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The wheel
We either live together or fall to the horrors that we are so knowingly capable of

June 13, 2003
The Iranian

"If an alcoholic asks me what he should do about his drinking problem, I'll tell him to stop drinking." Easier said than done but it is as simple as that. This line was from a movie I saw a few years back, a Prius for anyone who knows the flick, and although marketed as a light hearted dramatic comedy, its message stood out. It is a serious and complex issue put in simple terms a child can understand. Is the premise not correct? Is the response not accurate? Granted it’s overly simplified but it does not make it any less accurate or true. In fact its potency stems from its frank and direct nature.

Philosophy has become overrated. As has love, the truth and anything having to do with Madonna or Celine Dion. All words with regards to philosophy, politics, religion and sociology have been said probably in the initial 1000 years of the thinking man's life.

First declarations of human rights carved on a stone 3000 years ago lacks nothing to the principles published in websites today by leading human rights advocates. And let’s not forget the constant reminders by Abraham, Moses, ... Ideas appear to resurface throughout history when they are most desperately needed and give birth to movements challenging the status quo.

Whenever I hear something that seems to present a new thought I later find a passage by Gandhi or Omar Khayyam or Martin Luther king or Buddha or Churchill or Homer Simpson or some obscure French philosopher from the thirteenth century echoing the same basis in a slightly different manner, which I can only assume is shaped by the specific’s of the period.

The core of the message, however, remains the same. These ideas arise from necessity and after having a profound effect on the masses take their natural course and slowly skew and dissolve into the pages of history.

Think back with me: The wheel was invented in Araak (who can prove me wrong anyway?), or where Araak stands now, about 110,000 years ago by my great (power of 2750) grandmother, which for the sake of argument we'll call Ashraf .

As I look through the rows of A,C,G,T within my DNA I distinctively remember a specific shallow cut on her forearm inflicted by a heavy jagged edge stone she had to carry from the river bed back to her camp site.

As I recall blood slowly slid down her right arm and gathered at the base of her elbow forming a drop that fell as she watched, which almost seemed in slow motion, on her brand new DoNKeY skin shoes.

Enraged she kicked the closest thing to her, which happened to be a coconut (who can prove there were no coconuts in Araak back then anyway?) and observed with amazement how the strangely shaped object, let's call it round, gladly rolled half way up the steep mound before rolling back to her feet.

This behavior of course was completely different than her past experiences when a rock or a tree trunk was involved. Naturally she put this newly found technology into good use. She was able to carry more material on the flat bed atop of 20 rotating coconuts to her camp and construct a stronger shelter and a larger fire, which provided better protection against the elements.

After a few short days her discovery received a lot of attention from everyone and in specific one person, we'll call Mahmoud, which although the best hunter in the tribe somehow always seemed to have a cold or perhaps was allergic to the rabbit skin he’s been using as a handkerchief. He never found out which.

It wasn't long though before Ashraf’s secret was out and everyone in the camp had built huts just as big and extravagant. But by then Mahmoud, my future great (power of 2750) grandfather, was hooked and thought Ashraf was the best thing all the way up to slice bread.

Amidst this simple love story a storm was brewing. That fateful day approximately one hundred thousand years ago marked the day our plight began. The dilemma to live like an animal or embark on the greatest race of all, the human race.

If you've been trapped in a cave for a while -- or don’t have cable -- let me inform you that we took the challenge head on. We had to. Not doing so would literarily spell out our extinction - E X T I N C T I O N.

We united to increase our power and armed with tools and weapons to include gholaab sangy, which may I add was invented by my great (power of 125) Uncle Davood, and empowered by our natural instinctive drive for survival, we were determined to move forward, and forward we moved without pause. This movement gained pace and gripped by its nature could not and did not stop with our domination of the natural world.

What is ambiguous about the "survival of the fittest" theory is if it applies to struggles of species against one another, or the clash turned inward once the external threats have been removed!

If we as humans consider ourselves to be the rational animal and "ashrafe makhloogaat" to paraphrase, then we must recognize the scope and relation between these ideas within Darwin's theory. Would it be correct to apply the same rules that govern in the jungle to the human social structures that exist today and let the chips fall where they may?

Correct or not, that seems to be the trend. Looking back, it seems our instincts remained the same throughout the years and morphed from defending against a pack of wild animals to the defense of our ideology and beliefs which remain so essential to our out of the cave existence.

In an absence of a global truth we are faced with opposing versions customized to meet the demands of the locality and in different to other points of view that in most cases express the same concepts in a different manner.

What all humans seem to share beyond race, color, religion and sex is the deeply threaded instinct to survive and prosper. This aspiration plays out in two ways. In a singular structure governed by the age old rules of survival or a mutual inclusive system conscious of its workings and purpose and accepting the total, weak and strong.

Like anything else this struggle is a double edged sword that would either shed our blood, as so apparent through history, or be utilized as a tool for a collective reality accepted by all.

What I'm getting at is maybe for the first time in history of mankind we are at a cross road that would lead and perhaps prove, or not, the justification and success of the conscious animal with respect to the instinctive. We have computed our way out of the dark ages, rationalized the concept of a greater power or energy, and amazingly enough currently challenge the very nature of creation by breakthroughs in genetic science.

Globalization is in full swing. Products we consume, images we see and idea’s we share do not stop at the border and transport through space like the smell of burning trash from the neighbors yard. The time for philosophizing about our nature is passed.

Perhaps for the first time in history we posses the desire, resources, and the know how to do what needs to be done and what stands the test of time is our conviction to exercise our “free will” and follow through with its execution. The very “free will” that is undoubtedly the greatest tool we hold and what supposedly distinguishes us from the other species on this planet. The very “free will” that is grossly malnourished and under estimated.

Viewing our world as it stands today we have no other choice to look within ourselves and recognize our need to change and evolve, knowing that our past habit’s can not be sustained for much longer. We are once again faced with extinction not from cats and dogs but from acute problematic complexities rooted in our own chronic behavior. Pick your poison: Greed, Pride, ...

In search of purpose we have created an alternate world that although seems far from reality dictates our daily lives and in most ways pre determines our future by pining us against others searching for the very same purpose. What we’ll soon realize -- that very well might be our final hour -- is that we either live together as a singular specie capable of so much beauty or fall to the horrors that we are so knowingly capable of.

When everything is said and done the success and glory of humanity will not be measured within a limited scope in time and place and rather would be judged and balanced on a collective scale representing all that is good about the human race in the span of history. Anything less makes Mona Lisa a canvas splattered with paint and Taj Mahal a pile of bricks. Anything less will put us right back in the cave with an SUV parked outside anticipating the arrival of the boogy man.

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