“The American Standard translation of the Bible orders men to triumph over sin… The King James translation makes a promise in ‘ Thou shalt’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word ‘‘timshel’ means ‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open.” -John Steinbeck; East of Eden
Are human beings evolution’s crowning glory or biggest mistake? The answer is “Yes.”
• Opposable thumbs can pull triggers or play piano.
• The human tongue can recite Shakespeare or spew hatred.
• The human intelligence can create both Bach and William Buckley.
• The human ear can be soothed by Monk or Mozart or assaulted by the noise of machines.
• The neo-cortex can imagine the Theory of Relativity or build nuclear weapons.
• The human capacity for organization can create libraries and post offices or slave trades and Nazi death camps.
• Consciousness can ascend to enlightenment or addict itself to drug or alcohol stupor.
We are at once the planet’s most sublime creation and the most depraved. Gifted with “timshel,” the capacity to choose, we every day makes choices that serve life, that nurture, that sustain, that praise, that bless and others that hurt, that harm, that destroy, that pollute, that serve death. “Sin” in this sense is the refusal to ascend to our higher natures and feel our connection with all sentient beings, to ignore our capacity for gratitude and grace, to squander the gift of choice and justify our bad decisions with dogmas and mass lies that excuse us from accountability.
"The way is open" but perhaps it might soon be closed. We indeed are Evolution’s work-in-progress that is nearing the end of our capacity to progress by destroying the habitat that keeps us alive and breathing and capable of finally making better choices. Some feel that the extinction of our species is our “just desserts” and that the Earth will survive just fine without us, that the cockroaches are awaiting their turn to take over. And some think that’s just fine. But what would be lost? Why are we here? Why are we important? Stay tuned.