The Divergence of (hu)Mans: Technological Dependence And The Evolutionary Split of Our Species
Biologically speaking, the current epidemic of sedentary living and the technology-induced changes to our posture - specifically the rapidly increasing forward translation of our heads, popularly termed "text neck" - is beginning to have such a profound effect on our bodies that we are starting to see a strange change to our skeletal structure. Children as young as 5 years old, when evaluating their X-rays, are more and more frequently showing a growth of a bony formation at the back of the occiput that looks like a horn. This growth is thought to be a stress response designed to aid their neck muscles in supporting the weight of their downward facing head. These same formations are also presenting themselves in adults who spend a lot of time looking at their phones, or who work high demand desk jobs that emphasize poor neck posture. These findings are showing us that not only can evolution happen within a life time, but within a few years of a new stressor. We again turn to Wolf's Law, which states that bone is a live tissue and responds based on the stress placed upon it. Only those responses may happen more rapidly than we first assumed.
The easy explanation for science to explain away these seemingly "new" skeletal changes would be to blame them solely on the ever-increasing amount of time spent looking down at our phones, which is now a habit that is now quite present in children from an early age. We see everywhere we go and are likely guilty of it ourselves. The effects this has on our brains, and most importantly the effects it may have on the development of younger children is an area that needs to be discussed as well; however, due to keep this post short, we will keep our focus on the effects it is having on our posture.
Image source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/text-neck-study-1.4071191
Are We Missing Something?
Though the above explanation likely accounts for the the majority of the postural changes we are beginning to see, I believe there is another part of the story that could be contributing to the rapid escalation of changes that may be currently overlooked. Note: This is a personal view and currently does not have any scientific data to support it; however, it may be an area of inquiry in the future.
I hypothesize that this new bony formation, and the suspected changes to the human structure in the future are not just simply due to an increase in screen time and sedentary living; because if you look back on the lives of many brilliant minds and scholars of the past, surely they spent many long hours every single day sitting, or angling their heads down while reading books and reference documents and tirelessly writing manuscripts. When comparing the two however, one big difference I noticed, and what I propose is missing in our current culture, is our collective detachment and disinterest in the wonders of the heavens and the cosmos above us. Quite simply, our lack of looking and thinking UPWARD.
When Is the Last Time You Looked At The Stars?
Our loss of curiosity and wonder, which has lead to a lack of looking up at the stars and to the heavens, as well as our lack of spiritual and metaphysical thinking upward have begun to change our mental and physical structures. Instead of looking up to see the stars, we Google pictures of them on our phones. Instead of looking up toward the heavens or to one God or another in prayer, we keep our heads down and try to look for answers to our troubles in self-help blogs, or motivational posts on Instagram. Our heads are translating forward now more than ever because the weight of the physical world becomes much more strenuous when there is no spiritual aspect to help hold it up. Our bodies are mirrors of our minds, and without higher-level inquiry and thinking, and a connection to the heavens pulling us upward, our minds and bodies get bogged down in the lower levels of existence. If we think about the stars and look up to them in awe, our bodies respond with being uplifted and elongated. If keep our heads down and focus solely on the material world, our minds and bodies begin to move towards the ground with the compounded weight of gravity, and all of our daily mental burdens.
I also argue that because this is causing an anatomical and physiological change at such a rapid rate, that these changes in our physical and our mental habits - if not eradicated - will continue to become exaggerated until they eventually create a division of our human race into two fundamentally different species- much like the splitting of humans from the apes when they were forced to adapt to different environments. When one found themselves principally among trees, over time they adapted to that setting and formed all the variations of the apes we know today, while the other found itself principally among the flat lands of the deserts and tundras, thus having to adapt to that environment, they eventually transitioned to bipedal movement which lead to hand and foot specialization, and formed the foundation of what we are today. Out of this fundamental division of environment, our given bodies slowly adapted to the unique settings we were placed in, and from common origin, we became to distinct species.
What Will This Mean For The Human Species?
I believe that the growing divisions in both lifestyle and faculty of thought being present in our current times, if further progressed, will lead to changes in both the structure of humans as seen below, and our subsequent mental frameworks accompanying these bodies. So much so, that the enlightened and healthy human, and the branch of human adapted to the current habits of sedentary life and integration into the digital world, will become so fundamentally different from each other that neither will find the other attractive or suitable for companionship, and thus interbreeding of the two will cease and exaggeration of the qualities in coming generations on either side will create a historical change in both beings. We will become two separate species. One with altered anatomy from the standards we hold today, and also mentally embedded in artificial intelligence and technology, and one maintaining the anatomy and mental constructs of the humans that have brought us here, perhaps continuing our cognitive evolution within the physical and etheric world. Just as the Denisovans and Neanderthals both existed at the same time as the Homo Sapiens, so too will two distinct species of Homo Sapien(s) exist concurrently.
But this wouldn't take place for thousands of years according to current mainstream assumptions, right? Well, what if they are wrong? Take a look at the image below which "Emma" was a model designed to simulate what scientist believe the average office worker will look like in just 20 years.
Can Evolution Happen Faster Than We Thought?
So what if our assumed timelines for evolution given to us from Charles Darwin, that of being over hundreds of thousands of years were completely wrong? What if Lamarckian evolution had more truth to it than we thought? This isn't completely out of the question. Scientific theories as fundamental as Newtonian Physics eventually show their holes - just like our assumptions of how old the earth may be have been wholly and completely altered in the last hundred years, perhaps our ideas about evolution should be revisited as well? What if evolution can happen within a few generations? Or within a lifetime? The evolving into a completely different and distinct species may take longer than that, but the steps to get there may begin to present themselves much quicker than we thought. If the above prediction of "Emma" could hold true, and this is what the average office worker could look like in just 20 years from now, you have to wonder how long it would really take before a current standard human and an office adapted human would become completely unrecognizable to each other.
Chihuahuas and German shepherds both trace back to the same source, but have they not evolved so far from each other as to be almost unrecognizable as the same species? They already can no longer interbreed without artificial intervention due to physical restrictions, which is the first stage of a divide. If left to their own accord in the wild, how long would it take them to diverge far enough away from each other that they would make the categorical jump into two different species? Or would they slowly begin to come back towards the centre by somehow adapting to the same environments and finding a way to physically interbreed again?
Where Do We Go From Here?
Only time will tell what the next stage of human evolution will entail. Our current lifestyle habits are having an increasingly profound effect on our health and our structures, but life always finds a way to adapt. As Charles Darwin stated, evolution does not inherently mean the change are for the better, they are simply a change adapted to the current stress placed on an organism. The change may not be an advancement in the grand scheme of things, but will increase the organism's ability to adapt to the current environment long enough to survive and pass on its genes. Evolution is inevitable, and can be changed as stresses and environments change; however, given our current state of living, we are headed in the direction shown above. So as we adapt to these changes, will it be viewed evolution in your eyes, or will it be de-evolution and a step backward for our species? I guess it just depends on which side of the split you end up on.
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