one side or the other

I’m stuck constantly between two mindsets, one that mankind is beyond help, and the other that we can be better if we wanted to. I will fight for one perspective or the other until I’m exhausted, depending on how I feel.

Only the insulated and naive can possibly believe that the world is nice place, that people can be nice, that those of us who don’t rape, kill or steal are somehow defeating some inner demons and are therefore evolved.

Only the pessimistic and bitter can possibly believe that human nature is inherently evil, that we are all so bad deep down that even acts of apparent kindness are done for selfish ends.

I see so much love and so much pain, and I don’t even see the worst or best of it. You only have to look at statistics to see how many people are deprived of their dignity every day, every second, to see how many people lose their homes, how children die every single day because of something as simple as not having enough to eat.

And then people keep going because of that one or two moments of tenderness we receive, a hug, a kiss, a kind word. If we’re lucky enough to have someone we’re in love with, we can stave off the bad things by making love and holding hands and holding their face as we kiss them. Friends can provide support, solidarity, companionship and community.

Do I open my heart to the love, and accept that as the only eventuality, or do I perceive just the hate in the world, just for the sake of being ‘realistic’? Those comforts we hold close seem so temporary, but as people we seem to desperately gather up and hold on to them no matter what, for fear of losing the one thing that keeps things sane.

I try to look back over history and see for a time when people were not killing other people, but I can’t find it. Neither has mankind ever been without love.

Our lives are stricken with duality, how we, as Dawkins put it, can see both the complexity of a tiger, admire it’s functions and yet see it as a whole. Yet I cannot, against my best efforts I cannot allow brutality and love to stand next to each other, it’s either one or the other.

The duality of human nature is evident in my fascination for the beautiful engineering and complexity of firearms, and yet I am sickened when I am reminded of its purpose. The admirable tasks of logistics, planning and management of a war, less, a battle. The breathtaking fluidity of a phalanx when it wheels into the flank of the opposition, and yet the brutality that follows.

2 thoughts on “one side or the other”

  1. Although I would like to touch on all of this more in depth, Im just going to say for now, I think you should open up and perceive everything, the love, hate, beauty and fear. Perceive it all. I think it helps keep things balanced.

    There are those people who only pay attention to one thing or the other, and they become disillusioned to reality. They only focus on the bad or the good and good luck talking to them with a balanced perspective, they don’t have it.

    But I understand your dilemma. I feel the same way about these things. Everything about life is so fragile, and you want to so desperately hold onto it and protect it. Sometimes that means being in love, and sometimes it means being angry or vicious. The thought of having both is disturbing. How can a deep appreciation for life coincide with disgust and fear of it?

    Although im not sure if it’s a duality, like I said, we should talk about it in person.

    Some good thoughts though, and well articulated.



  2. Does not this dilemna of which you speak come about only when you look outside yourself at the world beyond you?

    If you are able to perceive this duality of love and hate outside of you, then surely you have been equipped with the ability, the capacity to see this duality within yourself? And, if you are able to see that you yourself are as fickle as the rest of us, full of opinions that inform outward action both of which are justified to yourself as right and proper then are you not then equipped to resolve this duality in the one place you are able, or at least more able than you are anywhere else on this planet, namely within yourself?



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