Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Brian was right

Kwandong Brian was right re: Larry Niven's short story titled "The Locusts," in which humanity reverts to primitivity due to population pressure. I brought the short story collection Limits back with me from the States and just finished it last night. Brian had indeed remembered correctly that the hominid-birthing problem wasn't merely happening on the colony world (as I had claimed); it was also happening back on overcrowded Earth.

The story puts forth the idea that humans are like locusts, genetically encoded to revert to a more primitive, brutal form when population begins to exceed food supply and the time comes to move to a new home. This reversion seems to happen all at once as mothers begin giving birth to babies whose features and cranial capacities are more pithecine than modern. The reversion makes the species tougher and more able to survive in foreign environments. Unencumbered by the modern morality that obliges us to respect the rights of the weak, the slow, and so on, humanity starts building itself from Square One again, with natural selection weeding out those unable to survive. After several million years, there will be modern humans again.

Funky, huh?


1 comment:

kwandongbrian said...

Now if only I could convince the wife that such knowledge was useful.