Civility vs. Survival

If we observe how life on Earth evolves, evolution would seem to be the mechanism by which life attaches itself to an otherwise lifeless world using any and all means at its disposal. This is to say life survives first and foremost by any means necessary, without adherence to any rules or notion of civilization. However, to infer from nature that one should live life without regard for any of the rules of civilization would be to dismiss how these very things have aided life not only in its survival, but in the quality of the experience of survival. Humanity, as an apex predator, one with a uniquely evolved consciousness that has resulted in the advent of human civilization, seems to have transcended the usual barbarity typical of the experience of survival for life on Earth, or so it seems we would like to believe.

Setting aside for a moment how humanity by and large has no qualms orchestrating violence against and currently endangers countless other species (let alone itself), the crux of our moral consciousness and furthermore the evolution of human civilization would seem to be a respect for each individual (human) life (when in fact we fully consider one another to be human; see: racism), and through extension we rationalize a respect for all other life—or as it were, “empathy”. Such is the foundation whereby we come to rationalize morality, ethics, laws, and civilization. However, the conundrum we find ourselves facing today is one in which these very things seem to be leading to the imminent extinction not only of humanity, but of all life on Earth. Our greatest existential threat is none other than humanity itself. What then does nature dictate in this situation?

When human civilization seems intent on driving the entire planet off a metaphorical cliff to crash and literally burn, it stands to reason the individual must turn its back on the very society from which it arose in order to lessen the probability of extinction from, let us say, 100% to whatever is the probability of extinction for the individual, or group of likeminded individuals, who take matters into their own hands. Those who wait for a grand solution or the approval of society, or even just the approval of our peers within our own communities, seemingly are taking the chance that “civilization” might pull through for us—for all life on Earth. It seems a rather high-stakes gamble, considering how life began in the first place, before the existence of anything such as “human civilization”, or laws, or morals, when the only imperative of life was simply to survive.