Tuesday, 30 August 2016

How Humans Astound Me Most

Everyone loves consuming food, and everybody eats. Everyone likes justice, and everybody seeks it in their lives. Like food and justice, everyone loves truth, but unlike food and justice very few people seek the truth, and this is arguably one of the strangest things about being human. 

Whenever truth conflicts with long-held tribal principles, or disagrees with something protected by the false security of consensus, or challenges what is perceived to be (but isn't necessarily) ethical, or rattles the comfort zone, humans very easily disavow their relationship with it.

It has been observed humorously that this generation is the first generation ever to have the entire world's knowledge available to us at the touch of a button, but yet the vast majority of people make very little use of this facility, instead repeatedly looking at people's cat pictures and funny videos.

Now don't get me wrong, there are many interesting and entertaining things on the internet that do not come under the category of learning the world's knowledge. But given that having such easy access to the entire world's knowledge is about the most astounding thing we've ever had, I think it is alarming that so many people do so little with it.

And to take it further, given that logic, reason, truth and facts are so enduringly exhilarating, and rather resemble a map that leads us towards a world of exciting revelation and discovery and learning, it astonishes me how much of the mundane and prosaic stuff take precedence over them.

There is one obvious reason why this is the case, though - the mundane and prosaic stuff is easy and mastering the world's knowledge is hard. It's also the case that many people have never been introduced to those first glimpses of enlightenment that lead the way to the exciting broader and wider pursuits that follow.

Discipline is difficult too of course: even with all the accessible knowledge, every time we log on we are met with countless memes, compelling news stories, and many other amusing, rewarding and intriguing obstacles craving our attention.

But when all is said and done here, I do believe that if somehow the average browser could make inroads into getting a fuller sense of the exhilaration of our generation's potential, combined perhaps with a bit of an understanding of how incredibly fortunate each of us is to be here, they too will find the gap between the human potential and what we actually do on this earth quite astounding.