A product of humiliation and defeat
a person has real character, ultimately success will follow him like a
common cur in the street with its tail between its legs." - Werner
Herzog, celebrated as one of the most influential and innovative
filmmakers of our time.
As long as the building blocks of one's character - tenacity,
self-reliance, imaginative curiosity - does not shine with blinding
brilliance; man will remain, as much a product of his cumulative
humiliations and defeats; and, as much the product of the Monkey-kind
from whence he originated.
Thus; though deficient not only in character; but also in many of the
faculties that sets him apart from the Monkey-kind, he builds empires of
illusions. Having emerged as a twig on the tree of life, and not
understanding what sets him apart from all the other twigs; his empires
of illusions has set him on a path in which he has bought into countless
fallacies such as: education is about training, and success defined
monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge.
He has failed to understand that the true purpose of education is to
make minds, not careers. He has failed to perceive that a culture that
does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power; which
mistakes management techniques for wisdom; that fails to understand that
the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or
ability to consume; will condemn itself to eventual death.
He has invented inverted totalitarianism, which unlike classical
totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic
leader; but finds expression in the anonymity of the Corporate State
that purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, and the Constitution
while manipulating internal levers that are, filled with corruption and
nepotism. He has forgotten that fame is a vapor; popularity, an
accident; riches take wing; and that, the only one thing that endures in
life is character.
However, due to the cumulative result of all our fallacies and
foolishness; and because, the words "consent of the governed" has become
an empty phrase in our nation; this nation has been hijacked by
oligarchs, corporations, and a narrow and selfish political and economic
elite - a small and privileged group that governs, and often steals,
along with moneyed interests. This elite group, in the name of
patriotism and democracy, in the name of all the values which were once
part of our system and which defined our ethic; has systematically
destroyed, not only our morality; but also our manufacturing sector,
looted the treasury, corrupted democracy, and trashed the financial
Along with that, they had succeeded in turning all our men into
spineless lions and sinewless tigers fit only to hunt mice: Men of the
Monkey-kind, with nothing else in their anatomy, but the ability to
procreate. That also is the reason why, during this plundering, we
We were mesmerized by the enticing shadows on the wall; because our
greed was aroused; and we were assured that our tickets to success
prosperity, and happiness were waiting around the corner; and because we
forgot that maturity of mind is, achieved only through the postponement
of immediate pleasures and instant gain. Going by the evidence present,
I will not be surprised, if this is a repetitive process. As human
beings - including those even now remaining in the primary stage of
evolution as the inheritors of the monkey kind - we want to be happy and
free from misery. Yet, we have not learned that the key to happiness is
inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace, is greed; as well as
disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion. We
have forgotten that love, compassion, and a sense of universal
responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness, the difference
between man and animal.
Having thus forgotten and failed to understand what sets us apart
from the monkey kind; and having failed to pursue life's open-endedness
with equal parts focus of vision and nimbleness of navigation; we aspire
in our foolishness, to become the pinnacle of evolution; and believe
that we are special amongst species; and are not just one twig in the
Indeed, it is no wonder that, in the light of new research into
animal intelligence, some scientists have concluded that there simply is
no profound difference between us and other species; even though other
scientists of equal eminence argue the opposite: that new research is
finally making the profound difference between humans and animals clear.
I wonder if we humans are special, only because we landed on the moon or
invented the iPad I personally have not done those things either.
Hence, if such achievements are what make us human; then I too must
be relegated to the beasts - except that I suppose I can catch a little
reflected glory from true humans. On the other hand, if we just point to
our large brains as proof of the difference, even that might not work:
our brain might be three times the size of the brains of chimpanzees;
but elephants' brains are three times bigger.
Of course, elephants have bigger bodies too, leading some to think
that we might have the highest ratio of brain size to body size.
However, that honour actually belongs to shrews and ants.
However, fortunately, there are other more inclusive ideas about what
makes us human. Not long ago, most people in the Christian World were
happy with the account found in the Bible: that we are made in the image
of God - end of argument. Yet, the theory of evolution tells us a
different story, one in which humans slowly emerged as a twig on the
tree of life.
The problem with this explanation is that it is much more difficult
to say exactly what makes us so different from all the other twigs.
Some determined researchers drew up a new measure, according to which
brains grow larger as body size increases; but not in direct proportion.
It turns out that with enough tweaking, a scale could be developed
according to which humans come out as the brainiest. But the real lesson
we might draw from this is how desperate we are to demonstrate that we
are special, and how hard this is to do with any rigour and finality.
Until recently, no later than 50,000 years ago, a speck in time in
comparison to cosmic time, there were many species of humans across the
world. Some, such as the Neanderthals had brains at least as big as
ours; while others such as the diminutive "hobbit" found on the
Indonesian island of Flores were more closely akin to the apes.
In such a world, Homo sapiens would have appeared much less
exceptional, and our close connection to other species more obvious.
Some of these other humans disappeared through natural disasters - a
volcanic eruption in the case of the hobbit population, while others
have been driven to extinction by us.
Thus if our twig stands out it might be only because we have
ruthlessly pruned the rest of the branch. This at best could mean only
one thing: we are the only animals that cook food and that no other
species is as destructive of its own and other species.
For too long we claimed to be the only species with reason, emotion,
consciousness and morality. Yet we share a long evolutionary history and
basic biology with other animals, particularly other mammals. We should
therefore expect that if some mammals experience something, most or all
mammals probably do too.
It would be simply unscientific to expect one twig on the tree of
life to be radically different from those on the branches around it.
Therefore, I would say that we are far indeed from standing out as the
only complex thinking creatures on earth. Look at the happenings around
us. Do we need more proof that many animals think more effectively,
intelligently and excellently than we do and behave better?
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