My brain keeps coming back to that scene in waking life where dreamer learns about the concept of ‘free will’ as one of the universe’s unanswerable questions…
This question keeps me up at night!! It plagues my dreams. Are we as humans capable of making decisions freely? Or are our choices just chemical impulses, a serious of moments driven by instinct, or purely to activate embedded reward centres in our brain.
When i do a good thing or make kind choices is it because I am inherently ‘good’? Or is ‘good’ just a term we use for anti-violent, anti-oppressive, anti-confrontational behaviour, taught to us as babies and codified into a way of being that serves to benefit not just me but the mother species. A faction of humans intent on embodying gentleness and avoiding harm not only serves to soothe n protect ourselves on a microcosmic scale, it assists somewhat in the effort to not spark conflict and ultimately annihilate ourselves.
In a lot of ways this would also serve to explain the construction of hegemonic hetero-normative male/female identities, as women can be delegated this role at birth and men can be set free.
And as for me as an individual, kindness could be quantified as a kind of survival tactic, goodwill a social tool that impresses and communicates status to those around me. Are my choices ever truly ‘kind’? How can kindness not in itself be self-serving.
Sometimes I think of the earth as an organism and humans as a hungry virus. Incapable of rational action, driven by impulses embedded into our molecules. To me it would not be sad to discover that as a species we are far more limited and incapable of individual action than we tend to believe. That would be a familiar sorrow, also one that probably rests outside our capacity of understanding. If human instinct can’t explain kindness, love, goodwill, what then can explain cruelty?