Nature vs Nuture and stuff

OK, I took a couple weeks off. Waking up every morning with my ankles stiff and sore, barely able to walk was too much. With my US running club’s Holiday Streaking Challenge starting yesterday, I decided to take time off and heal up as best as possible. It didn’t do much this time off, as of this morning, after one run I was practically back to where I was. I’m stopping with mileage goals, just get at least my 1 mile every day to complete the challenge. Today I did a 5k. So yesterday a 5 mile run and today a 5k, covering all the Turkey Trots I missed yesterday.
I have been doing yoga regularly to make up for the missed runs at least. So that gets me thinking about things. Plus, I’ve still been dealing with some pretty serious anxiety although the general depression has subsided. It’s been pretty difficult at times, but I muscle through it the best I can. I’ve been trying to ignore things which make it worse. Through it all though, I’m happy. I can’t help the anxiety and to a point I can’t help the depression either. When it happens I just have to do my best to mitigate it. It is part of who I am. Which leads me to think, what are we?
I’ve talked about this stuff before, but it’s really that important. To figure out what is nature, and what is a product of our environment and situation, we have to strip away everything, even if just in thought. To really decipher human nature, requires abandoning all trappings of society, even the simplest things, to figure out what we need, and who we are to get that. People have tried, but they’ve always been clouded by history, or perceived history. The Enlightenment thinkers who ended up forming our modern society were trying to justify their own philosophies and so determined human nature to be something selfish, greedy, base.
But really take some time out and strip away all the things you think you need, all the things you want, all the you have and ask yourself who you really are. What you really want out of life. Where do you want to be, what do you want to do. Not what do you want to do for a job, but do you want to help people, do you want to hurt people? Do you want to be all by yourself? What makes you feel that way? Why? Is it because of how modern society acts, how people have treated you? Or is it truly just who you are? How do you separate the two? It’s not a simple task, to honestly look at yourself, to truly be introspective and ask yourself what your motivation is for your own feelings. Is it just your nature, or is it how you were raised? We’re not just raised by our families mind you, the entire society that you are exposed to has an effect throughout your life.
At the core, people will be different, and that’s ok. But from that very core, then start building your system outward. Keep what works, but get rid of what doesn’t. We need to do that in each of our lives, and we also need to do that in society overall. The problem is that so many people subscribe to business as usual. Even people I know, who claim to want a change still buy into the same societal nonsense causing the issues, telling you that your nature is selfish and base.
My frustration comes from wanting a new world, a new philosophy for so long, and yet never seeing it come. Seeing the same thing happen to my generation as happened to my parents, and knowing that the next generation will go through the same thing. Fits and starts, but no real progress, still basing our ideas on the same flawed ideas of 250-300 years ago.
My point is, many of the things we hang onto so fervently, though (even though I completely got off the point above) we are mostly products of our upbringing, of our society. Human nature is far different from what is presented in life. I firmly believe this is the cause of almost all of the strife in the world. I get that life is not easy or comfortable. In our natural state we are food for lions, tigers, bears, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, wolves, coyotes, crocodiles, alligators, all manner of creatures. We aren’t the strongest, we aren’t the fastest, we aren’t the best able to climb, or jump, we’re actually not good at much naturally. We are good at figuring things out and making tools.
Where does that come from? Why are we good at tools? It’s intelligence right? But here’s the real issue of our modern society, of our nurturing. The Enlightenment philosophers and so many who came after have assumed, and we definitely assume, this intelligence evolved to fight the entropy of the Universe. That we are there to put order to things, that things are supposed to have an order, and that entropy is inherently bad, evil. Simply put, entropy is the “devil”. But is it? Is that what intelligence is for, to fight entropy? To take control and give order to things?
We all talk about power, control, mastery, things like this. But I say no, intelligence is not to create order, to take control. With it we can, and I believe we should, explore and discover as much about the Universe as we can. But we cannot control it, we do not have dominion over it, the energy from which the Universe comes and where its going, this entropy, this state of increasing disorder, is not to be controlled, only understood. In an ordered Universe, without entropy, there is no need for intelligence, all systems can simply function without thought, without concern. Where there is entropy, the more you need to reason out solutions. Entropy creates intelligence, it is a direct result. When the universe was small, the idea of controlling your surroundings was required, it’s a survival instinct. In the full universe, control is impossible, only understanding is possible, and as you begin to attempt to control it you destroy the very thing which makes us survivable as a species, intelligence.
Strip yourself down of all the bullshit, sit back and recognize that entropy is not our foe. Control is not possible, power is an illusion. The only reason any people have “power” is because we created the concept of power, and bestowed it upon human beings. It is not a natural state of being, it has no place in society, it has no place in the universe. Explore, discover, invent, create, understand, these are the actions at the heart of human nature. Once we get beyond the basic eat, sleep, poo, reproduce, not die a horrible death at the hands of a an angry moose. Let go of the artificial, leave it behind, work toward a new world, with new ideas, and a new beginning. If we continue to try and grip tighter and tighter in this idea that we can control the Earth, or anything else, to more rapidly we will meet our demise. The current trajectory we are on, in our fight against entropy is sealing our immediate doom. The only way to truly combat it is to scatter ourselves to the wind, like the seeds of a dandelion. Build up a civilization which can travel and settle far and wide, across the galaxy, across the universe.
Even if our current woes do not spell imminent doom (which they most likely do), eventually an asteroid, comet, massive volcanic activity due to some force, the Sun exploding, a nearby star going supernova, all things which can destroy us and all the life we know. birth, life, death, it happens to everything and all. Entropy is responsible, and there is no stopping it, there is only mitigating its effects. Understanding what we can do to give ourselves the best possible chance, to stay around as long as possible. If humanity ended tomorrow, by the time any creatures gained the ability to interpret what we have done, what we “accomplished”, who we were, they wouldn’t know anyone’s name. They wouldn’t know anything about what you’ve done, or any politician, general, anyone. If any information survived from our science, that they would be able to understand, that they would either immediately, or eventually interpret. Those are the only truths of our society. It seems stark, but it’s true. Our understanding of the universe is the only thing which has any true meaning outside of what humanity has created for themselves. It’s the only thing which context is not dependent fully on our own point of view.
That is our nature, we are explorers, we are here to learn about the universe and our only way to truly prosper, the only way to truly empower ourselves is to discard all our petty bullshit, and put all our efforts into exploration. To truly embrace all human beings as being valuable, as having rights to live, and learn, to be happy, that’s the only way we can truly explore. In order to survive, in order for any of this to be meaningful we need to devote far more resources into our discovery than we currently do. We waste so many resources clinging to our petty capitalism, in oppressing people and convincing some people they deserve to be oppressed. We cannot possibly survive. Why do we do this? In the drive for power and control, we tell the lie that people are immediately going to look out for their group first, but this is fundamentally not true, you can even see it in the lies we tell about the origins of Thanksgiving. The Natives didn’t come in and kill the interlopers, they didn’t hoard all their harvest for themselves, they didn’t protect their intellectual property. They shared their food, their knowledge, their land with the visitors. That was the natural reaction for them. Human beings, help them. That is the nature of a human being, it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, what you sound like, what you wear. We recognize a fellow human being, and our instinct is to help if needed. If you don’t feel that is your nature, then you have been conditioned to believe that.
Let go of your conditioning, get in touch with your true nature and build a life around that. We need to start coming together, or else we will find that entropy does not care about how much money you have, how nice your car or house is, how many people are on your payroll.
Happy Holidays!

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!

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