In continuation of the last post

The findings of anthropology and evolutionary psychology over the last few decades clearly suggest that most of the problems that mankind has faced since the beginning of civilization are due to social structures which do not suit the evolutionary make up of human beings.

Conventional wisdom assumes human beings to be somehow superior beings compared to animals. It assumes that man reached fulfilment with the advent of civilization and science and art and all that, and considers the prior tribal existence of man for almost 200,000 years as inferior intellectually and spiritually.

So, from the point of view of conventional wisdom, the problems of man have always existed, and it’s just human nature, and all you can do is pursue the path of spirituality to become a “better human being” yourselves. While the new findings suggests that man was better off in small groups which made a living together, where there was no concept of private property and so on.

It seems almost impossible that human beings will get out of the mess they have created over the last 10000 years or so. The social systems in place are so rigid and unrelenting. Now it doesn’t even haunt me, or affect me, and I don’t even feel interested in the question of change.

Interestingly for me, the question comes back to who am I and what am I doing here? But it makes sense to me when I think of myself as an animal, an organism that is seeking “survival” and “play” when I ask myself, what am I doing here? And it’s not even a metaphor for intellectualising. I am actually an animal seeking “survival” and “play”.

3 thoughts on “In continuation of the last post

  1. Is not “conventional wisdom” an oxomoron in a strict sense. Is not the iImposition of the duality, conventional and unconventional the root cause for many of the confusions you are talking about. A wisdom which is bound by conventions is not wisdom. Wisdom is the agent of freedom. Convention limits freedom. May be we could say that the dot product of the two is just convention. Yeah, it is conventional to imagine that man is a superior being in comparison to animals. But the actual situation is that man has tremendous potential to be either far superior or far inferior to animals depending on how his aesthetics is cultivated.

    The answers one get when the question, what am I doing here, and the meanings one assigns to survival and play depends on the degree and direction of the development of one’s aesthetics.

    I think we should not remain obsessed with the worries about the rigidity of social systems. Actually societies have been swinging from the flaccidity of Sodom and Gomorrah where the inebriation of sensual pleasures rule to the catholic rigidity where even the sign of deviation from conventional thought or behavior sent one to the stakes for burning. Be interested and participate in the process of evolution rather than getting obsessed about specific faults to ignite revolutionary spirits.

  2. Completely agree man. With this post and the last. ‘Amen’ to your paragraph 🙂

    “It seems almost impossible that human beings will get out of the mess they h… don’t even feel interested in the question of change.”

    Due to my lack of time, I restrict my comment to this much for now :). Well-said.

  3. >> Interestingly for me, the question comes back to who am I and what am I doing here?

    Let me start commenting on the interesting questions first :). As I have mentioned before also, if you find an answer to this question, please give me a ring immediately, day or night, I need to know the answer too 😉

    >> Conventional wisdom assumes human beings to be somehow superior beings compared to animals.

    It is indeed the conventional wisdom, BUT a very “new” convention I would say – started somewhere around the advent of industrialisation. The pre-industrialisation wisdom as I understand it from our historical texts clearly had the understanding that human beings are no more “superior” than animals in the matter of existence – with a clear understanding that the exact same laws of life and death that applies to animals applies to us also, with the only exception that human beings have that extra ability to “understand” life and death. But somewhere along the way we lost it and the human-supremacy theory came into dominance.

    >> It assumes that man reached fulfilment with the advent of civilization and science and art and all that, and considers the prior tribal existence of man for almost 200,000 years as inferior intellectually and spiritually.

    Recently I had a reason to contemplate on a similar topic. I ended up purchasing a CD on an Egyptian drum also called “Tabla” by supposedly a very famous musician in Egypt. I was thinking that it would sound similar to our Indian tabla, and I was extremely disappointed because my brain found the the sound of the drum and the style of their music to be extremely “unsophisticated” compared to what we have in India. Then I started thinking about what exactly is “sophistication” and I convinced myself that its just a state of the mind, what is “sophisticated” to me might not be to someone else – so a person in Egypt who listens to Indian music might find it too long drawn and boring.

    That also got me thinking about the seemingly “unsophisticated / crude” art/music forms of the tribals (was watching some african tribal documentary) compared to what we have today. And thought hard to accept completely, I partially convinced myself that again its purely a state of mind, what seems “sophisticated” to me might not seem so to a tribal person, they might find their music much more sophisticated than ours. So anyone who tries to compare along those lines is on a futile pursuit, its just what the brain is tuned to from childhood, and the brain interestingly can get tuned in a lot of ways !

    As for “spirituality”, there is no reason to believe that the true form of spirituality (not the temples and festivals and mystic folklore, but the “knowledge” of how to make the best of the time on this earth) was missing in those days, unlike sending rockets to the moon, there is no “external” materials involved in true spirituality and it can very well have existed in any age or era.

    Love,
    Gopu.

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