That Awkward Place, the Planet Earth

“The trouble with the dominant sentient creatures on that planet” said an extraterrestrial in some story I may or may not write, “is that they are, to use their own expression, neither fish nor fowl. Or as we would say, they are neither sweshflap nor snapflap. They are in that awkward place, between the primal and the transcendent. They are wired for greed, violent dominance, mistrust, xenophobia, reflexive fear; they have all the neurological equipage of a lower beast. But they also know perfectly well, most of them, that most of their primal responses are inappropriate for their circumstances; that they are responding with a fatal misdirection that could lead with breathtaking suddenness to the end of their species. They can sense, dimly, that there is a more objective, freer mind they could be centered within. But the old wiring, the old instincts and innate reactions remain and they blunder ahead into the underbrush, squalling, driven by these demons of early primate evolution, fully aware that there are more fruitful, more constructive paths to take. Most species do not survive past that awkward place.

“Now that we’re done with what the locals call the planet Earth, let us move on, through the wormhole, to system 65899289, where…”

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