Reality Blind - Vol. 1

Thus, any unbiased third-party species with a fetish for Linnaean taxonomy would name you Pan ignis, the fire- starting chimp. Whether you ultimately become “sapiens” is at this point unknowable. You’re probably under the im pression that your species faces myriad problems, and after experiencing this presentation you may up that number considerably. But you really have only one problem from which all the others flow: dueling universes. You each inhabit a private virtual universe of magic, feelings, urges, color, love, significance and all else. It is linked to a physical universe which operates under entirely different rules. Yet you treat these distinct universes as a single unified reality, inappropriately imputing magic to the physical world and inerrant rationality to the virtual. In doing so you are drawn to making systematic physical errors while becoming less happy. My species was lucky enough to have the equivalent of Earth’s termites precede us on our planet by nearly a billion years, which is why I exist to make these comments; and in this universe luck is the only resource more basic to life than energy. This termite statement may seem to be a wild non-sequitur to a human mind attuned to relatively immediate proximal causality, but I assure you it is quite salient to your situation. For in our case, we had 100,000 years to make the switch from “gene agenda” to “self - aware mind,” and eventually did so after an extended humorous period. However, your world did not evolve lignin-eating bacteria until 290 million years ago, by which time tens of millions of years of unoxidized carbon and hydrocarbons had already been sequestered underground. Thus, by random chance over geological time, a ginormous monkey trap was set long b efore Earth’s monkeys themselves were a gleam in probability’s eye. Your recent discovery of these flammable rocks and liquids has temporarily turbocharged your energy use and biomass, but it also drastically shrank the time available for you to make the Big Cognitive Transition, from hundreds of millennia to hundreds of years. The fact this isn’t immediately apparent to your kind is emblematic of the predicament of any thinking species which falls afoul of what is known as the “carbon curse.” Few survive it, which is why no new funny stories are generally expected from Venus. The big secret of being a successful sapient species is that there IS no big secret. You just need to sort out physical reality from virtual reality, dealing with the luck that random chance has dealt you, before the genetic urges which got you this far manage to kill you. Which, you’d have to admit, is pretty funny.


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