Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. But of course. But die we all shall. For that matter, time being the tyrant that it is, eventually this planet we all call home will succumbto absorption by the sun–in about 7.5 billion years. Hey, so still time to work on ourselves, mind, body and spirit-wise, huh?

Of course I’m being ridiculous about the matter of life and death. Consider, however, how many humans have already lived and perished since homo sapiens evolved from the slime or whatever of long, long loooooooong ago. Researchers estimate that number to be around 117 billion, with several billion of us still hanging around right now. We humans have recycled ourselves somewhere around 7,500 generations worth.

And what a species we are!

We are very intelligent and supremely stupid all at once. We have used our smarts to create many comforts, while simultaneously creating circumstances that render those comforts meaningless. That is, here I sit creating this blog post using computer technology. I have bluetooth earbuds, and a “fitness watch” not far away. But I have no desire to use the watch and the earbuds aren’t all that comfy when stuffed in the holes on each side of my head. But I appreciate how facile a matter it is to use technology for passive pleasures and at other times to see, hear and consider happenings from around the world, in real time in some cases. And right now, in this moment of our human history, what I often see from near and far is death, destruction, oppression, exploitation, greed, pettiness, and other forms of hatefulness that boggle my mind. Certainly, there are many acts of kindness and compassion occurring as well. Sadly, in many cases that goodwill and kindness is generated as a response to self-inflicted horrors against ourselves.

The minds, bodies and spirits of too many of us have not been keenly honed to respect one another. History is essentially an account of the wounded madhouse that is humanity. We seem incapable of working together, sharing and caring for one another, in the big picture. I’m feeling fairly secure right now, but I damn well know there are others out there who want what I have, without knowing I have not much in monetary or material wealth. The petty hood can jack my car, or blindside me with a billy club in order to empty my pockets on the chance doing so provides for a prominent payoff. Yeah, the forces of evil, writ petty or prodigious. A wounded madhouse might seem hyperbolic but why did we need to create police and military forces? Even organized religion causes as much trouble as it does peace, love and understanding. My evidence? History!

The essence of our self-destructiveness can currently be seen–via those modern marvels of technology–in how just one man can dictate death and destruction without provocation. And if that isn’t a potent “Exhibit A” in my case against humanity, then we have “Exhibit B”. That would be many, many, many, many, many other (mostly) men standing around and refusing to do anything about that one man that needs being done. It’s akin to watching an innocent kid getting his ass kicked from pillar to post in the playground by someone five times his size, while others, some individually, let alone collectively, big enough to rescue him from the savagery. And the reason they won’t help, even though all these others standing around watching this sickening sight do not at all like the one doing the ass-kicking, is that the victim hasn’t paid for their protection. He has to keep taking the beating while clearly understanding that he is likely to die on a technicality of non-membership, the qualifications for which are supposedly to keep any bully from doing what this bully is doing to him. Can you follow this analogy?

Oh, that’s right. I’m leaving out the part about the bully having a really powerful weapon that could kill all of the bystanders, never minding that many of the bystanders, especially the biggest of the them all, have the exact same powerful weapon that could kill the bully. But they’re trying to appease the bully as he keeps battering the kid–who has really been fighting back with all he has but is running low on staminaso that no one will use that really powerful weapon. The bully, who is vastly outnumbered, thus gets a pass. The kid being victimized gets sympathy and moral support. Sorry, kid, don’t take it personal, it’s just business.

Like I asserted earlier, we humans seem not to ever get along very well for very long. Knowing how we tend to succumb to violence as a means of resolving disputes, we have created an Ultimate Weapon. Right now, the threat of using that weapon by one man shields him from being held to account. If that’s the case, then this world has no future right now, not 7.5 billion years from now. By creating such a terrifying weapon some 77 years ago, humankind assured that a moment such as this one would become inevitable. The bully has no clothes! His turf isn’t even under attack. He is a global pariah and even his closest allies intellectually know that to allow his use of that weapon means they will all perish from its power, sooner if not later as well (didn’t this stare down come and go in 1962, albeit with a much different geographical framework?). But regardless, we seek to appease. Like I said humans are both very intelligent and supremely stupid all at once. We are absolutely our own worst enemy.

If this current generation of humanity is to be the last one, then we will simply have gotten what we deserved for creating the endgame scenario that will always be a clear and present danger, one way or another. Letting women and children be sacrificed on a technicality reflects a species that doesn’t deserve preserving. The only thing we have to fear right now is fear itself, as FDR famously said.

So, can we please save that little kid with the big fight in him? His, and our future, is now.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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