This is my first published article in Township Times, a recently launched newspaper from the Eastern Cape.
Page 9: I write what I like
Going against Darwin; Overcoming the “survival of fittest” mantra, there is enough for everyone’s need but not for their greed
Society is a mental construct happily surrendered to simply because group dynamic resonates more powerfully transposed with isolation.
I’ve always held a sense of independence, a bit of an ‘extremist’ in my ideology. Darwin got me thinking about the theory of Natural Selection leading to the “survival of the fittest” mantra the world now operates. That is; the smartest, strongest, most adaptive to change and circumstance will progress and determine the standards.
When we are born; breathing, eating, motor-ability and understanding our environment are the thrill of being here, as we get older, it becomes about territory and competition. Half of it is the paranoia-of-scarcity, that there is not enough for all to be satisfied. Ghandi said: ‘the world provides enough for every man’s need, but not for their greed’. The other half is that maybe humans are insatiable and unable to define a sense of ‘enough’?
This defies the laws of humanity yielding delusions of possession, claims of ownership and entitlement to resources we neither created nor offer creative capital to their existence. We found them all here.
Once we decided coveting resource was a need, we took it up a notch and found reasons why we’re worthy and entitled to them. Simultaneously reducing one another to subhuman status. How do they need the same food, water and comforts? Surely we need it more? And there is the magic DNA (blood lines) that validate us as better? And hence a justified superiority and entitlement complex.
The failure of the Theory of Natural Selection by competition and excess (profit) is that it depends on the belief of being separate from the whole, leading to a kind of savagery and inconsolable pushing down of the-already-weak.
Collective pursuit of a dream is always better than going it alone. A shared vision is unfailingly more fulfilling than motivations of personal grandeur and glory. No one believes their lives will be just ‘kind of okay’, we think we are going to be brilliant. This fills us with expectation. Expectations of trails we will blaze, people we will help, the difference we will make… Great expectations of who we will be, where we will go…
At no point is the journey devoid of the greater good, or of others impact on us. The affirmation that “You are unique” may be clichéd, not discrediting its substance, it’s more than just pop-psychology, it’s conventional wisdom.
The Road, a 2009 post-apocalyptic drama movie, offers a depiction of the end of the world. A man and his young son struggle to survive, most plant and animal life is dead, survivors resort to scavenging and cannibalism.
The man (played by Viggo Mortenson) and his eleven year old son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), head South ‘away’ from cannibalism. They discover a cache of canned food, take as much as they can and keep moving. They cross paths with an old withered man. The son begs his ‘papa’ to give the old man food, he refuses, the boy persists with pleas till his farther yields.
The boy’s note worthy and persistent question through the presentation is; “Papa, are we still the good guys?”. The test of which occurs when a black man in that arid solitude steals their food trolley, looking for means to survive. He is chased, caught and stripped naked at gun point. The man gets his food back and a change of clothes. When his son questioned him, he responds, “he is going to die anyway”.
When we bring together the little we have, we surpass what each could achieve alone. When we humble ourselves in the knowledge that we belong to each other in a cosmic unit, success ceases to be an external pursuit acquired through the failure of others.
Success is in little victories, one human validating another and their contribution is leaps and bounds for mankind. Resonating minds ignite a vision that transcends survival; it becomes a vision speaking to life, allowing our living to open us up to life.
We leave behind the sense of entitlement and insatiable desire to stand at the peak of imaginary hierarchies; we become a part of the whole.
We are not the people we thought we were, mortgaged to insecurities and fear. Yet it is the ‘self’ that is left when the rest is lost. It is the soul that is watching and always asking questions… “are we still the good guys?”.
Losing what we believe cannot be lost compels us to remember who we are. “With the walls of my house burned down, I have a better view of the moon” wrote the poet, Basho. Thus when the constructs that separate us fall away, truly we find our salvation and glory is each other.