Wednesday, March 16, 2011

perhaps I've been too blind, please pay it no mind

I'm watching a video about "the social animal", humans. It's interesting, engaging. It's, ironically, somewhat alienating as well. I know that it seems intuitive to believe that seeing and hearing a talk about people would make me feel more connected, more human than not. But it's not. It's making me realize how little people know, how little I know, about people in general. When I'm enlightened about mathematics, or chemistry, or even psychology I feel an immense amount satisfaction, as though I've opened a large dusty volume that's been closed for a thousand years and, to my great elated surprise, find that I can read it easily and that the ideas contained therein are intelligible and in fact aligned with my own.  But not right now. Right now I feel so, so disappointed.

I feel disappointed because, if what this presentation is saying is true, then humans have fallen a long, long way from where they once were. Is it so hard to talk about emotions now? It is, I know. Is it easier and more natural for us to talk about our favorite TV shows, music, movies, and books, all while expertly depriving all of these conversations of our true feelings about them? Definitely. Part of me feels that David Brooks is being purposely facetious when delivering this bleak news, that somehow it's a joke, and we all know it. But I also think he knows that it's true. It's frighteningly true that we've, that I've grown up in a world that emphasizes shallowness over profundity, that emphasizes materialism over substance, that emphasizes the present over the future. And we are reaping what we sow. If what he's saying is true, that our attitudes today, our selfish, materialistic, consumerist ideas and actions, result from this type of worldview, than I think it gives even more weight to the argument presented to us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 --

"He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end."

Man, social animal? Perhaps. Man, eternal animal?