The Gift of Life!

Ozymandias by P.B.Shelley was one poem that I enjoyed reading as a kid. Its about a traveller telling about two giant legs standing on a pedestal in the middle of a desert. There is an epitaph in the pedestal that tells the story of mighty Ozymandias, the greatest of kings and his kingdom.

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said — “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Everything that we consider superior, take pride and get over protective of makes us very naive. Think about it — you never needed visa or a passport to travel to any country before 300 years. Formal education was not mandatory before 200 years. There was no christianity before 2000 years, there was no Islam before 1500 years, there was no Hinduism before 4500 years and there was no religion before that or during the days of cave man. There was no calendar system before they learned to look at stars — obviously there was no calendar. There was no global currency or money before 500 years. Barter was the only form of trade.

300 years may sound very long ago. It is indeed a very long time considering average human lifespan to be 60. But in earth’s life years it is very very recent. It must have taken millions of years for an amphibian to evolve into a reptile but religion is only 7000 years old and guess what? Whatever that took millions of years to evolve is still learning to evolve. How can we expect whatever we created 5000 years ago to be a model of excellence?

In terms of evolution, It is safe to conclude that what we have created 5000 years ago is still evolving and we have not reached successful transformation yet.

Frogs and snakes have been living in earth even before humans. Their DNA is much much older than the human DNA and the only difference is that they do not know that they have been living for so long. If anyone should be proud of their ancestry then it’s definitely the frogs. Humans just got lucky in the evolutionary cycle with the development of human brain. Take out the human brain and boom, we are no different from frogs and snakes living in forests as early man did.

We are tribes of people running into the cave when the sun goes down. There is no patriotism, there is no Eminem, there is no prejudice, there is no oil ( technically oil is there but humans have not known what it can do yet) there is no passport, there is no IIT, there are no computers. There is just this fear of life and death, questions of food, security and shelter. “There is no, anything — Nothing was and will be yours.” The alpha male had all the ladies. You were dead either way. You are dead if your tribe chooses to abandon you.

Isn’t it scary to imagine what would have happened to us if we never evolved from being cave men?

Luckily we outlived that. We lived to learn farming. We learned to live in harmony.We learned to understand love and empathy. We are sociable naturally and earth could never have been so proud — of all the species, humans are the youngest. The youngest of the species that knows how to sustain itself.

We settled down and leaned how to farm and tame animals.

We were doing great as just farmers. Somewhere down the line, something went wrong. Someone got greedy. Someone got lazy. Someone wanted to display superiority. Someone could not grow crops succcesfully. Someone wanted to steal the fruit of other’s labor. Someone wanted to rule everyone. Someone wanted to play god. And look what have they done??

They created wars, they introduced hirearchy, they discovered currency, they created everything that would become the Frankenstein’s monster.

There is this popular story by Mary Shelley — Frankenstein, the mad scientist who creates a moster from dead and the monster ends up killing everyone Frankenstein holds dear. We have created the frankensteins monster. Everything we have created is very young and is starting to kill us. We have not perfected evolution in the things we have created.

Nature took millions of years to evolve and unveil its beauty. It took millions of years for earth to form when you think in the timeline of the universe. The earth is very young if you consider the age of the universe,

Our inventions and discoveries are very young. This includes everything. Whatever is young does not know what is coming its way. Most of the things that we defend today will be different 300 years from now. We ought to be more careful when we take a stand for something and something here refers to leaning towards patriotism, religion, customs, language, ancestry, caste and whatever that is conditional.

We take pride in the above things but I haven’t met anyone who can remember the name of his great grandfather’s grandfather and what his life was or what he made for a living. I dont think my 83 year old grandfather still thinks about his great grandfather these days.

You can be sure that 300 years from now your house or property is not guaranteed to be owned by someone of your own bloodline.

Nothing that humans created has sustained more than humanity itself. Nothing that you hold close to your heart today will exist 500 years from now but the way someone feels about the death of his/her parents is no different 5000 years ago, today or 500 years from now. Its always going to feel the same when you meet someone special and fall in love with as long as humanity lives. Friendship will take the same dimension as long as two people want to connect. Everything else is temporary. Everything else is very young and rudimentary. These basic human traits are the major things that we should hold dear and stand for. Its a rare gift to be human. We are going to be forgotten soon. Even Steve Jobs will be forgettable one day like Ozymandius. We are destined to be oblivion oneway or the other. While we are alive, not everyone can build Apple or Google or Tesla but everyone can surely be human and enjoy this rare gift than hold hatred, prejudice and defending young and naive things.

Just think what will happen 300 years from now. What will happen to your house? Will it be there? What will happen to your car?? What will happen of your carefully curated instagram profile?? Will your great grandson follow the customs that you hold dear today?? Can you guarantee that your grand daughter will never fall in love with a stranger from a land you hate? Will your kids be friends with the kids of your friends? Will there be war?? Will there be religion? Will warth sustain? Will there be a Google ?? Just think what will happen and you will feel differently about the things that you hold close today.

Take a look at the plants, birds and ants. They have a far more incredible evolutionary story to tell than humans. But they cannot love, they cannot empathize, they cannot as much as communicate how they love between themselves. That’s where we are different from the rest of the species. Its our special gift from evolution -Humanity!

Humanity lasts forever and its in these emotions is the rare gift of life and the success of human evolution. Enjoy the gift of life while you are still alive. Put HUmanity first! Don’t let anything say otherwise.




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Lokesh Kannan

Lokesh Kannan

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