This post has been prompted by my reading “The Gene” by Siddhartha Mukherjee (just started the book). This post is not a book review (the book is excellent though :)). Rather, it is about a thought that was triggered as I read about how Darwin’s understanding of evolution came to be. As far as I know, most people are at least aware of this concept. Many disagree with it and over the centuries there have been many other proposals, refutations etc . However, it is still perhaps the most popular concept of evolution.
For the purpose of this post, let me drop the tag “survival of the fittest”. His concept in my words. In each generation, there are randomly created, a few “sports” who differ from “the normal” in certain traits. Over a period of time, a subset of these different traits that are more suited to the changing environment (or natural calamities) are carried forward (selected). The “sports” slowly become a new species of their own when isolated and sometimes replace “the normals”. Hope that explains it! What is remarkable about this theory is that it embraces change as a natural, inevitable process and it “necessitates” the occurrence of “sports” as the key to survival. Even if it means the present gradually morphing into a new species of the future.
What baffles me then is the “human” understanding of this theory. Let me digress a bit to explain. Humans as one of the species on the planet, have several traits that are not limited to physical attributes like height, color of the eyes etc. Traits may also refer to the intangibles ranging from a manner of walking to temperaments. Although it is debatable how much of a trait is a result of heredity versus the environment, one thing is for sure. Some of these traits – physical or intangible randomly change over generations creating a collage of beautiful differences.
Now, if most of us agree and accept Darwin’s theory of evolution, then how can we also simultaneously reject those different from us? Those different from the norm, are probably “necessary” for human evolution as with any species. Who is to say which of these differences will go on to be future’s “normal”? That is entirely up to nature.
So why do we reject those different from us so vehemently? I have come to believe that the cause is fear, without us being conscious about it. Perhaps, there is a deeper understanding that “they” could be the future as we are slowly relegated to the past. This fear of being replaced, of being forgotten is probably what fuels the diverse reactions to people who are different from us…. However, I do sincerely hope that we recognize that change is but natural and come to accept all people, no matter how different they are from us, to be a part of this change. They may, just may, be our link to the future.
What do you think?