Sunday, May 9, 2010

Indulging in Anthropocentrism

My mood has a tendency to vacillate a lot lately.  Not anything unhealthy, it's just been an up-side-down, topsy-turvy past few weeks or so.  Part of the problem is that I pay too much attention to the news, part is that I worry too much about other people.  On my bad days, I can be totally OK with the idea of complete human annihilation.  Plague?  Fine.  Natural disaster?  Bring it.  Famine?  Great.  Whatever gets the human population back into check, even if that means our extinction.  The world would be better without us, and we can be such frakking jerks to each other and to nature that we really deserve whatever might befall our species.  I know, cheery, eh?

And then on the good days, I have a real passion for how exactly do we educate people and get them interested and involved in ecology/conservation/human rights/something other than their damned X-Box or Wii.  We have got to do better at being stewards of the planet and each other if we're going to survive, and we have got to survive.  Without killing everything else in the process.

The bad days are usually brought on by too much news, too much bad news, too many people being a-holes- especially all piled into a few hours.  Driving in Cleveland at rush hour can also do the trick.

Good days happen thanks to being a witness to random acts of kindness, a trip to the art museum, a great concert, or a beautiful piece of prose or poetry.  Journal articles qualify as prose in this case, and have absolutely made my day more than once.

We humans are capable of such great things- creative and destructive.  As a mom, I really feel this point loud and clear.  I have had the opportunity to create life, and that's an amazing thing.  At the same time, mothers can utterly destroy the life that they created by their action or inaction.  Don't get me wrong, fathers can do that as well, but well, it's mother's day, and there's a little more cultural pressure (not that this is a good or bad thing- it's just a thing) on moms that their kids turn out "right" or "good," so I'm focusing on moms for now.

It's not a responsibility to be taken lightly.  The same is true of any creative force.  Einstein vocally opposed the atomic bomb, made possible by his work on energy and matter (the famous E=MC2 equation) and Oppenheimer regretted his work on the Manhattan project after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, saying if he had known what it could have done, he never would have pursued the research.  There is a weight that goes along with everything we create- and that weight dictates that we do not create something for which we can not take responsibility in the future.  If we create something for which we have no desire to care or do our best in protecting, then we have no reason or right to create that thing.

Today was mostly a good day, and I'm happy to have created the people that I have, because right now, I think there is a bit of a bright light, and maybe we humans have enough potential for good to outweigh the bad, although I wonder how to encourage the good over the bad.  Maybe, if I work hard enough, I'll find the answer someday, and maybe in that search, I'll do a little good along the way.  Happy mothers day to all the nurturing women out there- no matter what you may have created- and thank you for helping create a slightly better world.

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