How do you address some of the following concerns: nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction; man-made climate change; extinction of species; pollution of the Earth’s land, air and water; extraction of the planet’s resources beyond regeneration; sustainability; survival.

Recently, I was inspired to revisit Rachel Carson’s prescient book, Silent Spring. Check it out if you’ve never read it or if it’s been years since you have. You might end up carrying it everywhere evermore. She dedicated the book to Albert Schweitzer and cited his words: “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth.” If Schweitzer’s right …

Instead of boasting of our technology, we might ask ourselves if we have too much technology. Has our technological “progress” outpaced our intellectual and psychological capability? If so, won’t we eventually and inescapably destroy ourselves? If not, where’s the evidence to the contrary? Watch the news, any news. Our creativity seems strongly directed at devising and using new forms of destruction; senseless, in terms of survival. How is it we don’t see? We attack the Earth itself, as if we had no connection with the planet. The gift of intelligence, of rational thought—has it turned off? Has civilization been a detour in our evolution, a trap in which we’re caught till nature ends our story?

So far, I think, we’ve been a successful species because we’re the best predators on Earth. (Ask any species.) I’ve long suspected that Neanderthal Man disappeared because Homo sapiens prevailed by getting rid of the competition. Now, I hear that even though Neanderthal Man disappeared, some of his genes survive in us. It’s difficult to resist the conclusion that from the beginning, we dealt with other species as we do now. But now, we prey so relentlessly on each other as well, we’ve endangered the very existence of Homo sapiens. Our predatory habits make us an endangered species—self-endangered.

Someone, anyone, prove me wrong; I’d gladly bow down and kiss your hand.

Patricia Samul
Salt Lake City