Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Blind Leading The Blind

The Blind Leading the Blind by Peter Bruegel the Elder

I had a stimulating conversation with a friend, which left me feeling energized and contemplative.

We talked about the world economy, war, the rise and fall of empires, the cyclical nature of civilization, climate change and corporate globalization. We also discussed how our leaders seem to be spending a lot of time arguing and running in circles, apparently waiting for problems to fix themselves.  "The world has gone mad," I exclaimed at one point.

My friend remembered a book he had read some time ago. He could not recall the author, who had proposed the following theory. That the evolution of consciousness, self-awareness and so-called sentience of our ancient ancestors had driven the human species into insanity. As evidence, my friend explained, the author had included several sections on human sacrifice committed by a number of civilizations in the past.

The Aztecs, in particular, believed that in order to appease the gods, such horrific and delusional acts could improve their circumstances and control their future.  Looking at current world events we seem less barbaric than those civilizations, but only because we have a veneer of perceived civility, long-range weapons and a history of justified wars (for the victorious) to cover it up.

Pause. Think.

Me: Basically, this author claims that the entire human species is and has always been rip-roaring mad?

Friend: Yes.

Me: I think, therefore I am...crazy?!?

Friend: Yep.

Me: You and I. Every human being. Is completely nuts?

Friend: You got it.

Somehow, I feel better already.


  1. Nice post! Enjoyed it..Following!

  2. That actually explains a lot. Like how 'planking' & all those other 'leisure activities' are so popular.

  3. I think you're mad!

    Possibly not as mad as me though....

  4. Well that one's gotten me thinking...

    There are no mentally ill animals, are there, outside of the ones driven that way by mistreatment.

    Dammit. I hadn't intended to think today.


  5. I've always considered myself nutty so I guess it must be true! haha. Good post. Fun read.

  6. Ahhhh...the meaning of life: Nonsense.

  7. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.
    I'm especially not going to open my door to any Aztecs selling cookies.

    By the way, I'm with Pearl. I hadn't intended on thinking today, either. Now my brain hurts.
    Think I'll put on MTV.

  8. @Justin, thank you and welcome.

    @Vinny, yeah, planking was funny in the beginning, now it's just weird.

    @Alistair, apparently we all are.:)

    @Pearl, you will see how insidious this theory is...

    I thought about the same, especially among wild animals. Ever heard of an anorexic Zebra? Neither have I.

    @Barb, welcome to the cuckoo's nest.;)
    It's an interesting and hilarious theory.

    @Nari, pretty much.
    Maybe searching for meaning is the cause of insanity?

    @Al, maybe if the Aztecs had started selling cookies, their culture would still be around.:)

    You'll be thinking about this for a while, then start noticing all the insane things people do, then...
    *evil grin*

  9. Why is it we're okay with calling ourselves crazy but if someone else were to say we're crazy, we get mad? That's just crazy.

  10. Antares- I'd like to think that we've evolved somewhat since the the wheel, but if you look at how humanity continues to proceed, well, it does seem rather barbaric. Maybe we are all crazy! ;)

  11. Much madness is divinest sense
    To a discerning eye;
    Much sense the starkest madness.
    ’Tis the majority
    In this, as all, prevails.
    Assent, and you are sane;
    Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,
    And handled with a chain.

    Thank you Emily D; thank YOU, Ant. C.

  12. @Meg, good point.
    Mmh, the person who calls someone crazy presumes that they are not. But if we are all insane; problem solved.:)

    @Jayne, I think we have a buffer of "civilization", but when a crisis occurs it's astonishing how quickly that erodes.
    Crazy? Compared to what?;)

    @Bro, thank you.

    @Claire, thank YOU!!!
    Really like the poem, how true.:)


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