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The Human Condition: Our Fatal Flaw

Our human Achilles heel is that we seem unable to act in our own best interests, and  habitually act in ways that threaten our well-being. Even when we know that something will hurt us in the long run, we often do it anyway just to get a moment of pleasure or relief. It is like we are under a spell that makes us self-sabotage, and no amount of education or intellectual intelligence seems to snap us out of it.

We all know this from our own personal experience, and its humiliating. We can’t seem to get out of our own way. We end up feeling like a fool and losing respect for ourselves.

A lot of us work hard to hide this so no one will know. We act like we have it together, and present ourselves as confident, smart, capable, and happy. But inside we know that we aren’t. We know that we can lose our grip any moment and do something that we don’t believe in.

To cope with this desperate and insane situation, we split ourselves in two. We show the world the version of us that we aspire to be – the one that we like to think that we are. And we hide the one that can’t keep it together and trashes everything that we believe in.

We develop rules and systems of morality in order to create some semblance of order out of this chaotic situation. We say that it is good to do this and bad to do that, and good people act this way and bad people act that way. We divide our world into good and evil. And we develop complex systems of justice in order to punish those who act badly.

Yet all that this accomplishes in the end is that we further divide ourselves. We all try to live up to some standard of right and wrong, and the only way that we can accomplish this is to further hide the part of ourselves that keeps hurting ourselves and others.

It gets so painful to be split in two like this that we project our terrible two-year old self onto others. We can’t stand to see it in ourselves, so we make believe that it is other people doing this to us.

This gives us some relief, and makes life a bit more tolerable and less chaotic. But it puts us in the impossible situation of always being the victim. The terrible, two-year old tyrant and the broken, bumbling fool are always out there somewhere plotting against us, and there is nothing that we can do about it.

This makes our world full of danger and uncertainty. We never know what they will do next to ruin things for us. We are always guarded, suspicious, and fearful, expecting the worst. Often the only time that we feel energized and motivated is when we are full of self-righteous anger and resentment.

This is not a happy situation. It breeds conspiracy theories, fundamentalism, and superstition. We are divided and isolated from each other. We are pretending to be someone that we know we are not. And we can never be fully honest about what is going on inside us, even with ourselves.

We seem to be hopelessly stuck, watching helplessly as the only earth that we have goes up in flames at our own hand. Perhaps we were better able to hide our incompetence and delinquency from each other when the stakes were lower and it impacted our own small world. But now we are destroying the eco-systems of the planet which we all rely on for our survival. And there is no place to hide that. Everyone can see it plain as day.


The Riddle of Life


We could continue to blame each other, always pointing to some other villain as the precious web of life unravels around us. We can feed on our righteous anger which offers crumbs of solace as our life-support systems fail and will no longer sustain our bodies. But surely we can see the foolish tragedy of that ending.

 Perhaps as some are saying, the Earth and life itself would be better off without us. For those of us with courage enough to see and admit it, we do seem to be the problem. We got ahead of ourselves. Our technology outpaced our wisdom and capacity to use it for our own good. And, when we are gone, this grand fabric of life may be able to regroup and carry on as it seems to have done for billions of years before we came along.

But to simply give up like that would be missing the point. Life, earth, and the entire universe, is here for us to learn. It poses a riddle for us to solve, a great mystery and puzzle. It is all aimed at teaching us something. And the way that we learn is by making mistakes.

Nobody is to blame. The simplistic morality that we use to impose order on the chaos is part of what is causing the problem. This is not your fault, or anyone’s fault. That is not a useful way to frame this situation.

What can we learn from our mistakes? This is a better way to approach our dilemma. The usually way that we cripple our learning is by denying the opportunity. We avoid looking at the mistakes. We pretend that we are fine and project the blithering idiot part of us who keeps screwing things up onto everyone else.

The horrific effect of this willing ignorance is perpetual conflict and violence against each other. But the more serious impact is that it keeps us stuck with no way out. Until we see our mistake, we cannot learn from it.

So the stakes keep getting higher until we can no longer pretend not to see them. The earth ship, our home, is going down, and we are the ones who are responsible. A catastrophe in this scale is pretty hard to ignore.

Even still many will simply bury their heads in the sand like the ostrich, so they can hold on to the illusion that no mistakes were made and there is nothing to learn. So be it. But if you have read this far, you already have been willing to look and admit that there is something going on here that we fundamentally still do not understand.

Many have tried to grasp the meaning of life and teach it to others. And this, here now, is just one more of those I suppose. But let’s not discount it just because it hasn’t worked yet. I don’t see what else there is to do but keep trying to unravel the code so that we can all see it.



To find out what happens next, tune in to our next blog in April titled "Unraveling the Code".


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