A Generation Xer

This is my biographical wrap-up or summary that I will keep public.  My more detailed biographical posts have served their purpose and I have taken those private.  I think that a self-analysis within the context of our current construct serves as a means to reflect on our culture, a generation, and to understand oneself.  My assumption is that I am unfortunately not unique, rather I represent in some shape or form Generation X or Generation 13.  I am merely an event of a sample of that larger population.  If you have studied statistical theory you will understand what I am arguing.  Certainly I made individual decisions (some against my inner being) and possess personal characteristics (some good and some bad) that have defined my path and current predicament (discontent, member of the long-term unemployed, bankrupt), but I am more interested in the broad strokes.

My broad views or thoughts are really nothing more than a snap shot of my generation’s consciousness.  I have a deep concern over environmental destruction.  As I have mentioned on recent high-level posts on the soul, I am making the argument that we are destroying the environment (overpopulation and consumption) based on my sense perception as opposed to a scientific methodology.  Another broad sentiment is a feeling of disfranchisement from established constructs and goals that all seem to be tied in or heavily influenced by a hyper-focus on capitalism and economics.  This economic system is dependent on a growing population which simply creates a circular reference.  I fear that the world-wide economic system is swamped in debt and casino-like investing resulting in a house of cards that will one day collapse.  If we think about all the other major additional problems including poverty, ignorance, religious and cultural differences, nuclear threat, terrorism, limited oil, and scarce natural resources, it seems we simply keep borrowing on future generations and pushing our problems outward without solving them.  I experience a sense of paralysis when confronting seemingly insurmountable problems created by humanity.   You will find these same types of broad perceptions and descriptions when researching what defines Generation X — but the key hint regarding Generation X is that it is undefined, disoriented, confused, disfranchised, and directionless as a whole.  Individuals within Generation X will find their way and some won’t, but the whole doesn’t have a unified or general agreement on a direction.  The want or desire is there, but the answer is amiss.

My struggle to make my way given the above framework has revealed a key personal characteristic — a fear or a feeling of dis-contentment with the idea of committing to a single purpose or cause.  I had the potential to be a professional athlete, but felt like that was too restricting and narrow.  When I looked into becoming a landscape photographer I became disheartened when photographic institutions recommended wedding, portrait, fashion or product photography to earn a living.  My decade plus in business was marked by several company and job changes due to dis-contentment and further internal and external observations of corruption, greed, and layoffs.  I left my marriage because I was discontent with what it had become versus what I expected love to be.  And money, the bedrock of our current construct, has never commanded my respect.  I used money to live and enjoy life, but I never saved for a rainy day nor had any concern about making money.  This broad personal characteristic (among others) combined with no passionate belief in a direction led to my train wreck.  There has been no fear of change, but certainly a fear, or boredom, or dis-contentment with commitment. 

My observations, education, and life experiences have not enabled me to find a purpose or meaningful direction for myself or that of humanity.  I can only discuss purpose through abstract ideas or ideal Utopian constructs.  I crave a passionate personal purpose; I desire to join my fellow humans in energetic momentum towards noble and worthwhile goals, but I find no concrete answers to my quest.  I contemplate the expanse and wonder of the known universe and then turn my lens on humanity and myself only to find a wasteland of potential purposeful energy.  A few rare human examples or cultures have risen above the waste-heap and they offer rays of hope and potential.  But for now I find myself in pure survival mode with a goal to help raise my son.  I can look outward and inward to explain my current deplorable condition, but the only means to climb out of my hole is inward for the outward simply moves along through its own meandering momentum – a momentum that I fear is leading to a catastrophe of monumental proportions.  I therefore must retreat to the bowels of the economic construct to survive.   If I can pull myself out of my current hole then I can pursue higher personal aims like capturing beauty with the camera lens.  But the odds and time are against me.  All I can do is work hard to dig myself out and hope for a little luck.  If not, there is another alternative.  I really don’t have the answers, but I have never understood the alternatives.  Do you?

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The (De)composition of the Human Soul

If we think of our souls as sensitive sponges which absorb the external environment through our senses then is it not important to think about and observe the current state of our external environment?

If I observe our current external environment one dominant image comes to mind through the senses — humans; human beings, human structures, human roads, human transport vehicles, humans on TV, humans and more humans and human stuff — everywhere.  We absorb the majority of our senses.  Our sponges are simply filling up on ourselves.

Our massive presence, all seven billion of us, are also desolating the environment such that the water and air is less pure and our eyes and ears have less and less natural beauty to take in.  We have less variety to take in through our senses.  And is not variety of experience and variety of sensing essential to developing more colorful and bountiful souls?  And if the majority of our senses are filled with ourselves, decomposing souls, then does the process naturally head towards further decomposition?

I am not trying to make an argument with statistics and figures to prove we are destroying the environment.  I am not trying to prove human beings are causing global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution, species extinction, over-fished seas, top soil erosion, polluted air, or any other potential negative environmental impact through a scientific method.  I am merely using my senses.  I am merely listening to my soul.  I am merely making the argument that the majority of our souls have significantly less potential to fill up our sponges with variety and purity.

I have a hypothesis which would be very difficult to prove, but my hypothesis is that our souls are beginning to decompose and therefore bringing the spirit and culture of the human species down past prior heights.  Just as we saw the decline in the quality of art, thought, music, culture (many souls make a culture) during the dark ages before finally coming back out into the light during the Renaissance, so I believe we are now in a dark age.  Although we think we are making progress through technology and advancements in knowledge of all fields, as a culture, as a group of souls, we are in fact decaying and have slipped into a cultural and spiritual abyss. Our sponges are dry and when we look for the moisture we only find decaying dry human bones.  We should pay attention and learn from what gave birth to the Renaissance.  Those noble souls that gave birth to the Renaissance figured out a secret as to how to get out of the dark ages.  We need to learn from their example and look back before we can go forward.

And let me add this slight addition.  Not only should we look back to the cultures and wisdom of the past, but also look up and out past humanity to regain perspective and get our bearings.

A final thought, inspired by reading one of my brother’s works and from another blogger…I think this quote sums up one of our problems which we need to revisit!

“And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Genesis, Chapter 1-26)…over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Genesis, Chapter 1-28).”

Amen.

Santa Claus or Scrooge???

I have made several posts expressing my concern about over-population, but this doesn’t mean I don’t like children.  In fact, when I argue for a smaller population it is precisely the children that are top of mind.     

Let me pose this question.  Which choice below seems more aligned with the concept of individual freedom?  

Option AOne may have as many children as one desires regardless of the conditions into which these children will be born and without considering the overall quality of their life into the future.

Option BOne should ensure conditions are sound before bringing children into existence and ensure the overall quality of their life in the future will be optimal.

Hmmm….before you make your choice, contemplate that we shouldn’t just think about the freedom of the “parents to be”, but also the future freedom of the children and the society that will either “support” them or enable and in fact “benefit” from them.

Do we as Americans, or as a species as a whole, currently provide our children with the ultimate foundation to grow and develop into intelligent, enlightened, healthy adults?  Do we as Americans, or as a species as a whole, provide our children with inspiring visions and purposes such that when they enter the “real” world they won’t have to endure the painful discovery that Santa Clause was merely a myth and that the world is run by the Scrooge?

Alternatively, do we simply leave problems unsolved and bring more and more beings into the world further complicating or exasperating our unsolved problems relying on blind faith that some future generation will solve the problems through miraculous new inventions?

Are our unsolved problems passed on from one generation to the next analogous to the cycle of a tropical depression evolving into a tropical storm, a category one, a category two…all the way to category five?  Is there a limit to the number of potential categories and at what point will we figure out the answer to that question?

Human and Ant Colonies

I have often observed, like others, the similarities between ant colonies and human colonies.  We both have huge populations or swarms concentrated in relatively small spaces coined “mega” cities.   If we look at a human mega city from high above we can observe ourselves swarming along sidewalks and our automobiles swarming in organized street channels. 

Our numbers dominate the realm of the big species and the ants dominate the world of the little species.  But ants are winning the population race as they out number us one million to one and equal the weight of the entire human race measured by pounds.  Large ant populations have also been in existence for a much longer time span (millions of years) than our current modern mega populations.  In an effort to learn more about ants and examine more similarities or differences, I found that there is an intelligent man that has looked into this subject with some depth.  Below is a short piece I found interesting and a link to an interview he conducted on public talk radio.  He provides some tasty morsels for thought.  What can we learn from ants to sustain or keep growing our population?  I assume that is our goal as opposed to something more significant.

EDWARD O. WILSON: Social existence has paid off in a very big way in evolution. Ants and other social insects are, by a long margin, the most social small animals, and they’re also the most abundant. And of course, human beings are, by a wide margin, the most social big animals of any kind.

The question I guess I’m most often asked is, what are the similarities between ants and human beings, particularly in their social behavior? And my answer has to be, not many at all. But there are some very important differences, and then you look at those closely, then you do illuminate the human condition somewhat. I guess that the real difference lies in reproductive rights and expectations. Essentially, a worker ant or a bee, wasp, termite, doesn’t have any. They are bound to the colony in the way that makes them meaningful only as members of the colony. They are little robots, programmed to do work for the colony to survive.

The exact opposite is the case with human beings. We join societies and we work to make them succeed—primarily for ourselves. We’ve learned how to cooperate to an extreme degree. We are capable of altruism. We do it by the unique genius of human behavior, which is the ability to form long-term binding social contracts. But in doing it, in building up a society that is so enormously successful, we have entered into an eternal paradox, a tension between individuality and self-serving, on the one side, and the needs of the society on the other, that makes individual success guaranteed. And that is, I’m afraid, inherent in the human condition. We will always suffer that tension and walk the fine line.

The question inevitably comes to mind, that is these inherent weaknesses in human society ever prove fatal, and if we ruined the planet for ourselves and disappeared, how would our own extinction affect the world we left behind? I believe that ants and other social insects would hold on somewhere, and life would pretty much come back to what it was before we arrived on the scene. Then, the ecosystems would return to a balance, and the ants and the other social insects would be right there with them, filling the environment as before, and going on as before, probably for tens of millions of years into the future.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2203crea.html

The Green Movement — Myth Buster

The Green Movement is full of good intentions and I applaud the effort, but the bottom line is that a human being simply can’t be an environmentalist and enjoy what little pleasures of life remain available to it.  In my opinion, the Green Movement is simply attempting to make incremental adjustments or tweaks without really addressing the number one “taboo” problem – 7 billion people and climbing.  Most of the Green Movement’s efforts seem trivial when you consider the “foot print” of 14 billion feet stomping around the planet. 

The idea that a human environmentalist can enjoy life given the status quo is hypocritical.  My favorite example to illustrate this point is the “champagne environmentalist” – our Hollywood celebrities.   The rich and famous preach to their adoring public about the importance of going green yet they live a life style that the billions will never experience.  You people must learn to take the bus, carry canvas sacks to the grocery store, eat less meat, and buy expensive green products to use in your little shanties so we can enjoy our lavish life style and enjoy a clean beach on our vacations..   

Many people look to the Green Movement as a means to make a profit – the perfect “win-win” scenario.  The delusional premise is that technology and innovation will enable us to solve our destructive impact on the Earth without having to make any serious decisions that would alter the status quo.  We don’t have to adjust our population size, alter our consumption patterns, or improve city planning because innovative businesses will  solve our problems through green technologies.  Better yet, this new green economy will provide jobs!  Even if we discover alternative forms of energy and more eco-friendly products, the 7 billion people on this planet are still going to require an immense amount of resources for consumption.  How will we lessen our impact on limited fresh water, forests, grain, fish, and all the other species we enjoy preying upon?  I guess we could just eat chicken and eggs and develop even larger mega farms.

To be blunt, I am tired of feeling guilty for being a human being.  Each day our senses pick up the damage we are causing, but a feeling of helplessness to stop the destruction combined with a desire to live our lives forces us to tuck the issue neatly in the back of our minds.   Each day, billions of us wake up to start our day — we shower, eat breakfast, commute to our jobs, work for entities that are concerned with providing us with products and services, eat lunch, go back to work, commute home, eat dinner, turn on the TV, brush our teeth, and finally go to bed.  The routine goes on 24 hours a day over the entire planet day in and day out.  There is no question that billions of us are depleting resources and damaging the planet.  You are lying to yourself if you think otherwise.

And to what end or ends are we engaging in this routine?  What are we trying to accomplish?  Are we setting the foundation so that the next generation can enjoy a better standard of life than what we currently enjoy?  Are we making progress on the quality of our existence?  Are we better off today than we were in ancient Greece or Rome?  Are we, as a whole, moving forward?  I think quantity is watering down our quality.  The only way to break the insane cycle is to address our population size.  If the Green Movement really wants to address the environment, overpopulation is the issue they should focus on and stop dancing around the issue with “win-win” solutions.  And by all means, keep government millions of miles away from any type of solution as they are merely searching for ways to find more tax revenue.  People need to take the issue out of that neatly tucked spot in the back of their heads and pay heed to what their senses tell them every single day.   

But would happen to business and the economy if we start reducing our population?  How would businesses expand and be able to show those steadily upward trending bar graphs that lead to healthy executive bonus payouts?  What would we do with all the tax incentives that encourage people to have more kids?  What will all the banks do if fewer people need credit or loans to buy things for all the babies and purchase five bedroom homes?  What will we have to feed into our Economic dynamo without more kids?  Well, do what you have always done when times are tough – down size.       

Imagine the sense of freedom that our fellow Apex predators enjoy without any conscious concerns about what they are doing to the planet.  They simply live their wild lives and provide for the next generation guilt free.  They don’t need policies and movements to set their direction – they just live life.  About the only thing they have to worry about are the number of awkward looking two-legged apes stomping aimlessly around the planet.  We should be proud of our existence with an innate sense that we are progressing forward generation by generation.  We should be living a wild intelligent life rather than looking at ourselves merely as domesticated commodities.  But that is a topic for another day.  Enjoy your weekend and happy Equinox.

Oh Brave New World — with so many People in it

“Billions” seems to be a common place number in modern man’s discourse – amount of government debt, amount of citizen debt, amount of wealth of the few super rich, number of those in poverty, number of the illiterate, number of stars in our galaxy, number of galaxies in the observable universe, age of the Earth, and the age of the known Universe.

The human population will hit 7 billion this year around the time our kids dress up to go trick or treating.  How do we comprehend the number 7 billion?  Well, if you were to start counting out loud right now, without sleeping, it would take you 200 years to reach 7 billion.  But don’t waste your time — after counting day and night for 40 years the population will have gone up by another 2 billion.        

There are sound arguments for or against the idea that overpopulation is a significant problem, but I maintain that our immense and growing population negatively impacts the quality of our existence and inhibits progress from one generation to the next.   This is my introductory and light-hearted muse on our large and growing population and its impact on “The Human Direction”. 

Top ten muses for your consideration:    

 1.  Do you like traffic jams?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Do you like searching for a parking space?

 

 

 

 

 

3. Do you like going to the mall?

 

 

 

 

 

4. Do you like going through security at the airport?

 

 

 

 

 

5. Do you like sitting on the airplane?

 

 

 

 

 

6. Do you like being stuffed into the subway?

 

 

 

 

 

7. Do you like waiting for the elevator?

 

 

 

 

 

8. Do you like suburban sprawl?

 

 

 

 

 

9. Do you like going to the beach?

 

 

 

 

 

10. Do you like going to a national park?