The human condition, as it is classically known, includes illness, suffering, injustices and death. But what is the cause of all of this? Why are we apparently not moving toward a more Utopian society?
Human beings continue to behave according to the dictates of infantile, primitive emotional systems. A glaring example of this is the common habit of becoming violent, as opposed to communicating, when there is a grievance.
We are a violent species. We see violence all over the place to the extent that we are oblivious to it, take it for granted and assume it is "normal" behavior. In reality, violence is not normal -- it's sickness.
The cause of our violence can probably be traced to brain structure. Our gray matter produces emotions such as hate, greed, anger and jealousy. People see another person as "other" than them, when in fact we are all manifestations of the same thing.
People continue to operate under instincts left over from the Stone Age. In spite of technological advances, the human psyche remains primitive, underdeveloped, and improperly developed. I am referring to people considered "normal."
It is not normal or acceptable for our species to decimate the ecological environment that gives life to us. It is not normal or acceptable for politicians of various countries to initiate and maintain warfare, in which innocent bystanders and soldiers bear the brunt of the harm.
At this time in history, we are dealing with a conflict between Israel and Palestine, between Russia and the Ukraine, we are dealing with explosive violence in Iraq, North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear weapons and missiles to carry them, and we have a passenger liner shot down, and another one gone without a trace.
War doesn't solve problems, it makes problems -- it is a problem. However, people, communities and countries have the right to defend themselves. And yet when atrocities are committed in the name of self preservation, it begs the question: "Is there not a better way?"
Unfortunately, we cannot have peace until all of us, unanimously or nearly unanimously, agree to be peaceful. To fail to defend oneself against an actual attack is to allow oneself to be obliterated.
War is one of a number of difficulties created by human folly.
We experience economic and social injustices, and we have a bizarre and antiquated system of "punishment" in which human beings are locked into cages.
To obtain peace, as well as solve numerous other problems that are created by human ignorance, our species may need to evolve to a higher form.
Unfortunately, I don't see much evidence of that happening. The persons who are having the most babies are often the least fit specimens. Those who have more wisdom are often using birth control or simply do not want to procreate. Thus, we could actually become devolved rather than becoming more advanced. (This is not absolute and not intended to insult everyone who has children.)
If at some point, we tried to genetically re-engineer ourselves (assuming genetic science continues to advance), we would likely only create more problems for ourselves.
Taking human error into account, and acknowledging that people often don't know enough about what we are doing, any attempt at designing people who we think will be "better" could be a disaster. Thus, science will probably not rescue us from devolving.
We have a lot on our plate concerning the problems that we need to fix, and these are largely problems that we have created. Things may look bleak, but I believe there is hope. I think human beings are lucky.
I think that in the future some ironic blessing of fortune will take place and the human species will somehow get past this stage in our development and will move on to bigger and better things.
Jack Bragen is a resident of Martinez.