Who/What Am I?

So. Here I am. Again. Where is “here”? Who is “I”? “I” am apparently some relatively intelligent ape (relative in terms of other life on this planet, although I think dolphins and whales are relatively intelligent as well (among other beings)). Also, relatively in terms of other apes on this planet. Is that the “here”? -a water-covered rock orbiting an insignificant star in a galaxy among potentially trillions of other galaxies? “Again”? In terms of blogging? Sitting in front of my laptop? Being human? Having this sensational experience? I am unsure of how many times I have actually performed any and all of those. I have a first-person perspective of my fingers tapping out the letters to this blog post. Who is moving the fingers? Who is tapping the keys? Am I in control of this action? Who is “I” again?

Often times I look in the mirror and I see “myself”. I see the familiar features and the familiar expressions. I see the hazel eyes that seem to change color with my mood and what I’m wearing. I see my broken nose and deviated septum. I see how I have aged. I see all of it. That’s who “I” am. Right? That is “me”. The ape. The intelligent ape on this water-covered rock. Okay. That’s fine. I’ll accept that. But, what am I doing here? What is my purpose? Why do “I” exist? Millions of years of evolution…following countless eons of matter (mostly dark) and energy (mostly dark) colliding and combining (apparently the stars, planets, and galaxies that can be seen make up only 4 percent of the known universe and the other 96 percent is made of stuff astronomers can’t see, detect, or even comprehend) to produce…me. And all of you. Okay. But, for what? To experience and learn from each other? Maybe. Maybe not.

If the known universe is mostly unknown to our sensory experience…am “I” too, unknown to myself? Can I “see” or “know” myself in my basest form? Just as astronomers cannot truly experience the cosmos for what it is, am I not a microcosm of the incomprehensible fabric from which I have sprung? Are we universal anomalies? Cosmic accidents? I mean, if you look around at the state of the globe, it makes sense as to why we may deem ourselves as accidents. What a terrible mess we have made of our planet. In the name of what? Status? Economic fame? Fame in general? Recognition? – superficial symbols that are socially constructed to begin with. What good is money when it can’t buy a functioning ecological system? What good is space travel when species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate? What good is fame when there is no clean water to drink? What good is status when it is too hot to venture outdoors? What a comical mess we have made of things here. And for what? So other “intelligent” apes will validate who “we” are and what we are doing? Disturbing at best.

The other notion that crosses my mind is solipsism. Solipsism, for those of you who don’t know, is the concept that the “self” is all that can be known to exist. All of the aforementioned concepts are constructs of my own doing. All of it. The universe. Time. Space. Self. Travel. Species. Intelligence. All of it. It is my own subjective experience and all of you reading this are as well. Bizarre. I know. I can’t truly convince myself otherwise, however, for the sake of my own mental well-being, and likely for the sake of all of you, I will refrain from crawling down that rabbit hole. Let’s just say that at the very least, all of you are experiencing your own version of solipsism…funny to think about, I know. All of you intelligent apes could think that you are the center of the universe, and no intelligent ape (or higher power of your own construction) could prove you otherwise. Comical at best.

“Consciousness just ‘is’…” I heard that from a well-known guru recently. Profound. But, also, how commonly apathetic. Okay. Awesome. This (this whole experience) just “is”. It is like the air we breathe. It is inescapable. We need not think about it because we cannot contextualize our experience without it to begin with. All of our thinking/intelligence etc. is ineffective because of well, in my opinion, technically solipsism. Lol. Also comical. But, in all due respect…aren’t all answers for our existential questions? What a terrible bore this life would be if we knew all of the answers. I can only hope that we know very little…and even at the end, we are only given enough of a sliver of information to continue our infinite journey (if our journey is actually infinite, if we need “information”, or if we are actually on a “journey” to begin with). No answers. Only questions. As of now, this experience is rather nice. Sensations are an incredible thing. If this post is making you feel down (and even if it’s not) take a second to realize all of the events and people that must have existed in order for you to come across this post. It is the most incredible thing you have ever experienced…I say this because the past may not actually exist…and neither may the future. But, thank you for joining me. I hope all is well.

On “Race”

Until the late 19th century, race was typically based on language and nationality. Following Darwin’s published research, however, humans began to look at themselves as they would other animals. This sparked a new argument of “race” as heredity. The fundamental results were a classification of their fellow humans as “lower” and “higher” races. These ideas were proposed by Caucasian males who argued that those with Nordic traits (blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin) sat atop the human totem pole. They claimed that these humans were largely responsible for order, civilization, and social progress. This inherently categorized those with dark skin and dark hair as the “lower” races.

Are we supposed to believe that Caucasians with Nordic traits are genetically superior? If so, I don’t buy it. I am convinced that social history has played out the way it has by chance. Some groups have been exposed to ideas, tools, and conditions that have perpetuated the expansion of “modern” civilization. Whether or not modern civilization has been progressive (especially in terms of its ethical implications) is debatable. We are where we are today because of environmental factors that have given certain groups an advantage in exploiting their environment and other humans.

I understand this is a hot-button issue, and I am merely trying to get my tumultuous thoughts out in the open. My opinion is that hereditary superiority is a fallacy. One’s cultural environment is the sole determining factor (withholding genetic disorders) of their ability to adapt to the world. A person’s genetic traits are beneficial, or not, based on the current trends of social constructs. Unfortunately, the roots of racial bias run so deeply in the United States, that I am unsure if we will ever resolve the issue. This nation was founded by an aristocracy that exploited other human beings. It seems as if social equality was doomed from the start.

Does this mean that I have lost hope? No. I have faith that I will witness legitimate social equality in my lifetime. We have come so far since the founding of our nation, but we certainly have a long way to go. Racial, economic, and gender inequality are still rampant. Until the institutions in place undergo drastic changes, or are overthrown, systematic inequality will remain a factor for all Americans. I am not preaching anarchy or violent revolution, but changes must be made, and they must be made quickly. We are at a critical juncture in the life of our young country. We are teetering between social progress and social regression. It will be a difficult road to navigate, but I am convinced that Americans will come together to create the changes that need to be made.

The color of our skin, hair, and eyes should be a non-factor. We are all earthlings. We are all riding on the same organic spaceship, and we are (so far as we know) the only intelligent beings capable of maintaining a peaceful and ecologically sound existence on this planet. We must continue to work towards social and economic equality, clean and renewable energy, and the conservation of our natural world. We must return to living in harmony with Mother Earth and each other, or we will surely be the authors of our own demise. Be kind. Spread love. Preach peace. Together, we will make it through these hard times.

No Longer “Typical” Sundays

I no longer watch football. I no longer drink. I no longer drink and watch football. Why? For a variety of reasons, but, mainly the time. The whole day used to just disappear…and maybe that’s why people indulge in the traditional American Sunday-it’s a distraction. They aren’t sure what to do with themselves when there’s “nothing to do.” (no job, no school etc.) So, they kick a few back, watch concussion after concussion in the name of states, cities, schools, colors, mascots, and tradition. I guess?

So, what do I do instead? No football? Insanity right?…I play with my son, spend quality time with my wife, read, write, nap, and exercise. It’s far more productive and far more enjoyable. “Sunday scaries” no longer exist because I don’t feel like I’m going from a wasteful day, back to a productive routine. While rest and recuperation are important, I’m not sure how drinking and watching a sport that has been proven to destroy brains can be beneficial. I just don’t find it appealing anymore.

I find it almost depressing that I was once one of those people. How many Sundays have I wasted? How much alcohol have I consumed in the process? There’s nothing wrong with a few beers now and then. And there’s nothing wrong with watching a game for enjoyment occasionally, but, wasting an entire day, and destroying your health in the process can’t help you become a better person.

“We.” We won. We lost. We need a new coach. Who is we? You play no role in the organization other than funding them with your viewership and buying their sponsors’ products. You’re a pawn in a massive, media-driven conglomeration. “We” should mean the American sheeple. Chug light beers, smoke cigarettes, eat fast food, stay unhealthy, and uneducated and feed the machine. It may seem harsh, but all in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.