too many toads

A quick glance at the little pond was enough to see that too many toads were gathered there. Especially now during this late dry season when relatively little toad food is available, in a flash it was clear that in and around the pool there just couldn't be enough food for them all. Still, the pond's entire surface was rippled by ardent toads with one notion on their minds: To mate, and create untold numbers of new toads.

On the morning when a Green Heron turned up stalking along the pond's banks, I was glad not only to see a bird not usually occurring here in the arid interior, but also because I figured that the bird might help with the toads' overpopulation problem. Whatever tadpoles or young toads the heron might catch would relieve, just a little, the pending starvation and disease Nature would have to employ to bring the area's toad numbers back within bounds.

Thinking like that led to comparing the toad pond situation with that of humanity's on our little Earth. It's the same dynamic: Too many beings with too much appetite for the limited resources at hand.

Predation, starvation and disease... These are Nature's tools for keeping numbers in line for living beings other than humans. With humans, there's another option: That of using our minds.

But, our human minds can tilt in two directions. First, they can tilt toward telling us that we need to voluntarily regulate our numbers and appetites, and thus avoid inviting Nature to deploy starvation and disease. Second, our minds can tilt into lethal mental states in which it seems OK, even desirable, to conduct wars, genocides, and to turn a blind eye to those needing our help to survive.

The more I hear of the world's daily news, the more it seems that the art of being human largely consists of choosing which way we let our minds tilt.