Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Questions with no answers

Take for instance the following, as spoken to Philip in Of Human Bondage by Cronshaw:

"You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognize the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life - their pleasure."

Now take for instance the following: Dance Monkey Dance. (I'll wait why you view it.)

Both of these two things have come into my consciousness recently. I read the above passage yesterday on the train. And I first viewed the Dance Monkey Dance website last Friday. And I've been turning the two over in my head since. Are humans really like monkeys? Are we just fooling ourselves that we are better than the other animals on the planet? Do we really seek nothing but pleasure?

As you can see, I have no answers to these questions. Just more questions. I don't know how I feel. Sometimes, yes, I agree, humans are just as base and primal as any other animal on the planet. Our goals are to survive and procreate. Some of us do this is high fashion, with lovely townhouses on Park Ave. and big jobs at Goldman Sachs that pay outrages year-end bonuses. Others of us do this living in squalor in Dehli by the Ganges . But because of our brain, or our free time, or our wills or our soul, there is something in us that drives us to do more. To create art and to feel, and this we consider essential to living. Yet, is art and feelings really only us seeking pleasure? Are we like the monkeys who read Kant and think they have it all figured out? I don't know (I don't read Kant). I'll let you know if I do.

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