Requiem for Homo Sapiens

A Failed Yet Glorious Species

Walt McLaughlin
3 min readJun 16


Photo by Chelms Varthoumlien on Unsplash

Sing praise for Homo sapiens, those magnificent, brainy primates! We bury the last of them today. May God rest their souls in peace.

They were the last of a long line of hominins, outcompeting the rest. There has never been more powerful creatures on Earth. Despite their size and immense energy demands, they once numbered in the billions.

They held such promise. For a while it seemed like there was nothing they couldn’t do. Through sheer force of will, they adapted to every clime, every landscape, every situation. No organism has ever been more successful.

They were toolmakers extraordinaire. Lacking fangs, claws or speed, they engineered devices that put them at the top of the food chain. More importantly, they were organized, creating highly sophisticated social structures by virtue of abstract thought and symbolic language. That enabled them to completely dominate their home planet.

Curiously enough, they both loved and enslaved other creatures. They acted the same way towards the natural world as a whole, delighting in the wonder and beauty of their home planet while systematically destroying it. No other life-form has ever been so contradictory.

Sadly, they couldn’t get along with each other. Whatever one of them said, another would refute. And the lust for power always seemed to get the better of them. They fought, enslaved, and murdered each other — usually in the name of some righteous cause. In the end they could not even agree how to save themselves.

They reached for the stars while destroying their home planet. It never occurred to them that their self-destructive tendencies would follow them wherever they went. There was always someone else or something else to blame.

Compassionate they were, no doubt. There were times when it seemed they might even rise above their disagreements and embrace each other in universal brotherhood. But their love was always confounded by hatred, their generosity by fear. Their ability to reason was undercut by superstition and self-imposed ignorance. It wasn’t their fault. They were simply too passionate for their own good.



Walt McLaughlin

Philosopher of wildness, writing about the divine in nature, being human, and backcountry excursions.