Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I have been around for a few years on this earth, but I still haven’t decided what I think of mankind.

I mean, some days I’m convinced that we’re a species of cockroaches, where every individual is in it for himself, trying to grab as much as he can, with the final objective to propagate his genes around the globes at the expense of everyone else.

Perhaps that is true. After all, such behavior may be what made our species win over the Neanderthals and we’ve continued fighting our own ever since then.

Other days I observe in wonder selfless sacrifices and bravery.

So who are we?

In the last couple of days, someone everyone perceived as a gentle man, “Kramer” of Seinfeld fame, aka Michael Richards, exploded on scene, howling horrifying insults to people of a darker color than himself (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDXWk9dTX-I) in front of a laughing audience. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and Regan Books cancelled the book that was meant to shock everyone; “If I did it” by O. J. Simpson.

So are the people involved in all this aberrations? Or are they all of us?

The fact is that most of us are not wife beaters and possible murderers. Like O. J. Simpson. Most of us would not do anything for money. Like Rupert Murdoch or Judith Regan. And most of us would not scream insults to anyone, least of all from a stage, like “Kramer.” But many admire the drive that allowed all of these people to achieve so many other things.

Of course, today, they are all sorry for what they did. Except, perhaps, O.J. Simpson who doesn’t seem to have worried too much about how his book would make his now 18 and 21 year old children of a murdered mother feel.

But the question still remains, how much evil is inside us? What would we be capable of? Every war has taught us that irrespective of our nationality, background, and beliefs, humans are capable of the worst atrocities.

The winner keeps the land and writes history. The loser is gone, and so are his genes; just check out how many native Americans are left. And since the ruthless are more likely to win, we have become a species dominated by this trait.

And perhaps, because we fear what is deep inside all of us, many rejoice when others are publicly shamed for what is really inside them.


Anonymous said...

Who knows what went on there. However, some of the "expressions" appeared to be identical to those on certain blogs, especially right before the election. The man went on television and stated he had a breakdown. Maybe. Or, possibly he thought he was funny, calling people on what he had been reading and hearing. No matter what, it appears to me that such stuff shows what a person is made of, or, otherwise, what he is totally obsessed by. Human beings need civilizing influences, and those civilizing influences have given way to the opposite. Marriage, between a man and a woman, has always been a civilizing factor. Religion has that function. Ideas of common decency and humanity. All of those have given way to the pursuit of money, wealth, a minute of fame, sales. Most of those are helped, not hindered, by scandal, crude behavior, thought and speech. What counts in society is no longer education, knowledge, humanity, ideas, decency, class (I mean being classy). Human beings have an animal nature, and a spiritual side. Spirituality is also being dismissed as hocus pocus. And it may be natural, because there is worldwide overpopulation. Some similar behaviors can also be seen in animal populations, such as rodents, with overpopulation. Attack, homosexuality, murder. There used to be some animal tests on that, I believe in the 1940's. Maybe they should be duplicated, to see if outcomes are similar. Whatever occurred there, we all should spend some time thinking about this and discussing it. There is no denying that in the U.S. there is a lot of racism, class issues based on money, hatred because of religious differences. It is simmering below the surface. We all have a choice not to give in to lower impulses and strive for something better, in ourselves. It is all deep inside of us. It does not have to remain there, stagnant. We can clean it up.

Argon said...

Well I did just hear a story on the news about some people the wanted to come together to focus positive energy and help heal the earth for world peace.

So it seems that not everyone is catering to fear, racism and shame. There are those that are trying to rise above it. Mankind isn't a total loss and whatever evil is inside of us can be evolved out of.

I figured that's a worthy cause to contribute positive energy for a

brighter future so to help spread the message I made some T-shirts, mugs, hats and clocks for people to use that would remind them of what they could accomplish. You can get them here:


Help encourage World Peace

Anonymous said...

the potential for both great things and great evil are present in every single one of us. it is our decisions that decide which way we swing on that scale. as for oj and co., they're just the outliers in the world of statistics. not in that not many people are for themselves, rather the contrary. it's just that oj and co. are so "out there" in the horrible things that they do.

read my blog on a current situation that happened on the psych unit that i'm currently on, entitled "a call to my readers"...people are more often than not just for the betterment of themselves, most just hide it better than oj.

Anonymous said...

Humanity needs Truth to function. Whether you get that from religion or elsewhere is not important. The biggest problem we have is the media/producer "spin-doctoring" which leads us all astray for the sake of profit. I am not just talking about trans-fat,but every aspect of human beauty and idealism which gets gobbled up by the advertising machine. As the Bible says:"The love of money is the root of all evil" It is a crime against humanity to denigrate black people in order to exploit these underlying attitudes to get the ratings so people will buy the products advertised.

beeta said...

If you open up the Pandora's box of philosophy, you are asking for it my friend!
But you have, so it goes.
I have spent most of my life trying to figure out what I (a human) am suppose to do. There are more than a few theories out there, each credible in its own right. I think all of us in one way or another try to find the Ideology that suits us the best.
Personally, I believe in two seemingly contradictory theories. One is the "string theory" which believes that everything (including humans) in universe are made of the same building block which is energy (and that puts an end to human superiority) and essencially says the same thing as "from dust to dust", except it is "from vibrations to vibrations".
And the next is the "Red Queen Theory" which believes that every living organism is in a race to win the survival battle. Every living thing (from a one cell organism to a complicated human and everything in between) is engaged in the ultimate battle which is survival, but survival is not about any one being but rather about survival of the species.
Both subjects are boring and tedious to discuss, but suffice it to say that most humans behave contrary to both theories (if you destroy the environment, not only other humans will not survive, but your own offsprings ie genes will not either)or if you behave selfishly, you will not only prevent your own mortality, but undermine your own species's survival.
In a nut shell, people are stupid when they persue greediness, superiority, and lack of compassion.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I tend to believe that the more education you have the less likely you are to commit these social atrocities. This is not so much because we have no racist or psychopathic leanings, but because we learn why we have those leanings, how to cope with them, how to overcome them.

Without some sort of education (and it does not have to be store bought), folks are left with their reptilian instincts alone.

Advertising pushes the reptilian (T&A) button (fattening food) all ('you deserve it') day (bling) and (T&A) night (get rich quick).

So much of what we see (park benches, sides of buses, billboards, newspapers, magazines, on the radio, web surfing, t.v., on the wall, in your face) in a public venue is pushing you toward self satisfaction and personal gain - screw the others.

It is no wonder we have had Republican total control, we have been honed to be the best consumers we can be, as a matter of patriotism now, and are the dedicated disciples of supposed 'free market capitalism'.

The whole 'it takes a village' is a fucking marketing ploy for bleeding hearts like me. Hilary Clinton does not resemble or embody that bumper sticker. I can't think of too many politicians that do.

This struggle is what the National Healthcare issue is all about. It's about Mr. Average trying to decide if he can loosen a grip on the 'winner-take-all and loser-get-sick-and -die' system we currently have in the interest of serving the greater good. It is soooo hard for people to take that leap of faith (y'know the one Jesus MOSTLY talked about - serving the poor).

It is ironic that many Conservatives are wanting to take the 'Christian' actions out of the govt. and leave it to the church (like assisting the poor) while many Liberals want to keep the 'Christian' action in govt, but take away any actual religious references and preferences.

Anonymous said...

I think you need a shot of Morford - http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/

And, Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

The best teacher on this subject was The Buddha - the one who fully extinguished the myriad blind passions that make us think and act badly towards others - or ourselves.

Even the Jesus of the Gospels (if there was such a historical being who did what the Gospels affirm) had his Kramer moments - like when he lost it and began beating the moneychangers in the Temple with a whip of cords.

As for who we are - here's the Buddha's take: our fundamental nature is BUDDHA - pure enlightened consciousness. That Buddha nature is covered up, though, by all sorts of delusional ideation that arises from our endless GRASPING - the sum of all our cravings and aversions.

There are contributing biological factors: propensities towards all sorts of mental/emotional dis-ease which science is trying to uncover and compensate for.

But the real causal biggies of the world's sufferieng are same as they ever were.

Argon said...

He's got a good point about Buddha that the evil within us is the grasping after a substitute sacrifice for enlightenment. A lot of disciplines have been developed to let people let go of that delusion and the grasping.

One of them is Tantric Yoga and it would help to try it out with all those around the globe on 12/22/06

I figured that's a worthy cause to contribute positive energy for a brighter future so to help spread the message I made some T-shirts, mugs, hats and clocks for people to use that would remind them of what they could accomplish. You can get them here:


Help encourage World Peace : CafePress.com

Anonymous said...

This is what I think helps. Someone on this thread mentions TRUTH. But Truth is not the same in everyone's understanding. As long as truth is associated with one person or one idea, which is unchangeable and is the only one, there can arise some problems, especially if there are, or appear to be, more than one. If A = B = C, however, and there is just one, then A, B and C are identical and one. Buddhism is indeed an excellent philosophy. Several Indian philosophies (religions) are close to what I understand as a jewish person. There is no definition, or opinion, on who what where G-d is, but it is thought that G-d is transcendent as well as immanent (close, or indwelling). The main idea is that there are some rules and regulations by which the universe always works, those are given, and that is Truth, but beyond that G-d is truth. If we, as human beings, could agree to discuss and try to understand what we have in common on how our behavior ought to be, according to our various beliefs, religions and cultures, we could come closer. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, for example, have Torah in common. What is important to agree on is the lessons learned and commandments given, and how to effectively live by them. Indian religions come very close to those same concepts. A jewish congregation, maybe more than one, interacts with an Indian Sikh community and they find they have much in common. Both communities agree that they want to serve G-d through service to mankind. Their aim is life on earth, rather than death. Judaism and buddhism, as philosophies, are also compatible. And I agree with another person on this thread that we all make choices. We have been given the option to do that. Sikhs wear a steel armband on their working wrist to remind themselves of this choice. They have a choice to do what is good, or not, but the movement of the armband reminds them that G-d sees their acts. We can not change the world by changing others. Indeed we can not change anoher person, we can only change ourselves, and it is a daily discipline. That should be the function of religion. You walk through life in a certain way. You train your thoughts in a certain way. For some this religion and culture fits, and for others it is something else. Mostly that is what you were brought up with and are familiar with. We should respect others, AND their religions, because we are all made in G-d's image. You see another person and you see an image representing G-d. That is, I think, what Jesus really said. If you think that way, you also have a responsibility to carry this image you represent of G-d properly, otherwise you are an offense. If G-d is transcendent - outside of us, but also immanent, closeby and even inside us, there is an energy we can avail ourselves of to do that which is good. It does not have to be a big gesture. A smile, sometimes, is enough. A helping hand, may be enough. A kind word, may be enough. If you slander another,which is forbidden in judaism, and christianity, you slander G-d, IF you remember that that other person was made, like you, in His Image. Our actions, again, are our choices. So is happiness. Our thoughts and our experiences influence our bodies and even our environment. All this knowledge is even older than judaism, islam or christianity. Some concepts of kaballah are now found to be true in modern physics. Some Indian practices, but with a different meaning, are identical to some practices of kaballah. To practice a religion, as a religion, but also as a philosophy, makes it also an intellectual endeavour. To do comparative studies of other religions and have open discourse with others is something we should have done much earlier. Again, some aspects of religion come close to science, especially physics, and even medicine. There is no reason, whatsoever, we can not rationally explore those things and be open to others. After all, if you refuse to collect and analyze data, you can never find out anything, in any field. Science is not a matter of emotion and unfounded opinion. Neither should religion be. On the other hand, religion deals with creation, and the process of creation is not identical to the scientific and mostly cumulative process. A scientific discovery follows orderly steps, not leaps, not flow, as creativity does. A symphony can not be created by any scientist, by logic, experientially, and dodged application, no matter how sharp and how much genius he has. The genius that creates a symphony follows a different series of methods. Ultimately that is similar to what is at play in the pursuit of spiritual understanding and growth.

Anonymous said...


Whaddya know.

K-Fed's genes live on.

What an ironic twist of fate.

Anonymous said...

List all of the good things that people do.

List all of the evil.

We are all of the above. Capable of astounding good...and amazing hypocrisy. We practice selfishness and self-sacrifice, sometimes in the same hour.

We love, we hate. We accuse, and our conscience accuses us of the same.

Being human is a conundrum. We'll live to the end of our days scratching our heads and wondering at ourselves.