Modern Humans are Cavemen With Cell Phones

Two of my ancestors from a time period we no longer remember.

Have you noticed how much modern humans resent this world pandemic? Good grief, people are hopping mad. After all, roughly 80 years ago we doubled the lifespan and have become accustomed to not living with death on our doorstep all the time. Typical of the limitations of the human brain, we’ve forgotten what life was like for our ancestors in the centuries and centuries before this, the grim realities of the good old days.

Maybe a visit to an old cemetery would change our perspective.

Of course, we’d prefer sitting in a bar swigging down a drink or two or three while rubbing shoulders with people we barely know but can more easily tolerate because we’re inebriated. No wonder we get so riled about restrictions to the local pub.

It’s amazing how different the world looks when you’re either drunk or reading tombstones in a cemetery.

We don’t like having to give up our gifted privileges, however. You know, a modern life full of technological wonders and medical break throughs that we merely inherited through the sheer lottery of birth. Unfortunately, our short memories keep us from recognizing that we didn’t do a damn thing to earn the current world of unprecedented gifts. So we aren’t particularly grateful.

In fact, for some strange reason we think we’d prefer the good old days.

So when something big, I mean really big, like a world pandemic dares to raise its ugly head, we get so mad that we can’t think straight. If anyone does take on the responsibility of trying to subdue the viral beast, we’re so mad, we often see them as public enemy #1. Anyone searching for solutions soon finds out that, unfortunately, relying on people to willingly make sacrifices isn’t a very promising strategy. What a surprise!

You’d think the amount of death and suffering of the past two years might have resulted in a compassionate outpouring, bringing us together like we’ve been told hardship will do.

Didn’t our parents tell us that what doesn’t break us makes us stronger? So why didn’t this world pandemic strengthen our bonds, moving people to cooperate for the collective good? You might have expected that our higher selves would’ve risen to the occasion, changing our perspectives, resulting in a noble response.

But alas, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, there’s more angry focus on resistance rather than solutions. In fact, I rarely hear any solutions coming from those who are fraught with anger. So you’re pissed off, but while you’re letting off steam can you suggest a way to keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed? Resistance is one thing.

Helping to solve the devastating consequences of a world pandemic is something altogether different.

What am I doing, you may ask? Do you mean besides getting vaccinated and boosted as well as wearing a mask in crowds? I sit in the comfort of my home and do what I’ve been doing since I was about twelve years old, watching people and then trying to figure out what makes us do what we do. Then, I write about it. Granted that’s not going to save the world but for me, it’s a bit like taking a walk in an old cemetery.

It’s a fascinating exercise.

Our big brains are so flawed. Our emotions so potent. Our ability to solve problems logically so limited. Our contradictory natures are so utterly reliable that it’s an absolute wonder that we’ve made it this far.

Yet, we’re still alive and kicking, producing offspring to offset the high numbers of our own species that we seem driven to kill.

It appears that not unlike our ancient ancestors, our #1 problem solving skill continues to be violence. Let’s fight. Let’s go to war. Let’s burn things to the ground. Let’s build walls and bombs and blow people’s heads off with guns. Let’s scream at each other. Let’s refuse to listen. At the end of yet another violent day, let’s declare that those left standing are the winners. Who cares what life will be like after the turmoil.

All of this could be very discouraging if not for a perverse sense of humor in it all.

Yes, I said humor. Watching such an arrogant, self serving, detrimental species floundering has an element of the ridiculous to it. Much like old slapstick comedy when the guy hits his head on a brick wall and then turns around and steps in dog poop which causes him to slip and fall, roll down a hill into the river and drown because his boots are too heavy, humans seem drawn to reenact our dark follies.

At the end of the day, however, we find ourselves sleeping in the bed we made for ourselves.

Just like they use to say in the good old days, we get what we deserve. We also get a sneak peek into the future and shudder to realize that this might be as good as it gets. Climate change, poverty, our diminishing resources, and the next pandemic are all slated to be dealt with in the same archaic fashion. Our accumulated knowledge wasted because our problem-solving skills are as limited as those of our primordial ancestors.

We really are cavemen with cell phones.

Don’t worry! I’m including myself in this strange and muddled mess called the struggle for survival. So far, I’m still alive. I’ve been told that life’s a gift, but I gotta say, from where I’m sitting, I’m glad to be old.

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional mythbuster. You can find her books on Amazon.



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Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts


Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.