=1 "No parking on a launching pad"

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No parking on a launching pad

Man the fossil

Evolution is a dangerous affair, especially for the dominant species. There is no guarantee that it will still be dominant tomorrow. The disappearance of such a species has always been quick and brutal, and it was not underdevelopment which led to its extinction, but overdevelopment – overdevelopment of size or number, or specialization of a weapon. Today it seems that mankind is overdeveloping all three.

Remember the big deer of Ireland with those magnificent antlers which became, with each generation, more magnificent but also more cumbersome? It was the same with the dinosaur and with thousands of other species. So majestic, so powerful! And then some little runt took over.

If the dominant species has been pushed into the corner of overpopulation, there is only one way out: mutation. The mutations in man during the last million years have been not so much anatomical as psycho-technical. The paleolithic farmer became the town artisan and merchant. 10,000 year from hunter to farmer, 1,000 years from farmer to merchant. Then only 100 years to the suburban culture, the commuter, the golf-player, the executive, the technician. But even the commuter still lives in a provincial fatherland, and that is his trouble.

Man the new being

The paleolithic hunter did not become a farmer by being a better hunter. He had to become something different. Being a good farmer or a good artisan or a good business executive or a good ambassador or a good president is not enough for the next step, for the mutation, the transcendence. Even the best of goodwill is not enough.

Evolution has been too quick and too steep for that. There are still plenty of paleolithic hunters among us who could not keep up, and nine tenths of mankind are still neolithic hunters. But even if we were all 20th century men – good business executives, good technicians, good internationalists – that would be only a base for the new pyramid of man.

We hardly have time to get our bearings, to set our pace for the next great step man has to take. We have no time, really, to inquire whether earth has a soul, or to build her one in the tedious way, through centuries and millenia, as the great nations were built. We have to be the soul of the earth, from right now: the new man.

A few great leaders, great personalities were able to forge nations from the raw material of tribalism. So a world, a planet, a humanity could be built even out of our small, primitive, provincial 20th century mentality – but not with it.

And the world builders? We don't need many. A few Dag Hammerskjolds, a few Kennedys, or perhaps one Alexander would be sufficient now that the critical point of the human pile has been reached.

After the great difficulties of our past – out of the sea on to the land, from the amphibian to the reptile to the mammal – the step now before us from an isolated mammal to a planetary being seems rather insignificant.