Opinion/Editorial

THE ESCALATOR OF LIFE

The Hustle. The Escalator. The Rush of Life. When you put the brakes on, by going on vacation somewhere far away, traveling abroad for a while, or simply holing up and pulling the cords out of the walls with respect to electronic equipment, you discover that life moves a whole lot slower when you are living it by direction, rather than having it lived for you by association and the direction of others. Human beings are gifted in being amazingly brilliant at organizing into supporting units or tribes for survival and improvement. Humans are genetically talented in such things as facial recognition, symbol creating and use, and in speech and optical recognition. These gifts of evolutionarily developed nature are, in combination with a big rationalizing brain, what have allowed the human species to so dominate the planet we know as earth. This (apparently, so far to date) amazingly miraculous combination of talents, also brought with it a sense of applied competition that has been so severe it has taken nearly three and a half million years for mankind to reach its current (and still rather rudimentary) level of civilization. A civilization that is measured mostly by those living at the very top of it, who are also those mostly oblivious to the lesser developed portions of it. Taking time off from participating in the measurably ‘higher’ parts of civilized life today can be enlightening, in that beliefs so deeply instilled and practiced can fall away. Most beliefs are not those created, found or established, much less maintained, by individuals. Most commonly held beliefs are built upon the beliefs of others. In other words, most conduct performed, be it in areas of religion, politics or even commerce, is that established, listed and maintained by others, created in the past or the present. Humans generally do what other humans want them to do, yet for the most part, remain unaware that they are not nearly as self-determined as they might think, particularly if they reside in geographic areas of high social development that stress how individually free and self-determined they are. Taking time off from the hustle and bustle of participating in being under the control of others, whether such control is blatantly or subtly applied, causes individual humans to slow down, relax, and return to the ‘escalator’ rested, but with a strange trepidation about whether the work being returned to is worth it or not.

Genetically driven behavior in humans can be resisted, but it seldom is because genetically driven behavior in what humans consider “sentient beings” is almost never recognized or accepted as that by the humans committing it. Sociobiology established that members of the female sex are primarily interested in qualitative development for the survival of the small number of spawn they are capable of having (hence the rise and immense popularity of HGTV). Members of the male sex are primarily interested in physical sexual behavior (hence the great popularity of things that move fast and things that promote violence, leading to the immense popularity of professional sports). That each sex is little interested in the other sex’s primary area of interest is so denied that the stunningly brilliant conclusions of E.O. Wilson (who created sociobiology) have been discredited and basically driven from inclusion in the social sciences. Since genetically driven behavior is denied, as such, in almost every area, complete responsibility for behavior is applied to all humans. This inability to recognize or admit that genetic imprinting is responsible for so much human behavior means that it is seldom over-ridden by rational thought and the actions that might result from rational conclusions. Taking some time off from working, and even existing under the results of the belief systems created by others, causes one to sit back and reflect on how things on the planet have turned out so far, and why they have turned out the way they have. Most countries, in fact almost all, are led by males. Almost all sexual violations of other humans are committed by males in positions of social power. Is there any wonder about why those things might be happening that way? Women occupy the majority of all positions in teaching, nursing, secretarial, and real estate sales. Women, by and large, don’t serve as powerful leaders of just about anything and don’t, by and large, commit sexual violations of any sort. Is there any wonder about why things might be happening that way?

The ability to understand, and then accept, that humans (all of them) are driven by genetics is both a release (from some responsibility and guilt), and a burden. If genetics are driving the human condition and we as individuals within it then go against such driving forces, different behavior is possible, but daunting, and since most of humanity is in denial about that, such behavior must be exercised in private and never discussed. Jumping off the escalator of life for a bit may seem attractive, until the relaxed and disconnected thoughts about what it will be like to get back on that escalator only a few days down the road begin to infiltrate the mind. Withdrawing from the control of others, whether applied through a belief system or more directly by employment, is much easier to write about than it is to perform. As one woman said in a coffee shop to a friend of hers who was (quite correctly) correcting her in public many years ago: “you can be right…and you can be alone.”
~James Strauss

 

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