Are we "Fallen Angel", "Talking Ape" or Both?
Descended Soul With An Agenda
When I first pondered the "Fallen Angel/Talking Ape" Image. I asked myself would I rather be a "Clever Ape" or an Angry Angel? The question is kind of haunting. Philosophy and Religion deal with the question as to the Soul and its origins. We sit in some churches and hear how demons are "fallen angels". What if the fallen angels are we humans? Those who are called believers in the Kabbalah and other points of view, such as astrology see the human as a pre-existing soul who comes in with an agenda. Much of Eastern religion believes essentially the same thing. While it is not the point of this article to bat around the validity of these beliefs, it does take the option of thinking of the human as having a soul that has a past and presently has an agenda.
Housed in Talking Ape Bodies
If you start with said Soul, you then go to the Residence of that Certain Soul, our marvelous bodies. And oh, the wonderful way our females have hips and a birth canal that can bear this human. Sure, we are "talking apes", but we have some incredible options. The power of speech, being bipedal, having broad shoulders and such a large head that it really does require many many months before it can just make it around and stuff food in its mouth. We could be called the Race That Has To Protect Its Babies. It is as if nature has bequeathed us bodies that were it not for the hips, and brains that it takes months for it to be balanced and our narrow neck that barely supports the big ball of brains, would appear to be doomed. But we are not doomed, we are marvelously successful. When you think of it this way, you don't really think of apes. Oh yes, there are the wonderful cute pictures of chimpanzees, and the endless comparisons that have been made about apes and humans over the centuries. And yet when you think of these key features that make us so human, you can start to pose some questions.
Why Are We So Complicated?
Symphonies and art, religions and incredible diversity in language - the ability to make inventions and improve our lives, and yes, go to the Moon. Evolution tries to scheme out reasons why we got so incredible after learning how to prepare food, make fire, build huts and houses. Where did the impulses come from that gave us all of these extra abilities? There are some brilliant books that endeavor to speculate how mental development "took off" into places it did not really need to go. And since, we did "take off", and we are where we are, it is easy to say: "OK, I guess those explanations work! They are as good as other ideas as to how we became these incredible "Fallen Angel-Talking Apes". But still, if you think about it too long, you are lost shaking your head. Then there are those who say that we are not that special. We are just working off our history. We are building on the past. And, like Isaac Newton declared, we are standing on the shoulders of giants; but at our core, we are no different than we were 50,000 years ago. That is a point of view that many hold.
And so we are caught in this conundrum and we feel like a strange combo of angel and ape. We feel bestial and celestial, primally driven and teeteringly heavenly, highly complicated and utterly simple, religiously theophasic and barbecue slobbering, lips on delicate other lips, fists in others' faces. Are we just dressed up pugilists with dominance on our minds or bulked up angels, enjoying the fleshly ride?
Reaching for The Impossible, Building What Could Not Be Built
Many many people have died because a few men with absolute power had a fixed vision of their greatness. There are also single individuals who have done great and marvelous things for the many. Ambition, Vision, Goals where do they all come from? Psychology is the best source for answers here. It is the discipline that seems to give us explanations for our plans and schemes. What makes us think so big? If we are smart talking apes, why did we get so darned big headed?
"A Man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?" We are just full of these imaginings. These Imaginings create this improbable world. And then, there is Evil and its complicated role. Evil is there all over the place. Evil is however, something to be adjudged and decreed to be so. You have to look at examples of evil, and all of these questions that we have been talking about naturally emerge. These days one thing can be both evil and good, and that is a part of the whole multi-colored mural.
There Are Still Grass Huts Near Rivers and Men Living Near Caves
The Ape inside us asks: "What's so wrong with a camp fire?" Why does simplicity both beckon us, and bemuse us? What made us go beyond villages? It wasn't a lack of food. Towns could have emerged, sure, because of agriculture. Many say that all of our technological wonder can't happen unless we come up with agriculture. That sounds right. Liberating talented individuals from back breaking work was one of the enlivening elements of life. Heavens, Kansas and Iowa feed the world. Our success at populating is beyond comprehension. And yet, there are those who want smaller populations and would do anything to see small populations. And, there are just simplicities of life that many many people long for and desire. Simplicity has its appeal. Especially since complexity has gotten so complex.
The "Luddites" were loom crushing angry laborers led by Ludd in England during the Industrial Revolution. But now, they are a word. People who hate modernization. People who hate inventions and burden the human race. There are political points of view that decry what we have come up with -- this thing called modern societies. Modernity is as evil as it can be in some people eyes. Modernity is also the Salvation of Technology and Wonder in other people's eyes. Religions also take different points of view about this question. The Amish, The Muslims. There are branches of religion, all kinds of religions that do not approve of many things in modernity.
What Makes Us Human?
Are we born craving glory? Do we have to be told that craving glory is wrong? Self Sacrifice is such a virtue is it not? And yet, we clamor for self satisfaction in lines and queu up to fill, not only our needs, but also our wants. Oh, those wants. Are we human because we can take care of those babies? Are we human because we can cover a whole array of qualities and characteristics and still sleep every night? Yes, we can defend our own lives and the lives of our loved ones to our last dying breath. We can peacefully take on armed tanks and machine guns for some purpose we have in our head. We can destroy exponentially for some other purpose we have in our head. Our abiding irritations, our constantly replaying fears and obsessions. Our simplicity. Our exhausting inexplicable rancor, jealousy, pettiness. Our languishing for no other reason other than we are bored. From whence comes our ecstasy and our unlimited mirth. Our mirth that seems to spring unbidden daily, as long as our blood sugar stays high enough. And oh, the relentless pressure that comes upon us daily and says: "Do, accomplish, perform, don't let this day slip by unlived."
Grabbing What We Should Not Grab
Then we learn that serotonin will increase in us if we just walk a little. The Ape can be happy down here with less effort than we know. And yet the Fallen Angel keeps complicating everything. And that so much of what we do gets us in trouble for some pretty basic reasons: Smoking. Why? Drinking so we are always in a kind of awkward dumb downed condition. Self Destruction seems to be our best buddy. That friend with a winking eye whose name we can't remember. But, he's always there ready to push us off the curb, into traffic, at 2AM, or get us into fights, or grabbing what we should not be grabbing.
Aging and Contemplation - The Ape Wondering What Happened? Or The Angel Looking at His Graying Hair?
Aging, we accept, or don't -- and all of these things that drive us nuts really don't have to, we learn, if we would just meditate. And then you meditate, and you say. "Wow". We have attained an age in which we can contemplate. We didn't used to be able to contemplate. Or if we wanted to, we had to go to the mountains. Now we can contemplate to a CD in our quiet home office. What a world! The Ape in us shakes his head at all the demands that we made upon him and blusters at old age, grumbling and scratching his head. The Angel looks at the mileage on his body and longs for a celestial stay somewhere else. But still, so intrigued. This fleshly thing causes so many lessons. But when we are finally laid to rest, each of us can declare that we led a unique life, and it made demands, and we did our best. With tears in the eyes of our fellow "angelapes". We look around at our short sweet funerals and say -- "Well I guess everybody knows what we are doing down here?!" At least those people over there do. And what are these merry making Irish over here, drinking to the old man?" Some mourn, some become quiet, some yelp and dance. So many reactions to this whirling dervish exercise called the AngelApe Life.
Not only are we all individuals, or consider ourselves such, we have all of these agendas. What did we do with our plans? Were we really supposed to have all those plans? Were we supposed to choose from too many plans? Who is going to give us the grade? Will I get a new agenda? Will I be a different angelape completely, or will there be reminders? Will I be what I most hate? Oh, that is horrible to contemplate. Glad that no one knows this stuff, we make our short sweet funerals, we comfort each other in our lack of certainty. And those with certainty comfort themselves with their doubts. And those with no doubts, don't have very complicated lives. And so it all somehow seems to work. We Fallen-Angel-Talking-Apes stride into the future, having hurtled from the past into this scary present. What a game! What a life! What a puzzle! The now more informed Soul stands on the edge of mortality and can definitely agree. It wasn't boring. It kept my interest. Or, if it didn't, it should have! Christofer French is the Founder of Astrologygetalong.com.