Having spent years studying the bones of animals long dead, I have been fortunate enough to see – on a daily basis – evidence of the relationship between humans and other animals. For me, our kinship with the rest of life on Earth is a vivid reality. Evolution is change and that change is the result of an ongoing struggle for life – where those that are best suited for the struggle are rewarded by the continuation of their lineage. This means that we are each an end link in an unbroken chain of life, stretching back over two billion years. For all that time, each one of our ancestors must have been amongst the best of their kind. In the words of Charles Darwin, “There is grandeur in this view of life”.
At the opening of the 21st Century modern medicine has buffered us from the harshest aspects of life. Where once we needed many children because most would die, we now need few because most will live. Our planet can only hold so many and we have already done irreparable damage, so where do we go from here?
Most of us want to leave a legacy, but humans have a way to do that beyond children. Our societies are constantly changing – evolving in their own way. Each scientific breakthrough, book or artwork is a link in the development of our culture, enriching everyone’s future. Every discussion we engage in, every blog we post, all hold the possibility of changing ideas or inspiring ourselves and others to greatness. It is only by adapting to change, and indeed contributing to it, that we can truly shape a sustainable legacy for the future. Our opportunity to be among the best of our kind no longer lies in our loins; it lies in our minds, hearts and hands.
This is reproduced from my blog at Secular Thought for the Day
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