Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Planet of the Humans

"Take your stinking paws off me,
you damn, dirty MEME!
Computer-generated visuals, particularly in movies, have created worlds which suspend our disbelief.  From the Wizard of Oz to Star Wars, we lose ourselves in the fantasy, in part to escape, but also in part to look at the real world through an abstract lens.  Perhaps such experiences permit us to attain a sensitivity to diverse perspectives that might otherwise go ignored.

In the most recent installment of the Planet of the Apes re-rebooted franchise, the film's tale, in spite of various flaws, was quite successful in illustrating one real-world phenomena: the fact that humans too often see other humans as sub-human.

Pick your favorite, real-world tragic rivalry, Palestinian versus Israeli, Black versus White, Blue Collar versus White Collar, Straight versus Gay, Old versus Young, Secularist versus Religionist, Republican versus Democrat....they each map quite well onto the (intelligent) Ape versus (sometimes not so intelligent) Human conflict conveyed in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  (fyi I intentionally randomized the firsts and seconds in the versus entries...order too often indicates favoritism)

So here we are in a veritable world of Spy versus Spy battles.  Each camp entrenched in some belief that labels the other camp subhuman.  These groups of people are sufficiently less-than-human that we readily ignore the three hundred civilians masacred in an insurgent attack yesterday, such that we barely blink when another trillion dollars is allocated to build the next installment of human slaughtering machines, such that we help ourselves to a second helping of ice cream while less educated human populations struggle to feed large numbers of unplanned offspring.

All too often complex issues bigger than ourselves and more distant than the local post ofice seem unpreventable.  Who am I to think my tiny blog will have any impact, let alone my vote come November.  In hard, cold fact, we each have to contemplate how we can best influence the world at large toward a balance of collective and individual goodness when it comes to these issues.

Still, I would propose we all can start by acknowledging the "We versus Them" paradigm is an inherited belief that has outlived its usefulness.  Such tribal thinking is how biological and cultural evolution (both indifferent mechanisms) slaughtered the genes and memes that favored NOT slaughtering other tribes.  I believe we are at a point where we've begun to transcend what evolutionary and cultural programming tells us explicitly to do.

The meaningful battle isn't Me versus You, it is the battle between Ideals of a Higher Humanity versus those of a Lower Humanity!

It's a war we must win on numerous fronts, if humans, apes AND all our biological cousins are to survive.... and thrive on our shared planet!!!

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