To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? – Hamlet
It was some time ago, but not measured in decades – when I used to think this silly thought. When my life was going horribly, I would lay awake nights trying to figure out, just exactly what had I done, to deserve some of the shit that would transpire in that roller-coaster we call life. Everyone prefers to be going up. Most people aren’t too thrilled about going down.
It’s a question that’s plagued mankind since…well, since whenever. Maybe that dim thought some troglodyte had as he shivered in his cave: why didn’t I get that female? How come some predator ate my foot? Why do all the other cavemen do better at hunting and gathering?
It’s the clarion call of the self-absorbed: why me? (Because, let’s face it folks – as a species, we tend to be more than a tad introversive.)
The best answer is; shit happens. It just does. We can drill down deep into the reservoirs of human philosophy, cobble up some pretty weird and complex explanations, but the best response is always, poo-poo occurs.
It took me a goodly amount of time to figure this out (some 40+ years, give or take). I’d have figured it out a lot quicker if the supernatural nonsense had been subtracted from the equation at an early age.
And let’s face it. It’s easier to blame someone, sometimes ourselves (because that’s the usual culprit), or another entirely.
Personally, I prefer to live by the concept that it’s best not to speak ill of another in the workplace, because you can really fuck up someone’s life inadvertently.
So I can’t help but get more than a little pissed off, when some dimwit starts blaming the weather or climate on humanity’s flaws, or rattles off some idiotic biblical verse (the usual gist of which is that everybody’s fucked up, it’s their own fault they’re fucked up, even though they were supposedly made that way) to illustrate why our lives are so tangled up, or try to blame the deaths of thousands/millions on some sex act their “perfect religion for the imperfect person” despises.
The thought of there being an invisible ledger being kept in some etheric elsewhen, where all injuries are jotted down and all debts are being penned in red ink, is somewhat comforting to the naïve mind. This is commonplace in all religious thought. Even in Buddhism, one of the religions I can mildly relate to, has this concept, the term that everyone bandies about is ‘karma’. There’s even ‘great karma’, ‘mediocre karma’, and bad karma.
Because eventually, to the naïve mind, their [insert cosmic power/being here] will descend from on high (or reach up from down below), weigh and parse out the assholes and sociopaths, and put paid to said debt, and those left over (who of course are required to take some sort of spiritual SATs) will be rewarded for their trials and tribulations.
Sorry to say, this is all comic book crap. The major reason the Axis lost to the Allies, is that America had more resources to draw upon, not because we were ‘on the side of the angels’. People love the ‘good vs. evil’ metaphor, mostly because people are lazy thinkers. It’s an evolutionary mechanism: we tend to go for the easy meal.
But it boils down to this: we’re here, we live in fear, get used to it. And, as I am fond of quoting, “There’s nobody upstairs watching out for us. More’s the reason we should take of each other.”
Pardon my rambling, and thanks for listening.
Till the next post, then.