Humans are inherently selfish, violent, intellectually myopic and deathly. Written history bears me out on these points. Fortunately, the number of people who acquired the knowledge and passion for spirituality, however labeled, have so far outnumbered the dim wits. As a species, we have lived only a short time in the history of The Earth. Estimates place the appearance of homo-erectus, who gave rise eventually to homo-sapiens, at approximately 15 – 25 thousand years ago. Given the age of The Universe at approximately 5 Billion years one can easily see what a minute fraction of time our existence represents. However, in that short period of time we have engaged in more destructive and irresponsible behaviors than any other known living organism, including those of a pathological nature.
While certainly not the first, Bob Dylan and John Lennon, separately, represent fairly modern voices attempting to point out the obvious and to engender a much needed change in political, religious, cultural and spiritual perspectives. “Blowin’ In The Wind” lyrically could not have spelled it out more clearly. That was the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, Lennon took another stab at it with “Imagine” a very poignant yet simple presentation of the maladies of human thought played out on the world’s stage. Regretfully, we as Earth’s inhabitants paid scant attention. This is nothing new. We have listened and learned infrequently from the wisest amongst us as history has been kind enough to detail for us.
The current widespread global terrorism and the relatively nascent involvement of the United States in actively opposing it are easily crafted to represent the very problematic behaviors and thought processes of humans. “How many times…” Dylan asked are we to see and not see or understand. The answer seems to be a staggering number that perhaps only Google can understand.
While reeled in and attracted to stories and epics in the books we read and the films we watch, we do not seem to perceive that the fundamental themes are those we engage daily. Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, Life vs Death and so on. We pay ever increasing amounts of money to partake of these tales yet we still fail to make the connection between the message and reality.
If we are to not simply survive but evolve as a species, if we are to outlast our zeal toward self annihilation and if we are to provide a better future for our offspring (as the trite phrase is so hypocritically espoused) we must change. We must seek out individually a spirituality which frees us from selfishness and hegemony. It matters not what its name is or what written/spoken sources serve as a basis and catalyst for this change; we must make the change. We can no longer keep our heads up our collective asses because we are suffocating. Basic reason, as defined by whichever philosophical or religious perspective you care to engage must allow us to elevate our minds intellectually and spiritually. We must also stop giving sustenance and support to persons or groups who are individually and collectively destroying us as a global people. We must eradicate xenophobia, hatred and biased perceptions of one another; we desparately need to craft a tolerance based on respect for the sanctity of life and its inseparable counterpart, natural (not violent) death.
The overly reported “outrage” in the Muslim community when cartoonish caricatures were published is an example of the hypocrisy and farcical nature of humans. To devote not only time but actual resources describing the ire of a particular group who indeed would deny what is the right of any human on earth, freedom of speech and thought, is again selfish, self righteous and of no real consequence in the scheme of life. It also points to a profound intolerance by the Muslim community, who repeatedly asks the world for understanding and acceptance; they claim they are tolerant and peaceful yet the public response to any criticism is to make violent pronouncements of retaliation. This is but one example of human nature gone wrong. That the human community lends any degree of credence to their “rights” while suggesting restraint on the part of others points once again to the telltale hypocrisy of the human mind. Fear. Perceived Loss. Power. Control. This is what drives the response to the Muslim community at this time. Alas, the Muslims are but a recurrence in history and have taken center geopolitical stage for the time being. Historically, humans have been here before.
Until people truly regard one another as valuable in their own individual right, we will never escape the entrapments of power and wealth. Until interdependence is nurtured globally we will as a planet of humans be forever enemies of the possessors of geographically strategic resources. Until we learn, for certainly it is not inherent nor instinctual in any person, a manner of thinking and acting which is more in harmony with global mutual benefit and stop completely the oppressive characteristics of personal and geographic hegemony and hedonism will we ever perceive a glimmer of hope for humanity. This will mandate a change in human thinking, particularly in Western or Industrialized societies, encouraging and perhaps demanding the active participation of all denizens in contributing to people, society and the world rather than allowing persons to continue running scams draining the very essence of our civilizations. Humans plunder at an amazing rate the very natural and man-mad resources so diligently and hard-won to which many have contributed. Rather than perceiving and judging societies and wealth as a haves and have nots framework the focus should be on the takers and givers, to lend a vernacular feel to this monologue.
Civilization after civilization has proven the persistent trend in humans to self destruct. So sadly neither Lennon, Dylan nor I, for that matter, will ever see the “righting of humans.” We, as a people, are destined to ruin the very societies, bodies of knowledge, art and scientific achievements we work so hard to create.