It’s remarkable how there’s so much awfulness in the press, the TV, the Interwebs and social media, yet we never stop to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Humans crave watching misery and Schadenfreude. We seem incapable as a global society to see beauty in all its forms and are fixated on anything but. And there’s a reason for that. Actually two reasons: 1) poor genes and 2) the smart phone.
Before I make a series of tremendously weak and bizarrely tangential arguments to show the link between the aforementioned DNA bits and silicon bytes, there’s a crucial, dare I say, universal fact that needs to be stated.
I’m Walking Here
Ever notice that when you’re walking anywhere in any city, be it a mall, a building hallway, a store, a plaza, a hospital, a sidewalk, or even a street protest, there are three kinds of people:
- People who walk too slowly who make you want to push them down and step right over them, while mumbling an insult and powering forward
- People who are walking faster than you, and inevitably nudge you while pulling out to pass so they can get to whatever tryst they have planned, thus causing you to utter the phrase “where is that jerk going in such a hurry??”
- People who walk at the same pace as you, which makes you suspicious about why they aren’t passing you, as they must be after your wallet / purse / backpack / fresh chocolate danish, which of course forces you to cross the street to make sure the goods stay safe
In essence, everyone but you is walking at the wrong pace, and why are they all so stupid and can’t figure it out? Maybe the answer is genetic. Or smart phones.
Genes – Not the Designer Kind
Here comes those bizarrely tangential arguments that are largely indisputable because there’s no science backing them up — just raw, angry opinion stemming from poor sleep habits and a steady diet of foods with over-processed sugars and edible mineral oils.
The first one, poor genes, is more complicated than you think. Poor genes are the result of multiple factors, many of them having to do with luck, diet, education, geography and parental proclivities (talking to your children vs. locking them in a dark closet and whispering through the door “I hope the closet snakes aren’t hungry tonight”).
Humans have been exposing themselves to DNA-damaging substances since we crawled out of those primordial caves somewhere near Disneyland, I think. I could be wrong. Regardless, think of all the pewter and lead cooking and drinking conveyances we have used in the millennia since we started metal-smithing. Very bad for the DNA. Humans have been ingesting stuff they shouldn’t have since who knows when and we are not about to stop. Especially when those Pop Tarts are on sale. Yay!!
Humans hang out in the sun too much, thus damaging our genetic material as we frolic at beaches, parties and open-air strip clubs. Humans are also big fans of genetic carnage through the use of alcohol and drugs, that, in more than moderate quantities, leads to wars, raping, pillaging and waking up the next day in the bath tub with one eyebrow shaved and the words “Room temperature IQ” written in indelible ink on one’s forehead. I won’t even get into processed meats!
Now we have invented technology that lets us edit genetic material like you’d edit a Word document, except there’s no spell checker. Or user manual. It’s called Crispr, and if you haven’t heard about, it’s China’s fault. (We have been blaming them for over a decade for spying, pollution, lead paint poisoning and questionable fortune-telling accuracy in the form of a cookie. So why stop now?)
So as you can see, we actively screw with our genes and not in the good way, thus globally lowering our ability to discern beauty from Trump-ish stupidity.
I’ve Got You
The smart phone, part two of my argument, is much simpler to explain. Invented by the duo of fiendishly clever drug dealers who were looking to expand their product line beyond poppy syrup and coca leaf extract, and by spurned nerds with poor hygiene feeling the need for revenge after having their video game privileges revoked, they teamed up to make a device that would trap us in their evil claws forever. The smart phone.
Turns out they did a heck of a job. I know if you try to take away my smart phone, there will be some trepidation, cursory cursing, and eventually something akin to an aneurysm followed by intense yelling and scrambling to find said phone, another screen or even a picture of a computer. Same goes for approximately 100% of the humans who were lulled into buying this wonderfully sleek, conversation-destroying, neck-bending bundle of chips and glass.
In survey after survey, today’s youth have said they’d sooner give up having a car, fondling pomegranates and certain body parts than give up their smart phones. They must be “connected” to the world at any time (as opposed to their immediate family and friends).
So between poor genes that we humans do as much damage to as possible, thus lowering our collective global IQ to single digits, and the crazily addictive qualities of our smart phones, we will never be able to appreciate the beauty around us. Unless you’re really rich and you have a butler answer your phone for you.