|25 Feb 2002 @ 21:17, by Andy Lehman|
And now, ladies and gentlemen, a bit of brutal honesty. Must practice what I preach now, mustn’t I.
Most of what we are doing on NCN, it seems to me, assumes one thing: that human beings are fundamentally “good”. That is to say, that they are capable of getting along and that the problems our society faces today are not results of basic human nature, but mistakes that can be corrected, given enough “conscious evolution”, peace, and love. I am not writing this with the intent of agreeing/disagreeing with the validity of this assumption. I am going to look at the consequences of it.
If humans are fundamentally good, then all we need to do is bring the true human nature out of the people of the world. If their good nature is allowed to express itself, things will be alright. It is all well and good to ask people to exercise their consciousness in a responsible manner, but if there is something in there that will inevitably lead to the demise of the human race, then no amount of pleading will fix it. If we are naturally prone towards unsolvable conflict and war (along with all our other problems), it is simply not an option to reform the mass of humanity as you would a sociopath. We can put any number of programs into motion, and start any number of movements. At the end of the day, the purpose of these things is to modify people’s behavior. It is to suppress undesirable behaviors and promote the opposite. These things are ineffective because many of them are attempting to change things against the current of human nature, whatever that nature may be. They are not look at the situation and psychological processes that caused war; they are simply asking that it stop. They are pointing out that it is bad, and telling us why. But they are not asking the really important question: what is it in the deepest parts of our consciousness that causes war, and is that something we can change? They are mere sticks stuck in the riverbed, for those of you familiar with Daniel Quinn’s writings. And sticks stuck in a river will do little to change the flow of the river. We say that we are combating the current of violence and hatred, but at the same time that human nature is fundamentally good. This ought to be an easy problem to solve; if we can bring out people’s basically good nature, then they will fix the problems of their own accord. All we have to do is get them to be honest and realize that we are all humans. However, if human nature is irrevocably inclined towards self destruction, greed, and endless conflict, then we do not really have the ability to change the basic drives of human beings. For that matter, do we even have the right? If the world’s falling apart is the natural result of human nature, then it is almost certain that we will lose. We are assuming that, in a new civilization, people will behave in such a way as to not reproduce the problems we see today. If such a new civilization could only function by training people to suppress certain urges, then it is doomed to follow a path similar to this one. Trying to impose order on a fundamentally chaotic situation is an uphill battle, at best.
Given all of this, the only assumption it is productive for us to base our actions on is that humans are, indeed, capable of living together without endless death and greed. So, assuming that we humans do have “good” flowing through our blood, what do we do to bring that good into the light? Simple. We don’t do it by starting movements or petitions that we expect everyone to subscribe to. Aside from the astronomical improbability of that working, it would make for a rather boring world. Everybody following one path to enlightenment; all agreeing on what has to be done to perfect the world. Cliché though it may be, diversity and disagreement really is what makes us interesting to each other. What we have to do is become raw examples of how amazing the human condition can really be, even in adverse conditions such as the ones we see today. If we believe that humans are fundamentally good, then we must trust in ourselves to be good. We must be ourselves, in the purest and most naked way possible. If we have good natures, then they will eventually lead us to do what will work, if we let them. We may have conflicts along the way, but if we see each other as we truly are, then those conflicts will not stop us. Conflict is hard to avoid. However, the insecurities and fear that allow conflict to cause despair and destruction can be overcome, if we trust in ourselves and our common humanity.
The things I am saying about human nature may have some of you just about ready to kill me. My viewpoint might be taken as an overly fatalist one. I seem to be saying that however humans are, they are. And there is nothing we can do to change that. If they are good, then they are good. If they are bad, then we have no chance. In a way, this is true. However I, and I know many of you, believe that we are good. That we have a capacity for love and a will to survive and prosper that transcend our petty impulses. I feel it in myself, and I trust many of you do as well. So let’s take this assumption for a test drive.
I cringe at how terribly these words will convey the way I was feeling when I wrote them. To you, they are just words on a webpage. To me, they are one of the purest expression of myself I have ever made, written at one of my most honest moments. I’m above the water now. Later, next time I talk to you, I might not be. And I will be having trouble being the pure being that I mentioned above. I wish I could be truly lucid all the time. The best I can do is say this to all of you now, while I can, and hope beyond all hope that it will reach a similar being inside of you. If not, I’ll try again later. It’s really exhausting, actually. Whenever I feel this honest, my breathing and pulse speed up dramatically. Go figure. Peace to all of you, and above all truth. I'll probably catch several different kinds of hell for this entry. In the eternal words of the dragon lady, just don't HATE me for it.