Wednesday, October 21, 2009

rigidity, for discussion's sake

The world may be sectioned off into things that are within the boundaries of human control and the things that are definitively not. So much of the war between nature and humanity stems from the presence of desire – desire to control and desire to hide from the uncontrollable. Much of humanity’s daily interaction with the world deals with a certain passing ascertaining of authority, the small choices that constitute every step, who is encountered, what is ingested, what is said, and what is thought. Humanity has the ability to construct societies and skyscrapers, place laws and enforce regulations, build a grid of communication and an exchange of currency. It has learned to either use nature to its advantage or manipulate it, regulating that which grows from the ground and developing procedures to battle diseases. There is even an exertion of control in the definition for nature humanity provides, for if it cannot be directly controlled, a natural disaster, for instance, at least it can be studied and understood. There is seldom anything about nature that mankind has not found a way of dealing with, or at least responding to, resulting in an attitude that communicates the confidence that if the answer is not had now, it will be had eventually.

Death is an exception. It is an abstractness that may be delayed, but only up to a particular point. It may be questioned, but those who know the answer are no longer in a position to relay it. The causes may be explained away, but the ultimate effect remains opaquely mysterious. Because of its resolutely enigmatic quality, it is ultimately ignored, avoided, and even feared. Loss of control reveals a particular uncertainty within humanity, one that breaks down group delineations and becomes particular to the individual – how that individual perceives and prepares for the ultimate condition of death.

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