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Forum Post: In the big picture...

Posted 2 years ago on May 1, 2012, 1:18 p.m. EST by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We are all just a bunch of animals living on a rock that happens to be in orbit around a persistent source of heat & light. We are a speck in the universe, and chances are that none of this entire human existence is going to matter in the big scheme of things.

So, why are we not spending our meager lives trying to help each other live better, rather than trying to constantly "beat" each other at life? Why is there this inherent need to have a packing order among the members of our species, whether it is between rich and poor, white and black (now Latino), President and citizen.

If everyone was aware of the fact that their lives do not matter AT ALL, then it would behoove us to work towards a society that gives all of us a better life. A life where everyone gets to eat, sleep under a roof, and have clean water. A life where everyone is taken care of when they get sick. A life where everyone is free to live how they want to, love who they want to, and do what they want to.

Right now we judge each other based on some arbitrary rules that other animals like us have created to bring order to our world. We judge each other based on how much paper we possess, what skin color we have, or what other animals we choose to bond with. This is not natural. The universe isn't awarding brownie points to the people who die with the most paper in their pocket. We are all the same collections of cells in the end.

You can't take money, possessions, or anything else material with you to the grave. All you can really leave the world with is the memory of what you experienced before you are gnawed away by various critters and re-integrated into the planet.

31 Comments

31 Comments


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[-] 3 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Everything you touch upon here concerning good will toward others can be summed up with one word. That word is EMPATHY. No religious view. No scientific view. No awareness of reality, such as our lives do not matter at all, needs to be applied to this problem. Empathy has existed throughout our history, and is not dependent on any understanding of an afterlife or lack thereof. Not at all.

Can you put yourself in Mitt Romney's shoes? Can you ask yourself what he fears and why he says so fervently he will not apologize for his wealth, while others starve? Can you empathize with him?

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Its about control for those with power. They are afraid of losing some of that power, of giving up control over others.

The enlightened perspective would be to realize that we're all in this together, and that control should NOT be concentrated in a few places.

It should be shared among all, for equality but also for our safety. When we put all of our faith into one being, one entity, or a small group of people, then we become powerless when those individuals choose to abuse their power. Hitler pushed an entire population to hatred when he had control. The emperors and kings of nations throughout history have used their control to force armies of men and women to fight for them in attempts to grab more power. Pat Robertson and other evangelicals use their control over millions of Christians to wage war against homosexuals and civil rights.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Specifically, how do you think Romney see OWS?

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

As a threat to the Republican party and specifically his way of life, because he firmly believes that he should have the right to do business in any way that wants to, no matter who suffers in the process.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

That is not empathy, that is judgment. Did you not just make a post saying we need more good will and less judging?

[-] 2 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Yes, I am judging people who would destroy others in order to make their own solitary lives better. That's exactly what unchecked capitalism, endorsed by Romney and the conservatives, ends up doing.

[-] 0 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

"Right now we judge each other based on some arbitrary rules that other animals like us have created to bring order to our world. We judge each other based on how much paper we possess, what skin color we have, or what other animals we choose to bond with. This is not natural."

Your words.

Please explain the difference between natural judging and unnatural judging, because I really don't understand how you are deriving what is or is not a natural way to judge another person?

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

What do you want me to do, pretend like the world is perfect and run around buying a bunch of useless shit? Is that what you think a good life is about? Rotting in front of TV all day and wasting time caring about pointless things from "reality" shows?

Unchecked Capitalism is evil. Evil deserves judgement, condemnation, and destruction. I'm not judging anyone based on how much they have, but on how they use what they have.

Bill Gates = awesome. Created jobs for a lot of people, has a great generous charity, and made the world a better place to live in through computers.

What did Romney do? He destroyed jobs with "mergers" and is wasting his money on 2 Cadillacs while working for a party that is taking civil rights away from women and homosexuals. His economic policies will destroy this country and turn us into Greece 2.0. He has no qualms about perpetuating inequality as is evident in all of his speeches. Fuck him.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

I would take issue with someone like Romney judging the poor as inferior and mumbling nonsense that they are poor solely from their own choices, totally ignoring the societal conditions that contributed to their circumstances.

So, does it make it okay when it is done the other way around? When someone offhandedly, with little effort to show empathy or understanding, blames people for being morally inferior and say they are solely to blame for the way things are, and ignore the very same societal conditions that contributed to this toxic environment we live in.

I can imagine Romney, at points in his life, had to decide to go this way or that way, make this choice or that choice, once an innocent child, he had to grow up. I imagine like all of us he faced pressure from his circle of influence of parents, peers, and mentors to follow their belief systems and values. The deck may have been stacked against him.

I have not lived in his shoes so I can not judge how he handled those pressures, but I can empathize with the pressures of the people around you to shape you into what they believe. In both cases of poor and rich and everywhere in between, it is a mix of societal conditions and personal choices that determine how things progress and how things turn out. It is the societal conditions that must be judged and reevaluated, and if judgment must be passed on any individual, whether a poor homeless man or a rich greedy politician, it must be with empathy and understanding. Not with spite and condemnation. We should seek to be just to all people.

Failing to do so undermines the argument for having empathy for the those who are most vulnerable in society. It is one thing to appeal to others to stop judging by harsh standards. It is yet another to practice it yourself.

No, I don't want you to pretend the world is fine. I want you to make the world better. Be the change you want to see. Show the way for others.

[-] -1 points by JackPulliam3rd (205) 2 years ago

Are you yet another Democratic party plant trying to use OWS?

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

for millions of years, the animal with the most weapons - the most food -
the most mates - passed on those traits in their genes


GREED IS GOOD


just ask gordon gekko, ron paul, ayn rand, rand paul, paul ryan

[-] 3 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

Makes you wonder why passing on such yukky genes was so important. But if we look at all of the species, doing the same thing, there were so many that were unsuccessful in modifying themselves to the point that they could survive. Makes it seem less important. Scientists estimate that 50,000 species go extinct every day or year or some other insignificant measure of time, and so what. What if we are among the next group or the one after that, we know it is inevitable.

So the genes we have are the ones we have. They are not so great in many respects that we can easily catalog. One specific one. the one for arrogance, should be one of the first to be fixed as gene therapy starts to mature.

Doesn't seem like most of the other species were able to develop a genetic resistance to the scourge of man. Can you imagine another planet with life looking at us and deciding how best to avoid an infestation of man. Certainly worse than bed bugs and malaria. Run for your lives! Man is coming!

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

sounds like you might be a scifi fan watch Man From Earth - not space, not, guns, not monsters
fabulous scifi

[-] 2 points by brightonsage (4494) 2 years ago

Liked Star Trek philosophy more that Star Wars hardware. I will check it out but I jumped on the genetic selection idea from bensdad and this is where it took me. I'm not Roddenberry. I am afraid he has gone extinct.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20943) 2 years ago

Nice post, Xenulives. So true.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 2 years ago

It could be that we are just in a constant battle with our nature. For 750,000 years we have been competing with each other for food, territory, mates, etc. These inclinations are genetic in us. When things get tough we revert to our roots.

[-] 1 points by amanofnoimportance (82) from Orlando, FL 2 years ago

I think someone is right.

The world won't stop turning when we die.

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[-] -1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

Not sure what your point is. I think I’m important, at least to my family. I doubt very many people view themselves as irrelevant specs of dust in the universe.

Human nature is what it is. People are competitive, ambitious and often mean spirited. About the best we can hope for is norms in society that value honesty, ethics, compassion and good character. Historically, the church has filled that roll. But not so much these days.

I think it naïve to think people will join hands and sing kumbayah. It’s not going to happen. I’m not particularly religious, but I think the ideals you’re looking for in the church.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

We don't need religion to value honesty, ethics, compassion, and good character. We are intelligent beings, and logic dictates that it is probably a good idea for our collective survival if we treat each other right.

[-] 1 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

Listen, I admire your thoughts on this topic. I just don’t think humans will adhere to things like honesty, ethics, compassion and good character without some catalyst like religion or a sense of honor to something. In my pessimistic view, the last sixty years have seen a dramatic loss of values of society, I attribute that to the loss of religious beliefs. And, as I said in my previous post, I not particularly religious.

I just don’t see your utopian vision occurring without a return to religion.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

I'm sure that a lot of people need some sort of grounding in order to have that moral compass. I don't think that everyone needs that grounding, since there are plenty of atheists, agnostics, etc. that are living normal, moral lives.

However, I don't think this requires a return to the "you're going to hell" types of religion that have dominated society in recent years. There are too many people that are using the current holy books as weapons to attack entire groups of people, just because a passage in the Bible or Qur'an says that they are not worthy. I like religions that preach awareness over condemnation. I think Buddhism follows that line of thinking, and other meditative teachings are similar from what I have heard.

I'm glad to have a civil discussion about this.

[-] -2 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

I think you have it backwards. If we are just a bunch of animals living on a rock...blah blah blah - then why don't we spend our meager lives trying to make things the best we can for ourselves? If our lives do not matter AT ALL, then why not strive for a better life for yourself and screw everybody else? Tell me again why I should care about the memory I leave on the planet?

[-] 2 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Because when you die, your thoughts will be "man, I spent my entire life making other people miserable, putting others down do that I could have some stupid toys."

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[-] -2 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

What thoughts? I'll just be returning to the earth. I don't think my remains will have thoughts. If nothing matters - then why not make my time here as easy as it can be for ME? Even if those are my last thoughts, I still had 80+ of good living and only a few minutes of regret.

[-] 1 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

Because YOU don't matter. Why not spend your time making US better, instead of just YOU? That would be a much more fulfilling life than running around and forcing other people's short times to be made more miserable because of your selfishness.

[-] 0 points by Pequod (17) 2 years ago

The problem develops when YOU get lazy. I have to insulate myself from you and i am going to get selfish. I am going to protect myself, my family and my property and thats how you get fences, suburbs, private cou try clubs, police, social stratifucation.

[-] 0 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

I actually agree that we should work together to make the world a better place. I just think your argument doesn't work. If we don't matter - then there is no point in trying to make things better for other people. But if there is something special about being human - and if how we treat other people counts for something (heaven, karma, reincarnation, or some other connection yet to be discovered) then it is very important that we watch out for one another.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

That's a fair point. I'm not really trying to make an argument for greed as much as one for compassion. It seems like a huge waste of life to just hate each other, attack each other, etc. when in the end we all up in the same place. A long time ago people decided that they would value some other human beings as lower than them based on some arbitrary rules, such as who has the most money or who was born to the right parents, etc. This kind of selection continued through generations into this involuntary society that we live in now. We are "ranked" by other based on what skin tone we have, or how much money we have, or some notion of "who worked the hardest," or who we are naturally attracted to, etc. and frankly its a disgusting way to go about living. I didn't ask to be born into a society like this, and all I want to do is to make society a better place for everybody. I want more fairness and equality. No, not Socialism or Communism, but a Democracy that values people over in-animate objects would be a start.

Sure, I can see how people are compelled to do the right thing because of faith in a deity of some sorts, or karma or whathaveyou. I also think that it makes sense logically to work together to ensure one's survival than by taking the "fuck everyone else" route. The lone wolf is the easiest to pick off, while we are strongest when we are united.

Correct me if you think that I'm not making any sense.

[-] 1 points by friendlyopposition (574) 2 years ago

I don't disagree. Which is why we must believe that it does matter. Not on some cosmic scale. I saw a show on NatGeo that talked about galaxies colliding. How they would move closer and closer to one another, spinning faster and faster, and then end up colliding in a marvelous display. Not planets, not suns - but entire galaxies. That will certainly make you feel small and insignificant.

But in the context of our world - what we have control over - it does matter. Our lives matter, the decisions we make matter, the consequences of those decisions matter.

As far as how we rank people - who knows when it started or why it continues. I look at professional athletes as a great example. How did we come to value someone's ability to play a game so highly? And celebrities - some of which have NO claim to fame (Kardashians), yet someone we have elevated them to the tune of $40 million to have cameras follow them around all day.

I think you and I are singing the same song (on this issue :) ), just playing in a different key.

[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 2 years ago

I think we are on the same page as well. I'm probably not articulating myself well enough on this point.

I'm not a fan of paying people who can hit balls the best, or women who have the best sex tapes millions of $. That money could have fed who knows how many people, yet now it gets to sit in a bank somewhere and gain interest. All for what? One person to live a nice life?

[-] -1 points by Pequod (17) 2 years ago

Because making ME better makes you better. If I marry well and have 3 or 5 great productive kids, you are much the better for it. If I create a successful enterprise, you are the better for it. If I strive to accumulate wealth for my family, YOU are the better for it. If I live an organized efficient life, YOU are the better for it.

What happens is YOU need to hold up your end of our bargain. If you smoke pot, you are letting me down. If you are an alcoholic, you are letting me down. If you have kids out if wedlock, you are letting me down. If you drop out of high school you are letting me down.

Our social contract, and the great experiment that is America depends on both of us protecting our bargain. Its like living on a very tidy, organized neighborhood, you and i must both be responsible.