Monday, September 21, 2015

The Story We Tell Ourselves

               A word only has meaning if we give it meaning. This whole life is a lie, we tell ourselves every day we understand, but we don’t. We don’t know what makes our radios work, our computers run, and our cars to turn on. We don’t know why some paper is worth more than other paper, we only know that others also give it value. 

              We don’t know what a soul is, or if it exists. We can create a life in a lab, in a test tube, but then we create an idea of life beyond the scientific experiment. We make up words to give ourselves peace of mind. One man’s hero is another man’s terrorist. One man’s faith is another man’s bigotry. What makes things right or wrong, what is morality? Why do we believe in our leaders, our politicians, our preachers or prophets? What have they done to prove themselves to us? We dream that they make a difference in our lives, but from the ivory towers we appear as ants about our daily lives following the bread crumbs dropped by higher powers. We tell ourselves it’s better not to know, we’re safer, we’re happier, it’s easier this way. 

              Inorance is bliss, but it is also a lie. The truth is whatever agrees with what we believe. Statistics, facts, all twisted into some strange concoction of theories, ideals, and interpretations of rights and wrongs. We tell ourselves the truth is what matters, and we should put our trust in the truth. But there is no ultimate truth. History is written by the victor. Every side has a story, but only one side has the truth. Every country has a soldier, but only one has a hero. 

              What about science, the art of objectively exploring reality. We make models, theories, ideas out of what we see and experience. Then we say anything beyond those theories are impossible according to the physical universe. We pretend that we control reality, that we have an impact. We are so blinded by arrogance to believe that what we think matters. We cause species to go extinct so we feel the need to protect others. We feel our impact on nature has gone too far, so we must be the ones to “save” it. We forget that we come from nature, we are a part of nature. We do not control nature, it controls us. Evolutionary genes cause behavior we can’t explain. Global warming will happen with or without carbon emissions. We could destroy the earth with nuclear weapons, and would it matter? The sun will explode, our solar system will cease to exist. Yet we have the arrogance to think we can stop nature’s destructive forces. 

              The truth doesn’t matter, reality is what it is. We cannot change reality, we can only change what we interpret as the truth. Some decide to end their lives because it’s meaningless. Other’s decide to dedicate their lives to a faith that gives them meaning. Some wander without meaning, living their lives through instinctive nature and the will to survive. Some find meaning in helping others, while some find meaning in building empires on the backs of slaves. There are so many stories that have not been told, but that have been lived. So many minds misunderstood or ignored by society, historians, and politicians. This is the story of the lost souls, the loyal soldier labeled an enemy, the freedom fighter labeled a terrorist, those who died by tragedy and those who lived a hard working life labeled as statistics, numbers, reasons to pass laws, to fight wars, and to speak hurtful words. The lost souls whose worth is valued in leverage for a higher power. 

             We are sadly alone, we will die, and a legacy we leave will not be written by us if it is written at all. Perhaps one day another civilization on a distant planet in some galaxy far away will pick up the remnants of our existence. Electromagnetic waves carrying meaningless information to the entire universe. If they exist, and if they find the breadcrumbs of our civilizations, will they care, will they understand? That is their truth to tell, and their history books to write.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew, as depressing as this article seems, it illustrates my thoughts exactly. It's liberating in my opinion! Our society has an emphasis on living on through memory & fame after we die, but every "important" person will be forgotten eventually. there's a strange beauty & peace in our insignificance in that our only pressure is to savor our short existence since we will ALL be forgotten- regardless of our perceived fame or importance. Isn't that weight off your shoulders?