By G. A. Dwyer Astaphan
Modern man is known as Homo Sapiens. “Homo” means human and “sapiens” is wise. We are said to be the most intelligent creatures on Planet Earth.
That’s because of our superior brain development, which allows us to conceptualize; to build complex physical and social structures and civilizations; to split the atom; to reach the moon; to create computers and artificial intelligence; and so on.
This unique gift allows us to be the dominant inhabitants of Mother Earth.
The Quran teaches us that wisdom is knowledge with power of discerning what is true and right, while the Bible says at Proverbs 5:1:” … attend my wisdom and bow your ear to my understanding”.
Our intelligence gives us the opportunity to acquire knowledge, and if properly processed and applied, this knowledge allows us to attain wisdom.
Now if we want to attain wisdom, we must not be afraid to ask even the basic question. And I am not referring only to asking a question of someone. I also mean questioning things, questioning theories, looking at things analytically and clinically.
Never mind we might feel like fools when we ask that basic question. Never mind we may be regarded by others as being fools for asking it. Better to be fools, or seen as fools, for a moment than not ask the question, fail to attain that wisdom, and be fools for a lifetime.
Indeed, the fools are those who do not ask the question.
Our God-given intelligence allows us to recognize the consequences of not managing our affairs wisely, some of which consequences are the extreme pollution of air, water and land; global warming; rising sea levels; increasing, and increasingly severe deforestation and desertification, famines, flooding, hurricanes, wildfires and pestilence; increasing tensions between growing populations for limited, and in some cases, decreasing resources; the degradation of human values and life itself; the exploding gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’; etc.
So how can all of this happen on a little planet with over seven billion so-called intelligent beings dominating it?
The simple answer is that while we may be the most intelligent creatures on the Planet, we have not proven to be the wisest.
Wise creatures do not do what we are doing. They do not create a culture and a legacy of death, destruction, and annihilation.
No single, or combination, of the Earth’s so-called lower creatures, has caused anywhere near as much havoc and destruction as we have.
In the last 250 years, we have wiped out nearly 600 species of plant life, and some estimates have it as high as 50 percent of animal life; and we have polluted much of the Planet, including ourselves, spiritually, physically and socially.
Just to demonstrate the extent of the real and potential damage and destruction, let us consider two very small creatures: the ant and the honeybee.
There are over five million species of ants, of which we have already destroyed ten percent.
What do ants do that help us survive? They aerate the soil, they improve drainage, they disperse seeds, and they help keep pest populations down, all of which benefit us.
They are also extremely well organized and disciplined, and they have their priorities right, which is something that we can learn from.
And just by the way, they number so many more than we do that in total they make up the same amount of biomass on the Planet as we do. Imagine if they were destructive like we are: we might have been wiped out already.
It seems that the lowly ant is wiser than we are. It protects us, while we destroy it. We are destroying our protectors. Very unwise, we are.
Then there is the honeybee. This tiny creature is the most important pollinator of plants on the Planet. Without honeybees, the plants of the world would have to depend on the wind to be pollinated, which is far less efficient than bee pollination.
Think of the wide range of fruits, vegetables and other plants on which we rely for nutrition and health; and of the animals which feed on those plants and find themselves on our dinner tables as meat protein, not to mention the use of parts of their bodies for other purposes, for example, their skins to make bags, shoes, drum skins, etc.
Imagine the consequences to us if honeybees were not around in sufficient numbers to pollinate the plants.
But guess what. We are a destroying their habitats.
There they are, working their little tails off to our benefit, and we are acting with reckless disregard for them, and, in consequence, for our own survival. Again, destroying our protectors. Foolishness.
What kind of creature are we, being so smart, yet unwise to the point of self and total mass destruction? How could a God of absolute knowledge, wisdom and love have made foolish creatures like us in His own likeness?
Industrial development and modernization, as well as religious, ethnic, racial, and other bigotry have disturbed and disrupted the bond between man and nature, and between man and his brother and his community. And under one deceptive and manipulative ‘ism’ or another, the powerful, buttressed by enough firepower to destroy all life on Earth many times over, have seized full dominance over the rest of mankind and our Planet, driven by greed and an incredible lack of compassion and wisdom, as we all head to hell in a handbasket.
We are on the precipice of global destruction thanks to the combination of (i) the relative few insensitive, callous, greedy, ruthless, uncaring and corrupt hooligans who run companies, organizations and countries around the world; and (ii) billions of gullible, under-educated people who are overwhelmed by their struggle for daily survival, and distracted by foolishness.
So, the powerful, through insatiable greed and corruption, and the oppressed, through ignorance and desperation, are destroying the Planet. Abba is doing it and Sabba is doing it.
Homo Sapiens? Really?