Friday, Apr 10, 2009
Humans aren't so bad. Most of them try as hard as they can to achieve happiness. They're all self-interested, like everything else in this universe. That doesn't mean that the world humans have constructed is inherently bad or in conflict. If humans are really a virus, the universe has ways of dealing with us. We pillage, kill off species, and shit in our own backyards, but even if we "waste" this Earth, we can't blame ourselves unless we do it in ridiculous ways (e.g. Cārvāka) or with evil intent.
There have been at least 5 major extinctions on the Earth in just a few hundred million years where most of the Earth's species died. One theory holds that the largest speciations occurred right after these extinctions. Can we blame ourselves for acting with the life that we have (again, assuming certain, ill-defined constraints that we're constantly re-working, destroying, and forgeting [a problem in itself])?
I don't think I have any more inherent empathy than that Deer I just swearved around and saved, or providing faceless "help" to some unidentified lifeforms (personal "help" is another story, more gutteral [gutteral just like how one defines "evil"]). I wouldn't be surprised if "simpler" animals' empathy is more advanced, uncomplicated with humans' self-consciousness, guilt, and other complex emotions and politics that we've evolved.
Freedom is all the universe knows. Freedom brought life, and it can take it, but there's nothing better than free chaos. Trying to suppress chaos is naïve, and the assumption shouldn't be that the chaos will be inherently bad.
Of course these types of arguments are all over the Bible and other religious texts which were used to rationalize slavery, "taming" Native Americans and over-utilizing resources, but those religious texts have a questionable morality (ironically), i.e. that humans were brought here to "tame" nature and make it "better" (of course, that's just one theory -- it's hard to distill the Bible into any one thing since all of its adherents are constantly dealing [in very fractured and sometimes conflicting stories] with the eschatology not playing out). It's a bad starting assumption.
I guess that's the point here. Can we really assume that humans are inherently "good" (either through religion, pomposity, or egotistical science)? It seems to me that we've discarded this and humans have gone to the other end (with all of this centrally planned "Greening" of the economy and seemingly everyone I meet working at or with non-profits, myself included), thinking humans are inherently "bad" -- mostly through guilt (and potentially many other reasons) of what we've done so far, so quickly (it's "impressive" how quick we popped a hole in the ozone layer -- what just a few hundred years?).
But isn't there a third, more ambiguous, chaotic, and nuanced middle-ground third option? Not even necessarily somewhere between inherently "good" and "bad" -- but rather, not inherently anything.
It's a different mentality and starting point.