Are we half banana, or are bananas half human? Neither, of course, but when it’s considered that world peace is an impossibility, it is always brought up that “We’re all just human,” in hopes that this will somehow strike an inspirational chord in those fighting for or against peace. It has become an unusable and tacky cliche.
All of us are, scientifically, part banana. This idea is, of course, ridiculous and abstract, and probably is considered a comical approach to something we all forget too often. This is not the case. If we are to speak of ourselves as humans in the hopes that we stop annihilating each other and this is not working, why not take an ecological standpoint? We have been warned as a global community about a possible extinction of the supermarket bananas we know and love due to fungal disease. These bananas, which share the same protein-building functions as we do, are just as much living creatures as we are. We consume them, appreciate them, and, of course, some people dislike them, but for the most part we all enjoy banana products in whatever form they arrive in: banana chips, banana pie, banana pudding, banana bread-the possibilities are endless; just as human possibility is. Why is our concern regarding the extinction of a fruit more heightened than our concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters across the world-especially if we are the ones lowering their quality of life in the first place?
Bananas are simple creations: they are grown, matured, plucked, and consumed. Humans, on the other hand, are so much more complex. For some reason, it is believed that humans are more difficult to protect and care for than a simple fruit. When considered in this perspective, this idea that we have upheld as a species becomes more ridiculous than the consideration of our genetic similarities in the first place.
Let this point be reiterated in plain speech: we are more concerned with stopping a fungal disease that will destroy banana crops than we are with stopping ourselves from killing each other and mistreating others of our own species. We have successfully hindered the adherence of disease upon our complex brethren, and have spread the science of vaccines throughout the world. We are able to do this-play God and hinder disease-while we are continuing to play the other hand of God by killing others. An argument that we are one hundred percent bananas may be required for this discrepancy to make sense. Is it that bananas seem to us to be innocent, vulnerable objects that we must protect, while a human life-albeit able to make mistakes during its duration-is not as valuable because there are more of us and we are able to commit acts such as the ones we are inherently attempting to prevent? Because we are capable of killing and mistreating, we are more willing to kill and mistreat others? Paradoxes, while possible, should not exist in this sense.
It is true that we hold individual and community values close and come into conflict with other groups when these values are questioned, but we share absolutely no values with bananas. Bananas do not have the ability to become conscious. We have not even considered what would happen if they adopted a consciousness, like we have done with other objects we have nurtured, such as computers and other electronic devices. These devices do not have DNA. Bananas do. Still, though bananas share no values with any human being on this planet-a sentiment that can inarguably be assured no matter the neuro-atypicality of any given individual-simply because they are able to give us a nutritional benefit, they are placed higher on our list of priorities than those we share ninety-nine percent of our DNA with.
All things considered, yes, it would be catastrophic to see the extinction of the banana due to its ecological standing. Some mammals, such as chimps, gorillas, and domesticated animals value the fruit just as humans do, but have less of a range of nutritional items to choose from. While our loss of the banana may seem miniscule in this sense, it would be a larger blow to their well-being. This technicality, however, is overshadowed by the complete absurdity that we are more concerned with a ten-year extinction period of a reproducing food product than we are of the complete destruction of a unique individual, no matter how their values, beliefs, or mannerisms differ from ours. We cannot be distraught over the annihilation of repetitive fruits with fifty percent of our DNA while disregarding the plight of those whom share ninety-nine percent of our DNA. We’re talking priorities here.
It is something that not only is too often forgotten, but it is rarely considered. We do not run the risk of the complete extinction of our species, but in a world where individuality is valued above all else, the deletion of a single human from this planet or the mistreatment of one person is infinitely more disturbing than the extinction of bananas ever will be.
This entry is an essay for a scholarship. If you are a member of the Lake Michigan Credit Union, look up their Hutt Scholarship and get on it!
P.S. I’m so happy I have an image I can use to represent this idea-I mean, how many people do you come across wearing banana suits…?