“The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
The other day I woke up and tuned in to the news, as I tend to do every morning. The news then informed me that there had been another episode of violence, only a day after the tragic attack in Nice, this time in Turkey, and I realised with growing unease in that moment, that horrible news like that hardly even affect me anymore. Any news of terror and unnecessary bloodshed, shootings and rape, or any other sort of violation against human rights, they no longer get me riled up in anger as I used to. I’m not even surprised or fazed by them, I’m actually used to it. And that realisation absolutely terrifies me, while also making me truly pessimistic about humanity and the future of man-kind.
Where is our humanity? Did we ever have one at all? As far as I’m concerned, looking back through the years, our history is uncommonly bloody. Us humans apparently have a perpetual predisposition for violence and gore. We have always been like that. Driven by greed and power hunger, and yet we still consider ourselves better than animals. We sit here on the throne, on the top of the food chain, looking down upon animals for their lack of intelligence and primitive behaviour, when we are the most animalistic species of all. Most animals are more or less basic. They live to hunt, and hunt to survive. Rarely will animals kill just for the sake of killing or just for perverse amusement, nor do they kill for other desirous reasons. Unlike animals, WE have the awareness, the conscious mind and the intelligence that tells us these things are WRONG, and yet, we never learn nor endeavour to be different.
“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.” – James Anthony Froud
And furthermore, it’s not just the wars and blodshed that leaves me despondent about the future, and the present. It’s everything I see everywhere around me on a daily basis. The lack of humanity from normal people. It’s evident in the small actions and utterings of regular people in our western society. How we judje each other ruthlessly and bully each other into misery. We delight in bringing each other down to feel better about ourselves, mock each other, and measure each other’s worth in fortunes and immaterial accomplishments. Whether it’s in a small town community, or on a global scale through social media and other outlets, we are so unfathomably INCAPABLE of building each other up through encouragement and support. Instead we tear each other down with criticism and penalties for being different or for being weak. Where is the compassion for fellow-kinds? Where is the “love thy neighbour as thyself”? I think perhaps the “love thyself” is the problem.
To me, and the idealist in me, it’s so simple. Just. Be. Kind. Care a little less about judging others, and look to yourself instead. Try to improve yourself instead of putting others down to feel better. It won’t make you feel better in the long run. You’ll only contribute to the ever growing dark circle where people are drowning in despair and self-doubt, desperately clawing at the walls of the hole we dug ourselves in our heedless search for perfection. To be good enough. Don’t compare yourself to others, whether it’s their physical attributes, their social success or their professional accomplishments. Celebrate each other, encourage each other, and be proud of each other’s advances. Rather than being envious, why not try to be inspired by other’s instead. Know that if they can do it, so can you. Nobody has a perfect life, it only appears so through social media. Keep in mind that what you see on social media is other people’s highlights. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Everyone is struggling with something. So just be kind, please.
To the idealist in me, these wars and the bloodshed all around the world, whether it be motivated by political, religiously or other trivial reasons, it just seems like such a mindless waste of time. We send our young men and women into war to lay down their lives, their lives (!!). The only life they have. And for what? For a piece of land? For oil? To prove that “my religion is better than yours”? Can you not see how incredibly brainless this is? That thousands upon millions of more or less innocent people must DIE, all because we are incapable of settling such trivial matters in a peaceful, democratic way. At the end of the day, God is God for those who believe in Him, and for those that don’t, it really doesn’t matter. What does it matter what someone else believes? You keep your fate, I keep mine, we all go about our own lives and respect each other. How does that sound? Ernest Hemingway once said: “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” We are a sorry excuse for a species, truly, if we cannot settle negotiate our differences in a better way than that.
To the idealist in me, this refugee crisis storming on right now is so ridiculous and simple. In an ideal world, perhaps if we weren’t humans, we would be able to share the world equally as a species, peacefully. It just seems so petty and narrow-minded to me when my fellow norwegians say to me: “we cannot allow these refugees into our country.” WE cannot allow? OUR country?? Excuse me, but who the hell are WE?? Who decides what biological characteristics make up a “pure-blooded norwegian”? Must you have blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, or does that seem a little too close to naziism for your comfort? Must you be be born and raised in Norway, does that make the cut? But what if your parents aren’t pure-blooded norwegians? How far back in the family roots must we rummage in order to determine whether a person is allowed to be a part of that self-entitled “we”.
And our country, really? Do we own this earth? We are not the only species occupying this particular planet, even though we are the conclusive sovereign on top of the food chain. Mother Earth could wipe us out like a particularly vexatious termite infestation with a couple of well-aimed natural disaster, if she had the consciousness to do so (and indeed, if she did, I’m sure she would have a long time ago). So what gives us the right to draw up lines on a map to divide the earth into little pieces of property that only belong to a certain category of people? The earth was here, prospering and blooming on its own, long before us humans came along.
You may call me a naive dreamer, and tell me that these ideas would never work in practice – that it’s just an idealistic fantasy. Perhaps. Perhaps you’re right. And perhaps it’s just my oversensitive nature, but I don’t see how anyone can observe all of the violence and malevolence, the unfairness and injustice in this world, and still manage to be hopeful for a brighter future with humans in it. I cannot. It leaves me despondent deep within the root of my being, I just can’t fathom how we will ever evolve to something better. I’m not sure we’re capable of it. And there goes the dreamer and idealist, only to be replaced by a realist and a pessimist. He makes me want to throw my hands up in defeat and give up. I don’t want to be a part of this. If this is what humanity is, what it’s become. If this is what it means to be human? Then I don’t want to be.