Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Specieal Insanity

Most new parents hope that their children are beautiful geniuses who grow up to be tall and healthy. These are things that society values. But without adversity humans often/usually grow up to be character-free drones, lacking in inspiration and motivation - c.f. ‘Beautiful People Syndrome’.

Some people us BPS in a different way than I do. I am talking about being spoiled by an easy “high percentile” life where everything you want falls in your lap and people queue to cater to your needs. There is nothing more poisonous to the development of a soul than this. Some quick evidence – the most badass intellectuals and revolutionaries in history come up in the toughest places. Russia – need I say more?

So back to the point – if you want your kids to grow up to be happy, healthy, and INTERESTING, where is the balance? How do you check the parental instinct to provide and protect against the reality that adversity creates really cool people? Why don’t we ask questions like this? I believe that our society is becoming poisoned by risk aversion. We live in a country where people consider you irresponsible for not taking your pet for annual preventative doctor visits.

As more and more countries enter the club of developed nations, we as humans grow less and less connected with the context in which we evolved – a daily struggle for survival. We retain our instincts to survive, but in the absence of real danger we map them to the compulsions for improved fireproof pajamas, sanitized spinach, and cars that make it impossible to accidentally hurt yourself. It doesn’t really matter to us what we pay for these tiny marginal improvements, in either monetary or spiritual terms. Our instinct to focus on dying slower is what drives us, and the safer our lives become the more ridiculous the expression of that instinct becomes. We are losing our sense of adventure and our tolerance of failure. We accept no responsibility.

When I look forward and follow this trend to its logical extension, it could be described as insanity. With primary instincts that have become obsolete in the context of our “civilized” environment, we have no purpose. I think that to fill this void mankind needs a mission statement. Something that we can learn to focus on – a great collective dream. Interstellar travel would do nicely. So would World War III I suppose. If you have a preference remember to vote.


Michelle said...

"With primary instincts that have become obsolete in the context of our “civilized” environment, we have no purpose. I think that to fill this void mankind needs a mission statement. Something that we can learn to focus on – a great collective dream."

Perhaps this is what causes evolution - noting more than reaching as far as a species can go? Did the dinosaurs reach the same state of void? Did they become extinct from boredom?

Perhaps global warming and sea rises will be the "shove" humanity needs to start being aware again. We (as a species) aren't aware anymore. We dream to live the dream.

Ron Southern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I love your theory!

Dustinzgirl said...

Well, I can't really afford to live like most people in my house and I don't really have any friends because I have a terrible social anxiety disorder. We don't really do any of the things you describe. Most of the food we eat is fresh, my kids run around until dark (within shouting distance). I think life is what you make of it. I only make about 18 grand a year. I don't even know if I can afford this months rent. But what I do know is that I love my kids, I'll fight for them, (I love God and Jesus and all the little bunnies too) and that is my purpose in this world.

Random Magus said...

I totally get where you are coming from as far as teaching children proper values. But there can be a balance our childhood is the only one we get and it should be special. Life throws so many curve balls in any case why not have one sanctuary that we can go back to and be happy in the memories of?

Icaterus said...

Hmmmm, unfortunately I have to admit I disagree. :)

You're using the internet right now right? And isn't the collective intelligence of a whole lot of people from all over the world able to achieve as much, if not more, than a single person would be able to?

Sure, great people are formed from adversity, but surely the incredible amount of people surviving because of modern standards promoting health are more than enough to make up for the few people who would have been greater if they were raised worser..?

Is that your point? Am I getting it right? That we should encourage miserable conditions in order to form stronger people? It's interesting but I disagree.