What’s wrong with the human race?
Naked, sweating, and slightly buzzed, some of the greatest minds on Ridge Street were gathered in that sauna.
Even setting aside the current state affairs, historically speaking, our species has little of which to be proud. Yes we have conquered our environment and harnessed the elements and cured many human diseases. But in doing so we have soiled the planet enslaved and displaced entire segments of the population and created those foolish TV reality shows.
Perhaps it was post Christmas depression, eggnog withdrawal, or simply the specter of war looming on the horizon, but that night we visited on the dark side. The news was dire. Iraq, North Korea, terrorism, corporate thievery and the release of the new Rob Schneider movie “The Hot Chick.”
Why do some humans behave so inhumanely?
Consider slavery, The Crusades, imperialism, and the Holocaust, wars and rap music, then throw in our propensity to persecute and or destroy what we don’t understand. There are many embarrassments but few answers.
My contention was “Because we can.” Though I believe in the goodness of man as an individual, I sense that often as a group, nation or persuasion, we seek our validation of our opinions, faith and philosophies by demanding compliance from others.
Another one of my sweating sauna mates held that it was our relatively recent path to civilization. His feelings were that the human animal needs a few thousand years of evolution to become creatures in harmony with the planet and each other.
The opinions and conjecture flowed along with the beer and the perspiration. The only one in the group who hadn’t weighed in on the subject was the one least versed in life or jaded by years.
Kanoa was only recently of legal drinking age. Out of all of us, his life was the most sheltered and bizarre. He was raised on a commune run by what some might call a New Age cult. He grew up in a closed community made up of intellectuals and weirdos. He speaks frankly about having never been in need and seldom anguished. I was inclined to dismiss his opinions as lacking the barometer of a cold, hard reality. That said, I had to ask.
“OK ,Slick,” I said, “take a shot at it. We all know that man as an individual is capable of much love, but there is little denying that as a breed we have done, and continue to do, some rotten stuff. So drawing from your infinite life experience, what is the cause of man’s inhumanity to man?” “Stress.” That’s all he said.
“Stress! Is that your answer?” I asked.
“Without stress,” he replied, “everyone would be mellow.”
“Well that about clears it up.” I said. “I wish you were around during the rape of Nanking. During the killing, and atrocities, you could have suggested that the Japanese soldiers simply mellow out. You’re saying all the evil committed since the dawn of time could have been prevented if mankind was more relaxed?”
“You can laugh all you want, dude. Fear, frustration, paranoia, greed are all manifestations of stress. Left to their own inclinations, people are mostly cool. it’s only when stress comes into the picture that they freak. They get afraid of what they don’t understand, frustrated over what they can’t control, and distrustful of anyone who is different. If they could take a breath, relax, eat better, get some exercise, they’d see life’s a beautiful dance.”
“Don’t you think that is a little simplistic?” I asked.
“Yes.” he said. “That what’s so beautiful about it.”
“Out of the mouth of babes” (with beer breath) come great thoughts.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KYSL radio, and read in several mountain publications. He lives in Breckenridge
The parcel where workforce housing is being proposed was listed for decades as belonging to the Colorado Department of Transportation.