Paradox, paradox, life is PARADOX!
Posted by jingoisticbuthornydesperado on November 3, 2008
Lately, I have been having various epiphanies. There are too many paradoxes in this world and that as for this moment; I am still having problems really understanding why human beings need paradoxes to survive. Let me highlight a few of my thoughts that have been ringing of late.
1. Medical science have been a gift to all of us. We are able to live longer with better medical care. More and more dangerous illnesses and hereditary diseases can either be cured or circumvent around, allowing people to live healthier and hopefully happier lives. But in all these medical wonders, a few scientists have voiced concerns about how the advances in medical sciences (excluding genetic sciences) are hindering the evolution of human beings; some even claim that we are taking a step back in evolution. Here is why, whether it is something we observe in nature or Darwin’s wannabe protégées, the underlying principle is still the same, the survival of the fittest. Some scientists argued that by allowing the weak to live through the aid of medical sciences, we are effectively allowing the weak to survive and propagate, seeding ‘bad genes’ (like the ones that cause anaemia, Parkinson’s and diabetes) into the general population. By allowing the weak to survive, we have reduced the survivability of our species by the spreading of ‘bad genes’. If some disaster is to strike, we might then have been too genetically regressed to be able to adapt to the disaster. Then there is this controversial question of genetic manipulation, that we shouldn’t become Mother Nature or God to manipulate genes. If there should be no genetic manipulation, how are we to circumvent around genetic regression that we have unconsciously create ourselves or should we just do away with medicine completely?
2. Another thing that has been bothering me is economics. Of late we have heard news about economic recession, bad news for us, and good news for the environment. To improve the standard of welfare for everyone is also to undeniably place more burden on nature’s limited resources. I was once as naïve to say that wealthy people can buy more environmentally sustainable stuff but I was damn wrong. Research has shown that the wealthier one gets, the more burden is piled on to Mother Nature. On retrospect and in a more detail study of human psychology, I concurred similarly nonetheless. We have almost unlimited desires, and our desires get more expensive (financially and environmentally) the richer we get. When I was poor I drink water from the tap; now I drink champagne. When I was poor, I walk 2, 3 miles to do grocery shopping in a shop that occupies less than a quarter of a football field; now I drive 10-15miles in my electrically powered Rolls-Royce (supposedly more environmentally friendly but relative to what?) to do grocery shopping in an air conditioned hypermarket, Carrefour. When I was poor, my playground were the trees, stray dogs and cats; when I am rich, I am too old to use the playground but if I can use it without stigmatise, it would be those supposedly environmentally friendly yet colourful plastics, from the slides and swings to the monkey bars. I care about improving the living standards of the poor; unfortunately I have to suck up to the undesirable consequences to the environment. That is not to say that we should give up being environmentally conscious, we can still use our environmental knowledge to decelerate the demand on our planet’s resources for example riding on Harley Davidson to do grocery shopping rather than in a 4-wheel drive Land Rover, while waiting for a Star Trek like technology that can transmute excrement into food.
3. Human beings have the tendency to try to create or identify their own existing antithesis or to the extreme, a bugaboo to fight against. We need challenges otherwise we can’t survive. I personally view challenges as a constructive approach to knowledge and I admit I cannot survive without a challenge. But what worries me is the fine line between a constructive obstacle and an obstacle that leads to mutual self-destruction. We learn more about ourselves when we challenge ourselves and allow our minds to be open about new experiences and knowledge however ludicrous it may seem to us initially to what we thought we know before. However, I feel when people start cocooning themselves against the very antithesis that could have helped them to grow more well-rounded, they start displaying extreme hostility and paranoia on something unfamiliar to them. They increase their gibberish and propaganda while they are seemingly oblivious to the butterfly effect in promoting more jingoistic schism in human society fuelled by extreme paranoia and blind ideology rather than pragmatism. I do believe that we always need a Yin and a Yang, a thesis and an antithesis. Yet, is blind jingoism as an ideological adjective necessary or self-defeating? I do think it is self-defeating but I could be wrong.