For weeks and months, since my last posting, I've been cogitating, pondering, considering, deliberating, musing, wondering ... and myriad other forms of this activity called thinking.
Thinking is an activity, even though it often seems to be treated as superfluous to action. If we don't think properly, we are likely to do things that aren't all that healthy or useful to human society. At this moment, I could simply rest my case by pointing at the sorry state of the society we have built as of 2013, then sigh and sign off.
However, there's more to be said. Even if I am just talking to myself here. Especially if I am talking to myself - because self-awareness is the key to everything that matters. It unlocks some of the mystery of who we are, what we have been doing and how we are likely to fare in the future.
When I say that thinking often appears to be missing when people act, I am not talking about scheming, plotting, conniving, masterminding or fantasising. There is plenty of that going on, which can be easily demonstrated by any glance at a news channel, any day of the week. No, what's missing is clear thought on the consequences of our actions. Only through a lack of thought-through insight can we tolerate - even venerate - what we are doing and have been doing to each other, to other species and to the biosphere on which all life depends, for generations.
I won't labour the point about the evident lack of intelligence (should we term it stupidity?) of a species that, en masse, repeatedly fouls its own bed and yet expects all to remain fine and dandy indefinitely. There are countless clever people in the world who would no sooner accept being labelled stupid than they would 'psychopath', 'sociopath' or 'bad guy'. But what I have been thinking about these many days is the nature of the mechanism - for want of another word - that enables a member of Homo sapiens to take actions with near total disregard for the effects of those actions on others.
Cleverness is cleverness and intelligence is intelligence. These terms ought not to be confused. Clever people can rob others without the latter even being aware they have been robbed. Do I have to mention the events of 2007-08 and the continuing cooperation of entire governments in enriching the already super-wealthy and consequently impoverishing all other citizens? Intelligent people, those in possession of the wisdom (sapience) that earns the otherwise incorrect denomination Homo sapiens, do not grab, steal or purloin for purposes of self-aggrandisement. They understand the tenet that what serves everyone serves ourselves - a code utterly alien to the merely clever.
This is no diatribe against the small clique of power-wielders who have so ruthlessly exploited the global economy for their own small-minded gain. I'm done with that now. I've learned more, and moved on to what's more important.
My thoughts are fixed entirely on how can it be that we have not progressed by now into a human society that positively aims for long-term survival? How can it be that by and large, we are so short-termist that our very own children and grandchildren suffer the negative outcome of our thought-less actions? Are we not supposed to be rational beings, while at the same time playing out the modus operandi of Darwinism - the survival of our genes?
It's all very confusing, this clash of relentless genetics and nascent sapience. I have not achieved any firm conclusions as of yet. But I am thinking about these questions. I mean to say, at least I am thinking about such things. Amid the mad thrust of scurrying humanity, I am engaged in the antithesis of "normal" life, looking for answers that create no monetary value, deliver no material benefit, have no "purpose" other than the development of my self-awareness.
I can't help thinking ... that if everyone spent some of their day in such contemplation, there could be a place yet for genus Homo in the continuum of life on planet earth.