Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Once I built a tower, now it's done...

"We are so made that we can sustain our existence only in group life. Love is the essence of humanity, love needs something to bestow itself upon; human beings must live together in order to live a life of mutual love." D. T. Suzuki
"I sincerely believe that if you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!" George Carlin
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Between the two quotes above there is certainly some space and variance of tone, but they are by no means contradictory and Suzuki would have been the last person to deny George Carlin's Zen.

Carlin was certainly right when he saw "no solution" and "no hope". However, it is useful before even thinking about solutions, to identify the "problem".

In my opinion, the distance between the reality we experience in our daily lives and Suzuki's deceptively simple analysis of our species, (which could, in great part, apply to the troop of baboons in the picture), is humanity's "problem".

In fact the distance is so great that many might dismiss Suzuki's analysis as treacly and sentimental when he says, "we are so made that we can sustain our existence only in group life (...)
human beings must live together in order to live a life of mutual love", which, in fact, applies as accurately to any isolated human being as it would to any isolated baboon. A social animal being a social animal.

Over millions of years, our species evolved, like our cousins the baboons, to roam the savannas of Africa in extended families, sharing whatever food we found and curling up together at night to keep warm. Over most of our history that was our life, only of late have we taken a sinister detour. That wandering togetherness is what our brains, inhabiting spirits and digestive tract are built for and look where we are now.

Over a relatively few millennia we have woven ourselves into hell.

Certainly, unless we can recreate the essence of our cooperative origins on a mass scale within our present technological development, there seems to be no solution in sight to this hell we have created.

Perhaps, it will be global warming that
finally returns our remaining descendents to paradise. DS


RC said...

Being one of those people that are happy in isolation I think the togetherness game is overrated, but it does have its moments. The internet is one of them {blogging certainly is}and my daily walk along La Calle Ancha downtown exchanging greetings and human non verbalities of warmth is definitely valued.
However, the next stop on the Humid Phage Evolution is Mars, not that romantic return to Savannahdom. That's my analysis of the trajectory, not necessarily my personal choice.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I don't think the return to "savannadom" will in any way be romantic. Life expectancy will be about 35 and everyone will be illiterate... but human.

forensic economist said...

On the difference between Obama and McCain and the lack of change coming:

The Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institute has put out a paper analyzing the two candidates tax proposals. Both intend to keep most of the Bush tax cuts.

Bottom line:
"Under either Senator Obama's or Senator McCain's plan, however, the debt would continue to rise as it has over the past eight years... Obama's plan would add $3.3 trillion to the national debt... McCain's plan would add $4.5 trillion. This does not include the cost of expanding health insurance coverage... it also assumes that all of the candidates' optimistic revenue offsets materialize..."

Obama's plan would be more progressive, McCain's would decrease the remaining progressiveness of the tax code.

As you mentioned, there is a clusterfuck coming/is here. Neither candidate is really dealing with it.

RC said...

My tongue was firmly in cheek about the savannah romance. There will be romance on Mars too, but romance is always a fleeting experience.
By romance I mean a magical charm upon existence.