Culture

Human Or Humane

Human Or Humane
Human Or Humane
Human Or Humane
Human Or Humane - How To Ruin A Planet With Only One Species - Is it just for the moment we live? What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie? | Photo: James Faddis | Humane, Human, Mad Max, Terminator, Think,

How To Ruin A Planet With Only One Species

You're sitting in traffic on a highway system planned in the early fifties, likely with an engine basically designed in the late 19th century. You're running the A/C, generally with the news and/or a favorite station playing via broadcast or satellite subscription. That audio book takes too much concentration, although you do try to use this increasingly increasing time period for the gaining of knowledge or insight, perhaps in aid of that college course reading list you never quite got through, or in lieu of such attendance, what with the cost of tuition and, well, children.

Your thoughts—when not on a to do list or the children you and/or your siblings may have—drift through your brain, maybe beyond it, to what it's all about, that phrase from a forgotten film 'Alfie', with that cool busy actor Michael Caine from the 60's who still pops up in all sorts of films with Vin Diesel and all those Batmen, and more.

You even remember some of the lyrics to the theme song: "What's it all about, Alfie?

Is it just for the moment we live?

What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?

Are we meant to take more than we give

Or are we meant to be kind?

And if only fools are kind, Alfie

Then I guess it is wise to be cruel

And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie

What will you lend on an old golden rule?

As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie

I know there's something much more,

Something even non-believers can believe in..."


You just got cut off by that car with what must be an illegal muffler, the driver a possible Mad Max wannabe, better let it go.

You still believe in living beyond the moment, although you're always hearing how it's good to 'be in the moment'. Which always wrinkles your brow, furrowed enough what with, well, you know; 'to be', is it just a kind of self-delivered ultimatum to and by your Hamlet neurons, or a truly deep matter you and most of your friends don't get around to thinking over?

You're not dogmatically religious, no, but you wonder about 'being' in the Darwinian, human sense---the questions college didn't and/or couldn't answer: who are we, why do we exist in an apparently hostile universe?

There's another Mad Max, 'Universal' bumper sticker picturing some new thrill...of the moment.

It's not as if science has those answers, except when it comes to telling you that we're overpopulated, the oceans are full of plastic, and the ice caps are in meltdown. They're still inconvenient truths, but you think of that small committee you sat on for something or another, how agreement was so hard.

You think of that show, the one they had at Universal Studios, T2, with the Terminator. And that line from the sequel—the best sequel, really, in your opinion in film, where sequels are usually flops—'it's in your nature to destroy yourselves'.

Then how is it that the pet food business is so huge? Every other advert you suffer through on almost any screen: 'pure this', 'nutritional that'--- you realize it's fundamental, that people somehow become 'humane' when it comes to their pets. Smiling at the thought that maybe it's because they don't speak, you see a bumper sticker: 'Humane Society'.

Don't miss the exit, how could you, it's backed up.

That means we're capable of it, being...being that is humane. That reading you did, somewhere, about how this guy, this German philosopher, Schoepenhauer, you think, was the big pessimist—even he couldn't reconcile strangers saving drowning strangers.

Time to terminate this inner monologue, maybe lucky enough to have been with you, the reader, of course, then it'd be a dialogue, kind of, you kind...humane enough to have been silent except inside your cabeza. Six years of Spanish, tada.

Anyway, Terminator or that other Germanic dude—we need to choose how we see our 'nature': only human, or only humane. Even if you're not named Alfie.

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Updated Sep 17, 2018 4:04 AM EDT | More details

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