Monday, April 18, 2011

The Curse of Wisdom

Mankind is has a fallen nature.  Everyone acknowledges this in some form or another, for the most part.  Every religious ideal, every philosophical inquiry, and every revolutionary movement has been about fixing mankind for the better.  The reasons behind often vary.

Think about it.  If you believe that people are broken in some fashion, that they need something to be made perfect, then you believe that there is something wrong with other people.  You look at things and you claim them to be evil, though you can’t quite state as to why.  You just know that certain actions are evil and certain actions are good.  Even a sociopath has standards, despite the fact that they may be changing from time to time.

The drive survival could describe its origins.  After all, in order for weaker humans to survive, they would have to concoct some set of standards to use against the stronger, though slightly dumber humans they face.  In a way, you could say that being a social creature naturally evolved into the standards of right and wrong we see today.  And yet, this falls apart because even the strong know right from wrong.

While I am not a hyper-fanatic when it comes to how other people behave, as I know that in the end the consequences of their actions will catch up with them one way or another, I do acknowledge a certain standard of right and wrong.  But my standard is actually quite simple and doesn’t require a pages and pages of legal jargon that have been jammed down our throats by people who presume to be our gods.  In the past, I’ve referred to them as looters, but they go way beyond that.

Jus about every politician, regardless of party affiliation, presumes to create some kind of heaven on Earth.  That shining city on the hill where mankind is made whole.  Or that Utopia where diamonds are used as mulch and gold is used as chains for prisoners.

One need not be a Statist to quest for that impossible dream.  Many liberty-minded individuals also share a very different worldview with the end result being the same.  I’ve never seen much difference in the intentions of the communist, the Socialist, the Fascist, the conservative, the constitutionalist, the libertarian, the anarcho-capitalist, or the anarchist.  Their end goal is really the same: the betterment of mankind by clearly defining the role of government.

Often times I think many of them forget that while people in mass act without direction save from some leader, individually they will act on their own without regard for themselves or others.  In other words, human beings are prone to irrational behavior.  In some cases, this hurts others, while in other cases this only hurts themselves.  But everyone will act irrationally in one way or another, it is only a matter of time.

Ideally, we’d all like to think that human behavior is naturally rational.  I know I fall into that trap from time to time.  But the truth is, many people will do the wrong thing at just the right time to ruin it for the rest of us.  This is why I hold no hope for the new Congress or any future political leader.  It isn’t a case of the lunatics running the asylum, it’s more a case of the lunatics picking the best among them to run things for them.  The whole course of human history features civilizations falling due to some unexplained mass insanity and complete lack of foresight.  In some cases, those who had it end up getting killed by those who don’t.

The ugly truth is that war hardly ever truly puts an end to large civilizations such as ours.  It is inherent in our nature to act against our own interests and the interests of those around us for some as yet unexplained reason (at least, nothing scientific).  But for some reason, we rinse and repeat and rebuild something a little better than the last one.  And so the cycle begins anew without much regard for the mistakes of the past.

The United States is on the verge of a large upheaval.  I don’t pretend to know how exactly the events will play out, and I do admit to a little fear, but at the same time I look forward to the changes with hope.  This is because the subsequent generations who deal with this massive change will lay the groundwork for something better.  But their children will just screw it all up.  And so goes mankind, trudging along through the constant cycle of destruction and creation.

As for me, I will continue to do what I’ve been trying to do for the past few years: to eat, drink, and find enjoyment in my work.  Everything else is vanity, after all.

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