244: Lessons from extinction
Learning that humans only recently developed the concept of extinction. Much of the West, for example, believed in a Great Chain of Being, spontaneous generation, and a biblical flood.
That perspective suggests that many past behaviors we consider unconscionable may have seemed even humane then, like walking up to a rhinoceros and shooting it in the head. If you can’t imagine it going extinct because new ones will form, how is shooting it point blank any different than slaughtering any other animal?
Since we are in future generations’ pasts, how might they see our polluting behavior? If they live in messes we created, won’t they likely see us as we see people shooting rhinoceroses point blank—that is, with horror?
Does understanding others with compassion lead us to act with compassion?