We live on a mostly hostile, but beautiful planet in the hostile but magnificent Universe. It’s wise to remember that nature and the Universe do not have any partiality towards us. Left without out our devices, tools, and shelter, humans are vulnerable to almost every aspect of nature. We cannot climb trees as efficiently as other apes. We are unable to outrun creatures of prey. It’s difficult to even capture dogs that are determined to escape our grasp.
However, our species can do all of the above and much more through our ability to adapt. Not only can we outrun our predators, but we have invented artifacts that enable us to do almost anything we set our minds upon to imagine. We have created everything from protective everyday footwear to spacecraft that can land on Mars.
If we stop our frantic, daily routines for awhile, we can ponder how much humanity has adapted to our environment. When push comes to shove, isn’t it all kind of a miracle of harmony regarding how we can adapt the freedom of the inner mind, to the outcome of necessity and convenience?
A common example is our ability to drive motor vehicles. We exploit our inborn trait to coordinate muscular movement, with the capacity to mentally concentrate, and the ability to anticipate difficulty in the future. We learn how to successfully guide our vehicles from point A to point B on a pleasant, sunny day. We adapt those skills to being able to drive in heavy traffic on a rainy day and still arrive at our destinations. We do this largely without very much forethought.
The ability to transform the knowledge and skills we have already learned into new ways to use these tools is adaptation. The further ability to transform these advantages quickly and efficiently is another form of intelligence.
We can choose to do tasks and live life according to habit and doctrine or we can choose to think and act “outside of the box” in order to adapt more easily to our ever-changing world.
People who choose not to adapt, live by the letter of past tradition. Sentimental attachment to the past leaves us unwilling and often unable to successfully evolve and strategically adapt to challenging scenarios. By observing the ways of happily successful people, we see that they are not satisfied with mundane ordinariness in thought and action. They are able to efficiently, skillfully respond to new challenges and situations.
The fuel for our species’ successful evolution from caveman days to our modern manifestation has been the ability to adapt to diversity. In fact, that is nature’s way. Creatures evolve from the survivors of adversity. Animals avoid predators in their particular ways. predators avoid detection by their prey in similar ways. Biologists tell us that this occurs through the laws of heredity and adaptation. It has been observed that species co-evolve with one another. Predators eat the prey and the prey learns ways to evade predators. It is an interdependent evolution.
Humans have taken this a step further. We are able to evolve our thinking and skills beyond simple utility. We have been able to adapt our minds to promote the general happiness and welfare of others. We intellectually understand that to cooperate and promote the general welfare is in our individual best interests. That is I scratch your back; you scratch mine, but on a grand scale.
We can visualize the process of adaptation as a type of translation. We are familiar with our abilities and skills. We simply take them and reinterpret them to fit different, unfamiliar circumstances. The result is an enhanced set of abilities and skills. We can do this unconsciously or we can mindfully translate our thinking, learning abilities. The human exploitation of adaptability is our strong suit. We are now being called upon to adapt in many ways. I believe our species will be able to do so.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a statement by Israeli economist and psychologist, Daniel Kahneman. “Adaptation seems to be, to a substantial extent, a process of reallocating your attention.”
Nice musing. Let’s hope humankind keeps adapting but reduces the damage it is causing.
Yes, the evils are evident each day and our fate seems dire at times. There are also the people who do not appear often in the headlines who are actively working to right our species’ wrongs.