Monday, June 05, 2006

Send In The Clones

And here I was trying to go and collect only one of each, with the occasional double of a trooper or guard! When I saw this photo of some other guy's collection I had two thoughts:

1. So that's why you can't find Clone Trooper figures in retail stores!!!!

2. I'm just not obsessive enough!!!

(and I've gotta borrow a digital camera from someone soon so I can update and post pics from my own rapidly increasing collection. See a couple photos from waaaaaay back in February. It's at least doubled since then! Do I sound like a proud father or what!?)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Au Naturel!

Thanks to Blog Monkey I suddenly feel inspired to post after a long absence! Seems the "Controversial One" has once again stirred up the mud puddle that is our lives and away we go! I was going to post this as a comment to his post but found it started getting too long and got me thinking and writing passionately on a subject upon which I've mediated from time to time over the years. So it starts kind of like a comment to his post which maybe you should read before this:

Totally agree with what you're saying. If the drives are there they must be understood so that they can be managed without guilt. But, as with so many other human impulses and tendencies, I think we have a kind of knee-jerk reaction to hard-to-deal with aspects of humanity that says something like, "If it's natural, then there must be a way to let it work itself out naturally, after all, it's only natural". And nobody stops to ask what the hell we mean by "natural" and where our concept of it comes from? Not that I think this is your [Blog Monkey's] problem, just that this topic could end up going down this slippery slope of sloppy thinking, which is why it scares people (though that's no excuse not to tackle it head on of course! All the more reason....)

We often forget, conveniently so, that as human beings our ability to reflect and reason is one of our most extraordinary evolutionary achievements (if it can be called that). It is a human necessity to take responsibility for our abilities and the actions to which they can lead. As our actions, as we know, can have incredible consequences for life on earth, this should be a moral imperative with no exceptions. Never ever ever. I think the tendency humans have of taking a somewhat under-explored notion of "nature/natural" and applying it to human drives can be dangerous. Not that it's not true (that they are natural and not manufactured in a lab in the Antarctic) it's just that our unique situation, what with language and reason and writing and meaning and our ability to reflect and go deeper than mere stimuli/response relationships with each other and the world, adds a certain something to the pot. Our evolutionary gift is this higher intelligence. Do we use it fully yet? No, obviously. Why? Not sure exactly, probably easier not to, or to let a few leader-types use it for us even though they might only be using it for their gain at our expense, and the expense of the planet as a whole. Humanity's biggest problem is that it does not accept and acknowledge that our "nature" is to have to use our intelligence as close to fully as we can in order to survive as a species. I think we knew this before, way back when our situation was a bit more desperate on the day-to-day level. But we've (the West) have hit this comfortable blip on the radar that is humanity's past, present and future existence on this orb and for some reason, because we don't reflect enough and most often look at the situation from our limited and unexamined point of view, we don't see that our current way of thinking and the actions it leads to is slowly but surely destroying the very possibility of survival in the long term. Our intelligence could be used to guide us along easily through life if we took the responsibility and made the effort. We could have by now accepted the way the ecosystem is balanced and worked intelligently to sustain it and ourselves for millennia to come. In a way, I think this is exactly what humanity is trying to work out in recent history, as we strive to disburden ourselves of superstitious restraints such as organized and misguided religions, despotism and, to some extent, though god knows it's damn hard, materialism. Another interesting point is that often when scoffers are pushed to respond to the "what if" scenario of the Earth becoming uninhabitable, their defense is to actually call up a faith in our intelligence and our ability to "find the solution through science and invention and technology". Interesting because it is an admission that our greatest gift is our intelligence, sad because it puts off using it to the brink of collapse.

So what is natural for a human being? Is making conscious and conscientious decisions with much reflection and a sense of responsibility and duty to our intelligence not natural? It may not seem so because it does not happen to us as automatically as breathing or a heartbeat, or, an erection for that matter (for that percentage of humanity that can have one, you know who you are!), but I think this is only because of an ill-defined concept of nature infected with a carryover attitude from humanity's pre-scientific and more religious years when we thought of our intelligence as reflecting something above and beyond nature, something that had affinities only with the gods.

So how the heck does this jive with Blog Monkey's topic of discussion? Well, I'm just saying that to keep the debate intelligent I think we have to remember that the scariness factor comes from past examples of humanity using the idea of "well it's only natural" to justify all kinds of horrible things, like injustice, war and genocide. So if we've got these "Throbbing Biological Urges" (to quote the Simpsons), we've still got to realize that our intelligence can come into play to find a way to give them healthy and just outlets that will not harm others.

It's time humanity gave intelligence its due. And it's high time we see it as our prime ability for survival. Think of it as our wings, our jaws, our gills, or our powerful hind legs, whatever analogy works for ya!