What Is Not Right With Us
A Visible Defect
I think, Shakespeare should have added after ‘frailty thy name is woman’, inconsistency, thy name is man. For, in this particular aspect of human character, and perhaps only in it, one can say, both man and woman surpass each other. And it is the only shortfall that is readily seen in both men and women, they more or less complementing each other, everywhere else.
Inconsistency, thy name is man.
In many ways, this form of life is the best of life. In many other ways, it isn't so. At any instant, there are losers, and at least a few gainers. When things go right, we feel happy for the gainers, and reaffirm our intent to emulate them. And when things go wrong, we find inadequacy in their efforts, or blame their choice of an unsuitable path. By making them think that they should have been the gainers, we all implore them to do better. And we have been continuing with such an approach to life, since time immemorial. Strangely, we also seem to have accepted that it is OK for things to go wrong, as far as humans go, though nothing goes wrong, when it comes to other forms of life.
Why is it so? I think we are yet to get something right. I also think, given our penchant for finding answers to tough questions, and when the only issue is to figure out the reasons for such an ambience of unpredictability in everything concerning human race, why is that we are yet to make a start? And, as the human race advances in leaps and bounds, new findings keep on appearing. But, almost all of those explain, why a self learning system is likely to be prone to errors, though is a superior or advanced one. Isn’t this making further efforts of resolution unnecessary, even if it isn't wrong logically? (I think it is a case of fait accompli. We have decided, human is the best, who is also self learning. We find, human make a lot of errors. So we say, self learning ones are prone to errors.)
Or, Is it So?
Well, human society always is, unlike that of all the other forms of life, a bunch of contradictions.
Take the prevailing ideas about our nature itself, to start with. We have meekly accepted an error-prone nature for ourselves. Couldn’t we have imagined of a different ambience, where our nature will be error free, like that all the other species of life. Or, take our actions. On the whole, the most admired actions are those that lead to destruction of the current social order, or the way we progress our life. Think of a few great names chosen at random and one can easily confirm it as a fact. Like, Hannibal, Napoleon, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Buddha, or Muhammed Nabi. If that so, are humans always looking for fresh living conditions, a new lifestyle, and are in a constant search for it?
I think yes. What else is the reason for the instant acceptance enjoyed by almost all who come up with a somewhat imaginative idea in this regard? Also, what other cause could be there to render, even a widely celebrated idea of such nature to dust, for no apparent reason?
(This, the rather restless nature of humans, is a favourite topic of great men, and all schools of philosophy owes its presence, as well as the high pedestal it gets placed, to nothing else, but this. And I think, had they looked at unrest, not as a fairly philosophic issue common to mankind as a whole, but as individual expressions of unease, a remedy could have evolved by now. In fact, such an approach is the main reason for our unparalleled success in the issues of health and survival)
How Actually We Differ from Others?
And if we look closely, not even one member of this species is like any other member, as far as the style of living, one’s priorities in life, and the character go, though they are all the same, as far as the material and physical consistency go. And it is quite unlike all other species of life, where, even when physical appearance and texture differ, which is not at all uncommon, remarkable unity is displayed, both of character and living style. Here I think, the words race, species etc., should take an altogether different meaning, when referred to humans.
Since long, everyone has been accepting the collection of human lifestyles as just the same as the way of life of all other forms of life, modified suitably for humans. And the argument goes, human essentially is an altruistic animal who has to conclude first, unlike all other species, what one is to do, learn how to do it, and then do it. Thereafter, the reaction or results faced at each instant shall have the power to alter in a proportionate manner, any of these, unless of course, one decides against it. And over the years, a lifestyle seems to have evolved, which is well suited for such a kind of life. Which, though happens to be vastly different from that of all the others, is very much a natural one, as far as the human race go.
Room For a Re-think?
Is it so? No, and I think, there is room for a rethink. One question comes to me instantly. Are we living, the way a race should be? That is, are we using all our abilities to the optimum? I have heard it often, all forms of life are blessed with the nature and ability necessary to meet comfortably, the needs of their life. I think it will be more correct to say, all forms of life follow a way of living that utilizes all their ability to the fullest. Which is not true, in the case of mankind. Mankind has adopted a lifestyle, perhaps just a copy of the life followed by all the other ones with life. And the result is there for all to see. The living style of human race is turning out to be an issue for humans itself, not to speak of all other forms of life, and everything else of this planet and elsewhere. If this won’t call for a rethink, what will?
You see, one can put all forms of life into two groups. Those who survive on naturally occurring resources like plants, and those who survive on those ones. Except man, none contributes in any way to the irreversible changes that happen constantly. (Even in case of global warming caused by animals, it is the population of farm animals, clearly something of man’s interest, that is contributing to it) Though as much a part of nature as any other one, man is a threat to nature. Why? If man is just another inhabitant of this planet, why should one follow a path that is dangerous, not only to self, but also to the planet itself? I therefore think, there is an urgent need to examine and re-validate the lifestyle we have come to adopt.
Do We Have a Consistent Lifestyle?
One can’t but notice this. All the other species follow somewhat the same style of living wherever they are, though their physical constitution may differ to suit the prevailing environmental parameters and other challenges, the species face. Man follows many different styles of living, all chosen according to one’s liking, a totally random parameter, whether there are changes in environment, or not. And, the physical constitution remaining the same, man is forced to devise ways of making the environment, a suitable one. In short, rather than having a lifestyle, man excels in moulding one’s life to suit the style, one has come to adopt. So, can we assume, when it comes to lifestyle, each one chooses the one that suits one’s priorities the most? Or, does it happen that one adopts a lifestyle that goes well with the life, one finds oneself in? Let us check. Assuming that we belong to this planet, let me examine how befitting, is the way humans conduct themselves. Especially in relation to the planet itself, and affairs of life and living of its constituents.
The questions to be asked are, are we following the correct, best suited path? Is there a better way? If yes, what could be the new approach to life? And, if we aren't living the appropriate way, why is it so?
I think the above questions should have been among of the first ones to be faced by mankind, had we ever questioned the manner of living, we humans have adopted. We need to learn to do even basic activities like walking and talking, followed by a long list that includes everything from sleeping to procreation. When that is so, why is it that a unique lifestyle was not adopted by our ancestors? Why didn’t it become a part of growing up?
Let me address the question regarding a consistent lifestyle.
I think, currently and for the past many years, we have been living as separate families that constitute societies, further differentiated on many other parameters like, religion, caste, and colour. These get organized into countries and beyond. Constantly, interactions take place, within each country, between countries, between societies, within each society that exist as part of every country, and also within and between families that constitute all of this. Some of such exchanges could be beneficial, and some, harmful.
However the ultimate effect of all these is to keep the societies always on the boil. And, all is not well with the society, we instantly recognize. But, as there are always quite a few who are ready with a countermeasure, some of it looking appropriate to whatever be the original cause, the race as a whole ignores this. In fact in most cases, the cure disturbs the society more than it pacifies, since the actual cause is never identified, being a part of the very cure. In addition, each of these societies could span more than one country, widening the extent and scope of conflicts. And for managing all this, we presently have a large establishment of international and other organizations. Is this the ideal way to live? Especially when it is clear as daylight, the large scale interactions in the society, much of it for no reason, is the one that sows the seeds of conflict. (Not that we are not aware of this. “Improving communication skills’ has been a pet topic always, which in fact does nothing more than replacing one such seed by another. Though this may eliminate the current conflict, it could lead to many new ones.)
Ideal Way to Live?
But, as mentioned earlier, the fact that our forefathers failed to institute a unique lifestyle, casts a doubt about the currently accepted lifestyle. Which is nothing but a pattern of life well suited for one particular way of living, namely, as a society. The idea of which, the early ones might have gathered easily by sheer observation of the living style adopted by every other form of life. I therefore go one step further. We are forcing ourselves to live in a manner similar to that of all the other inhabitants of this planet. I agree, for many centuries we have been living thus, since it so happened that for whatever reason, we found it profitable. But there is one question we need to ask ourselves. Is this the appropriate way? Is there a need at all, for a lifestyle, as far as humans go?
Are We Future-ready?
To help us in coming to a conclusion, let us look at life as a whole. Earth can be thought of as the primary market for life, which also is the main product of all players of this market, say, cow corporation, dog corporation, parrot corporation, and so on, where the market leader currently is human corporation. The ideal lifestyle should have been, while catering to the present needs and comforts, making due allocation for preparing oneself and one’s progenies to the perceived threats and changes both of the immediate and the long term future.
Are we doing so? I think no. We are merrily relaxing, the big gap between the humans' perception of life, and that of all others, effectively make us blind to any threat, both of the present, and of the future. (I think this is nothing new. Presently, we realize this, but much later in life. And some of us constantly come up with remedies that makes life uncomfortable, especially for the ones who have much life ahead for them. As a result, all those who like to think deeply on such topics will feel highly discouraged, leading to more suggestions or cures that are impractical or not progressive enough. Had it not been so, we all would have been following a perfectly fitting lifestyle that leaves no room for disharmony, just like all other forms of life)
What about other forms of life? Are they doing so? I think yes. Though I cannot describe the process, but the results we constantly observe in nature, like the appearance of new breeds with added immunity, specifically against whatever might have caused the extermination of its previous generations, could point to nothing else.
In the present style of living, a good portion of our effort needs to be directed to assuaging and settling the disturbances, the inherent incompatibilities existing in the society would have caused. (Discordance of such a scale would not have been there, had society been a natural part of human life!) And that represents a lion’s share of destructive efforts, we humans entertain. Namely, wars, pestilence, and diseases. And also, we continue with our attitude of demeaning constantly, the living style of all other forms of life.
Now that we have more or less concluded that we aren't living the appropriate way, let us try to find out, what is preventing us. And why we are yet to realize it.
Human Society, The Culprit?
We need to re-examine the very idea of human society. The species itself is quite different from all the other ones. Each member of the human species is vastly different from every other member of this species, having distinct physical and mental make-up with one’s own priorities and approach. What is good for one need not be acceptable to every other person, and it is this facet of life, we celebrate as uniqueness or individuality. Now let us see what could have happened, if there was no society, at least, in its present form? How changed, would have been the life, the humans lead?
Take the best case of a society. If there are ten individuals, and even if they are of similar nature, there would have been eleven opinions. One each for all ten, and one, where all are in agreement.
Now take the worst case. If all of them happen to be of entirely different nature, well, there would not have been a limit to the differing opinions that can prevail at any moment. One each for each individual, and so also, for the many groups that would have been springing up. New groups would have been forming, consisting of any two individuals, any three, and so on, with each group being of individuals sharing a common opinion. And, as many new groups would have been in place, as all the permutations possible, both within each group and beyond groups.
The more the groups or sub-groups, the more numerous, the occasions of skirmish, since group loyalty is an easy, but potent spark.
A Future without Society?
But the above situation changes, if there is no society, at least in its present form. In the absence of a society, there is no need to force down on us, certain features of character as the only acceptable ones, which would have led to formation of groups and a rivalry that effectively cemented it. Hence there are no groups. For the above scenario of groups and sub-groups, and for all the other combinations, clearly, such frequent instances of skirmish would not have been occurring. And the result - human race would not have been facing any troubles except for random occurrences of dispute, or clash of personal preferences, which, like in the case of other forms of life, would not have been noticed at all. And in such a case, even if installed, a government is needed only to act as a troubleshooter.
It can continue to be in slumber, except for organizing and conducting a smooth flow of life, while on the look out for future threats and, keeping the race prepared to meet those.
And, since each and every member of the race get an opportunity to express themselves fully, dissatisfaction or resentment shall become things of the past. Also when all the diversified talents that are hidden in every single society bloom, golden, the days shall become.
The Unanswered Questions
Since all this looks too good to be true, we need to look for a reason, what prevented us from adopting all this
Let me list a few reasons, indicating why we are not able to do all these life saving measures, as far as human race go. Or, let us see what is preventing us. I think a few significant questions in this regard will give the answer. Why are humans, so unlike every other form of life on earth? Where do we belong to? Do we appear to be a natural constituent of earth? What can explain the contradictions, which no other species show? Do humans belong to some other planet that has a more conducive ambience, like a better suited ‘g’, as some scientists suggest? This question takes prominence now, thanks to the impending danger to earth, both from global warming, and from the irreversible depletion in natural resources. Since the primary culprit in these cases is nothing but human action, shouldn't we wonder, why unlike all other living constituents of this planet, humans cause grave damages to their living environment by their (natural) way of life. And if so, would it be in error, if someone doubts, even if there is no other reason to support such a query, whether humans are meant to be living in this planet or not?
The last question can explain an inconvenient fact we constantly overlook. Every form of life has its own nature and character, and follows a life that is consistent with it. Whereas, if at all we succeed in specifying a nature or character for human race, we will also find them leading a life that is totally at variance with it.
How Come We Are So Unlike All
If we assume that human is as much a natural creation as any other living being on earth, it is not easy to attribute such a disparity to a specific, localized, reason, like environmental changes, unless we come up with something that affects humans radically, while bypassing successfully, all other forms of life. Or, we need to look elsewhere. But if we make assumptions to the contrary, that human is not a natural constituent like others, almost all the contradictions we have observed in the course of our discussion becomes non-existent. All the behavioural particularities of humans shall then become valuable questions for further study. The results of which can show us the correct origins of the race.
I think one such possibility is this. We could be having our origins in a comet like object. Some of earliest forefathers might have happened to get dropped here during one of its visits. Further adaptation occurred over many years, during which, they acquired the shape, size and other traits necessary for survival in this planet, progressively losing some or all of their original characteristics or features. Also, the possibility of intermingling between at least one of the many forms of life here and the visitors cannot be ruled out. Either, by the time the comet made another visit, they or descendants were not able to recognize each other, or, another visit is yet to take place. In fact all the observations and deductions of human evolution fits here perfectly well. Which can also explain easily, the existence of intermediate forms for a human, like Neanderthal, and the absence of any such, for all the other forms of life.
Lastly, assuming that human is as much a natural creation as any other, irrespective of the origin, let me see what can explain the peculiarities or differences discussed above.
In the beginning of this paper, a few questions were asked. Are we following the correct, best suited path? Is there a better way? Such questions hide the real reason for human society to be highly turbulent.
We all know, in connection with physical systems, instruments, or machines, from the simple to the most complex, that all of those has an operating range, which affects every parameter of interest. And for each of those, one can rely on the measured or indicated value, only when the system is operating within this range. Beyond which, whether above or below, the behaviour of the particular machine or system will be erratic. For example, if a spring balance has a measuring range from 10 kg to 100 kg, and if it is used for measuring a load more than 100 kg, or less than 10 kg, the indicated weight will not be the actual one. Taking a cue from here, one can say, it does not matter much, what exactly is the path one follows. There shall be no turbulence as long as one remains within the equivalent of the operating range, whatever be the path one would have chosen. It should not matter much, whether the path is one of love or violence, or, of material benefits or spiritual goals. But, turbulence shall undoubtedly prevail, if one happens to disregard such a range, whatever be the path.
And that is what is not right with humans, the path they follow is right, but the way they follow the path is wrong. They always remain beyond the linear range, whatever be the parameter in consideration, giving rise to disproportionate reaction to input.
(We may not admit to it easily, but the fact is that one’s responses are always coloured by the mental state, one is in. Hence, even when there are no disturbances, both external and internal, it is extremely difficult for one to produce an unbiased response. That is why, one has to make oneself free of every form of discomfort, as well as states of extreme delight, if one’s decisions are to be undoubtedly worthy.)
What is Not Right, in a Nutshell
And if the reaction is agreeable to us, we celebrate the disproportion, and if it is not so, we tend to accommodate it. In both the cases, the disproportion is accepted as a unique facet of human nature. As a result, each and every one feels greatly encouraged to react always excessively and in a manner that is grossly out of proportion. And it leads to a vicious circle, and quite amusingly, rather than realizing it as such, we celebrate the same also, as a unique part of the human.
What Can Make it Right?
To correct this, we only need to take a few simple steps. Rather only one step. Make moderation a steady and permanent part of life. A constant feature of one’s approach to whatever, one may be busy with. And in this regard, a practical way is to establish the equivalent of ‘operating range, or safe limit’ for whatever activity, one may choose to be with, and then adhere to it. To let that happen, we need to shun all types of deviations that are substantially away from the average, whether toward the better or the poorer, the higher, or the lower, or of comfort, or of discomfort, in whatever facet of life, we may currently dwell in. A quick and easy way for all this, I think is to abolish from our languages, all comparatives, superlatives, and other words of similar vein. In fact all this is quite similar to how, we ourselves behave, till we mature sexually.
(I am wondering, how would have such words become so dear to us. What do such words do? These words make it possible to prolong whatever association or engagement one may happen to be having with other objects or events, an essential element of life, which I discuss in my book, The Unsure Male.. Like, if one can relish a cooked item, one can relish it for longer time or have repeated helpings, if the item is say, cooked better. Or, One may enjoy a sweet song, but one can do it more often, when the song is a sweeter one.)
© 2019 ROY T JAMES