For most of my life, I've had one maybe two real friends at any given time. This isn't sad to gain pity, but rather to make you realize that in depth conversations with close friends are few and far between for me. But today, unexpectedly, my friend Adam and I not only pondered the fate of humanity, but also agreed upon the one solution to all of earth's ills. I only ask now, “Are you ready to save the world?”
Believe it or not the conversation started about T-shirts. He mentioned one that referenced a certain news story that has been plaguing our media-waves for the whole of the summer. I mentioned that I for the most part completely ignore the news. He stated that having the TV on during lunchbreaks at work made it impossible for him to ignore. We then agreed that the majority of news stories are fluff.
On the subject of news, two points emerged. Adam mentioned the London Blasts as an example of a news story that is focused on intently, insisting that 24 hour news stations are ridiculous, since an hour of news is really all one needs in a day. Then I came forth with the notion that never has a news story really affected my life at all. One could ignore all news media without noticing any difference in his life. But it didn't stop there.
I then had to agree with Adam's support of the press as a watchdog institution for government. More on that later because at this point he expressed his frustration with the terrorists, and went as far as to hold the religion of Islam partly responsible for such attrocities. I tried to defend the majority of Muslims, pointing out that their interpretation of the Quran is obscene, and that extremists in any belief are just as devastating. All throughout this exchange I threw out my media education terms and knowledge while Adam offered his technical engineer expertise. See Ma, college is a helpin'. I had to concur that faith was partially responsible for such attacks, since they are in fact suicide bombers. A secular attacker would try to survive for another strike. We came to the conclusion that some 90% (or even more) of people have good intentions with their faith.
So at this point, we are forced to agree that religion does have negative consequences. Somewhere along the line, Adam recited another news story about scientists that postulate that the world is only 6000 years old, and through tracking the rise and decline of civilizations one could expect the end of Human existence in 300 years. As depressing as that sounds, we were both in agreement that given the wickedness of governments and religious extremists, it was certainly possible. That's when I went back to my notion of the news.
I told Adam he was right, an informed public is the only safeguard against government tyranny. But I asked him even if our vote does make a difference, could he honestly say that he noticed a difference between one presidency and the other? I offered that for the majority of the politically minded, they were only arguing for motions and legislation that really has no effect on them personally. Working towards an ideal is good, but at a certain point we are reaching a state of hyper-pluralism, arguing more than is necessary without achieving any real result. I thought it would be less hassle if people only worried about themselves. Adam said that was the problem. What I meant was that people just let certain issues go.
Then the purpose of government came into question. If people really are going to tear this place apart in 3 centuries, what are govt's doing about it. Since they are indeed created to save us from ourselves. Adam noted that if 90 percent of people are good, then the 10 percent of evil should never be able to take control of the majority and that governments should work. I pointed out that the majority in power often has a way of seeking and gaining more than it should, squashing the minority. I can't quite remember the chronology of all this, but regardless, our ending conclusion was that Governments are a power meant to protect humanity from itself, but since nobody can agree on what is right, the evil rises to the top, taking advantage of the squabbling masses.
Why can't we agree on what is right, I thought? Certainly we as humans must be able to collectively find some universal truth, right? Then I remembered that religions were exactly that, attempts at truth beyond the mundane existence, and look what religion has gotten us. Adam followed with fears of Orwellian control of society to preserve safety. The prophecy is self-fulfilling in a way, leading people to seek comfort in the very institutions that are ripping this world in two. All this because people can't “Let things go!” We thought that was a genius revelation, and that we should just speak that from a televised podium somewhere, and watch the tension lift away.
But then I remembered how stubborn people are. No doubt they would all just go “That's what we're saying, but the (Conservatives, Liberals, Muslims, Catholics, Athiests) won't let us.”
Anyways Grand Finale solution to all of the world's problems: Humor.
You can thank me later… you know, when total bliss is reached by all of the world's children.
Take this of course with a grain of salt, but tell me your thoughts.