Consider reality as you know it for a second. Now instead, add flying bears to the evolutionary tract, and let a butterfly effect unfold.
To set some standard for the bears: they are highly carnivorous, they’re of grizzly proportions, and they are relatively numerous (enough to run the human civilizations into hiding). The flying bears would top the food chain, while humanity suffers hindered progress and a constant mind on the flying bear menace. Many societies would be established under ground, if they could afford it—others, rely upon the ingenuity of their fortification means.
I’ll bring this a little closer to home to strike proper fear into you. Stony Brook would not be established underground—there are not the funds, nor geographic compliance for such an innovation. Fortifications, though—they would be decent. A large quarter-something, or more (don’t get at me with finances) of the university’s budget would go towards fortifying the campus. In fact, the whole budget would be in regards to bear-funding, some way—be it the School of Bear Repression Engineering or the prestigious alumni doctor whose funeral was covered by his earnings acquired through practice, which the knowledge and credential was developed through SBU, etc.
There would be a number of programs directly related to flying bears within the university. These would include academic programs such as: School of Fortification Engineering, Fighter Jet Program, Beast Taming and Quelling (which would be within the Substainability Program), the afore-mentioned, etc. Even non-bear related majors would touch up on a substantial amount on the topic—such as psychologists who work with those paranoid or anxious over the risk of bear attacks.
It would be as common as dragons if you lived in a world with dragons in it—you just deal with it. Of course in any society, there would be those who dissent. Some such as bear-rights advocates—a burly lot of bear-huggers who’ve never witnessed a maul before—that, or they get off on them or something. These, more-or-less, hippies would sit around and soak our turrets with honey until an anticipated bear scoops one away—then they scatter and realize how much of dinguses they are.
Look at your graduating class, and consider the population susceptible to reduction. Those who last until (and through) graduation would be a minority—they’re survival may have also been assisted by a combination of wealth (family or personal) and personal-competence.
We would be survived as a race by our most rugged, most smartest, most lucky, and a combination of any other freak-reasons that kept you alive. And it doesn’t matter who your room-mate was, your editor, or best pal—they get scooped by the mauling-claws of doom; they gone—and you move forward. That would be embedded into the minds of humanity—this isn’t to say there will be no empathy, we’ll be far more accustomed to just moving on from tragedy.
Of course with such fear acting as a driver for our basic-human survival, there will be an influx of under pressure ingenuity—no one will be bored or lazy for there will be no actual time for such bourgeois traits.
Often, regardless of our circumstance, groups of humans always manage to find trouble with other groups of humans. Somehow our struggle for existence has pitted us against them or some other however means, and we wage war. Of course it’ll be a little more haggard than our everyday wars. In war we like to use our resources to improvise, like chemical weapons and stuff—but chemistry can be utilized in other ways, such as developing salmon-scented bombs which thus henceforth, attract bears to our foes.
The repulse from the dissenters this would bring—not just the hippies, but competent people too! And when there is dissent in such a small crowd, it’ll be a serious matter. So even if you got your degree all proper style and are installing car bear-radars, or are a major policy maker who gerrymanders their districts to have the least bear-attack sufferers; you face a revolution of sorts.
This is all extremely hypothetical, of course—I speak of only an ‘it-could-happen’ for such revolutions to occur.
So while you complain how damn hard your midterms are—consider this; your midterm doesn’t consist of you flying a fighter-jet which you built yourself, and shooting down a variable number of bears.