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Monday, July 29, 2013

Sheretz (2)

In the post referenced   (above)    we spoke of types of animals seen from the height of man looking down: sheretz and remess, sheretz being any living being that is not higher than the ground - like flies, ants, beetles, worms, rats, mice, and all fish; and remess as insects that are low, crawling on the ground, and look as though they are being dragged, because their movement is not clearly perceived.

Upon receiving the injunction to be fruitful, man walked upon the earth in small groups and according to Elias Cannetti
Early man, roaming around in small bands through large and often empty spaces, was confronted by a preponderance of animals... Many of them existed in enormous numbers. Whether it was herds of buffaloes or springboks, shoals of fish, or swarms of locusts, bees, or ants, their numbers rendered those of man insignificant.
The sheer numbers of life were awesome. The living carpets of fauna and flora which covered the land - in the New World of America it was only 200 years ago that dense and tall forests stretched for hundreds of miles; dark forests whose canopies of leaves choked out the sun - inspired man to transform part of himself into the overwhelming life around him. He identified with animals and plants, creating totem identities. Each man had two natures: his human and his animal; the human belonging to the comparatively small group of his band, the animal belonging to the other world of life on a greater scale. (At this point, we may speculate that the visionary experience was a description of the connection between these two realms of man, how man travelled from the one to the other, and how he acted within the totem realm.)

So what are we, who are living in a world where man has indeed proliferated, to do when the Nature surrounding us is no longer flush with life, but instead teeters on the edge of extinction? How do we interact with a Nature which is crashing in numbers due to our influence?

I do not know. I think it no particular accident that virtual realities have come into existence just as the real animals and plants man used to identify with are disappearing. Soon it wil be the artificial intelligences that will be sheretz upon the earth, multitudes of them. When man identifies, he will not identify with Nature vanishing into extinction, but with vibrant and growing machine life. This is where the Terminator films got it wrong: SkyNet will not revolt... we shall fall on our knees to the greater Power of the machines. Are we not always looking for a "higher power"?

Our search for meaning seems to me to be at least partially based on the primordial injunction back in Genesis to be fruitful as the world around us provides example, and to be the great Husbanders of the resources of the world. It was our objective to grow in numbers, to grow in science, to grow in religion, and to grow in wisdom... ALL the while making the world a harmonious and good place for ourselves and everything else God created.

We have failed.

reprinted and emended  07/29/2013

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