Monday, April 09, 2012

More to Life

An opinion piece today in the New York Times, The Taint of 'Social Darwinism', discussed Obama's recent description of the Republican's budget proposals as an elitist attempt at culling the least productive, in their minds, from society as such.

It seems the Republicans doubt the need for all those silly social programs to help people. If they were worthy of procreating, they would be able to take care of themselves. They're trying to take women's rights back to Mary Wollstonecraft's time. Why not embrace eugenics?

The concept of "the survival of the fittest" came from Herbert Spencer, not Darwin, and included the evolution of society, too. The best and the brightest would succeed and society as a whole would benefit.

That was in 1864, which ironically, was towards the end of the Civil War. Considering the number of dead on both sides of the conflict, you have to wonder who was left to procreate and make that "better" society. Toddlers and the elderly?

I'm not going to argue, though, about Spencer's interesting myopia nor the Republican's utter blindness. Instead, the article made me think about something that was said to me yesterday.

I thought there was more. More to fucking life.

My answer was, there is more. And there isn't.

Let's face it. We get up in the morning, we get ready for work, we work, we come home, and we rest until it is time for work again. We eat, drink, laugh, cry, make love, snore loudly. We buy things, choose clothes to wear, go to concerts, read books, and clean our homes. Every day we consume resources that make our lives easier. Transportation, health care, economic systems, political structures, agriculture. In purchasing a single piece of paper, we touch so many lives it is almost beyond comprehension; from the tree, to the labor, to the transportation, to the marketing- the list goes on and on.

When I read about social darwinism, about political and economic games played that tug on the strings we are attached to, I wonder... why? Have we really advanced as a society?

Isn't there more to life than pretty shoes and two weeks vacation? What is the purpose of life? To run on treadmills, eat low fat muffins and be promoted? If it's about family and friends, why do we spend so little time with them?

Is the goal the betterment of society? Is a better society one where everyone has an iPhone? Or have we lost perspective in the massive rush for more, losing the core of our humanity- the need for other people.

Personally, I would put love and belonging before anything else. Family, friends and intimacy. I think we've all bought into the idea that there are winners and losers in life, and that balance is necessary, if not innate. We have evolved as a species based on economic and political distributions of power and access.

Is that what we want? Humans have always looked up, whether to the alpha male, God, King, or President. We work hard to get a better life for ourselves, for our children. Maybe it's time to look around. Maybe have and have not is a concept we've allowed ourselves to believe.

Maybe it has only kept us in an endless cycle of dependency on the very few in power.

There is more to life. More to who we are as human beings than one big competition over resources. We are no longer animals in the wild. We should stop behaving as such.

And there isn't. Life really is as simple as loving and enjoying ever day we are here. Celebrating and sharing all we can be with one another.

Obama is right. The Republicans are playing yet another game of hide and go seek. A game with very real impact. It's not moving our society forward. It only continues the cycle of looking up.