Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The View Between Heaven and Earth

"The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos."
Stephen Jay Gould

Watching the cable news networks in this country has become problematic for me. Not only have they largely become one-sided affairs with most discussions involving only supporting members of a particular issue but for the longest time the American news media have taken a jaundice view on global events with the United States the ultimate center of everything in the world.

Everything is viewed in the context of how it affects this country whether it is a natural disaster killing thousands overseas or another country’s government telling the United States they will not go along with whatever foolish, and possibly illegal military adventure that strikes our fancy at the time. Despite this egotistical attitude the truth of the matter is that very little of what Americans worry, argue, and fight about will be remembered a couple of hundred years from now.

This refined American idea of superiority has been around for a long time and partners nicely with the general human arrogance that we naked primates are the center of the universe. While religion lost the war putting Earth at the center of creation long ago, individually that is still how most view their existence. For the affluent our lives have become a neatly contained universe all themselves even if our daily struggle is nothing more dangerous than dealing with the demands of living in a Western consumerist society. A far cry from the small child in Africa wondering where his or her next meal or drink of water will come from or a Mexican father caught in the middle of a drug war and fearing what might happen to his family.

At best our concerns bleed over to our families and maybe a few close friends because for most of our species time on the planet small groups were all we could manage.Tribalism, in various forms, is something we understand and will fall back on instinctively when things start to go bad. Realistically, its not pretty but it is basic human nature encoded into our very DNA since the number one survival trait is to pass on our genes to the next generation. The ultimate struggle we face as an intelligent species will be the need to overcome our primitive instincts and fears and realize that cooperation and inclusion enhances the chances of survival of everyone.   

It is my hope and the subject of my weak prayers that similar forces that made us choose civilization over continuing with the hunter-gatherer lifestyle will make us look beyond our narrow and tired concerns. Excuse my semi-intelligent rant but every now and them something comes along that, at least to me, gives a real hint at the true scope of existence. Special thanks to Nance over at “Mature Landscaping” for bringing my attention to this remarkable video.


Mr. Charleston said...

American exceptionalism. What a farce. The trouble is, America is, by and large, exceptional. The average American, you and me, never would, and don't condone the behavior of our "leaders." The average American, even when faced with the reality of something they espouse, such as racism, would never be a racist directly to an individual. In their hearts, the average American is a kind and gentle soul. Why are we such suckers for the hucksters?

Unknown said...

Beautiful video, Here's another:

Both of these strike me in the spiritual core of my being. There the differences between people, race, culture, wealth, etc become meaningless as we find our selves part of a larger cosmos. In that I can find the commonality we share.

Pixel Peeper said...

Loved the video. Makes you realize just how small and insignificant we are.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Great essay. Striking video. Don't think its sound track added anything...

Green Monkey said...

honestly..... I don't know what to think about your post - (except I love that it makes me think!!!) video next

Green Monkey said...

the video was proof of just how small we are.

Windsmoke. said...

Bonza video because it just goes to show we earthlings are only a mere blip in the universe and can be snuffed out anytime and nobody can save us not even god :-).

Cloudia said...

you are SOMETHING!

SOMETHING I like a lot, Bro

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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Ranch Chimp said...

Very good posting Bum ... of course I'm in agreement and have addressed this as well time and again in my journal. The way you put it, is about as stright as it come's from being tribal, the bitch fight's, what we think and feel of ourselves (a lil blown over the board at that) etc, but man oh man ... that put's it right on the money! You know Guy ... I think alot of folk's actually see this and deep down know so much of this, but just dont talk about it because folk's are so consumed on talking about "what sell's" or is "politically correct" ... but then too, you put it nicely ... alot more nice than how I do ... but I also lack formal writing skill's to a degree, which hamper's my writing a tad as well.

Thanx Guy ....

Randal Graves said...


MRMacrum said...

Very cool video - I liked the lightening strikes.

Petty concerns will always win out over the bigger picture for the majority. Hopefully we will continue to produce enough people who can look past the stupidity and guide us to the light.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

As far back as I can remember, whenever there's been a disaster anywhere in the world, our leaders and newscasters tell us, quite solemnly, "how many Americans" were killed and/or injured. And dwell upon that, as though a single American holds more value than the hundreds or thousands of other nationalities affected. No wonder the rest of the world thinks our country arrogant, and labels us ugly Americans. It's appalling.

And most humans still cling to the illogical illusion that ***we*** are the only intelligent species in the entire universe.

Great video. If you haven't already, you should check out some of the Hubble pictures.

Marja said...

amazing video beach. I Don't know of america will stay in the ultimate center.

Commander Zaius said...

Mr. Charleston: Like all peoples and nations Americans are of a duel nature. On one hand we can be brave and compassionate and on the other just as easily we can cowardly and cruel.

I seriously believe its a constant battle with the ultimate decline of people and nations coming when that balance is disturbed. Even now I am reading a history of Ancient Rome which upholds the idea that as Romans became more powerful and richer they lost the values and principles that made them great.

Mike: My one hope for humanity is the growing realization, facilitated largely by internet communications, that we all have similar hopes and desires.

Pixel: That's what I came away with, of course I have long been a new age type.

Doc: Thanks! Yeah, the music was bogus but the video was mind blowing.

Green Monkey: Might want to read it again, I rewrote a good part of it.

Windsmoke: BINGO! No one can save us but ourselves. Given the nature of "leaders" across the planet that is a very scary thought.

Cloudia: Thanks!

Ranch: Yeah, I believe most people see and understand it as well but fears keep their "better angels" from coming forward.

Randal: Dammit, you guessed it! I am working for the Free Masons, the Trilateral Commission, The Illuminati, the Men In Black organization, as well as inter-dimensional beings from the planet Xocneretopoop.

Mike Crum: I hope so as well, for the sake of my kids and other around the world.

Susan: Yeah, the American center-of-everything mentality bugs the Hell of me.

Marja: America can't, we are broke both financially and morally. Even now in the United States Senate debate rages over the idea of throwing American into prison indefinitely over shadowy charges of "supporting terrorism."

Red Nomad OZ said...

The fact I'm a bit edgy about saying what I really think here is enough to tell me that the culture of fear that keeps nonsensical and illogical things happening despite the wishes of the majority has worked its magic.

I wonder how many people think of a random foreigner of a different colour to them as being of the same human value??

Your thought-provoking post also makes me realise how trivial my little Aussie adventures are!!!!

lime said...

and take even more distance and you can see we are a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam, as carl sagan said. i wish our countrymen could understand we can strive for and even attain excellence without diminishing other nations. heck, we could cooperated and really get somehwere together...novel concept.