Go With The Flow By Queens Of The Stone Age Herding Ants

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Herding Ants

Trying to lead mankind out of the stone age and into the Age of Aquarius and enlightenment has been a bit like trying to herd a colony of ants. Have you ever stood by an ant mound and watched the thousands of ants crawling all over the place without direction? Imagine trying to make that teaming mass of bugs all follow a straight line? Now imagine trying to teach all the individual human beings on this planet to follow the same belief system. Impossible. It must have been very frustrating for Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Lao Tse, and all the other great thinkers and teachers, to teach mankind new ideas because the mind of man is plagued with so much disparity at this stage of our development; so fractured and disconnected. Like the universe, the collective mind of man tends toward randomness, expansion, and chaos. It is in our DNA programming. Every human struggles for survival on an individual basis in some form or other; and only joins with others collectively to form families, bands, gangs, tribes, neighborhoods, communities, societies, countries and armies as is needed for group preservation, food, and growth. The DNA programming is intended to promote survival and primarily supports the individual first and the collective group secondarily. Since the dawn of man and time immemorial, armies have fought other armies for control of the hill at a great cost of individual lives. History has taught that joining a group for survival has not always been the best choice for individuals and this may be the root reason why unification may not be possible.

Bringing lasting unity to the collective chaos of human consciousness has always met with limited results, if not outright failure. Jesus preached peace and love and yet mankind still wages self-destructive wars on itself. Jesus taught to forgive and turn the other cheek, yet the next form of drone warfare is being developed as we speak. Buddha taught that nothing is lost in the universe; matter turns into energy and energy turns into matter. He also taught that change occurs due to the law of cause and effect which he called karma; in other words, what goes around, comes around. Mankind apparently cannot collectively embrace these beliefs and they have made no lasting improvement to the human condition. Mistakes get repeated and lessons go unlearned. Both Jesus and Buddha taught moderation and that money was not the primary goal in life; yet mankind is still so immersed in greed and materialism that it has created an unprecedented imbalance in the distribution of wealth. Either the collective mind of mankind has a learning disability or these ideas were simply not compatible with the flow of the universe. It was a nice try though.

Each of these great thinkers, the very best of our human minds, only achieved a very limited success at unification and managed to create a group of followers that later morphed into some of the world’s great religions. But even so, the mind of man still remains a complex mosaic of different faiths and ideas; unfocused, ununified, often confused, and with a tendency toward violence, conflict, and self-destruction. It appears that even the best leaders our species has ever produced have been unable to unite mankind into any lasting common belief system. It could very well prove to be an impossible task and our civilization may be destined for extinction.

Our species is on a collision course with disaster because no one is steering the boat into safe waters. The threat of climate change is real and will soon affect every species of living organisms on the Earth. The collective mind of mankind, which is the software guiding the evolutionary changes on earth today, cannot seem to agree on a single course of rational thought or ethical action and behavior that will insure a sustainable quality of life for all inhabitants on this planet. Isolated groups and individuals continue to struggle to gain power which only lasts as long as they are alive or are replaced by their rivals. Countries have no unified system of laws and regulations to protect the environment, nor ways to enforce the ones they do have and the different world economies all compete to serve their own citizens and business interests. The river’s current is quickly taking our vessel close to the edge of the waterfall and we now need to work together to either row faster toward shore or jump out. We need to collectively take action now, because time is running out for our civilization, and the direction mankind is headed is very wayward and not deliberate and unified. This is the problem. We haven’t learned to cooperate with one another enough to control the quality of life and the direction of our travel on this marvelous blue globe. We are all just temporary passengers vying to steer the boat while the boat may crash onto the shore in the meantime.

So mankind continues to stumble awkwardly into the future like a blind man on ice who has had one too many glasses of wine. We are on a periless path indeed. Our progress often follows a non-linear circular path of retracing our previous steps, or tripping, or zig-zagging aimlessly, and is measured by how many times we fall down and have to get back up. Amid all the confusion and purposelessness, most individuals feel powerless and find they are adrift and cannot see the big picture or realize how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

Most individuals tend to compete against each other based upon an innate sense of sibling rivalry and self-preservation, a grab-all-you-can-get survival instinct; instead of working together for common causes that are in the best interest of the group. Most individuals do not share the same view of reality and cannot agree upon priorities or what is important. If mankind could form a line, the front of the procession would contain all the modern, educated, and privileged people, mostly city dwellers, who have access to the Internet, good jobs, television, and nice homes and cars. The back end of the parade would contain all the impoverished, primitive underprivileged people living in jungles at cavemen standards and barely subsistence levels. In between these two extremes exist all the rest of mankind, with different capabilities, limitations, intelligence, and circumstances; all trying to survive against whatever odds that may impinge upon them. How is it possible to unify such a desperate mass of humanity? Despite everything, our civilization continues to struggle into the future and makes minor progress at a very slow pace. If the column of mankind moves forward at all, it only advances through a series of conflicts and wars… i.e., one step forward, two back, fall down, get up, turn around, refocus, and so on. If we could just learn to walk in a straight line together… maybe hand-in-hand, that would certainly be progress! But how realistic is that?

Oddly enough, most individuals seem to prefer the freedom of choice that comes with the drunken stagger compared to that of marching in lock-step because efficiency also implies slavery and for all of mankind to move in the same direction at the same time would require the iron-fist leadership of a dictator and perhaps the master’s lash on our backs to keep us in line. After all, chaos is the child of freedom and entropy and going with the flow; while unity is the child of control and discipline and going against the tide. The tendency of the universe is toward expansion into randomness and entropy, and therefore, for any civilization to organize and become efficient enough to choose it’s own direction, pace, and destiny goes against the very grain of the fundamental laws of the universe. Bringing order to chaos is the unnatural act of paddeling against the tide and a deliberate act of rebellion that is essential for growth. Just as a chick must break through the egg shell in order to grow, so must mankind become unified as a collective mind in order to penetrate the outer reaches of the solar system.

So what is the big picture anyway? Does this mean mankind will never get organized? Well, perhaps. Time will tell, and against the backdrop of infinity, who really knows at this point? We are just emerging from the seed pod.

Within the context of the universe as a whole, and as an expression of life, mankind is a relative newcomer on this Earth; in as much as Earth is a newcomer to the fourteen billion year old universe. In terms of the life on our four and a half billion year old planet, our seven billion member species is still in it’s infancy even though our seeds date back to just a few million years ago. Our civilization is just starting to take it’s first baby steps. We have had technology only a few hundred years, the ability of sustained flight for a little over a century, and space flight and radio telescopes for just a few decades. Yet in this brief time, our species has arrived at the top of the food chain and now controls the course of civilization, whether deliberately or accidentally.

The chances of there being advanced civilizations and life forms existing somewhere out in the billions of galaxies in the universe is almost a sure deal and probably most of these would be millions of years ahead of us. We are not alone, but for them to try to communicate with our species at this stage of our development would be like us trying to teach physics to a colony of ants. Although an ant colony is comprised of thousands of individuals going in separate directions, the colony itself has a collective mind; an implied unity, however it is just not capable of understanding physics on an intellectual level. All the individual ants come and go on their seemingly own volition and path, but they all serve the collective interest of the colony which is to protect the queen and to propagate the collective mind of the colony. During rainy seasons, some colonies form rafts composed of balls of thousands of living ant bodies to float their queen to safety. The welfare of the colony is paramount to those of any individual, save for the queen. Like humans and mankind, nature sides with the continuity of the collective unit while individual ants come and go and are expendable components. The only thing for certain is that each individual is temporary and is forgotten soon after it has served it’s brief useful purpose. The same is true for humans.

Unlike an ant colony, however, one of the major problems with mankind is that there is no apparent unity of purpose, no common goal, and no common concern for the collective mind of mankind, except to survive. Individuals and groups try to dominate one another and impose their belief systems and standards onto their victims, but no one is steering the boat. Except for the Three Musketeers, there is no “all for one and one for all”; rather it is “every man for himself”. The big fish eat the little fish and only the strong survive, and so on. Ants tend to struggle to preserve and perpetuate the colony, while humans are self-destructive and tend to wage war on one another in a colossal waste of energy and life. Unlike the ants, mankind hasn’t yet reached that point in our psychological development to work together as a team for the common good and consequently we may never evolve, or survive.

Scientists have speculated that hypothetical extraterrestrial civilizations can be defined according to their technological development and use of energy to fuel their societies. For example, in 1964, Russian astrophysicist, Nikolai Kardashev, defined a scale consisting of three categories of possible advanced civilizations based upon how they might harness and use energy for their technology. The Kardashev Scale defined a type I civilization as one that would use and control all available energy resources on its own home planet. A type II civilization would harness all the energy of its own sun, or star, and a type III civilization would harness all the energy within its own galaxy and beyond. All three categories of these civilizations would still be bound by the laws of physics with predictable behavior. Kardeschev calculated that the energy harnessed by these three types of intelligent civilizations would be separated by a factor of 10 billion.

Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York, has stated that scientists may eventually compile an astronomical encyclopedia identifying the precise coordinates of hundreds of inhabited planets and their corresponding use of energy. Both Kaku and Kardashev believe there is a very low probability of detecting type I civilizations and recommend scientific research through radio-telescopes should be directed toward seeking type II and type III civilizations because they would be better targets with a greater probability of contact.

Dr. Carl Sagan estimated that Earth would qualify as a type 0.7 civilization on the Kardeschev Scale. Our civilization hasn’t yet developed the capability to control its own weather, ocean levels, land use, agriculture, plant life, terrestrial and sea life populations, bacteria, viruses, forest growth, atmosphere, moon, gravity, metal deposits, or to even advance beyond its dependency on fossil fuels. Earth has quite a long way to go in order to master the energy resources on this planet and our civilization may not achieve that degree of control before it self-destructs. This remains to be realized.

Presuming our species does survive and grow, the Earth, and our civilization, have an extremely long road ahead before we would be able to master the energy in our solar system and then our own Milky Way galaxy and beyond. Before we even think about sending a mission to Mars, we need to get ourselves organized and take care of more pressing issues first on our own planet.

This is the big picture. It is a long reach and billions of years ahead. If our civilization is to survive and grow, then we will all have to come together in a collective mindset to control the resources on our planet. If we somehow advance to the next level, it must be as a unified family rather than as the temporary rabble following the latest King-of-the-Hill. Together we can make it; divided we will fail. We must become a colony of humanity living together in unity with a common purpose to survive on this planet. Otherwise our civilization will become extinct. It all sounds good in theory, but the reality of achieving this daunting task will be like herding ants.

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