Writing a blog is like being stranded on a desert island, writing a message, putting it in a bottle, and throwing it out to sea, except the island is the entire earth filled with people, the message is electronic so it technically doesn't physically exist, the bottle is one of trillions already in the sea, and the sea is a black hole.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
I haven't been blogging long, but I'm learning, and I'll share what I know with you.
We are still animals, tied to our animal instincts. We think we’ve evolved, but we still wince when attacked, can’t sneeze without blinking, still yawn, still can’t overcome imprinted fears, remain subjugated by reproductive urges, still eat, sleep, shit, and dream. We are still tied to our environment, still driven by circadian rhythm, even in space. We have not learned to unlock our genes, unable to regulate our own psychology through epigenetic manipulation. Legacy systems predominate over innovation. We resist change, even when we know change will benefit us. We hold each other back. We still hunt and gather, though money substitutes for food. We are symmetric. Our DNA runs uninterrupted to stardust. We are creatures of habit. We are social; left in isolation we go insane. From the outside intelligence only slightly greater than our own, we would appear as predictable as ants. And we know it. We are cognitive animals who can clearly contemplate our own inevitabilities, yet we are powerless to do more.
How can we distance ourselves from Man as Animal? So much of what we do, the choices we make, our opinions, our aspirations, have in fact nothing to do with our individual personalities. They are instead reactions to primal instincts, ingrained in our behavior from the time we were not just hunters but hunted. If we are conscious of these internal, genetic, and biological influences, can we escape them? Would we be happier, calmer, more fulfilled if we did? Or would the friction between ourselves and the society around us be too great? What would a society built on this knowledge look like?
|A Coyote in Yosemite|
I drove over a thousand miles in the last week, most of that on hairpin mountain roads on the edge of a cliff. Yosemite, and then the Redwoods, with the Big Nothing of the Sacramento Valley in between.
My uncle recently told me, “When you spend time in business, you learn to be disappointed in people. But that's okay,” he said, “because we have faith in something greater than man.”
Well, I don't. I'm an atheist.
Every day I’m frustrated by the failings of other human beings. My frustration is all-encompassing specifically because I don’t believe there is more to this world than what humans can accomplish. If I can't have faith in humans, the paragon of animals, the apex of evolution, the master of the known universe, then we're just pretty much fucked. In that case, what is the point of trying? It is a most depressing thought.
And that's when it hit me. The epiphany...
|Hunting the Grasslands of Wyoming|
I prepared myself for weeks of stalking, camping, and living off the land. The idea of tromping through the cold wilderness with nothing but a rifle, a sleeping bag, and a camp stove to cook whatever we managed to catch or kill, well, that's what men are for.