From a brief observation of human behavior thus far, at least a glimpse of the world today, we might seem to be a self-centered race. The planet seems to be dominated by a viewpoint that deems us all the center of our own universes, respectively. We are bound by our need to collaborate in order to survive and yet divided by our unique needs, desires and fears. This kind of fear isn’t like claustrophobia or enochlophobia, but something far malevolent. What is most amazing about this is how evident it is in our behaviors.
On the one side, you can see the beauty and mastery of our monuments and civilizations. Our ability to organize and band together is uncanny. Our societies have created systems and objects collectively that could only be dreamt of within a single mind. And at the same time, we spend so much effort competing for ownership and access to things that would not exist if we hadn’t worked together.
Truth lies in the statement that we are both good and evil and perhaps in equal measure. The gift that humanity has is our ability to be self-aware, but we have yet to develop the ability to be self-discriminant. While we are able to theorize and outline systems of our conduct and morality, our world is so complex we find that we are always breaking these agreements with ourselves (and others).
Man is inherently hypocritical. We change the rules even as we play the game. And the more we try to ignore this hypocrisy we also hinder our creativity and ability to innovate. This self-imposed barrier has made us innately flawed and perpetually creative. We run in a cycle of creating solutions to problems that have problems all their own, as we seek ever more to solve our problems we perpetually create more of them.
Our fate is much like our benevolent benefactor, Prometheus, who is doomed to have his organs eaten out daily only to have them grow back again each night. We are caught in a loop that leaves us competing for our survival; so many aspects of our behavior are counteractive to that end.
We fight to protect our family, and in doing so make enemies that will further threaten them. We work to grow food that will sustain our bodies and also pollute them with drugs. We have conquered the animal kingdom only to cannibalize ourselves in society. The human paradox is that we are masters of all land and sea but not yet masters of ourselves.
Even as we search for the greatest of all fulfillments, unconditional love, we are fearful and untrusting and we sacrifice the opportunity to help it thrive for material status. Too often we get distracted by our careers and things that we claim are less important. We simply have trouble seeing past the immediate need. It is this battle inside of us that humanizes us.
No matter which religion or history, there are stories about temptation and weakness and resolve. Each speaks about what we should do versus our natural inclinations. Perhaps our next step in evolution is self-discernment. Or maybe it is that very thing that makes us successful as a race.
For the moment we are able to qualify ourselves, we will seek to standardize that qualification. The good thing about it is that we are able to recognize our differences but not clearly determine which of us is better or worse absolutely. We all have individual, cultural and political strengths and weaknesses that force us to interact and work together to highlight our collective strengths and minimize our imperfections.
It may be that technology is to be our savior or it may be that access to those technological resources will simply be one more line by which we are able to divide.