Saturday, March 19, 2016
Origin Of The Species, a sequel
this evening, after filling a garbage can with 'stuff' i still feel i have too much: notebooks from the past, electronic tablets, even books. yes, outside under the overhang everything is neater. boxes consolidated and emptied, a tower built of them for the cat to hang out. maybe if i threw out all those empty boxes? but i may need them!
and this gets me thinking about the human species. am i merely part of this huge mass bent on survival? a tiny cog in the machinery of a species' drive for continuation? WHAT IF I WOKE UP IN THE MORNING AS A STATISTIC? even being cockroach, thought Kafka, better than that. and carl jung said, 'never think of yourself as a number'.
well, in the forest service everybody has a designation, patrol 22, chief 1, and so on. obviously we're interchangeable, nobody indispensable. i have locker 5, shoes ll, eyes 20-20. i only believe in what can be measured. ah, the great gift of money: a human being according to its usefulness to the species can be assessed. think of all humanity swimming in a petri dish, under a microscope. fat and thin, winners and losers, pale or black. the individual aim is to out-smart the competition.
and this brings me to the nature of consciousness itself. are we really different from cats and antelopes? they have just as much consciousness as they need to get along under the circumstances. and if those change drastically, they may not be able to cope. voila', extinction! human beings have invented ways to adapt, especially using language. ice-cap, the sahara, sumatra, it doesn't matter. our thinking makes us so.
obviously, my mind is merely meant to keep me alive and kicking. alas, as a member of the human condition, i have brain too big for me. worrying about adapting, i extend my cogitations into philosophy (the nature of the universe), art (finding perfection somewhere), politics (kill or be killed). and the most dangerous enemy, besides myself, is other people.
think of the landscape covered with anthills. in isolation ants of each location have mutated into beings slightly different. i'm standing on mine, watching those neighboring red ants invading my territory. sure, they're like me, but not quite. so, are the red or the black to rule, to conquer both kingdoms? this seems alien to the survival of the species. what if we kill each other off? and leave the world to the grasshoppers? yet, we probably won't disappear, one side upending the other.
to outwit every other species on earth, we've driven our minds to distraction, we've misused the urge to live, and i'm stuck with extension chords, cameras, hard-drives. maybe i'll need them in the fight for tomorrow. and will mars save us, or the moon, colonies of blue and purple ants? only if i can out-think the universe, and the universe gets stranger every day, mutating as i do.