Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thinking 'Longer'

I was driving home from the grocery store this morning when a large hawk flew in a swooping motion coming very close to hitting the car. This launched this chain of thought...

The hawk has a white belly, the vultures have black bellies. Why? Because the hawk hunts live rodents, etc. and is designed to blend with the sky so they can't see him coming. The vulture eats dead things, so no need to hide. My thoughts jumped to chameleons, and other creatures that blend in perfectly with their environment - great hiders. It seemed improbable to me that so many things are out there that can hide like that. It seemed lucky - a bit like someone made a wish and all of a sudden their physical nature was changed. OK, stay with me here... so even though I know about evolution, survival of the fittest and all that, I still had that moment where it seemed just as likely that it could have been a wish.

The mind isn't geared to 'blink' to the real process which takes hundreds or hundreds of thousands of years to actually be accomplished. The real process where some hawk was born with a lighter belly, and he succeeded in eating where another one with a dark belly did not. The light-bellied hawk then got to make more light-bellied hawks, and so on and so forth. Basically an anomaly occurs, and it works out, better than the status quo. The anomaly's successes continue over time and voila we have creatures that can emit light, that can change color, or that generally blend in with their environment.

It's harder for people to think about that process that takes a long time to get somewhere, because you want to jump to this thing has always been. And whole cultures make up stories to explain these things; like the hawk made a deal with some native spirits to have white feathers and the vultures didn't get in on the deal (I made this up, but you get my point...)

So try thinking 'longer' as opposed to bigger!

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