Sunday, January 04, 2004

Monkeys and Keyboard Posture

I'm not sure whether I had this thought while writing or when trying to crack the tension out of my back and neck but here is my first stray thought.

Monkeys are natural keyboardists cause they're designed to free their hands while sitting. Humans are built to free their hands while standing, making long term sitting an uncomfortable and potentially crippling decision. Natural selection is dead because of medical advances. If it wasn't, would we humans revert to a more monkey-like physical structure and see instances of carpal tunnel reduced?

This is just a question and/or thought. I am in no way advocating a return to an earlier age or reduced medical care for infants who otherwise wouldn't survive. Even if we could give away medical advances, I don't think we should.

However, in creating an artificial environment, we've distanced ourselves from more than the feel of the soil. You'll hear a lot about how human technology has undermined the natural maintenance of animal populations, making some too strong and others extinct. What I haven't heard a lot about is how we've lost our own forms of natural maintenance and development. With overcoming all that is dangerous and deadly in a more Hobbesian world, have we lost also the good pieces allowing us to adapt over generations to new climates and new situations. Will our children's children be better adapted to our technological world or will we keep passing on the same traits necessary for times before humans gained the ability to control life and death regardless of nature's choices? Simple environmental manipulations such as indoor heating mean someone like me who is better adapted to desert climates can survive anywhere. What other ways have we managed to conquer natural limitations in such a way to make the natural world almost irrelevant?

As a writer, these questions develop an additional element. When designing alien societies, should I focus on what adaptations they have to their current environment or to one far in their past. At what point does natural selection give way to technological manipulation in the world I craft?

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