You want to know what keeps me alive? What gives me a reason to carry on, to fight and to try to rise above the shit? You sure? It’s you, every single last one of you. From the teenage hood hanging out on a street corner selling dime bags to underage single mothers to the presidents of the multinationals that consume developing nations and poison unborn children with the lethal effluents they create as they strive to shape a better tomorrow. Don’t be embarrassed, stand up and show your face, credit where credit is due, all of you deserve to be recognised. After all if it wasn’t for your individual efforts, none of us would know what we were facing or who the real enemy was. So, ladies and gentlemen, one and all, I applaud your actions, knowing that as you diligently cope with adversity, your achievements continue to fuck everything up for countless generations to come.
Step back and look at what we’ve become. Not one of those cursory glances your boss expects you to give his yearly report, but a good, hard look at the point we’ve reached in our history. Can you see anything that’s worthy of praise? Be honest, there’s not an awful lot to feel good about is there? If mankind was someone’s idea of a continuous experiment, then they would have scrapped all their notes and research and started again. Failure in a closed environment isn’t a problem, simply throw your results in the trash and resume your studies. Suck the whole bloody mess into a vacuum and jettison it into space.
Since we first assumed our place in the evolutionary chain we’ve made one mistake after another. How many wars have we fought in the name of peace? The list is growing all the time, add another page to the history of conflict as each decade speeds by. Why? Basic human emotions. Jealousy, one country wants what another has, the fable of he who dies with the most toys seems almost appropriate when placed next to this just cause. Greed, the loss of profit being the only thing that motivates elected representatives for long enough, the only time that they’ll gladly step into the breach and send young men off to die. It’s mine and you can’t have even a fraction of it. What happened to sharing? Welcome to the twentieth century, greed is good. Last, but not least we’ve got faith, the same faith that we blindly put in religion. My god is better than your god and if you don’t believe me, I’ll invade your home, burn it to the ground, kill your children and rape your women. I do this in the name of heavenly salvation. We’re in the business of saving souls and our guidelines were laid down in the good book. Black and white. Look them up and read them yourself if you don’t believe me. How many pictures of mothers crying over graves or young men confined to wheel chairs do we need to see before their message sinks in?
As we continued our journey to the top of the dung heap, we split into tribes and formed separate identities, which over time gave rise to assorted cultures and ideas, each establishing man as a social animal. Distance meant that we didn’t develop at a uniform rate, and as Europe became civilised, its natives set out to conquer the world and claim its territories for their own benefit. Civilisation is a strange beast with a specific set of ideals and if they aren’t followed to the letter, then gentle persuasion and education are the tools by which it will craft the norm. Any and all indigenous peoples were dragged into the white man’s idea of paradise, mistaking lack of social grace for stupidity, trading land for trinkets as they dealt with the cavemen who held the keys to the kingdom of avarice. Cultural identity was decimated as the European enforced his own set of values. Colonisation followed as the western world grew. Who cares if they were here first, it’s ours now and trespassers will be shot. Conform or die a simple tutorial that was learnt the hard way by too many people. Nothing could stand in the way of progress as it rolled over the globe, gathering little moss as it continued on its thunderous path. Walk into the light and be reborn, there’s only one way of life and that’s the creed by which we live. When I think of all that we have lost due to ignorance and hostility, it always leaves the same question in its wake. Was it a price that we were ready to pay?
So, humanity reached the brow of the hill and dug in. Deep. It had taken us long enough to get there and sure as shit, no one was going to knock us off. Again we threw our weight around and this time asserted our dominance over the animal kingdom. Can’t take any chances so we’ll keep them as pets and food, put them right in their place. Any deviation from our rule book, or if their appearance was a little out of the ordinary, we’d wipe them out. The town wasn’t big enough for the both of us and we were the ones wearing the sheriff’s badge. Our word was law and fuck anyone or anything that didn’t agree with us. To be on the safe side we started destroying the habitats as well, cutting down the rainforests and polluting the oceans, make it hard to breathe so that they’d know who was pushing the buttons. Trouble was as we deprived and depleted the animal republic we chipped away at the walls of our own arena, removing our future possibilities two by two.
Answers ?. There are no answers, only problems to overcome, solve and adapt to. I used to think that humanity was the answer, that we’d reach a point on the scale when we’d be able to do away with countries and nationalistic ideas and face adversity united as one voice. Misplaced optimism and faith in my fellow men have always been two of my greatest faults, compounded by the fact that man stands on the brink of conquering space, ready to spread his sickness far beyond his earthly constraints. Seat a monkey at a typewriter for long enough and eventually he’ll produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Arrogance ?. We haven’t even started yet and the Hare’s going to run out of steam long before the Tortoise.
Tim Mass Movement
‘Roll up…’ originally appeared in ‘What Would Gary Gygax Do?’ which is available for purchase from iTunes , Kobo and Amazon here