My Name Is Homo Sapien


(This is another of Phillip’s visualizations that has achieved near cult status among junior learners at Sapphire.)

My name is Homo Sapien. I am every man and every woman who ever lived or will live. I am the most marvelous mind in the universe. The universe, in fact, lives in my mind. Without my mind it would not exist. I am conscious of self, the only self-aware creature in existence.

I know. And I know that I know. And among the many things I know, one of the most puzzling is this: At long range planning designed to anticipate major problems and work out solutions, I am a miserable failure. But at crisis intervention, I am a smashing success.

Tell me I have a problem 10 years from now and my mind does not register it. Put my back against the wall, a gun to my head, and your finger squeezing the trigger, and I will beat you every time. I live for these things. I am half asleep at all other times. But point me to a problem that demands an immediate solution or my death, and I am wide awake.

Why am I this way? I’ll tell you why. I am a summation of eons of survivors, thinking fast on my feet, improvising, spontaneity–these are what got me here. I cannot change. I don’t want to change. This is human behavior. Change it, and I have become something else and whatever that is, one thing it is not is Homo Sapien.

So go ahead! Tell me that things are hopeless. Tell me that population pressures or pollution or deforestation or whatever your favorite Cassandra will do in the human species. If you didn’t tell me, you no doubt would be right. Until you jump-start my mind and get my adrenaline pumping with your shrill and never-ending doomsday pronouncements, you are exactly right. But once you get my attention, I turn on you with a vengeance and a tenacity you would never believe. And I prove you wrong. For not only have you underestimated my mind, you have ignored the strength of will I possess. How do you beat someone who refuses to lose?

I see every problem as an opportunity. I never expect to lose. The more it looks like I’m losing, the stronger I get. I am Sampson. And what might appear to you as losing is only my hair growing longer. I will eat you and your pessimism alive. I will make you look foolish as I prove you wrong. But I need you. Desperately do I need you.

If you were to recognize my true character and to accept the fact that in the end I will always win, then–and only then–would I lose. Awesome though my mind and will are, they need you and your warnings to start them up. Until you create the crisis mentality in my mind with your dire pronouncements, I am helpless. Your purpose in life, then, is to scare me. Mine is to prove you wrong. By doing so, I make you look dumb. There is no way for you to win. If you don’t issue warnings, disaster will strike, and everyone will wonder why you didn’t see it coming. But your warnings always change my behavior, leaving you looking like Chicken Little. Only your willingness to tolerate self-sacrifice keeps us all alive.

Jesus said that only those who lose their lives will save them. It doesn’t speak well of us that we have confined this awesome insight to Sunday use.

So tell me that racism and hatred are endemic. Tell me there is no defense. That they will turn us against each other and doom us. Tell me that. Never stop. Convince me that the situation is hopeless. You’ve got to. Otherwise, you will be right.


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