The Last Laugh
Adam and Eve are I guess passé. A parallel story however exists about God trying to make a perfect living being. After having exhausted all permutations and combinations towards creating such a creature, he finally hit upon the right formula.
And that is how God conceived the idea of a ‘human being’, the perfect creature in all ways. Apart from physical beauty, he gave him an evolved brain to think with. To top it all, he also gave him the most heavenly place in the universe to reside in.
As God was basking in the glory of his tremendous achievement, an assistant angel pointed out that ‘creation of perfection’ itself could one day become self-defeating and a pitfall for God. Man with his ability to reason, intelligence and intellect could one day evolve to be a God-like creature.
Further, such creatures could possibly come together and become immensely powerful so as to threaten God himself. Incidentally such a fear exists within mankind also today, as it experiments with robots and AI-based creations.
God gave the matter grave thought as ‘the perfect man’ could undoubtedly create an existential crisis for him. Many possible solutions were put forth but God did not want to make major design changes to the basic casting. Finally, God decided that the hardware would remain unchanged but a bug/ virus would be introduced in the software i.e the mind of his favourite creation.
God tried many viruses like lust, envy, sloth and even anger to induce the right level of imperfection. None of them led to the desired resolution. Lastly, after a great deal of developmental work, a virus called ‘Greed’ was introduced. Needless to say, God’s final solution to the grave problem was super-effective.
Slowly but surely, over the ages, Greed has ensured that humans keeps quibbling, fighting and engaged in worthless pursuits, thus staying away from Godliness. But for this unique virus, man could have certainly challenged God or rather become God himself.
Mankind at one stage had everything that it could ever want and that too totally sustainable for ever. But we continued to reproduce prolifically and produce far more than what we could eat, wear or ever use. Greed manifested itself in the form of a market-driven, ‘Jonesian’ capitalist society which may well become the harbinger and ultimately the very cause of our extinction one day.
Incidentally, a growth in economy is lauded today as an achievement although in a real sense it may be a reflection of the rate at which we are consuming the earth’s resources. Pessimism is always considered a very negative virtue. But my personal experience says that you must never ignore the pessimist in your team. He is the one who flags the risk first.
Sure enough, melting ice caps, global warming realities, jammed streets, overflowing inventories, steep Air Quality indices, burgeoning mountains of litter, food insecurities, and stupid arms races supporting high-pitched voices of nationalism against a Westphalian backdrop are there for everyone to see. You don’t have to be doomsayer to see it all unfolding, but it surely helps.
Born in a cradle of materialism, overlaid with a web of greed and power dynamics, child-activist Greta Thunberg makes a relevant point although there are enough politicians who very conveniently want to ridicule her and run her down because they do not have the answers.
Or should we say, they would rather look the other way like the proverbial eye-shut pigeon as is amply visible in every international climate change forum. Frankly speaking, I have never seen bigger eyewashes and hypocritical dramas ever in my life with only hollow promises for future generations to deal with.
And then we have the Elon Musk type romantic solutions of colonizing Mars and other planetary bodies just because living on earth will become unsustainable for humans after a few decades. Is it escapism of the highest order by those who can afford it or a survival necessity? Or the ultimate in exploratory zeal? Or just selling dreams and fantasies to an enamoured generation?
Whichever way we look at it, even if manage to overcome the immense technical challenges to make this happen, will our sense of ownership change? Who will be called rich and poor? Will the time shown on a Rado make a difference to a person who has only moments to live? Will our Greed ever go away?
Will Uncle Mars meet the same fate as Mother Earth after a few centuries or more? Will our social and political structures undergo a sea change? What will be our sources of contentment and happiness? Will we ever find the elusive islands of comfort and moments of happiness that we seek beyond ‘just survival’?
Seeking answers to such questions and to discover his ‘meaning of life’, a 22 year old young lad named Christopher McCandless set course alone on a journey of self-discovery in the Alaskan Wilderness. If you have not heard about him, viewing the true-life biopic movie, “Into the Wild” or reading “The Adventures Of Alexander Tramp” as he had christened himself, is highly recommended.
Inadequately equipped to manage such solitary existence in the cold Alaskan Wilds, Christopher managed to survive for two difficult years away from the materialistic world he had grown to despise. Having seen it all, on the verge of final collapse from starvation, his last words, utmost philosophical and profoundly epitaphic in nature were:
“Happiness is only real when shared.”
And so also will survival be a reality only when we learn to share at the highest levels of political decision making. Unfortunately, the recent pathetic response of some of the richest countries in the world when it came to sharing the Covid vaccine with the ‘have-nots’ gives a fair idea that such notions will continue to remain romantic and academic only.
Some say this will only be possible when if the human race is ever collectively threatened by extra-terrestrial beings or a major external threat of similar nature. We wait.
Till then, the ‘G’ word rules and God continues to have the last laugh!
First Published at seekmediation.com om 02/12/21
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