Fundamental Nature

Staring at the city lights from above, I can’t help but think about nature vs urban cities. As a former bio enthusiast, I’ve always seen the homo sapiens as a part of the larger food pyramid, as a species integrated into the nature. However, it’s hard to pretend that I’m not surrounded by man-made furniture, habitats, and even environments. In fact, I’d be rendered helpless if any of these things were to be removed from my life. I am already so restless in this college town – could I actually survive in nature uncontaminated by human footprints?

The human construct created order, and a society that can actually function without disintegrating into a state of utter chaos. Experiments with rewards and punishments, types of rules produced different societies around the world. Decisions shaped development and history, for no two nation states are alike. A while back, the idea of national identity never even existed. Today, as we sit in front of our computers, we amass a larger volume of information than ever, pushing ourselves to new frontiers with constant innovation and groundbreaking technology. The human species clearly distinguished itself from its other counterparts in nature. But is the ability to feel complex emotions and unearth greater intellect than the world has ever seen, a natural part of evolution, or is it an anomaly that went off the tangent of a error?

Fascinating isn’t it? We can plug in equations after equations, produce explanations for the most complicated patterns of nature, and create machineries multiple times larger than ourselves, but still not know the answer to how we feel what we feel. This intellect that we adorn ourselves with, prompted me back to a question asked during one of my GP tuition sessions back during A Levels: Is having greater knowledge a burden? Or is ignorance bliss? We’ve been taught to think critically, to question what’s been taken for granted so that we are not passive information absorbers. Yet, this often brings much distress and a lack of resolution to questions without a satisfying answer.

With a massive web of new media, we become painfully aware of all the problems we’ve never had access to. There is so much wrong in the world, and there are many individual advocates and activists who try to right some of the wrong. Improvements are made day to day, but never drastic enough to be gratifying. On the other hand, while quick changes like revolutions might be desirable, they often come attached with unthinkable repercussions. The news always focus on one horrible thing after another. Like my good friend acutely observed, so many of us are fatigued by the negativeness, we stopped following news altogether.

I guess there really isn’t a solid point to this post, just many questions without an absolute solution. Perhaps we can take relief in the kindness, love and respect that people show once in a while in times of crisis. I know for sure however, I need to regain that optimism and trust in people that they are ultimately good, and relive the motto of my high school: 勤慎端朴 (Diligence, Prudence, Respectability – carrying oneself with integrity and dignity, Simplicity – to be sincere and humble).

We focus so much on our differences that we neglect the fundamental nature that drew us together in the first place – the human condition all of us possess. Individualism, like capitalism, works but can be very isolating. I can’t change the world by myself. But hopefully, by changing my attitude, it can be a stepping stone towards a better future.


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