Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Ramblings about conflicts

People are full of conflict.

We want choice, but we hate making decisions.
We want freedom, but we hate taking chances.
We seek adventure, but we also crave safety.
We want to stand out, but we also want to blend in.

You would think that after thousands of years of evolution we would have reached a state where we have it all figured out - but we don't. Just browse the self-help section of any book store and gloss over the titles of pop-psychogy books.  Clearly the human race, or the reading public at least, is a bundle of conflicts.

Is this some historical accident which has thrown us off course ? or is it part of a grand design where keeping humans on the edge serves the evolutionary purpose of driving them to greater risks and scarier unknowns. After all, if the collective human race decides tomorrow that they are perfectly at peace and don't need to change anything anymore, progress would stop.

Progress of course is another one of those words which we throw about carelessly, but rarely think through. The conventional wisdom is that bigger, faster, stronger, taller, and wealthier are all signs of progress. But it is also true that all progress necessarily exposes us to higher levels of discontent. The more we know, the more we know what we don't know. The more we create, the more we need to keep creating to preserve it. 

Is it possible that someone, somewhere made a bad choice which threw us into this path accidentally ? Could it be that the monks had it right ? that the purpose of life really is to sit and meditate ?

Idle questions. And yet another sign of our inherent conflicts. For we're not really interested in the answers  - we just like to question.

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