Mankind and the Planet

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Mankind and the Planet, past, present and future Philosophical Speculations

Page 5


In order to make the train of thought expressed in previous sections (4-7) more plausible, we need to connect and supplement it with the idea that the possibilities available to creative life are nowhere nearly exhausted by the phenomenon produced so far. The immense hinterland of non-living mass of the universe can, with the same justification that it is normally seen as meaningless, be interpreted as the material reserve, background, environment for life, as the stock for an evolution over millions and millions of years, or of whatever other time units. In this respect, we must take into account an important factor, namely the otherness, the change presented by its latest, highest forms to date, the human species, compared with its earliest beginnings – assuming,that is, that the current account of evolution is correct, but even assuming other accounts of the evolution of life.

Moreover, the degree to which the aspect of life has changed since its original state must also be projected into the future; a corresponding degree of change in the appearance of life in the remote future has to be reckoned with. Such change may not necessarily be morphological; it might just as  well concern degrees of power, the intensity or the extension of life.  The human race having made its appearance on the stage of life, its future development may entail an increasing interference  by the species in the happenings of nature, possibly due to an unfolding of untried, latent powers of the community that so far exist only in a chaotic, embryonic state. Other possibilities can and must be imagined. The appearance of  life  is frequently depicted as an isolated spark in an ocean of non-living matter But it can just as well be likened to a flame kindled in a tiny point of the universe, spreading through large parts of that universe, which constitutes its future, unlimited playground, as vast and as full of possibilities as the insatiability of life may require. This may happen with or without the deliberate participation of mankind, but it may reasonably be assumed that mankind, or whatever follows it, will have a share and an ever more profound influence in the proceedings of nature.

The above is a philosophical speculation about the future of life and the universe, as opposed to scientific speculations about that future expressed in the theory of the running down of the universe, its entropy – death.