Thanks, Bill. I loved your Thoreau! Things (the contingencies of modern life) do seem to be in the saddle, riding mankind. It is my view that we are in fact being ridden downhill on the fitness landscape. Things are riding us into spaces that are decidedly unhealthy for us. Likewise, after I contemplated the consequences of a relatively fixed human nature confronted by an ever-changing lifestyle, I felt ridden into into the valley of predicting a dystopic future. There's nothing new about predicting dystopic futures but I do think that the process that I have tried to outline is of interest because it requires no external agent (war, alien invasion, etc.), it is intrinsic to our current human situation. I do wish that I could share your optimism about traits such as empathy coming to the rescue. I find it ironic that you use the example of empathy acting to restrain child labor. Child labor in Asia may have produced your running shoes, in spite of the empathy of the children's parents, their Asian employers, the people who imported the shoes and the corporate fatcats who set the deal up in the first place. Wave money in the air and plenty of empathy-challenged people will step forward. It is my thesis that the Adaptive Gap will generate more and more empathy-challenged people. And thanks for your comments.