Adapt or perish!

As humans, we are at the top of the animal world, only because of our ability to adapt. Also, “survival of the fittest” does not really apply to human beings anymore. We have become good at protecting and supporting the not-so-fit among us. In the age of information, it is now the “survival of the wisest”.

Of course, who among us is wise? COVID-19 has raised the dust off the stupidity in the world. People having large following on social media have realized how easy it is to spread misinformation and the gullible fall for it over and over again.

No amount of artificial intelligence can combat human stupidity.

Everyone was excited that internet would democratize content creation by reducing the barrier to create for the masses. However, it also amplified the village idiots, who, until now everybody was happy to ignore. The greatest skill that the next generation needs to develop is the ability to filter truth from the landfill of misinformation. What to pay attention to, and what to ignore will determine how much time you will have for other important things in your life. I never thought there would be a day that ignorance would also become a skill!

In many ways, the Coronavirus has proven to be more adaptable than many human beings. It has mutated in several ways in such a short time, all the while when many people have the audacity (stupidity) to call it a hoax, refuse to wear masks, and continue to meet others.

The primary casualty of stupidity is humanity.

In this war against the virus, we have already lost several hundred thousand people. And after an year of struggle, there are still many who deny its effects. It is exhausting. Humanity has taken a back seat. Everyone has had enough.

Good progress is being made with the vaccine despite all this, and it is good to be hopeful about our ability to adapt.

Growing up

Growing up in life, I have heard a lot of adages. One of the things my dad used to say whenever I demanded things, just because my friends had or did, was — “If your friends ran and jumped into a well, would you do the same?”

I wasn’t bold enough to tell my dad this but I thought — “Of course. I have intelligent friends. If they’re jumping into a well, they would surely have good reason to do so.”

I think, growing up in life does not happen overnight. But it happens so gradually that you often don’t notice and from a person who’s at the receiving end of advices, you’re one day giving advices.

But some incidents in life (like this one), some peculiarly insignificant, makes you feel that you’ve grown up a little. In a moment’s passing, you feel you’re no longer the person you were just an instant ago.

One such, inconsequential incident occurred during my school days. While young, we were taught to be respectful to elders (sometimes to a fault) and admonished if we weren’t — so it was rather unusual to have youngsters argue or talk back.

Public buses on some routes were always full and getting a seat meant you had to hurry to be one of the first to board it. Many buses have a wider middle door with support bar in the middle that acted to split the crowd — people that alighted from the bus took one side and the ones getting on, took the other.

I remember hurrying and being the first, waiting for the door to open. When the door opened, I stepped inside and got irritated that a middle-aged man entered from the other side of the bus door blocking people from exiting. This caused mini-chaos. I turned to the man sharply and demanded why he did that. He replied saying — “So what? Everybody does it.” To which, I promptly, as if I was waiting for this moment to occur all my life, replied — “If everybody runs and jumps into a well, will you also do it?”

The person felt insulted and I realized I had done something that wasn’t expected of a person my age and froze. I quickly found an empty seat and sat. In that moment I had grown up a little. I realized I could question people when they’re wrong, irrespective of their age.

Now, after a dozen more years of growing up, I’ve realized that questioning such stupid people is of no use. Reminds me of a quote (allegedly attributed to Mark Twain) — “Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

Oh, the person from the bus did say something back to me along the lines of — “Hot blood. You’ll know better when you grow up”. I listed it down as another adage. *shrug*