Once upon a time a lot of really bad stuff happened to homo sapiens on Tuesdays. They, sorry, we, got eaten by saber-tooth tigers, were trampled by woolly mammoths, bitten and stung by the worst imaginable insects, and without flouride toothpaste, suffered serious tooth decay and major dental inconvenience and pain. And don’t get me started on prehistoric childbirth…
These earlier, smellier versions of us broke their limbs and had appendix problems just like we do now, but they had no anaesthetic, antiseptics or antibiotics, which I’m sure we can easily agree is a bad state of affairs, and so life for them was a much shorter and somewhat brutal affair. The “art” of surgery does fortunately go back a few thousand years for these early us-oids, but was carried out with the kind of tools that cause us to scream when we see them being used in horror movies today, albeit for slightly more altruistic purposes. It’s exactly things like this that cause me to view with suspicion any person who sanguinely states that he wishes for the “good old days”…
Anyway, to roll even further back, there was a time when dinosaurs walked on, swam under and flew above, the earth. Back then, there existed a variety of huge, lumbering, land-bound beasts that scientists now believe were adorned with feathers rather than the reptilian scales made popular by Hollywood, and boy, did they have it bad. The popular saying, “it’s a dog eat dog world” hadn’t been invented yet, and so, since no one had explained the rules of engagement to them, everything pretty much ate everything else. And if a dinosaur or really big insectoid thing wasn’t being eaten, or doing the eating, it was being spat on by super-massive volcanos that were impolitely and inconveniently coughing up new lands everywhere, or it was being rained on by bits of space rock that were fairly commonplace leftovers from the lego pieces that make up what is now our (relatively) stable and peaceful solar system, and which hadn’t yet coagulated properly together to form a Haiwaii beach on a balmy Friday evening.
And before that, well, things were even wilder and weirder.
But let’s fast forward a bit to somewhere after Mrs Pless, but not too close to Jacob Zuma. For calibration purposes, there was a time historians refer to as the Dark Ages, and a time after it known as the Enlightenment, which we are allegedly still experiencing, although a perfunctory glance at a newspaper on any given day would probably supply enough grounds to successfully refute that. And before the Dark Ages there was a time that has different names in different cultures because those different cultures pretty much believed they were the sum total of the known world, so they didn’t have to be “inclusive”, and before all of that is a time we call pre-history.
Throughout the piece of history that includes us, whether in pre-historic or modern guise, the rule about dogs eating dogs was known, and some took this to be the desired state of affairs, like it was an objective to achieve. Which is important to state because, in light of that, farm murders are nothing new, for example.
Vikings conquered, raped and pillaged.
Visigoths burnt down and looted.
Ottomans were not pulled up for a quiet sit down and a cup of tea with somewhere soft to put your feet. They were vicious brutes who rode on horses and chariots and made subjects of peasants on conquered land, while doing things that their version of Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t have let them post on FacePapyrus.
Before the new world was discovered, and violently oppressed, the old world had known and suffered violence and oppression, and people had experienced waves of being subjects, followed by waves of dominating their neighbours, as kingdoms and empires successively grew and waned.
You see, there is a funny rule of nature.
States of chaos and order are opposing points of a pendulum, and reality, which fancies a bit of swinging about, likes to cycle between those states as it orders and then tears itself down again. No one knows why, or knows how it all started, except for some of those sanguine fuckers who like to quote camel-rapists from old books, but whatever the cause, and whatever the reason, this pendulum swinging nature is clearly how the game goes. Right now, we are experiencing a strange kind of cycling where we are enlightened enough to know that we shouldn’t be stupid and tear it all down, but stupid enough to do it anyway even while realising that the consequences of our stupidity are going to be of a global scale. In addition to that, as the dominant life form in our neck of the woods, we appear to have split into 2 distinct branches. One branch appears to be orderly, conscientious and conscious, and the other, dull and ignorant and ever-so-slightly chaos-inducing. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the conscious lot had superior weapons, were better organised and were less hamstrung by a new thing called “rights”, which kind of interfere with the dog eat dog rule, or if the ignorant lot would start watching more television and stop producing dull and chaotic offspring. In the old days, the dull and ignorant lot weren’t as prodigious in number as they now are, but they behaved pretty much just as they do today, and back then the orderly lot could get permits to hunt them and instil a bit of righteous fear in order to stop them from fucking up the royal pumpkin patch. Mind you, when I say the “orderly lot” could get permits, you had to be a very connected part of the orderly lot in order to do so. Of course, nowadays that sort of thing is frowned upon and for good reason. A lot of innocent, orderly people have suffered through the centuries under the hands of these permit holders and despots, who are typically of a kind that are bent on enriching themselves – despots with somewhat of a god-complex about their intelligence and ability, while oftentimes spouting nonsense about divinely appointed bloodlines and families – and able to do pretty much as they pleased with no oversight to rein them in. We as a species just don’t seem to learn.
And all of this, to make this point…
I’m frankly surprised that we as a species and what is now called, a society, are individually or collectively surprised that life and existence is in such a sorry state and seems to be headed for a wall. I hear people complaining about one faction of their society or another, or about how we collectively and globally seem to be shitting in our bed, and polluting and killing everything, as if we ever had a decent, inclusive, actionable plan or the ability to control this cosmic game, and I shake my head in wonder. You see, reality is and always will be a swinging pendulum, and any time reality is experiencing a period of calm and collective orderliness, it, and by extension, we, should be aware that chaos is waiting just around the corner to have a go at the wheel, and that chaos isn’t too picky about what the agent of disaster will be.
It’s nothing personal.
It’s always been that way and it just always will. The fact that some information within this cyclical mucking about has gathered itself together and become self-aware as expressed in the shape of a sentient, albeit somewhat anxious ape, doesn’t suddenly stop the cycling or change the rules or the nature of the cosmic game. One way or the other, order follows chaos follows order follows chaos, and one way or the other, chaos will follow order which will follow chaos which will follow order and so on. Even, and especially on Thursdays.