What Does Human History Mean Without Humans?

“ “I used to be erudite,” he says out loud.  Erudite. A hopeless word.  What are all those things he once thought he knew, and where have they gone?” pg. 148

I think this passage really starts to delve into the implications of being the last human on Earth.  Not only is Snowman the last record of his own existence but he is also the last vessel of so many of humanity’s achievements and history.  This idea gets uncomfortable, so much time and work and life will be lost forever.  But all this sense of loss seems insulated to the human race, the mutant animals don’t mind, Crake’s Children have no sense of what once existed and the natural world seems to be harmonizing with the ruins of civilization.  The legacy of humanity seems to be the new species that were introduced, the inter-species interactions we engaged in, rather than our intra-species accomplishments.

In the preceding paragraph Snowman talks about his desire to learn, study and compile.  It seems that this innate human curiosity was both the foundation of human society and its ultimate destruction. Just as there are two ways to consider human curiosity, there seem to be two ways to think of human history/achievements.  On one hand, it satiates our basic need to learn and experience.  Snowman constantly revisits his own memories because they are so critical to his identity and I’d argue that the achievements of humanity are critical to our identity as a society.  But the flipside is, maybe all these achievements are trivial in the grand scheme of things, they seem to be in the present setting of the novel but I think this theme was hinted at in the Jimmy flashback episodes too.  The games he and Crake would play on the computer exemplify this: historical events and the entire evolutionary Tree of Life are treated as trivia where the player is rewarded for obscure knowledge.  These topics have been taken out of the classroom, stripped of practicality and reduced to a nerdy way to spend an afternoon.

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