Phriday Philosophy 10/1/10

What’s Your Point?

The question niggling at my brain this morning is something that I wonder about, off and on, depending on my mood. 

Just exactly what is the point?

You know, the point.  To all of it.  Life, the universe, everything.  And yes, I know that the ultimate answer is “42”.  I love Douglas Adams.  For a long time, I wanted to be a Hitchhiker out in the galaxy, had my towel all laid out and ready.  but no Vogons ever stopped by to destroy the planet, so I never got my chance.

Actually, when I stop to think about it, we are all hitchhikers out there in the galaxy, bumming a ride on the Ship called Earth, floating through the universe with places to go, things to do.  And I have lots of towels at my house. 

ANYWAY *digression sigh*

I’ve heard a lot of theories in my search for the answer. 

*That we’re just tiny pieces of the universe, trying to figure itself out

*That God has a plan, but chooses not to share

*That there is no plan, but that we’re all out here, just flailing like fish stuck on shore, desperately trying to get back to the water

*That we’re an accident of nature/science, and someday it’ll be another species running the planet.  Better.

*That we were seeded here by aliens, looking for a way to spread themselves out among the stars, and someday they’ll come back for their children.

Honestly?  I don’t really know.  None of us do, not for sure. 

The human race has survived as long as it has by constant struggle.  We have fought for millenia to get to where we are now, opposable thumbs and all.  And whether you believe in creationism, or in evolution, you can’t deny that the human race, as a whole, is smarter, faster, better equipped, than we were in, say, the Dark Ages. 

But, are we really any better off?

My mood took a sudden downshift while writing this morning, due to some parenting stress.  Murphy’s law took over, and just as I thought we were coming out a step ahead, he conked me on the head, threw me in his trunk, and dumped me in the desert. 

I’ll keep struggling, because I know that this is only temporary.  Life, the universe and everything.  It’s not forever, you know.  So you may as well get on with it.

And the next person that asks me “Why?” is going to get this answer:

“Why the hell not?  I’ve got nothing better to do.”

Phriday Philosophy 9/17/10

I’ve exhausted my stock of “Fun Facts” for a while, and my desire to post them is waning, so I’m going to change things up a bit.  Today, I’m starting something new.  Phriday Philosophy.  It may be actually thoughtful, or it may be a completely twisted take on something that has been rattling around in my brain.  We’ll see where this goes.

 Heroes, Villains and Sheep

A blogging friend, Laura, over at Fetch My Flying Monkeys raised a thought in my brain this morning.  She talked about an experience she had when she was a young woman, in which she had her faith in human nature and compassion shaken to the core. 

Which begs the question:  Why?

Why are there people that instantly rise to the occasion, doing what needs to be done, taking the hero’s role in the story – the “Everyday Joe – or Joan” that performs a heroic act of compassion?  What makes them dive in at the first hint of chaos, willing to possibly put themselves at risk for another?  Does this make them heroes – or just people doing what any “normal” person would do?

My parents were both Volunteer First Responders for years.  We lived in a rural area where the nearest ambulance and hospitals were 30 minutes away, in either direction; which meant that emergencies could turn to tragedies very quickly.  The First Responders were local people, trained, but not licensed, with big orange medical bags full of advanced first aid, that could get to the farms quickly, call for ambulance and rescue with their radios when phones weren’t available, and help the injured, sick, etc. until the ambulance could reach them.

My parents taught me that people are basically good, but that you shouldn’t rely on it.  Instead, you should rely on yourself, and your knowledge of right and wrong to help you make a decision when confronted with an emergency.  Can you help – or will you only be in the way?  If you’re in the way, do you need to be the one to call for outside assistance?  Is there ANYTHING you can do to help?   There are 3 choices, and all of them have lasting consequences.   For a lot of people, they freeze when confronted with these choices.

Choice 1: Villain-  Some, honestly, really don’t care, as long as it’s not happening to them.  They may not be working to make the emergency situation worse, but they are completely apathetic until dragged, screaming, into the middle of it.  I classify them as villains.  Apathy shouldn’t be tolerated, or it is condoning it.  And of course, they never see themselves in the “villain” light, they’re just “Looking out for Number #1”.  (more like Number#2, if you ask me)   

Choice 2:  Sheep-  Most fall into this category.  Really.  It’s an effect of Mass Hysteria.  People don’t like stepping away from the herd, they like predictability and safety in numbers.  And when that is shaken through tragic events, they freeze like an animal in front of the headlights.  They freeze, panic, and lose all functionality;  their thought processes seem to grind to a complete halt.  They have to be “woken up” out of their shock to respond to outside stimuli.  It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life.  Sheep need to be led.  Or herded.

Choice 3:  Hero-  They are out there, I promise.  You might not see them, or if you do, you probably won’t recognize them without their uniforms.  They could be doctors and nurses (active and retired), EMTs or First Responders, dishwashers, plumbers, furniture salesmen, secretaries, waiters and waitresses, cooks, bakers, candlestick makers.  You won’t know them by their faces, you’ll know them by their actions.  They stand up on the bus for the pregnant lady to sit, they help an elderly person load their groceries in their car, they’ll hold a harried mom’s little one while she writes a check at the  store.   They’ll go to another country to help teach local rescue people how to be heroes too.

They’ll stop whatever they’re doing to save a life.  They’ll push themselves to exhaustion and out the other side, if that’s what it takes to keep someone breathing until help can arrive.  They are the people that, when lightning strikes, they’re off and running towards the fire it leaves behind, ready to put it out, pull people from the flames, or whatever’s necessary to be of service.

And that’s really what’s behind it.  The big questions that decide what type of person they are.

Villain- What service does this do for me?  What do I get out of this?

Sheep- What?  Service?  What’s that mean?  Ooh, look, that’s so bad.  I’m scared of it.  Where’s the service that takes care of this kind of thing?

Hero- How can I be of service today? 

A Villain can be changed into a Hero, but not into a Sheep.  A Sheep can become either, given the right “wake-up” call. And a Hero?  Well, they’ll remain Heroes their whole lives.  Just ask my parents.  A Hero’s work is never done.

Thus ends today’s philosophy session.  Thank you for letting me explore this with you.  Questions?  Comments?  All are welcome.