Darwin’s Dream


And so it came to pass that the One became aware
of the crisis of the most arrogant creature
that had ever evolved on the Earth,
and the One felt a resigned sadness.

It was bad enough that this conceited ape
had anointed itself as the chosen
among all the myriad and wondrous beings
that had ever filled the watery planet.

That seemed once to be a harmless fantasy
that helped the creatures face their lives
in a world too complex for their understanding
filled with forces they could not control.

For beings so intensely self-aware
it never failed to astonish the One
how little they learned about each other.
Narcissism is like that.

Each group of them made up their own stories
and rituals to help them overcome their fear.
and then they killed or at least ridiculed
those who raised doubts in their minds.

The One was encouraged when they found Science
and they began to understand the Natural Laws.
Some of them studied the other creatures,
marveling at their variety and interconnectedness.

For a time the One hoped this would save them,
but these apes insisted on ignoring their proper place.
They perverted what they learned
believing they were meant for domination.

And the way they shaped and changed the planet
was a terrible thing for the One to witness,
but there was always the chance
that they would understand before it was too late.

Indeed, some of them did become aware
that they were but a single distant twig
on the immense and ancient Tree of Life.
and they cried “What have we done?”

They saw that they had viewed all life through a filter
biased for size and similarity to themselves.
They saw that the vast majority of life was microscopic
and that all life depended on these tiny organisms.

They began teaching the others what they learned.
That was when the One made the mistake
of thinking they had saved themselves.
For now, it was clear that they were doomed.

The storytellers had won enough control
to suppress the teachers,
and so the One knew the balance would tip,
leaving the simplest creatures to rebuild their world.

And the One said so let it be.




© 2008 Michael Yanega
23 Aug 2008




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