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Counting fallen sparrows Counting fallen sparrows
by Jan Sand
2006-10-28 10:13:49
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A human being is one of the most intricate machines ever devised, if devised is the appropriate term. The latest model is the current variation from a tree-climbing mammal where it acquired the very useful capability to grasp tree branches and a visual system to accompany that survival skill, not covering the entire electromagnetic spectrum but sufficiently broad to be applied in very diverse situations.

Evolution is the continuous story of structures and skills developed for one use and then applied fortuitously to new situations that permit the organism to explore wider horizons. Evidently, these novel applications fostered a further development of the central nervous system which contributed to this creature's success in the world.

Current anthropology indicates that this development has remained static for the relatively short evolutionary period of about a million years. But humanity’s very quick and exceptional success has very little, if any, nod towards caution or recognition that dire consequences are rapidly accumulating to end the stability of a favorable environment.

Total disaster, not only for this young species, but also for the rest of the organic network which is necessary for the maintenance of Earth life in general seems inevitable. A large number of aware-individuals are aware of this inherent stupidity, but the species as a whole are either not capable of evaluating the situation or driven by such blind stupidity and personal self-serving that proper analysis is not a consideration.

Taking this into account, it is hard not to conclude that the proclaimed superior intelligence of this animal is more arrogance than actuality and has little understanding of the final results of its current behavior. It is much the same as a colony of termites that hollows out a wooden structure to final collapse and the ultimate destruction of the colony.

As someone who has spent the first half of his life in a world full of creature splendors and jungle wonders, replete with an endless supply of marine protein and deep dark threatening mysteries where no man has yet gone, I am despondent. The Florida I experienced as a twelve-year-old was so thick with tropical growth a few feet beyond the highways that rimmed the coastlines that Tarzan and his fellow chimps would not have been a surprising encounter.

At night, land crabs would emerge from their burrows with pincer arms raised over their heads like Spanish or Greek dancers and clack around the house in Boca Raton where I stayed. Snakes and alligators abounded, and the streets were littered with dropped coconuts in their thick fibrous shells. The wonderful clean white sandy beaches were almost totally unpopulated and long strands of washed up seaweed ran along the high tide line which responded to the kick of a naked foot to reveal long twisted worm shells, dried tube sponges and sea fans, large strange sea beans, rectilinear shark eggs with four tiny tentacles, empty sea urchin domes, sea dollars, an occasional huge white perfect paper nautilus shell and a rich trove of purple and pink and striped brown snail shells.

I returned in the late 1970s to show my son the wonders and they had all disappeared in an inundation of McDonald’s, Burger Kings and housing development.

A story today speaks of elephant hysteria, villages and settlements attacked by crazy herds. Over 90 percent of the large fish have disappeared from the seas and the rest are going fast. Many thousands of sharks are harvested for their fins and they are edging towards endangered species status, the whales are being gobbled up by the Norwegians and the Japanese, and the Chinese are killing and eating everything with tentacles, two, four, six, twelve and no legs. And, of course, the rest of the world is no less guilty in its rapacious consumption.

So, where will it all end? Flights of sparrows have fallen but there are still some up there. I loved my old strange wild world and it seems to be slipping towards the red dead dusty sands of Mars. I am still counting. But it seems God doesn’t give a damn.

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