Man as Superman or Murder/Suicide, are they all just the same?
Inebriated Press / Division of Rant (with Pretzels)
December 12, 2007
Scientists say that humankind is on the cusp of a new level of intelligence driven by evolution and tolerance. But what kind of evolutionary outcome, and tolerance for what? Some say beauty and benevolence will finally abound in broad measure and others say we’re all screwed. Anyway you slice it, change is in the air and it’s thicker than pea soup. Let’s take a glance at the news and then bask in our thick-headed genius as the patient studies his own chart and draws his own conclusions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that less than six months before his presidential term expires, Vladimir Putin was offered a path back to power — as prime minister — by the man he handpicked to succeed him. That plus the continued growth in world power and influence by the Communist Chinese, Middle Eastern Islamofascists and South American dictators all combine to show a solid and growing trend in global totalitarianism. But hey, what good is power unless you wield it, right?
Meanwhile, National Geographic magazine says that explosive population growth is driving human evolution to speed up around the world, according to a new study. They say ongoing local, cultural and environmental factors are shaping evolution differently on different continents. Researchers say 7 percent of human genes have been undergoing rapid, recent evolution. Genes that suppress body odor and dry ear wax are spreading rapidly in Asia and pale Europeans are blacks whose skin has gotten lighter in recent centuries. Thus, it appears that humankind’s evolution seems to lean toward a downturn in deodorant sales and ear wax problems; as that genius “nature” works to solve our most pressing problems.
And last week an armed 19 year old in Omaha, Nebraska walked into a mall with a Russian-made AK-47 and shot and killed eight Christmas shoppers before blasting himself to death. In notes he left behind he said he didn’t want to “be a burden” to others, and that he was a “piece of shit”. He also wrote that he was going to “be famous” and wanted to take some other “pieces of shit” along with him. This past weekend a Colorado missionary-dropout returned to church and took the lives of people in two locations before a security guard killed him. In the Middle East men and women of all ages blow themselves up among innocent shoppers and worshipers on an ongoing basis. Clearly there are strong social trends involving the killing of oneself and others who aren’t volunteering, but who die anyway.
What’s it all mean? Looks like Nietzsche and Hitler’s quest for man becoming “superman” is finally unfolding as both evolution and social trends merge. The Superman, according to Nietzsche, is a human being who has reached a state of being where he is no longer affected by “pity, suffering, tolerance of the weak, the power of the soul over the body, the belief in an afterlife or the corruption of modern values (see: Nietzsche’s Overman: Blueprint for the Antichrist Superstar).” The Superman finds his happiness in this way. He uses a reason that is independent of the modern values of society or religion. He determines his own values. Nietzsche wrote that god is dead. In the 1930’s the Nazi’s adopted a version of this and Hitler worked hard to realize the vision as he strove to engineer a new humankind by paired breeding of smart, tall, blonde people, while busily trying to exterminate the Jews. In the end Hitler was defined a monster and Nietzsche died under the care of his mother and sister, too sickly to look after himself at age 56. And yet, social and governmental trends appear to be conspiring to recreate this vision – but with less body odor and ear wax.
The diagnosis: it doesn’t work. At least not for people who like freedom and individual rights. Like Mulder and Skully in the X-Files movie it’s time to “fight the future”. Maybe there is some value in old fashioned personal responsibility and the old religious notion that “God is love” and so we should love too. Maybe the so called Golden Rule of “doing to others as you would do to yourself” isn’t about murder/suicide, but is about caring for the weak, helping the poor and being citizens who try to make a positive difference. Perhaps JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” has some bearing on the creation and maintenance of a civil society. Sure, that means a return to the values that the founders of the United States of America held when they framed the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but what the hey, it worked for a few hundred years, why not try it for a few more before dissolving into anarchy and unbridled hedonism punctuated by murder of whomever is around you? But that’s just me.
If a return to the old concept of common sense doesn’t do it for you, you can always consider it irrelevant and forget about it. BBC News reported Monday that scientists have located a new brain area they refer to as the “irrelevance filter”. John Duncan, a scientist at the Medical Research Council in Sweden, says there are many regions of the brain that filter out irrelevant information and further research into these areas may help explain why some people are better at remembering things than others. So forgive and forget. Or kill them and yourself. Either way it works in some sense – unless there really is an afterlife and you live an eternity of regret. Place your bet. We already have you know. Even the choice not to decide is a decision. Shit. How unfunny has this piece become. It’s that pesky notion of personal responsibility rearing its ugly head again.
In other news, the earth continues to spin at around 1,000 miles per hour and for better or worse, only a few of us have been flung off.
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