My latest from The Angry Hourglass based on the photo below.

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao
photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Dean and Martin were going to change things, make things for the better. You might wonder why Martin there is holding an extra-big pair of scissors and Dean’s appears regular sized. It’s an optical illusion, really.

See, Martin’s are “regular” sized and Dean’s are extra small. How is that an optical illusion you might ask?

Dean and Martin, as are those present, are extremely small by 21st century standards. Martin is actually holding a pair of 21st century scissors.

I imagine you shaking your head, saying “What?”

The explanation first by analogy: Six hundred years ago, 20th century biologists discovered that when a given species becomes isolated on an island environment, the forces of evolution will shrink said species so it might survive on its limited resources. For example, the remains of an extinct species of pygmy elephant were discovered on the Catalina Islands off the coast of what was then known as “California.”

What does this have to do with Dean and Martin?

Our observations have led us to the following assessment: Humanity, with all its technology and its ability to allow people to communicate anytime with anyone anywhere on the planet, continued more and more over time to isolate themselves. In a sense, people, who’d long prided themselves on their sense of individual autonomy, became islands.

Of course, the desire for happiness, which found its most immediate expression in the form of wealth and possession, only exacerbated the issue.

So they continued seeking for themselves. To satisfy themselves, that is. And in this continuous search for satisfaction, they wanted more and more and more. In the meantime they expressed less and less care for others. Of course the process took centuries, and went, for all intents and purposes, unnoticed by the masses. Meanwhile, they did not see they’d grown smaller and smaller all the while.

The ancient Chinese, we have found in our records of humanity’s past, equated what they called the “Small Man” with the “Petty Man.”

Our conclusion is as follows: humanity’s pettiness—its emphasis on individuality and personal gain at the expense of others—is the primarily evolutionary force behind their shrinking size.

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