The first threat might have been the discovery that the earth was not the center of the universe. Did the first known uproar and resitance occur in ancient Egypt?
Another early threat was the realization that instead of god(s) creating all life including humans, early humans created god(s). Fear and superstition do seem to be the first responses to a discovery, and as knowledge increases they both weaken.
Natural selection was a more recent threat, and after 159 years the uproar and resistance are still loud. It’s said that the noisiest arguments are between those who accepted a reality ‘yesterday’ and those who will accept the same reality ‘tomorrow’. If the resistance seems louder, is it because those who are doing the resisting will soon accept this reality?
That human activity is the cause of climate change may be the most recent threat, and the uproar and resistance are loud.
* This discussion’s title is a line from Jonathan Balcombe’s Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good. (c)2006
It's natural for people to consider themselves the apex of evolution, or of creation. When I was a child I accepted that all of life before very recent times was there so that we could move forward to us. Today's us. Later I realized that we were not even a stopover on the way to some final level of development. In more recent times I've seen that we are only the top species now because we have appointed ourselves such. Now we are coming to see that other species -- more and more every day -- are intelligent in ways that we had never acknowledged.
Now I only hope that modern man (men still run almost everything) doesn't screw up the planet before we get smart enough to back away first.
Jerry, my fear is that men and women will screw up the planet and only those who have piled up a pile of riches will be able to pay for a way off this cinder and populate another. The poor will be left with the ashes at worst and failed dreams of freedom at best.
As the Natives of the Americas may have felt as they saw their cultures fail in the past, those who work for a living may feel overwhelmed by the decline of the planet in spite of their Herculean efforts. Will there be a remnant of hard workers to carry the civilization into a livable condition again? I don't know!
I do know that I can grow and preserve my food using my experience and knowledge. I also know I cannot do the hard labor of housing and keeping a household warm enough to survive through a winter, let alone many winters.
From where do I find joy in such an environment? In the simple things, i.e. delicious food, the warmth of a well-built home, comfortable and warm clothing, surrounded by people I love and who love me, and a cat or dog or more to keep the mice out of the house and chase away those who would do us mischief.
Is it possible to remain happy in such an environment? Oh! I hope so!