Every so often I find myself ruminating on ideas that are generally too big to discuss not big as in, my ideas are so awesome, just big as in, I cant wrap my head around this concept. The one that sticks in my craw more often than not is the notion of, what if we have it all wrong?
I dont mean politically, although that plays a part I mean as a species. What if we are living in a way that is simply pointless? Is there an answer to that question that doesnt beg to introduce politics, religion, sex, society, civilization, animal behavior and ultimately the meaning of life in general? Is it even a valid question?
In the day to day of life, I will often think about political positions. Here in the U.S. the big questions are always categorized into right and left yet most of us reside in the grey. As a liberal, Ive often questioned whether or not our progressive ideals have any true bearing on anything. Does it matter that we fight for equality? Does a lion give a rats ass about equality? How about gorillas? Or dogs? Are there gender politics at play when a male peacock struts his stuff? No its instinct biology as we know it at play. Yet, we consider ourselves above our biology.
One of the more significant arguments I got into with regards to religion was with the older Mormon guy I work with. He refused to acknowledge that we, as humans, are in fact animals. He placed humans above the animal kingdom. I cant do that. I believe we are animals nothing more special than an intelligent chimp so why dont we behave in more animal-like fashion?
Of course, many, including my Mormon friend, believe we are special thanks to the grace of God. If we were to truly follow the Christian bible this is where some of my biggest questions come into play we should have slaves yet, my liberal 21st self cant abide by the idea of another human as property. We should kill people based on various crimes and misdemeanors, including our own children if they are disobedient I dont believe in the death penalty. Women have a place, and its below men I cant get behind that. These are but a few of the somewhat disconcerting thoughts that go through my head. Am I, and my ilk, Sisyphus on a cultural level? Are we simply wasting time and energy fighting against a system that is pointless to resist? Is our idea of better really that?
Two other things lately have given me pause with these questions and really, Im not trying to be nihilistic or depressing nothing more than ruminating but Ive been reading A Song of Ice and Fire and delving into life in medieval times and, of course, my ubiquitous love of zombie lore. With medieval themed stories, we as a civilized people are aghast at how people lived and treated one another. Rape was as common an occurrence as was death by infection. Life was treated as something that is expendable and replaceable. Similarly, with zombie stories, society has broken down and people will do whatever is necessary to survive. If that means murder, cannibalism and redefining marriage so be it. Survival is key, and survival at any cost is de rigueur.
Im not suggesting that any of these things is how it should be Im simply wondering whether or not any of it really matters. When push comes to shove, where will our high minded ideals get us? With seven billion people on the planet is factory farming a necessary evil we must live with? Is pollution an inevitable outcome? Is it better to live hermetically sealed in our suburban enclaves with our anti-bacterial soaps and Purell as opposed to living in a slum in Mumbai and bathing in the Ganges? Is an ascetic who shuns the modern world living in a more true fashion than the Wall Street businessman? Or is he kidding himself and frittering his life away when he could be doing blow off of the tit of a high class prostitute?
I suppose the main question Im asking is this does it really make sense trying to be a good person when you can be an asshole and get the spoils? If time and time again you see the pricks of the world succeed where the decent and humble fail, perhaps we are playing the wrong game. And ultimately, does it matter either way?
I imagine we all have our own personal answers if only we can come up with that time machine.
Cornelius J .Blahg