Zack Sterkenberg has allowed BUnow to feature some of his creative writing. Enjoy, and check back for more of Zack’s amazing work.
The other night I was listening to a man discuss a theory which presented humanity as a type of bacteria or cancer that has come to settle upon the earth. I have heard some strange theories, but this in particular sparked a peculiar interest in me. Even if the theorist wasn’t able to hold up any indisputable scientific evidence, the idea got me to thinking, and that’s all a philosopher or theorist can ask for, really. So I did what he said and thought like an outsider…
Imagine you were visiting earth from elsewhere in the universe. You embark from your home planet, a planet that is peaceful and green, and most importantly, non-industrialized; think Pandora from the movie Avatar, for lack of a better analogy. Your culture harbors a great respect for nature, and you have been raised to regard it as a holy and precious living entity. As you arrive in the Milky Way, you spot earth and immediately see splotches of familiar colors covering the surface, some green, some blue…some tarnished. You quickly come to learn how we treat nature around these parts; as the slave of a species and a servant to our industrial and commercial needs.
You plead ignorance and forget the strange tarnished splotches on the surface in favor of a quick loop of the earth, hovering just below the atmosphere. You see our large and sprawling cities of grandeur like New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Beijing, etc…, but rather than being inspired and captivated by these colossal monuments of human engineering and technology, you’re disgusted by these large, gray, toxic-looking concentrations of humans. A chill runs down your spine, but you press on, morals aside, with as clear a mind as you can muster.
Eventually curiosity gets the better of you, and you creep closer to the surface, hovering just below the cloud line where you witness first-hand how intricate and massive these cities are. For a moment you’re astounded by the artistry and uniqueness of each individual dwelling, and are blown away by the extraordinary glass and concrete skyscrapers that tower thousands of feet above the streets. You’re fascinated by the winding, endless stretches of roads and freeways that connect it all into one magnificent and complex “organism”, and take note of the impressive display.
However, as the momentary beauty subsides, you’re shocked back to reality by the sheer devastation of the environment. The environment is on the verge of collapse, gasping for life, broken. A necessary sacrifice for humanity’s unquenchable lust for newer, bigger, and better.
Your spirit cringes as you take notice of the rivers of sludge and pollution, turning what you know is blue to murky greens and browns. You see smokestacks towering in the distance, spewing black smoke and creating a thick smog that hovers above the skyline. You see big earth-moving machines tearing and ripping up trees and vegetation that have thrived on the land long before man ever stepped on a blade of its virgin grass…
But just as a scientist studying a cancerous cell, after the initial beauty and intricacy of the cancer wears, and the amazing efficiency of which it works, dulls, they are forced to accept the hard truth. Beyond its deceptive beauty and fascinating artistry, is the painful absolute that all of these individual parts are working together to orchestrate an unfortunate murder. The fact is that the cancer will ultimately take over the cell and savagely exhaust it of its resources, leaving a once healthy and robust cell, a hollow, wasted shell.
After mulling things over, I believe that humanity could, indeed, be viewed by outsiders as simply a cancer; enveloping planet earth and draining the planet of its rich reservoirs of minerals and natural resources which were once believed to be endless.
The thing is though, this is actually happening. This is the reality of things, not a story. We’re doing exactly that of which a bacteria or cancer would do to a cell. Concentrating in areas and drilling, chopping, slaughtering, and burning our way through the earth, devastating all which cannot be converted into commercial gain, while simultaneously pursuing the search for other planets to inhabit when we finally relieve the earth, in whatever condition, of its duties.
Although I do not wish to view myself or my species as some sort of intelligent cancer or bacteria, the nature of living displayed by both us and cancer cells are frighteningly similar, and it’s not too farfetched to draw parallels between the two. Regardless, the message here is the same, and that is this: To not be compared to cancer cells or bacteria, we need to clean up our act.
Cover Images: http://www.keithvaughn.net