When you die
You make room for others on the planet.
You can and must use your experience
To offset the ravages of your age.
It’s one of the only things you can do.
Learning how to stretch is the perfect example.
You make better decisions today
To compensate for the bad decisions you made yesterday.
If you carried on like you were 21
You might be dead by now.
(I know I’d be)
One of the negatives of light pollution
Is that it stops you from remembering
That you live in the universe.
Photo by See-ming Lee (SML)
We celebrate diverse* perspectives
But with limits.
We can’t celebrate diversity around
Our core values
Such as ‘not killing people who disagree with you’.
As such, diversity can’t really be considered an absolute
That we either ‘have’, or ‘don’t have’.
It’s more a matter of degree – about how many perspectives that we are ‘willing’ to allow.
Or how many perspectives are ‘practical’ within
Where we draw the line between ‘acceptable’ and ‘not’
Helps to draw a distinction between cultures.
If ‘our’ line and ‘their’ line
The cultures will probably have trouble ‘getting along’.
Photo by vwcampin
With thanks to Sam Harris for the idea
*Please note, I refer to diversity of perspectives, not ‘intersectional’ diversity.
Cover Photo by La caverne aux trésors
If we look at the modern world,
The global labour market
And the relentless forward march of technology.
The fundamental growing economic problem
Appears to be
An increasing ‘oversupply’ of humans.
Here’s what I mean;
The trend of ‘human obsolescence’ seems to show
That less and less of us are ‘necessary’
From an economic perspective.
But, as we know,
There are more and more humans
More every year, in fact.
The question is, really,
Barring people making the conscious decision to ‘breed less’
(…which seems doubtful on aggregate)
What shall we do with this growing ‘oversupply’ of humans?
I don’t have answers
Though it would seem like
Some massive, mandatory redistribution of wealth would be required
From the few who are still ‘economically relevant’
To the many who are not.
And if not,
What becomes of the ‘have nots’?
And all of this
Is to say nothing of
The resources we continue to use up
The damage we do to the world
And all the spaces
That we swallow with concrete.
And it all goes without saying,
That there’s far more to life
Than being ‘economically useful’.
It seems that some people
Were never taught the difference
Between ‘feelings’ and ‘evidence’.
Put another way
How right a thing feels
Is not the same
It seems obvious
But it must not be
Just look around you
And see what people do in the name of ‘righteousness’.
There’s a horrible inverse correlation:
The people who are so certain of being right
(i.e. the most ‘righteous’ amongst us)
Are often the ones who aren’t.
The answer, perhaps
Is to be less certain of things
And to look at this idea of ‘righteousness’
With a certain amount of distance and wariness.
A strong opinion is no substitute for the truth.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman
Humanity advances as far as you and I learn
To see another’s suffering as our own
Another’s happiness as our own
And to always think of others in what we do.
All without the necessity
To think of some as part of ‘our group’
And others as outside of ‘our group’.
And perhaps we can, eventually,
Expand our circle of ‘personal’ compassion
From the small few we count as friends and family
To encompass everyone,
All living beings.
This, however, seems like a tall order
When we consider how evolution has shaped our minds:
Those old survival traits
Mistrust, tribalism, mob psychology
Those may take a long time to be expunged,
If they ever are.
Photo by alisdare1
Put another way,
It appears that
Is at odds with a good part of our nature
Our ‘evolutionary programming’.
But the scientists tell us
That we’re not done evolving yet
Genetically or memetically.
So, perhaps if we just hold on,
Don’t kill ourselves,
Don’t kill our planet,
We’ll get there someday.
Without regular reminders
On the shortness of life
And, as a result
The imminence of death
You’re liable to undervalue life
Your life, the lives of those you love, and living beings in general.
Never was the phrase ‘taken for granted’ apter than here.
When seen through the wider lens
Of sheer cosmic improbability
Life, death, our entire planet.
It’s all of almost no importance
And yet, it is all we have.
It would seem useful
To make a point of remembering this every day,
If you can.
“Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life. Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid.” – Muriel Spark
Did you ever do the thing that’s angering you, right now?
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle
Photo by Furfante
The desire to impress others
Is a major impediment to an authentic life.
Put another way;
You can’t really live authentically
That is to say, for something beyond yourself
If some (or much) of your energy is consumed
With the need to impress other people.
Unless of course
Is really what you want to do with your life.
Photo by Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com)