Ever wondered how the puny primate came to dominate all complex life forms on earth?
Ever wondered why those puny primates aren't doing anything to save themselves now?
Denial of Unpleasant Reality is covered, in part, in an earlier post, The Rise of the Puny Primate.
The late Danny Brower thought that the key to our dominance lay in the acquisition of certain psychological traits.1
There's little physical evidence, other than that this new human turned religious, burying items with the deceased. This human was aware of the most unpleasant reality, his mortality. He was aware of the mortality of others.
He could read the minds of his own kind, his prey (and others with complex brains). These new traits added bravery and cunning to intelligence producing a formidable hunter of much larger animals. With his reproductive fitness relative to others improved, dominance and extinctions followed him around the globe.
It can't be proven or disproven. But it's the best explanation for the relatively recent rise of the modern human.
Brower's work was carried forward by Ajit Varki. Listen as he explains Denial [mp3].
You, the reader, are an expert mind reader. You can deceive, and be deceived. You can park unpleasantness, and carry on as usual.
Humans consume oil at the rate of up to 100 million barrels per day. But few ever wonder when it's going to run out. It's amazing that affordable dense energy depletion, a most unpleasant reality, has been denied for so long.
If we have historians in the future, it will be a source of puzzlement to them that humans did nothing to save themselves.
about 100,000-200,000 years ago.↩