Early on in his book Darwinian Revolution , T.X. Huxley wrote a long time ago:
Let us endeavor for a moment to disconnect our thinking selves from the mask of humanity, let us imagine ourselves scientific Saturnians, if you will, fairly acquainted with such animals as now inhabit the Earth, and employed in discussing the relations they bear to a new a singular “erect and featherless bi-ped,” which some enterprising traveler overcoming the difficulties of space and gravitation, has brought from that distant planet for our inspection, well preserved, may be, in a cask of rum. We should all at once agree upon placing him among the mammalian vertebrates; and his lower jaw, his molars, and his brain, would leave no room for doubting the systematic position of the new genus among those mammals, whose young are nourished during gestation by means of a placenta, or what are called the “placenta mammals”…
In the later parlance of today “if it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
Always having been labeled a maverick, a bit of a rebel, perhaps just a guy who is wary of organizations, or an independent thinker, I’m a person who can feel comfortable on both sides of almost every fence. But I tend to hold fast to my own interpretations after all things are considered. It is both bain and blessing, but at the end of the day I like who I see in the mirror… but I could be wrong.
I have not always felt that way, and in fact once lost my way under the influence of money, prestige, egotism, and vanity. But, age, wisdom, and lack of financial status has done wonders for my humble side. I rejoice in the lesson, but it was expensive and left a trail of folks I’d just as soon might someday remember me more fondly.
As Bob Dylan has said, “it’s getting’ dark, but it ain’t dark yet.”
My point? Well, just for intellectual discussion, I see our world de-valuing my kind of thinking and holding tighter and firmer to conventions, stigmas, and secular dogma. Are we evolving or devolving our own species when it becomes, to use a worn out cliché; “outside-the-box” to think outside the box? Isn’t that what evolution demands of us? Or does evolution prefer the eventual automaton humans that many feel permeate our schools, businesses, governments, social networks, and societal cultures?
I learned a lot in my younger day from philosopher/writer Ayn Rand, who spoke to me through her perfect world idealism, and glorification of the individual. I naively set about making my mark on the world with little patience for the less physically and mentally endowed, and rose to the top of the heap of every pile I decided worthy of my salt.
It can be lonely at the top (or thinking so anyway), and one tends to peek over the cliffs edge, or through their personal rear view mirror a little more closely as they reach into their mid forties, feeling self-righteously indestructable. If I jump and fall in a uninhabited forest, would anyone hear it?
What many find, as I did, those who are chasing you are relentless and calculating, nothing like my Howard Roarkish hero image of myself, but having values of deceit, dishonesty, greed, unfairness, and other assorted but equally sordid backstabbing notions. I despised people like that. I was cheating on my wife. My mirror cracked.
So, I dropped out of the race, a mistake perhaps, but with an ignorant wisdom not even known then to my all-knowing self-serving self-in-denial self.
I have found that the bottom of the heap is infinitely more vile and depraved, ruthless and selfish as in any other part of said heap. And those on their way up are only interested in what you can do to speed them there with little of their own energy expenditure. They don’t look in their rear view often.
That view from the top that I enjoyed then despised, I finally speculated wasn’t the problem; it was the viewee.
And so, after ten years and as many of my old life’s friends, acquaintances, colleagues, loves, and brief encounters start to come back in focus, I see the bigger picture and smaller picture in a more tolerating light.
Yet, many of them I see still refusing to call the spade the spade, the duck the duck, and we humans a frail but lucky-as-hell species who are not capable of appreciating a whole mountain in our shiny speedy BMW. Only in a comfortable pair of old worn out sandals on a slowly climbing always winding, but nature loving hike to the peak (despite two irascible, whiny children) can one feel the feel, smell the smell of the all-too-REAL mountain.
It’s only then that the top isn’t so disappointing when you get there.
Although Einstein illuminated all of mankind by postulating his Theories of Relativity, and quantum mechanics shows us that reality is neither real nor unreal, particle or wave, people insist on stamping their own brands of THIS IS WHAT IT IS on everything we touch. Answers are sold like goods and merchandise in the name of: SOLUTIONS. Solutions are it.
And just how is that?
It depends on the observer, and from where they exist at this moment in space/time. After that, it is only a guess. Every day and everything in one’s life can be seen in this very light… its all relative. Every continuous separate moment our real is lost and gained forever and ever. There is no past. There is no future. There is only here and now for us, individually. Solutions? Not even Heaven above.
And now’s the time to drop these delusions which make us feel that our future is safer if we will just shut up, say our prayers, and get in-line with everyone else. Rejoice in the uncertainty and the individuality of the unknown. Say exactly what you are thinking to anyone you feel needs to hear it. DO NOT FEAR ANYONE or any situation. Believe in yourself. Perhaps in there lies: A Solution.
And what about our quacking duck?
Materialism is passé. Grow a brain and get a real life. I did. Now I have my own monument on the D.C. Plaza…