20 feet down under, water crushing my eardrums, the insides of me collapsing under the massive hydraulic pressure… Unable to breathe and unwilling to die, I realized the absolute truth of life.
Man has been around for 3,00,000 years now. He has supposedly spent most of it wandering barefoot in jungles. Either hunting or gathering for food, as situation demanded. After about 2,90,000 years he is supposed to have taken up agriculture. The neo-age scientists and anthropologists called it the birth of civilization. What they actually meant by civilization was actually the birth of an idea. The idea that man doesn’t have to go where the resources and luxuries exist. He could get them to where he exists.
Our Civilization: Lets introspect how we civilized over the years.
- Soon after taking up to agriculture, the importance of creating boundaries impressed upon us. We had to know our lands from that of our neighbor. As Robert Frost would put it centuries later, “Good fences make good neighbors”.
- Soon we figured out that fruits and shiny metals were not of the same value. Barter system was abolished and monetary system introduced.
- Monetary system brought with it the pyramid that ensured a vast majority of us would serve as slaves all our lives.
- The forces-that-be then decided that the society deserved a little ‘Thought Control’ and ‘Allegiance’. Traditions, Customs and Thoughts were put in place which were inherently indisputable. Those who dared question were silenced (quite literally).
- The Ubiquitous-Omnipotent now had a name-and-form and his acceptable code of conduct laid down. Some of his special children assumed the authority to ensure his ways are implemented.
- We then burnt some witches amongst us and beheaded other non-conformists.
- As if that wasn’t enough, we burnt some more of ourselves based on our skin colour.
- Today we are civilized enough to cross the borders that we created ourselves, hurt, torture & kill those on the other side just because we suspect that they may harm us. But then, we are kind enough to take away their natural resources and relieve them of that burden.
Also note that we have accomplished all this in record time. Three cheers to mankind !!!
“You’ll see. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these ‘civilized’ people will eat each other.” – Joker, The Dark Knight
I too believed that we are animals, but with a conscience. I’ve been an ardent swimmer for quite sometime now. It’s one of the swimming sessions that enlightened me of the absolute truth of mankind. The swimming pool that I frequent is 20feet deep and it’s very common that one does what is called ‘under water walking‘. It’s a stunt wherein one dives into the water, exhales every bit of air in his lungs to get to the floor of the pool and tries to take a walk. For those who are not into swimming or haven’t tried the under water walking, let me try to explain what it feels like.
20 feet down under, there is absolutely no noise. The silence is incomparable to anything else I’ve witnessed in my life. The weight of the water crushes down on you. Your lungs crave for one breath of air – just one. But it ain’t gonna get nothing. 20 feet down under, there is no use crying for help and you can be sure of being unnoticed by anyone above. Unable to breathe and unwilling to die, one experiences the absolute feeling of helplessness.
I don’t know what it feels to die. But, 20 feet down under, you can certainly experience what it feels to be an inch away from death. For the sake of my unaware friends, let me explain what an-inch-away from death feels like.
One inch away from death, couple of interesting things happen. The first thing to happen is that one forgets who he is. The sense of ‘ME’ becomes redundant as it wouldn’t matter anymore under the circumstance. Secondly, all the learning/education of the world is forgotten as it wouldn’t help any longer. Lastly, the mind is ridden of all thoughts but for one. All your mind is concentrated on One objective and One means to achieve it only. The ultimate objective of live – Survival & the only reliable skill – Instinct.This is the absolute truth of humanity. All else is learnt/forced-upon by things that don’t matter in life.
Sages and psychologists have sought to experience/re-create ‘Tabula Rasa‘. I guess, this is the closest I’ve got to experience it myself. Things that my little misadventure taught me.
- When pushed off the limits, all your education isn’t worth a dime.
- Morals and Conscience is a luxury unaffordable when survival is threatened. They are in fact tools that we use to boost our ego, sitting deep in our comfort zones.
It is in these moments that all the 3,00,000 years of legacy is forgotten and the neo-age corporate denizen turns cave-man again. Under these situations, there is no limit to which man would resort to survive. I swear I’d have personally killed anyone if I had to do so to survive. The best part is that I wouldn’t repent one bit about that.
That brings us to the question. How different are we today from the monkeys that we supposedly bid goodbye lakh’s of years ago? In my candid opinion we are no more than one huge tribe of less-hairy monkeys wearing fancy suits. Consider this – one half of our tribe (read Female) still go nuts for shiny metals (read Diamonds, Gold etc) and the other half (read Male) is crazy about toys (read Automobiles, Laptop, iPods etc). Assigning a huge monetary value to them does not change the fact – they still remain SHINY METALs and TOYS.
So, I say, lets empty our ego-bags and the false sense of importance, for in the end, it doesn’t even matter…