This is a weekly installment of Craig Murdoch’s column series, “Dazed and Crazed.”
Nature has never really cared for or been an antagonist toward humans. It is indifferent. Sometimes we will look out at the ocean as the sun sets slowly into it and think of the beauty and serenity nature has. Other times we will be trapped in the Amazon with bugs and animals that wouldn’t hesitate to eat us alive and at these moments we would resent nature.
The universe is chaotic and sometimes in this chaos it seems beautiful, almost an ally to us. Other times the chaos will lead to a deep resentment of nature due to the extreme circumstances we may find ourselves in thanks to nature. But nature doesn’t hate us or love us, it just is.
There is a higher order of thinking in having the ability not to resent nature when it does us harm. I have recently had a personal battle with nature and more than once I cursed at it for what it had done to me. But it is important to realize that nature does not mean to hurt you nor does it mean to do anything to you or to not do anything to you.
Nature is a product of the universe and is as random and violently chaotic as the universe itself. So it is a feat that organisms as fragile as us have survived for so long, there must be a reason we have been able to thrive for the amount of time we have.
It is my belief that we have conquered the Earth for this short time (and although insignificant, still quite an accomplishment) because of the cooperative nature of humans. We are able to unify into an organized society that is able to have a surplus of food, build large structures, do medical research, create many, many luxuries, all because we are able to work together on a large scale. Yet we still try to tear each other down. As I write there are two maniacs in this world with the ability to end everything we’ve built, neither really having an idea of the implications of their actions.
If humanity wants to advance as a species we will have to get over the small and large differences that we seem to obsess over. For example, is it really necessary to have separate bathrooms for men and women? Maybe the most important way we need to change is being okay with one another. We don’t really need to change our beliefs or who we are as a person, we only need be able to accept people different from us, and those who are different from us need to accept us as well. Look at the pronouns I’ve used throughout these articles of we, our, and us, there is no them and us or them vs. us, it’s all us.
This is how we battle the indifferent universe, the indifference of nature. We need universal brotherhood to fight this indifference. As much as we’ve conquered the Earth, or like to think we have, the truth is the Earth could shake us off at any moment like a bad case of fleas. And we are too busy squabbling amongst ourselves to realize our time is fading. You constantly hear about things like the supervolcano under Yellowstone being thousands of years overdue, a major earthquake is due for California, an asteroid is overdue to hit Earth, a pandemic, nuclear war, overpopulation, etc. Although one of these things would be catastrophic, it is likely we would experience multiple of these scenarios. So perhaps elbow grease is in part how we’ve survived but luck seems to be much more important to our survival. Even in a scenario where we have reached the singularity and problems that today would take years of deliberation and fighting to solve can be solved in minutes or seconds, we still may not be able to survive the chaotic universe. But we would have so much of a better chance if we weren’t trying so hard to kill ourselves.
Personally, I feel detached. I would like for us to reach this point of human unification, but I sincerely do not think we will. It is undoubtedly possible if given enough time, I don’t think we have enough time though. We are going to run out of luck sooner or later.
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