Took a walk today. I live in Tarzana near a large park with a pond of geese and ducks and gulls. I was reflecting upon my personal dissatisfaction with my life. I am willing to sleep a lot of late. My sleep has become my sanctuary. I cherish my dreams, wherein I seem to be purposeful and engaged and valued. I can sleep easily, essentially at will because my medication for PTSD keeps me rather amped down. Additionally my life realities mean that I don’t really have to do anything nowadays…knowing I will still generate more money than I can or am likely to ever spend. Yeah, you could regard this as a first world problem. Point is, I don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING. And therein may well describe my problem.
We live in world nowadays with a logarithmic upward curve of scientific progress. I speak primarily of America but this is also true for much of the world in general. Change comes faster and faster, some of us struggle just to keep up. Our children multitask; children are always ahead of their parents in each succeeding generation. We CAN do ever so much more than our parents ever dreamed of doing. Yet there is stil dissatisfaction, a lack of fulfillment, a dearth of opportunity, a diminution of satisfaction.
Why? Here is my sense. Throughout most of the Time of Man, life was a challenge of survival. The hunt must bring food, the harvest must precede the coming winter, the planting must enjoy Natures largesse.
Fun? Fun is rather a modern concept. Pleasure, sure. Pleasure or satisfaction involved winning a mate, generating a family, being creative, acquiring knowledge…But fun? Fun implies leisure time…something earlier enjoyed only by the ruling class. They ruled. Work was delegated to those with lesser social status. But today, in America and elsewhere, we have the expectation that LIFE includes FUN. And when we are not having FUN, we become dissatisfied. Fun varies; for some of us it means wealth or power, for some of us it means the freedom to recreate; essentially to engage in activities not connected to survival. And we now hold this perception as our birthright. Goddamn right, I am supposed to have FUN! ARE WE NOT MEN?!!
(I COULD be watching DOWNTON ABBEY right now…)
I have the sense that we have reached a tipping point for humanity. We survived nuclear annihilation (so far). We have survived Nature (so far.) But spiritually, ethically, intellectually we are backsliding. Our children can no longer expect to have the quality of life we’ve enjoyed. More stuff, without doubt. Stuff keeps on coming. But satisfaction? I don’t think so. And pendulums are unforgiving. Once pendulums change direction, they tend to continue in that same direction. So, what lies ahead?
Well, perhaps we revert to past models of human existence. Lords and vassals. Indentured servitude. Slavery. Perhaps Nature exacts a long anticipated culling; something we helped to foster or was inevitable. Maybe OTHERS decide to step in and lead us into an Enlightened Age.
Those are the choices that occur to me. WE, meaning humanity, despite our scientific progress seem destined to be ruled by our baser, animal natures. ARE WE NOT MEN? Well yes…but still, we are only sophisticated animals. We can see how we treat other species of animals. Why should we expect better from each other? I’m inclined to hang around in hopes of interaction with higher, more advanced entities. I’m hopeful they will choose to embrace us…rather than to leave us to our own shortcomings or entirely dismiss us as unworthy.