Detriments of Humans

1013 Words5 Pages
As humans become more advanced, we continue to lose touch with the natural world; this is exhibited in our loss of instincts, our inability to maintain the environment, and our need to conquer and alter nature, not coexist with it. In our great quest for knowledge, power, and recognition, certain concepts are often left at the wayside. Being in touch with nature, spending time simply absorbing the surroundings, and living in the moment are examples of this. People have somehow developed this idea that “civilized” people aren’t free and wild; they are prim and proper, they’re impeccably clean, and their days are well planned out and organized. Schedules are key. Once upon a time, humans probably had instincts to rival those of other animals. This has slowly changed over time, to the point where our instincts are deadened, unresponsive and nonexistent in the instances when we would call on them. Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” illustrates this with a sharp contrast between the mind of man and a dog. The main character in this tale is unfamiliar with the territory he is traveling, uneducated to what it means to be properly prepared for such a task, but yet he was confident he would survive. The line, “In fact, he carried nothing but the lunch wrapped in the handkerchief,” (London, 28) should set off warning bells to anyone familiar with extended time spent in the wilderness. The weather was freezing, but yet for the protagonist, things simply didn’t compute properly. “Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty-odd degrees of frost. Such fact impressed him as being cold and uncomfortable, and that was all” (London, 27). Instinct would dictate better preparation than that, but this man was sure of his abilities to r... ... middle of paper ... ... the wilderness and our compulsion to subdue it that causes Standing Bear to make this statement: “And here I find the great distinction between the faith of the Indian and the white man. Indian faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings” (149). It’s a funny thing, contemplating the course of human existence and our role in shaping not only ourselves, but everything around us. Some may say humans are sitting at the pinnacle of our existence thus far, but in the process, we’ve lost something along the way. In becoming who we are today, we gave up vital survival instincts. Our predisposition to look out for Number One at all costs will ensure the continued destruction of our natural world. The ultimate question asks how many people will need to advocate an internal re-evaluation before change is attainable.
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