Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.
Searching around in my mind as I drove to Kerrville yesterday I was trying to find something, almost anything, the word ‘we’ could be applied to that included all of humanity. Not an easy task, despite most of the lofty notions humans have about themselves.
Intelligence and thinking came to mind, but didn’t survive even long-range scrutiny. Whatever else we might be, human beings are only intelligent when compared to one another within a miniscule range of options. Probably the least intelligent human being able to function is somewhat smarter than the next-best up for consideration in the animal kingdom. And a few notches up on the yardstick, the smartest human being isn’t much more intelligent. But there’s enough difference top-to-bottom to demolish the word ‘we’ when it comes to defining anything all humans have in common.
As for thinking, there’s just not a hell of a lot of it going on. The overwhelming majority of humans are riding along on shock waves created by thinkings of an underwhelming few individuals. Of the several billion humans on this planet there’s not more than a shot-glass full who could figure out how to manufacture a lead pencil. Or, for that matter, a shot-glass. Or build a fire without materials provided by some autopilot composite of individuals not-thinking somewhere else.
Pride held up a lot better, but as I turned it over examining all the nuances I found it was handcuffed to something else. Commitment. This species couldn’t have survived this long without it any more than a tribe of beavers could survive without the non-thinking commitment to building community dams.
And pride is the glue holding it together. A necessary virtue to keep things moving, even though the commitments most frequently to dogs that don’t hunt, haven’t hunted for centuries, but nobody’s devoted enough thought to the matter to notice.
When I was a kid the adults used to say if a snapping turtle ever got a bite on you it wouldn’t turn loose until it thundered. One of the places in this reality where the word ‘we’ can be applied to humanity is our commonality to that imaginary snapping turtle. Commitments come along, sometimes the result of someone thinking something, sometimes just out of the blue, and ‘we’ lock our pride into it and don’t turn loose until it thunders.
When I began this post I intended it to examine human commitments to failed ideals and myths. I planned to reflect on our often failing repeated attempts to commit ourselves to individuals, to political parties, to geographic boundaries.
But I’m going to have to save that for some future post.
I was watching bumper stickers as I drove along considering all this. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a Texan. Proud to be a Native Texan.
Presumably those declarations are a source of pride because of the effort and personal hardship involved in achieving them. If pride had anything to do with personal achievement. Or thinking.
Today on Ask Old Jules: Views on Atheism?
Old Jules, what is your view on my religion? I’m an atheist.