There is no doubt that humans are a crafty bunch; we can be crazy smart and innovative at times.
Build a skyscraper to give more people housing and office space, build a bridge that spans kilometres, turn rocks into metals to give us all manner of things, map the human genome and understand disease like never before.
There is little doubt we are a ‘clever’ bunch, but to what degree is our cleverness going to be our downfall?
There is a difference between learning to fix a problem and understanding why the problem occurred, or keeps occurring. For many, fixing the problem and making life better has become our safety net.
Consider the way we use vitamins, herbs or medication for pain, cold or flu. Do we look at why we have gotten sick, or do we look for ways to fix the symptoms so we can return to our old pattern of behaviour as quickly as possible?
From setting up comfortable homes that make us forget the drudgery of the day-to-day that many live in, to modern religions that promise the ultimate safety net of ‘salvation’. Then from our comfortable homes and a guaranteed place in heaven we then allow these same religions to treat other humans with disdain, abuse and violence.
It seems that our ability to continually fix problems does not awaken wisdom within us, but a deeper recklessness. Sitting in our safety net, we become less connected to the consequences of our actions.
What if we removed the safety net – how would our attitude change?
What if we took people out of their modern day cars that offer outstanding safety and comfort and got them to drive without windows, doors or flooring so they could feel the speed they were doing up close and the real fragility of flesh and bone hurtling around at 60 km/hour.
Would it change how we drive?
Or if we stopped all medical services and access to medications for a month or longer . . . the resulting mass deaths would cause an outcry in the short term but at some point we would have to question our personal choices more closely.
This is not suggesting that people suffering is a good thing, but that our ability to avoid suffering does not appear to engender greater responsibility but greater arrogance.
What is that part of ourselves that considers its impact on its own body or the people around them inconsequential?
There seems to be part of ourselves that places such little value on our own life that we will eat, drink and move in a way that will ensure we have some form of chronic illness.
There seems to be a part of ourselves that will defend its cleverness and insist there are no problems, all the while abusing ourselves or others. In fact, we will even attack anything that suggests personal responsibility is the way forward.
There is little doubt humans are a clever bunch, but maybe ‘clever’ is not the answer.
Maybe we need to remove some of the safety nets so that as a society we move from championing cleverness to valuing deeper honesty: our cleverness in union with honesty toward a true way forward will surely produce different results than what we currently have.
The greatest form of medicine is the way we live.