A Human Chasm
Throughout the past couple of months I’ve had a fair share of thoughts that have shifted my perceptions – but not necessarily in a bad way. I’ve simply learned to listen more, think more, analyze more, trivialize less and above all, stay awake. What with the continuous flux of the ever-scrutinizing human mind, there comes a time when it is difficult to hold on to a quivering, translucent, silk-like thought (like how I’ve always imagined thought to look like – say, talking about that, now I’m thinking about a book I read ages ago where thought is basically matter that shifts according to how we think. Might have been Phillip Pullman, not too sure).
Anyhow, back on track. Recently one of my more mind-devouring thoughts revolves around the concept of human evolution, progression, and the ultimate origins of how we act, behave and feel to a wider humanity. While some may say these thoughts take a more cynical twist, I’d like to look at them through the brighter, lighter side 🙂 So here we go.
1. I’m currently studying the deeper religious origins of the Holocaust at school (indeed a dark, dark time in human history), starting from 70 B.C. when Pompey the Great invaded Jerusalem, placing it under the vast expanse of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t shocking to discover that events do emulate that of history: just like the process of Russification in early 20th century Tsarist Russia, or even the Japanization of Korea during its thirty five-year invasion, these events seem to mirror what happened in Jerusalem in 70 B.C – the Jews were forced to abandon their beliefs and adopt those of the Romans. Anyhow, I thought that this was a prime example of how humans view each other. Today, we see wisps of hatred that manifest themselves upon our streets: the recent murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in England says enough on its own. Is this because of how we started out? As simply survivors upon the broken parts of a unintentionally factionalized human chasm, believing ourselves as the only ones before encountering the other? Seeing each other as not one of our own, but instead new creatures that had never been there before discovery? Treating them as such? Was this ever the case? Did we ever see ever see another as ants while simultaneously seeing ourselves as giraffes? But if this is the case, let’s fast forward to 1960s America: a heated year, what with the rise of the Civil Rights movement. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which successfully abolished the Jim Crow laws, America made such a large leap from complete segregation to not perfect integration but a much more interconnected, accepting community towards people of different race. The surprising thing? This was all done within the span of, say, 50 years. If we were able to come to this, after conquering others and forcing them to follow ‘our’ ways and not ‘theirs’, then what other capabilities do we, as humans, have in store? How large is the tolerance for acceptance we have in our hearts – and have we ever seen its full capability?
2. The majority of the time, interracial and/or inter-religious hatred can stem from a deeply entrenched ideology that we have done bad to each other, which we have. We tend to take the attacks one enforces on the other and reciprocate it after two days, three months, fifty years. Will there ever be an end to such violence? I don’t know. But all I know is that we have the power to at least alleviate its perpetuation. If Person A steals from Person B, Person B might retaliate by stealing back or doing something even worse. This would make Person A infuriated and potentially do something even more harmful to Person B. And this cycle would continue. Effectively, they would be retaliating by regurgitating the actions they fight for in the first place, perpetuating the same problem, even taking it further to a point where the original intent seems so frail and trivial in comparison. This, sadly, is how people can progress a lot of the times. What I think, though, is that perhaps we can change this by simply being, well, patient. To stop, think, rationalize and stay awake; the world might be a little better this way. Before retaliating an action or manifesting a long-held hatred, we should think about its consequences and whether we’d be willing to face years of continuous fighting over a quickly earned – but potentially painful – peace. Of course, the effort has to be made by both parties. And although this may sound a little naïve, perhaps naïvety is the solution to many of our problems. Who knows?
Well then, those were my thoughts of the past month. Hopefully they’ve provided some sort of spark, and that perhaps there’ll be some other, varied views regarding what I at least tried to grasp in the world.