When Pink Floyd said, “I was just a child then, now I’m only a man,” they were hinting that we tend to dismiss our failings by minimizing our capacities. Being the idealistic fool that I am, it disturbs me when bad behavior gets written off as “merely human,” especially when the one doing the “writing off” is also the one who has behaved badly. Even when motivated by more “altruistic” concerns, I’m still disturbed that we demand so little from ourselves and each other. And no matter how good we’ve become at settling for less, I have to ask: How has our trying to cheat our way through worked out for us?
An unfortunate fact of reality is that our abilities to conceal, ignore, pretend, and steal help out a lot when dealing with those who would do us harm. And I’ll bet that those same abilities were very useful in all of those hostile environments that our species have had to evolve through. But another unfortunate fact is that those same abilities have also been the root cause of all human conflict. And while we may still face many “natural threats,” the most undeniable fact of all is that, in today’s world, we are our own worst enemy.
As I said in my article, It’s Nature’s Way Of Telling You Something’s Wrong:
But the laws of God or Science (your choice) use volcanism and weather to maintain the Earth’s energy balance. They also use famine and disease to maintain the Earth’s wildlife population balance. And despite our apparent belief that mankind is above the law, those same forces provide the means to keep us in check as well.
It’s called War….
The fact that we have such a knack for behaving badly, combined with that behavior having been so instrumental in getting us to where we are, might lead some to think that we’re locked into a fatal “Catch-22” that will inevitably result in our destruction. I have to admit that I swing back and forth between excepting that we truly are fated to destroy ourselves, and what I’m afraid is a hopelessly idealistic faith that we can work things out. Considering the epic numbers of prescriptions being written for depression and other anxiety related illnesses, I think that I have more than a little company in that regard.
In a comment thread on What side of your Brian do you use?, I said (talking about yoga):
Building up my strength, balance and flexibility sounds good. Maybe it’ll ease my mind from thoughts like “Peace from the type of troubles we have is going to require another step in our evolution.”
Could it be that we must grow beyond the “Human” stage in our evolution in order to survive yet another great threat to our existence?
We’ve done it before. Can we do so again quickly enough to avoid extinction?
Perhaps it’s as they say, “Timing is everything.” What do you think?
I want ice water.