It has been said that human beings have a mind that is more able to adapt to conditions than other organisms because of having more capacity in our cerebral cortex. This may be true but what is it that we are better equiped to adapt to? If we are talking about the natural world and its processes, then other animals and plants are clearly much better at adapting and thriving – in the long term – than we are. After all many plants and animals have been around much longer than we have and they continue to survive and, perhaps, out-survive us as well.
Humans are better are adapting to “what” then? Better at adapting to the unnatural conditions brought about by other humans? As human beings we seem unsure as to whether the smartest thing to do is adapt to man-made conditions that seem to fly in the face of nature, or resist them. Clearly we are caught in an ambivalence that other life forms do not seem to experience and this is, perhaps, the thing that distinguishes us. Free will and all that!
It strikes me that the essential dilemma of “first contact” for indigenous people is the ongoing dilemma that we all face every day. To what degree do we accept conditions that take us further and further away from direct contact with nature and, to what degree do we resist them?
It seems to me that my essential Self is exactly the same as any uncontacted tribes persons lived self. The only difference between us is that my consciousness has been colonised for longer and I have adapted to that colonisation to the degree that I might even identify the adapted part of me as who I am. But experience tells me I am not that. I am the essential Self who did the adapting. And, more than that, I am the nature out of which the essential Self arises.
To the degree that I identify with my essential Self, I am motivated to resist the unnatural. To the degree that I identify with the adapted part of me, I am motivated to accept or even promote the unnatural.
Wise people throughout the ages have always sought to turn our minds back towards the natural whereas the foolish have always tried to enroll us in the unnatural and man-made… or so it seems to me.