Sunday, 25 September 2011

Worshipping Shiny Things.

I was just watching a bit of the F1 Grand Prix from Singapore. It was a night race. They gave us a shot of the illuminated skyscrapers, and waxed eloquent about how smart and shiny and dynamic the place is. All very impressive.

Not to me it isn’t. I’m more impressed by a mother sheep suckling her lamb than a skyscraper. And I find the inaugural flight of fledging birds infinitely more dynamic than any glitzy downtown thoroughfare.

My question is: How many thousands of years have people been on this planet? And how far have we come?

OK, we’ve developed language. The development of language is impressive, but when pompous, anthropologically-inclined celebrities like Stephen Fry and David Attenborough make their turgid documentaries in which they present speculation as established fact in order to seem important and claim outrageous salaries, you have to wonder whether there’s a bit of kidology going on. I strongly suspect that there was a bit more to ancient man, the ancient mind, and the development of Babel than we arrogant moderns care to accept.

(I’m referring to Stephen Fry’s latest money-making and reputation-enhancing TV series. And I might be wrong. And I’m digressing again.)

So, how far have we come? We’ve had spiritual leaders and philosophers aplenty. The spiritual leaders still retain many so-called adherents, but most of those only pay lip service to the core teachings and openly ignore them when they become inconvenient. The philosophers have fared less well, having become largely confined to being the subject of ‘educated’ debate in institutions for clever people.

Meanwhile, we’ve gone great guns in developing a monetary system (which panders to the pre-eminence of the possessive principle,) cars, skyscrapers and other shiny things. It seems the human race hasn’t yet got beyond the stage of drooling over shiny things.

I wonder whether this is how it’s supposed to be. I wonder whether the human experience is meant to stay down here at strictly base level in order to give us a reason to want to get out.

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