This summer I bought a Kindle reader and began downloading free books from Project Gutenberg and other websites. It's been great. Mostly I read historical books and biographies. History is like ecology, in that everything affects everything else and, like ecology, once you acquire a general knowledge, basic principles reveal themselves. In my history books, one question I'm always looking at is whether history repeats itself.
It's clear that human history does often repeat itself. For example, again and again we humans have so degraded our local environments that either we had to go elsewhere, or reduce our numbers through war, famine or disease. "Messing in our nest" is a repetitive cycle as old as humanity itself. What's worrisome is that with 7.2 billion people currently inhabiting the Earth, now humanity's "nest" is the whole planet.
My readings suggest that history's cycles continue repeating until something completely new comes along. For example, something new that came along keeping Earth's history from being limited to an eternity of merely repetitively spinning on its axis was that life arose. Then, keeping life from being doomed just to reproducing itself generation after generation, the new thing that appeared in some living things was a brain capable of imparting complex, genetically programmed, instinctual behavior. Most recently, the new thing that came along enabling life to evolve beyond endless cycles of instinctual behavior (the same kind of bird nest century after century) was this: The human capacity for poetic impulses, scientific innovation, for soaring forms of love and spiritual insights, and more.
One can hope that this new window to enlightenment will save us from our current "messing in our nest" before all life on Earth is destroyed.
The question is that this most recent "new thing" -- honored as "The Sixth Miracle of Nature" at http://www.backyardnature.net/j/6/ -- is only at this moment in human evolution flickering into existence. We still don't know whether The Sixth Miracle will touch enough of humanity for us to break from history's until-now-unbroken cycles of nest messings.