Why do we live in a world where so many bad things happen?
That’s the sort of thing kids ask, and for which there never seems to be a good answer. But there is.
If bad things didn’t happen, if earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis didn’t exist on this planet, neither would life. Well, maybe some blobs in the oceans, but that’s about it.
For living things to evolve and adapt, they need to be threatened with annihilation. Catastrophe and disaster and extinction level events are what got us to where we are today. Allow me to explain.
Let’s say you have some giraffe-type creatures, but with all different neck-lengths. Some shorter, some longer. If there’s plenty of food and no immediate threat, then things will stay more or less the same.
Even if an occasional longer-necked giraffe is born, it’s unusual physiology will just be a variation and won’t have much of an impact on the general population.
But, if the high temperatures and dry grass cause huge bush fires, wiping out all the grass and scorching all the lower branches of trees, meaning the only vegetation is on the higher branches, now only the longer-necked giraffes can feed. They will stay stronger, able to fight or run from predators.
Which means they are more likely to reproduce and be able to protect their offspring. Offspring with similar genetic makeup as them (long necks), who will go on to have sex with other survivors (with long necks) creating a bias in the population.
Of course, this isn’t good news for everyone. Namely the short-necked giraffes. You can imagine these giraffes won’t consider the process very fair. They were doing fine living off the low hanging fruit, and now they’re extinct.
What has any of this to do with downloading, you may be wondering.
Well, as the arts and entertainment fields go through their own extinction level event, with everything turning digital and therefore easy to replicate and steal, there’s a big hue and cry from those that were making a very comfortable living from the old system.
I don’t know what new forms of entertainment will emerge, but I do now that whatever happens, music and movies and books won’t disappear. What will disappear are the short-necked giraffes, and I’m sure they’ll make a big fuss about it.
Already people are adapting to the new. Comedians have started producing their own one-hour specials and putting them directly onto the internet for sale with no middleman.
They are uniquely suited to be at the forefront of these changes because they are a one-man operation. By making the product easy to obtain, in various digital formats, and charging a low amount, they are making it pointless to pirate it. This is only possible because they are keeping overheads down, i.e. they’re bypassing the short-necked giraffes. In this case the SNG would be PR companies, management, production companies, TV channels, DVD distributors and advertisers.
If your job is to get the product from the guy who makes it to the guy who wants to buy it, and they work out how to do that without you, you just made it onto the endangered species list. And chances are you’re not very happy about it.
It’s unfortunate that not everyone can survive the process, but that’s how we get to the next level, in anything. What that next level will be I can’t tell you. But the fact that the changes we're experiencing are so radical and far reaching is a good thing. That’s how evolution works: painfully but for the better. And that should be treated as an exciting thing. Unless you’re a short-necked giraffe.
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