Poetry – Far Horizons

Far Horizons

I’m always amazed by the creativity of humanity. Our minds are incredible. We are so new yet we have harnessed our astounding minds to create the world we live in. We exploded out of Africa to dominate the world. We overcame obstacles and destroyed our enemies. No creature has ever been so resourceful. The original ideas and solutions come flooding out of that jelly in our heads.
We are a duality: a strange mixture of compassion and altruism and callous barbarity. Future history will show which of the two sides is the greater. I believe in the caring side. I believe we build the zeitgeist that will see us through.
Our intelligence came out of such mundane things as an opposable thumb and binocular vision. Our amazing ability to question why and find solutions, we conjure them up out of nowhere. Our imagination is our only limit.

Far horizon, curve of sky

Thumb and finger – wonder why?

Out of Africa – black as pitch,

Ever pondering – which is which?

Hunting, gathering – wandering far.

Following on high seas the only fixed star.

Spreading outwards, like a vivid splash.

Overcoming obstacles in a neuronal flash.

Devising, solving, challenging the how

With ideas and inventions for which we take a bow.

Arrogant and vicious yet gentle and kind

Honing the body, instruments and mind.

Vast cities, many colours, the bomb and the gun,

Religions and cultures, music and fun.

Sources of hope and scattered profanity

We are the animals we named ourselves

Humanity.

Opher 17.8.2015

Far Horizons

I’m always amazed by the creativity of humanity. Our minds are incredible. We are so new yet we have harnessed our astounding minds to create the world we live in. We exploded out of Africa to dominate the world. We overcame obstacles and destroyed our enemies. No creature has ever been so resourceful. The original ideas and solutions come flooding out of that jelly in our heads.

We are a duality: a strange mixture of compassion and altruism and callous barbarity. Future history will show which of the two sides is the greater. I believe in the caring side. I believe we build the zeitgeist that will see us through.

Our intelligence came out of such mundane things as an opposable thumb and binocular vision. Our amazing ability to question why and find solutions, we conjure them up out of nowhere. Our imagination is our only limit.

6 thoughts on “Poetry – Far Horizons

  1. One of your better poems, Opher. I particularly liked the “neuronal flash.”

    But I don’t think it’s as simple as “compassion and altruism” versus “callous barbarity.” The callous barbarity is there, surely; and nowhere more evident than in politics. But the other side is a bit more difficult to tie down. I see it as a willingness to use our creativity in ways for which others are willing to give something in return. Looked at that way, it’s behaving as an economic animal instead of a political one.

    Compassion is a good thing, but it has to work both ways. It’s not good to waste your compassion on those that won’t respond in kind. And altruism – subordinating yourself to the interests of others – is a bad thing, not a good. Altruism, to me, is like making yourself into a doormat for the callous barbarians to stomp all over.

      1. For altruism, the dictionary definition is “disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” Disinterested means “not influenced by considerations of personal advantage” and selfless means “concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own.” These are slippery words, aren’t they?

        I can see the positive of helping someone out when they have a problem you can help with. If nothing else, it makes them more likely to help you when you’re the one in trouble! For example, I have many times helped to push someone who has got their car stuck in snow or ice. I found myself in exactly that situation on Sunday – and help duly arrived! But I don’t think of that as altruistic behaviour. For me it is merely, as you say, “about considering other people and taking them into account.” So I guess that we disagree about the word, not about the sentiment.

      2. Yes it is a slippery word and you can interpret that definition in many ways. I like – having or showing an unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Taken to its extreme it would be silly but to a moderate level would mean a more caring, helpful society. It’s really a matter of degrees isn’t it?

      3. Yes, and your reply has shown up another issue that many people have with these slippery words. They seem to think that “selfless” is the opposite of “selfish.” Whereas the correct antonym is the one you gave – “unselfish.” To be unselfish is not to try to take out of any situation, over the long term, more than you put in – whether in money or anything else. To be selfish is to seek to take out more than you put in. To be selfless, for me, is to let yourself be exploited by the selfish.

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