Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Easter Island and Complacency

So the old hypothesis about Easter Island is that somehow humans destroyed basically all of their means of survival and died off.  A new hypothesis out there is actually as frighteningly real as the first in modern terms and is, in part, why this blog exists. 

The new story is that by a combination of normal life and fate, some creatures we call "rats" stowed aboard and made their way with the inhabitants to Easter Island where they multiplied like crazy because they had no predators and destroyed their food sources (much the way humans are said to have done in hypothesis numero uno).  Now, that part isn't so scary unless you hate which case, keep reading and stop thinking about them. 

The second part of the story is that humans, who originally thrived and seemed to have a wonderful abundance of food and life-sources on the island, had their resources dwindle by their own or because of the (insert rodents here) fault or a combination and they began to die off or to continue to live by whatever means they could to "get by" which they continued to do as a fraction of the population survived on into the later centuries when they were re-discovered by outsiders. 

So what is terrifying about this is the idea that people on Easter Island became complacent.  Instead of recognizing that they were slowly losing their resources and therefore their access to this great life that they once had, they utilized their human nature of adaptability and flexibility and just "simply survived" instead of "really living."  Now this isn't my attempt at saying that having more is the most important thing or some other materialistic nonsense...after all, if that were the case, there'd be no argument because they certainly would have had a MOUNTAIN of rats...the equivalent of a full New York Street of Gucci stores or something(?). 

The point is that as humans, despite the fact that most of us dislike major changes, we are naturally an adaptive species.  We are able to live off of very little and as omnivores we are capable of sustaining ourselves on a wider variety of tasty morsels than say an herbivore or a carnivore which is more limited.  It's not all about food though, either.  Our bodies can adapt to different climates and we are able to construct and build upon our landscapes, which also makes us more capable of "putting up with" changes we previously didn't face.  It may pain us a little at first, because as I mentioned, it is a form of change, but the real issue here is the complacency...we do things because we are forced to change instead of recognizing a problem when it is still possible to have an effect on it.

So my challenge to you is to recognize something that you see as potentially problematic today (I know this exercise is different than most of our days when we look for happiness and rainbows, but we'll get there).  What is something that worries you in your life or in the world?  What is a change that you don't WANT to adapt to?  What is something you miss about how life used to be? 

Have an idea?  Good.  Now...alarm yourself.  What does that mean, exactly? actually already did it.  By choosing something about the world that you recognize as a potential problem that you do NOT want to have to change FOR or something that you DO want to revert have already alerted your system to a shock that it must face either to reverse the problem that would eventually cause your need to adapt OR to reverse a problem that you have already begun to adapt to. 

What now?!  Brainstorm.  How can I positively affect change so that change does not affect me?  How do I avoid complacency that occurs by accepting the "norm?"  How do I at least CONTROL the change that I DO want to happen instead of having negative changes forced upon me unknowingly, (and as we have discovered from your decision that it is something you dislike, we can also call it "unwillingly").

THERE!  Easter Island, hypothesis two, is not so scary when we can realize that complacency is human but that not all humans must choose to be complacent.  The Einsteins of the world, for example, did not do great things by doing what everyone else did.  Neither did world leaders or winners of Nobel Peace Prizes or even normal people doing everyday jobs like you and me.  Each person affects change in his or her own life in order to CONTROL the change instead of being complacent with "whatever happens, happens."  So, you actually already have some practice and expertise in this matter.  You have been affecting changes since you were young! 

So don't go Easter Island Part II on us here...
you already have the first few steps started toward something better...

No comments: