(First time here? Check out the Introduction Page!)
Ahh my first real post, let’s see how this turns out. Lots of space down there, time to fill it up!
First of all, here are a few songs for ya, about less war-mongering, better lives for our planet and people, and (not so popular among some of you) the redistribution of wealth!
Worthy of special mention, Hatebreed came out with a new album last year and nobody told me! First song I listen to is all I needed, and the second was this, the ass-kicker:
Boundless (Time to Murder It)
Oh man just listen to the whole CD, it’s absolutely splendid!
For those who are partial to a different kind of tunage, I present to you all a DJ duet from Belgium, who really have blown the roof off at all their gigs I’ve been to:
Now to get started on the matters at hand and reply to the ideas I have received for this week. My friend Kiro has presented a very in depth point of discussion that will be the jumping off point for this first week’s post, referring to “evolution, and maybe something about how we ended up turning on each other, due to the lack of any other direct competition!” Even though there was more to his post, we can start here and proceed to the rest of it later, as our search for truth already begins to lead us into the strange and unknown. This is a nice and general two-part question, that will come to lead us into our other subjects we will explore and connect.
I would love to go into evolution and all its wondrous mechanisms, but this is not Cosmos with Carl Sagan or Neil Degrasse Tyson. They are my certain seniors when it comes to the presentation of scientific fact (plus the new Cosmos has some nice CGI, definitely worth a watch,) and so I’ll leave it to those better suited to explain it in more detail than my blog has space for.
Like I said however, it is our jumping off point, so we’ll start with considering the process of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Onwards and upwards, I’d like to address an aspect of Kiro’s idea; that we as a species have actually changed the laws of evolution through the continuous discoveries in medicine, agriculture, architecture and self defense. The latter of which has been the main method of execution for our own artificial selection within our species.
Those claimed “unfit” today are far too easily dispatched through modern weaponry, not reliant on the influence of habitat or the constant struggle of the “fittest.” The word “fittest” itself, referring to those who continue the evolution of man, has even changed meaning. Even though ideas and philosophies last more than lifetimes, the people themselves choose what to remember of their ancestors, to propagate or discard the existence of their ideals. And so it is those who live on who choose what to remember and what to forget. Those who have sufficient wealth and sense of responsibility, as well as the wits and means to use them, seem to be the ones thriving at this point in our history, and will forge the future by the ideals they impart on their biological or ideological descendents.
And so we create our evolution through ideas, ideals, morals, and discoveries built by our past struggles, carrying them on into the future by the coming generations. In our current society however, it still takes time and effort to continue to exist to leave something behind, scrambling in the streets day by day to find the best deal for the right price or sitting behind a laptop trying to find the right words. Even so, even now, many of us would prefer to chill out and relax, letting the worries of the world fade into the background. We hold parties, game, read stories and books, watch television or Youtube, or try to find anything interesting on Facebook while scrolling down the page. Numbers don’t lie, and if you are here, you have probably done the same once, twice or more. Sure even I’d like to turn on the Xbox and play some Fable! (And I will, after this is done :p) This relaxing nature can be found all around us in the animal kingdom. Like an animal would seek to find the quickest path back to its den through path integration, their type of dead reckoning, so do we wish to find an easier path through life, to rest our minds and hearts in comfort or distraction.
Animals do this to make it easier on themselves, to be able to rest their minds. Like the rest of the creatures that inhabit our planet, we do not stop caring about important matters when we are having fun, it is just a way of not over-stressing our cognitive abilities. Humans choose to take time for some R&R, not because they prefer abstinence from proven fact, but because this way, their world seems simpler. A doctor who once had no choice but to give up while treating a patient, not being able to save them, often feels a deep sense of remorse for the loss of life. With respect to the responsibility they have to help humans survive, I understand why it is stereotypical for someone with that kind of burden to take up golf.
Whether you are against the current administrations of government in the world, or still believe that they are doing their best, we can see that even our world leaders need some time off. That is because they are still human, and seek to take a break from the intense responsibility of leadership. Our rulers take many vacations, even in times of great crisis. There are many answers for why that is, and I will not justify running away from a problem, but perhaps they don’t. Here is a nice link about what happens behind the scenes at the White House.
The relaxation however, is still a type of negligence and ineptitude towards their people, but it is much like how we love to unwind after a hard days work, letting the body and mind rest. It is essential to do so, as great thoughts and structure are often reliant on an accurate and fully rested mind. The problem with that is, that that kind of progress has become of less importance to some, and the extra freedoms and ‘off time’ that come with it are the main focus of the “climb to the top”. Hollywood has propagated this image, by showing what a person can gain with popularity, when it is actually the result of hard work and their own triumph over long days and nights of hard work. That, or they could just be sponsored by family in some cases. Ashton Kutcher had a great speech about truth at the Teen Choice Awards. Respect! What we often forget is that most of the ones who look like they are having the most fun, had to dig through the dirt and put in the effort for you to even look twice at them. For them, putting aside those desired fruits of fun does pay off, because the building blocks of their dreams were stacked up brick by brick to reach higher heights.
The people in this world who have chosen to assume political or religious power themselves sometimes don’t know anything about the ratio and the amount of hard work a position of power requires, because their eyes are on the prize of “easy street,” a larger bank account, and/or the recognition that comes with a place of power. I have experienced this first hand in a conversation. While I worked at a supermarket here in Belgium, many elections were being held, as they tried to stabilize their government and find an agreeable plan for the nation.
A while after the chaos had subsided, there was election time once again. Even though I do not vote here myself, I do concern myself with where I live, and so am familiar with the political parties in Belgium. While I was checking out customers at the Delhaize (Food Lion for all you Americans,) the items flew past the scanner like MLG quickscoping. I always challenged myself to be quick and accurate, as well as to be comical and make conversation. The people who decided to visit my store were happy to not have to use their time standing in line, and if they did and it was busy, they could at least have a laugh. I looked up from my register one day and realized that it was a face I had seen before. Veerle Craeghs had long been running for councilwoman in Rekem. I had seen the signs around the town many times promoting her campaign, and was to be my next customer. I will never forget what she said.
The conversation was in Dutch, but here is my personal translation:
Z: So, it must be tough running a campaign. I mean, you look tired. (She did, but she also had her children with her. Parenthood can be a handful.)
Veerle: True, it is a lot of work.
Z: But I guess it’s nothing compared to the work if you actually do get elected!
Veerle: Well, not really.
(I looked up questioningly at her, confused, trying to discern what she meant. I still had some hope in regional politicians, that they wished to make life better for their town, and would fight to make it so.)
Z: What do you mean?
Veerle: Well, that’s when everything gets easier, better pay and lots of time off!
(Afterwards I just nodded and was polite, containing my emotions and concentrating on continuing my work in food distribution, with seemingly far more pride in my work than she had in hers.)
That is not a leader. We have all experienced this negligence on national and international scales, and it is certain that some politicians think that way, when we take a moment to look behind the scenes at the European Parliament. (Here is a longer documentary, for those who understand dutch.) Tom Staal interviews a few of the parliament members, one of whom actually said this <link>. This could also have been meant that he could not concern himself with Human Rights because he is too busy with the organization of his own specialties, but to not even be concerned enough to go to the meeting? If these are what we call leaders, I personally think that a big reform is in order.
As can be seen in the documentary and as we all know, much of our tax money is being used so that politicians can enjoy luxuries far beyond the means of the common middle class. In Europe, and in many places around the world, the ruling parties seem to ignore their own people’s suffering, trying to increase revenues for themselves, their personal organizations and groups. As old Ben Franklin said, “I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.” I’m not sure that most financial institutions have received the memo, when I find links like this abundant on the business pages, instead of headlines about investing in the safety of their people and searching for solutions to the most common and ancient problems. These people who lead us are the ones who are thriving and writing history, creating the future of humankind. Next year, 2015, Obama plans to invest $640 billion on military spending, while energy and environment receive a mere $38 billion.
And so, that popular line from National Treasure pops up:
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and provide new Guards for their future security.”
11th line 2nd paragraph US Declaration of Independence
If the myriad of human ideals can thrive, and the cause of a stable economic and ecological community can be achieved, then we would not have to worry about what Kiro asks in the rest of his post about the evolution of man: “What does this mean in the long run? Are we destined to settle faraway planets just so those far-future branches of humanity can wage interstellar war on each other and continue the process of natural selection (albeit a somewhat degenerate version of it?)” I’m no fortune teller, but I can say with certainty that any speculation about where we will be off to next is up to us to build, right here, right now.
The following paragraph is my own conjecture, but a belief I have heard others agree with constantly. We should clean up the mess we have made of the world before venturing to outer space. By doing so, we can cut down the overpopulation of this planet, spreading out amongst the planets that we can inhabit first. In Dubai, The United Arab Emirates are planning to build a climate controlled city, an idea that could lead to the gradual colonization of Mars. You can even sign up for the beginning, the Mars-One project on their website! But before that can ever be deemed successful, before the human race can reach to even further planets, a stable environment for growth and sustainability must be created for the long journey. To be blunt, the people would also have to be able to live harmonious with each other on such colonies. One crack in a domed city could create a vacuum and murder the entire complex.
The only way that we will be able to create such a future where we will not be at each-others throats all the time is if we are to solve the issues that we should not ignore to make our lives simpler now. We still have a long way to go as long as leaders are worshiped convince their people to worship them as gods (Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung,) elected officials create more weapons for ‘safety’ (Putin,) and CEOs hoard money, destabilizing the economy by halting growth.This is more elaborately explained in Inequality For All. (A good documentary with ex-Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration: Robert Reich. He explains what is wrong with our economy as well as what we can do to change it. After watching this documentary, I learned that the CEOs of America actually invest money that they make over $1 million in stocks to avoid a tax raise for the upper class that Clinton’s administration instigated in the 90’s. By doing this, the money does not go back into the economy, but remains stagnant, never returning to the government for redistribution amongst the people. This process then prevents investments in education, social security, medicine, etc.)
By stabilizing the state of global affairs now, and working together in the international community to find answers to economic and ecological stability, we could lay the framework for the constant evolution of our species. Without healing our world and maintaining a society that is poised towards the stars, I fear that the Earth will be a barren wasteland when we leave it unless we take proper precautions. Even though we seem to be overstepping our bounds in the balance between human civilization and nature, finding a way to an everlasting peace and stability is a way forward that does not require us to annihilate each other in space.
And so the choice is up to us as to where we will be going in the future, but it is best to act quickly, before we destroy our home and ourselves completely. If we clean the oceans of radioactive waste from Fukushima, clean our oceans and our air, find sustainable energy sources and get to the point that we can govern ourselves, tomorrow might just be a whole lot prettier than today. Human evolution can continue forwards, instead of looking forward to just fighting against each other in and for eternity, neglecting Natural Selection and killing off the fittest of mind and spirit with the simple pull of a trigger.
Thanks for reading my thoughts! What do you think?
– Hex: Party’s
– Borret: Bee & Kay!
– Stein: Library of Alexandria
– Jordan: Government officials trading their duties in for partying
– Nos: The balance between civilization and nature
– Weshare: Path integration in animal behavior referred back to humans
– Kiro: Evolution and maybe something about how we ended up turning on each other due to the lack of any other direct competition! What does this mean in the long run? Are we destined to settle faraway planets just so those far-future branches of humanity can wage interstellar war on each other and continue the process of natural selection (albeit a somewhat degenerate version of it)?