There are many questions that shall remain unanswered irrespective of how much progress we register on our clock. One such question happens to be: “Why the hell do we do what we do?” A simple response would be the elegant word - “Choice.” It doesn’t fully take in to account the myriad factors at play though. In all probability, this question and this answer aren’t made for each other. They don’t have a meeting point whatsoever. Humans are complex. Human actions, worse so.
The more we try to fathom, the more clueless we appear. Curse of curiosity perhaps. Conversely, those who don’t bother themselves with existential queries tend to lead a carelessly blissful life. Their general refrain being, “What’s the point in breaking your head over things that don’t matter?”
Well, things do matter. When it rains, everybody gets wet. When it floods, everybody drowns. Every single action, intended or otherwise, has repercussions. There’s no such a thing as inconsequential nowadays. Why so? Because we’ve learnt to see the patterns as well as see through the patterns. Earlier, we were dense about what we didn’t know. Nowadays, there seems to be a more open-minded approach toward connecting the dots as well as the exclamation points.
Which brings us to the moot point again — what drives us? Last year, i wrote something on pandas and their proclivity towards killing themselves. Their suicidal tendencies are cute and comical in nature but stark and vapid too. Turns out i missed out on the most glaring aspect of our own species: We are suicidal by design. Yes, yes, we are fast approaching 8 billion count and are already the most populous as well as the most powerful mammals in the food chain. Yet, if you look at our behaviour and more importantly, the collective patterns, you’ll easily notice the mission suicide under production.
An environmentalist can go on lamenting the harm that we’ve done to the planet and how the ecosystem has been inured to our misdeeds. But he’ll stop before suggesting that the planet would heal in our absence. And that’s what i feel needs to be said again and again and again: Earth would not only heal but flourish once we are gone. (We all know what happened when the Russians abandoned Chernobyl and what happened recently in Atacama; nature is adept at getting itself up and going.) A far-fetched statement given our current rate of growth. However, it’s worth noting how we are being victims of our folly. Our aggrandizing trust in our prowess is making us look more idiotic than we are.
The usual power trip: cutting trees knowing very well that we need them for oxygen, getting rid of forests knowing very well their indispensable place in the ecosystem, choking our gutters as well as the ocean with plastic waste knowing very well where they end up (oh, there is no end to plastic), messing up our soil by ingesting chemicals like there’s no tomorrow (maybe there will be no tomorrow someday) knowing very well the corporate agenda, consuming junk food knowing very well the damage they are doing to everybody involved including you, depending heavily on fossil fuels knowing very well they are there because some rich fatasses want them to be there, destroying the only planet we’ve got so far knowing very well that Mars is never going to be anywhere close to this beauty no matter how hard Elon Musk tries.
We do all these and much much more for a simple reason: we are fucking stupid and somewhere deep inside, there’s a calling — perhaps implanted by Mother Nature herself — which would like us to commit actions detrimental to our collective interest. Somebody wants us gone. Why else would we do things, repeatedly proved to be harmful for everyone we claim to live for and love forever? The only difference between pandas and us is they don’t need to ruin the planet to get rid of themselves.