By Stephen P. Pizzo
In nature, nothing happens by accident. The invisible hand of evolution is always at work.
This brings us to this worldwide virus and the resulting isolation it’s brought to hundreds of millions of humans around the globe. What’s that all about, vis a vie evolutionary intentions?
Well, maybe the prophetic hand of evolution is preparing our species for the biggest step we’ve taken since life crawled out of the seas and onto land; long-duration space flight and habitation on non-earth like planets.
Oh I know, it’s a wild thought, and maybe a stupid on too. But just give a moment to think about it.
Firstly, due to the immense distances between planets in the universe, when we depart for one those immigrants aboard will spend, not months or years in isolation, but likely generations. This current virus is the first human trials in self-isolation and, unlike drug trials that test a few thousand humans, this one is testing hundreds of millions all at once.
But, you say, this virus will pass and that trial will end. Yes, THIS virus will pass, but others and mutations of this and others will continue from now on. Experts are already worried that climate change is melting the permafrost releasing viruses that have been locked in ice for millions of years, viruses for which humans have no immunity. God only knows what those bugs will be like, but they’re surely coming.
Also, as populations explode around the globe, they push animals into smaller areas with humans living right next to them. This will result in more animal to human transmissions.
No, this virus is not going to be the end of pandemics, but just the opening shot.
So we will adjust, emotionally and physically, to many things over the next generations. (Those who refuse to adjust…evolve…will die off, so they won’t be going anywhere, much less into space.)
Those who evolve will become accustomed to the very things they will need to travel in and explore space:
Becoming accustomed to wearing masks on earth whenever we venture out will prepare future space immigrants to get used to the idea that face coverings are just a part of their daily outdoor wear. On planets, like Mars, the atmosphere will kill you in seconds unless you wear a mask that provides breathable air. Other planets we discover will unlikely provide Earth-like atmospheres either. So this change in attitude and behavior is key to human survival in space exploration and settlement.
Should we encounter other lifeforms in our travels, social distancing will also be necessary. God only knows what bugs alien life forms carry, so no shaking hands, and definitely no celebratory hugging.
And then there’s the isolation thing again, this time out of the space ship and into new extraterrestrial habitation. So far astronomers have found no actual earth-like planets. Most have too much of one thing, like radiation, or too little other things, like oxygen, water, survivable temperatures on their surfaces. So having to stay inside most of the time during a series of pandemics over the next hundred years will create generations of real homebody humans, folks who prefer inside to outside. Some of these extraterrestrial habitations will have to be underground, maximizing the inside versus outside dynamics.
So, as you find yourself getting more and more fed up with the Covid stay at home orders as cabin fever rages in your fevered heads, remember, this may just be nature assuring that future generations of humans are ready to pack up and leave Earth once we’ve exhausted Her and Her resources.
Thinking of it that way may make it a bit easier. And we can thank Nature for taking the time effort to do this for a species that has done nothing but harm to her.