by Eleanor Goldfield
*The following post is taken from a segment in Episode 44 of Act Out!
I want to talk human adaptibility. We humans have an incredible ability to adapt to a lot of situations. Take GMOs for instance. How did we go from eating and expecting to eat real food to accepting things like “formed meat,” “enriched bleached flour” and the various hydrogenated, distilled and color added -phates, -troses and -ydes? Well, because it seems more convenient and because we have learned to not only adapt to our surroundings but to adapt our surroundings to fit us.
While it may seem that we twist and contort nature more than we do ourselves, it’s not just that we have found a way to adapt our world to fit in with our “progressing” paradigms, it’s that we accept these conveniences and all the side effects they wreak. We accept these shortcuts to thinking and feeling; the shallow end vs. the deep end because we too are just as adaptable as our surroundings . Unions are no longer a thing? OK – well, I can adapt. Maternity leave isn’t a thing – OK, I’ll adapt to that too. Fresh air isn’t a thing – well, I’ll just breathe through a filtered gas mask. No big deal.
Adaptability can and has been a tremendous plus for humanity – it’s allowed us to survive extreme conditions, food shortages, physical and mental pain – however, it has also allowed us to accept the many causes of these trials – war, inequality, climate change, dictatorial and oppressive regimes . We realize that we can get by and periodically complain to a bartender or a hairdresser about how much your medical bill was, laughing it off and then just carrying on. In these cases, adaptability is dangerous. The frog in the slowly warming pot of water may be adaptable but I doubt it would share your appreciation of its pliancy once you’re serving frog legs for dinner. In other words, adaptability has helped us survive, but it can also help us die.
In a sick dystopian 1984 Kevorkian kinda way, our adaptability is keeping us dumb, poor, malnourished, unequal and disposable . We CAN get to the point where a smog-filled sky is normal, where a tomato may or may not cause internal bleeding and where politicians proudly sport corporate donors on their $3000 blazers but does that mean that we SHOULD get there? Is that really the pride of our evolutionary prowess?? I’d like to think not.
I’d like to think that we can also adapt into using that other gift of evolution: our fucking brains. And through that, separate positive adaptability from negative adaptability – to know when to say, “oh, cool – I can definitely use a glass bottle as opposed to plastic” and when to say, “yeah, you know what – fuck you, and fuck that.” Our system of endless growth is impossible – and only presently plausible because we adapt to its conniving stupidity.
Stop adapting. Think before you adapt. Adapt along the lines of logic, justice and peace. Fight the rest.