There’s an old favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon hanging in my office. It starts with the two of them walking through the woods on a bright, sunny winter day. Calvin, being mesmerized by the beauty of it all, stops and gives a long dissertation questioning why mankind had chosen in the first place to sequester himself in houses and cars while living in such overpowering beauty.
Turning to Hobbes he asks. “ That’s why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we’re put on earth to do . . . What’s our purpose in life? Why are we here?”
Hobbes thinks for a moment, smiles, raises his arms in the old Italian gesture and replies, “We’re here to devour each other alive.” then he walks away.
Calvin watches Hobbes leave, looks straight ahead at the viewer, looks up at the sky. Then he makes a beeline for his house where he fearfully turns up all his lights and raises the heat in hopes of alleviating the fear instilled by Hobbes choice wording.
I have always loved that cartoon cause it shows so well and so simply the struggle each of us every day must make to stay alive in this very chaotic and cruel environment we find ourselves in.
Regardless of our status, be it wealthy, poor, high brow, low brow, African aborigine or American blue blood, this basic survival instinct is prevalent in all of us. It’s the lub in our very first heart beat, leading us down the pathway of our years until it’s final dub.
The way of survival is not merely what one needs to do in order to make it through a social/economic pinch. It’s also on a far deeper level the evolutionary trail a life form has taken through the ages in order to remain viable.
In our breed it manifests a zillion different ways on a zillion avenues, but the struggle is there in all our lives pushing and prodding us into our various chosen paths.
Some, like the guys who have chosen the power/position/possession path, struggle through hard work and dedication to become our leaders and our heroes.
Some, like the criminal, having also chosen the power, position, possession path seek to circumvent the learning curve of hard work and get right to the wealthy part. These become the worst among us and often find themselves wallowing in a cage somewhere feeling sorry for themselves.
Some, like most of us, muddle along content just to have enough to feed ourselves and our family. These people, whether they live in a small house in a suburb or a thatched hut in a jungle clearing are basically all of the same mind set. They struggle to live within their inherited environment in much the same way.
And yet, the question that lies forever strongly in my mind, is why we, the core foundation of this life form called humanity, allow the wealthy and neer-do-wells of this planet to manipulate us, through religious and political means, into taking up arms against one another when we, if anything, ought to be confronting them. This thought alone literally blows my mind . . . and makes me fear for the continuity of this race.
Personally I have never feared much about a wild animal devouring me like perhaps my predecessors have. I have lived in very close proximity to Krait snakes as well as Grizzly bears and have never lost much sleep over the fact.
What I fear above all else is us being manipulated by a man, or a group of men, into believing our survival is contingent upon the killing of THEIR enemy. And I believe . . . until there is a fundamental change in the evolution of our thought, we will all be forever looking over our shoulders for a way to survive the devourer behind us . . . following.