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Anthropoforming Anthropoforming
by Jan Sand
2019-12-13 08:24:14
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Way back when science fiction was young the idea of shifting humanity to another planet was explored. Many of the early writers in the field were scientists, engineers and technologists so they understood the problems. They are huge.

anthr01_400Humanity credits itself with major differences from other animals by its reaction to the environment. Other animals, it claims, merely adapt to the environment, but humans change it. Looked at from a slightly more generous viewpoint, this is more a matter of degree than an absolute. Evolution is a rather cruel master but it sees to it that its creations have various ways to manage. No doubt it favours physiological adaptations to make its creatures viable but genetic installations of survival behaviours also must be understood. This is not to demean the far greater ingenuities humans have developed to far outrange the behaviours of all other creatures. From hermit crabs, to honeybees and termites, to beavers and many creatures who construct underground dwellings, to the devious camouflage tricks of octopuses the seeds of human cleverness are widespread throughout many different life forms.  But there is something perverse in all great successes. When these survival victories against the difficulties become too great, dangerous disasters arise. That’s the problem we are facing now.

The term used in the SF stories and, lately, amongst people making plans to get people comfortable on another planet is terraforming – getting another planet the be like Earth. It has been estimated the Earth was formed about four and a half billion years ago and during that time things have changed a lot. All sorts of variations in the atmosphere and temperatures and many other variables have taken place and current solar system explorations have revealed that no two planets are alike. Any extrasolar planet to be not too hot nor too cold would be in what is called the Goldilocks orbit. Much of Earth is covered with water so humans prefer that. Turning almost any other planet into Earth is damned near impossible; something that could be called anthropoforming and the best we might accomplish is creating enclosed areas that are somewhat Earth-like.  That could be done on the Moon and Mars and, even to an extent, on habitats in space, but Mercury and Venus and Saturn and Jupiter are out of the question.

And even Earth, at this time, is undergoing an anthropoformation crisis. Humanity, for all its self-adulation as the cleverest and wisest animal evolution patched together is behaving with incredible stupidity in reworking the fundamentals of preserving life and life sustaining conditions on the only planet in the solar system where it is really comfortable to live. The financial systems of humanity have formulated a system of values to appraise money as the ultimate precious commodity that we all should strive for, ignoring that money is merely a lever of power within human society and is meaningless outside of that. The true values of existence are those things which supply the fundamental necessities of life and a deep respect for the many millions of years evolution’s mechanisms have extensively functioned to forge all the huge varieties of life and ecologies together in an integrated mechanism to sustain everything. Knowledge of this marvellous dynamic creation which is barely understood even minimally is being totally ignored by the deluded powers now in human control. And this brutal destructive ignorance is juggernauting this planet to complete destruction of life.

Although there are exceptions, humans remain captured by the hypnotizing myths that declaim the entire planet, and perhaps the universe itself, was created especially for the diversion and delight of this latest hairless primate species which has only been around for only the latest instant of two million years. Whatever human accomplishments may be and I do not disrespect them, if all of humanity destroys itself, as it seems to be eager to do, the planet and its life forms would proceed, more or less, undisturbed.  Especially in the last couple of centuries, humanity has industrially been anthropomorphing its own planet so completely that it is on the edge of becoming uninhabitable. The entire life systems of the whole planet are dying off at a horrifying rate. Humans seem to have no conception that they are actually a very small part of the tremendous integration of all life forms, from the microscopic bacteria and viruses, to the largest lumbering monstrous cell colonies such as ourselves.

The ancient giant reptiles have died off almost completely out of a minor solar system cataclysm but life itself recovered. It seems the only hope left is that the cataclysmic obliteration humans destined for themselves out of their gifts of cleverness will have small effect on the determination of evolution to continue playing its fascinating games.


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