I’ve always thought that if I were a terrorist, I’d go around from state to state, country to country, purposefully starting forest fires. I don’t know whether this is a practiced art of terrorism, but it sure seems like a great way to cause a lot of destruction without very much chance of being caught. There’s a big forest fire brewing just north of Boulder right now, in the hills above Fort Colins. You can see the smoke if you look north, and even the mountains to the West are trapped in a haze of smoke. If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume it’s just dust or air pollution from traffic. I’m not sure what the cause of the fire was or why it’s so badly out of control, but that won’t stop me from a few heavily biased assumptions that help further my already deep-seated convictions about life. The authorities say it’s from a lightning strike. My bet is a cigarette butt, because I don’t like cigarettes. The authorities don’t mention anything about pine beetle kill in regards to the fire (this is in reference to the infestation of pine beetles , which, due to climate change, have become a huge cause of die-out amongst pine forests, leaving dead dry wood that may or may not add extra propellent to forest fires). I, for one, do believe that the forest is burning more rapidly because of the pine beetles. I believe this because I don’t like my or our civilization’s greed when it comes to consuming resources and our negative impact on the earth. Anything to strengthen my beliefs. If the answer you’re looking for isn’t there, look harder damn it and you’ll find it.
One of the key flaws in humans is our inability to learn new things, and our overpowering yearning to re-learn what we already know keeps us in a perpetual loop of ignorance. We like to listen to the same old songs, watch the same movies over and over, and read books that we’ve read three times before. But more than that, we like to re-learn things that don’t necessarily need to be re-learned. If you know that you know a certain thing, but can’t give a good enough explanation about it at a dinner party, do you find yourself going home and researching it, with exclamations of, “ah, now THAT’S right. I knew that. I just forgot that one little detail in the krebs cycle and that’s why I sounded so uninformed. Dag nab it!” I find myself constantly re-learning things I knew years ago and either forgot entirely, or just forgot a little bit. How many times have I been to Wikipedia’s page on the central nervous system or the amino acid L-glutamine? One might ask the same question in regards to the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. The world may never know.
When I hear a certain subject come up that I know something about, I blurt out the same thing I always say about that subject, almost as if I’m the only one who knows that thing and have to inform everyone about how and why it’s so. If I know nothing of the subject, I absorb little of what is being told to me. Instead, I wait for my opportunity to attack, just like in a bike race. A slight pause, a questionable fact in the other person’s argument, or even the hint of hesitation as they say something, and I, knowing nothing of the subject mind you, go for the jugular. Of course this isn’t always the case, and may be an exaggeration, but there’s some truth to it. Is it my unwillingness to learn something new or is it my innate desire to disagree? There’s something to be said for critics. And that something is: fuck off! Haha, no but seriously, questioning an authority, even when it comes to the true cause of a forest fire, is always worthy. Especially when the root of the problem isn’t being addressed or if it has anything to do with someone’s profit, which almost everything does.
As creatures of habit, our foresight is small and our yearning for adventure is petite, as a society anyways. The individual may be another matter. But as a mass, we don’t look to the past as a guide for our future, because the past is in the past and the distant future isn’t relevant to what’s on TV tonight, which is re-runs of The Office of course. What am I getting at, you ask? Well I don’t know yet, because I just started typing whatever came to me that instant and haven’t really thought about what’s going to come next. Maybe a period.
It’s not our fault though. When something new is learned, a neural pathway is built that will never be destroyed (for the time being anyways). As we forget things, the pathway to that memory is weakened but still exists, making it easier to re-learn in the future, as opposed to a truly new thing which is more difficult because it requires the construction of a new neural pathway. Damn it, even right now I’m writing about something that I already know. Or think that I know. I guess if everyone knows a lot about a little, and we can successfully transfer the information to one another, continuous learning is unnecessary: just learn something and hopefully someone else doesn’t know it so you have some use in the world. Now that I think about it, maybe this is what already takes place. But our ability to communicate, and our ability to listen to what someone else is saying, is so poor that this system doesn’t seem to work. After all, ignorance and a lack of successful communication are the cause of the majority of our dilemmas. Maybe there’s just too many people in the world. It seems like that’s the conclusion I come to no matter what the problem.
I assume most people think they’re unique, based on what I believe about myself. Either the way people think or how they feel, most humans believe themselves to be different, adrift in a life raft that only they know how to row, living in their own worlds. Each person living in their own world, separated by nothing but separated nonetheless, unknowing that everyone else does, in fact, think and feel pretty much the same as they do. I realized this years ago–that what I experience is the same as everyone else–and since then have based what I think about the world and what I believe about the human psyche, solely on what I myself think and feel. So if everyone believes themselves to be unique, realizing that I’m not unique means that I actually am. Congratulations, Kennett.
Recently, I edited a paper of my brother’s. The subject was on education: Nietzscheism vs Nationalism, sort of. The idea of educating people to be unique thinkers, question things, and to be individuals as opposed to a mass, was a major goal of Nietzsche. The end product is to become an Übermensch, a person who lives with their own set of rules, hopefully a set of rules “higher” than that set by society. An Übermensch is a person who inspires and leads, though if everyone was an Übermensch I don’t see what the point of having a leader or an inspiration figure would be, since both of those things wouldn’t be neccesary anymore. All of the Übermensch’s questionable traits of eugenics, sexism, and racism aside, an Übermensch is an enlightened person that realizes that the boundaries of society or traditional morality should be broken because they’re based solely on a particular country’s economic desire. Nationalism, or being a part of a society that demands the good of the many over the good of the individual, requires a different kind of education: one that keeps the flock tightly grouped to be ready for shearing. I’m not sure if this is what my brother’s paper is actually about, or if this is really what Nietzsche’s idea of an Übermensch actually is, but it’s what I’ve chosen to believe. And in believing that and discarding everything Wikipedia told me about an Übermensch and going off in my own direction, I have, in doing so, become an Übermensch.
Instead of becoming an Übermensch pyromaniac bent on destroying forests who’s unwilling and unable to learn new things but has decided that it doesn’t matter anyways because society sucks, morality is a joke to get us working for the rich, and we’re all going to die after pointless lives full of constant bickering over miscommunications and stumbling upon our own ignorance, instead of becoming that PyroÜbermensch, I’ll continue on with being a hungry CycloÜbermensch. That way I can be satisfied with a good long ride and enjoy a can of sardines afterwards as I reap the benefit of all that b-12 and omega-3. Excuse me while I look those two things up again to find out what they’re good for.