Success produces success, just as money produces money.
Though not a natural world by any means, more like a collection of living dioramas, a zoo exists in its own time zone, somewhere between the seasonal sense of animals and our madly ticking watch time.
We’re dabbling in eugenics all the time, breeding ideal crops to replace less aesthetic or nutritious or hardy varieties; leveling forests to graze cattle or erect shopping malls and condos; planting groves of a few familiar trees that homeowners and industries prefer.
Like many animals, wild ponies can sense a drop in barometric pressure. When a storm threatens, they know to seek shelter in hilly areas and huddle together with their rumps facing the oncoming wind.
As a species, we’ve somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we’ll survive our own ingenuity.
Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.
Habitats keep evolving new pageants of species, and we shouldn’t interfere.
We try to exile ourselves more and more from nature – not always consciously: We build houses; we dismiss nature; nature has to be outside, because we’re inside. God forbid something like a cockroach comes inside, or some dust.
Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.
The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.