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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

did you see the "life after humans" programme on TV last night? (I didn't but I got my fancy, bargain-priced PVR to record it for me.) There's a damning review of it in the Guardian today - the programme that is, not my PVR.

Even without having seen it, it does provoke some interesting questions, such as why are there books and programmes about this now, and what does it say about our commitment to save the planet or our resignation that we're all going to hell in a handbasket? I do like the idea of living in a post-apocalyptic world where civilisation is taken over by nature (with certain conditions of course) but being a human myself I would not exist in that scenario, which kind of begs the question asked by some of the commenters of that article: is any existence meaningful without humans there to perceive it? I'm sure a lot of animals are conscious but I don't imagine any of them have intellect or are able to ponder the meaning or beauty of anything.

Personally, and this is probably coming from a Christian perspective, I think that people are the only meaningful thing in existence. If everything existed without us then it would be no different from a completely theoretical universe that exists only in a computer programme. With noone and nothing there to appreciate or experience it, then the difference between existing and not existing is moot. It reminds me of Richard Dawkins saying that one day human life will die out and it will be a shame that so much civilisation and art will be lost, but if there aren't any people why does it matter? there won't be anyone around to care (and if human life is just a random accident with no inherent meaning or value (as he would argue) then nothing really matters anyway if we exist or not - but that's a whole other can or worms). Do you know what, this is the kind of thing I spend a lot of time thinking about. Maybe I should write a book about it....

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